And some boys are…gentle.

With all the talk about stereotypes of girls, I thought we should also have the conversation about stereotypes of boys, because they are a real thing.

I am a mother of 3 boys ages 5, almost 3 and 19 months. Often I stumble across articles about raising boys, articles ranging between words of advice, encouragement and humour. And I think it’s great to see moms encouraging each other so much!

However, sometimes, I can’t get over the feeling that maybe my boys, especially my oldest doesn’t fit the stereotype of what others experience with boys.

Sometimes I get the message that there are expectations about boys behaviour in our culture.

Behaviour that is considered typical boy-ish, such as…

Boys like sports. They’re competitive. Sometimes they’re aggressive. They are outdoorsy. They catch frogs and snakes and climb trees. They’re always active and can’t sit still. And so you shouldn’t expect them to sit still. Boys are gross and like to talk about bodily functions. They’re into guns and cars, superheros and explosions. They’re loud and rambunctious.

Well, not all boys are like that. My oldest boy isn’t like that at all. He’s actually calm and quiet by nature. He loves to sit and listen to me read to him. He can actually sit still for a long time. He likes playing with numbers. He is very gentle with his younger brothers and doesn’t have a mean bone inside him. In fact, to my knowledge, he has never hit anyone, even when provoked. He isn’t particularly into sports. Sure, he enjoys running around with his friends when given the opportunity but he just doesn’t have that same fascination with balls and sports as some of my friends’ boys do. He does like his cars and Lego the way boys typically do, but his general disposition is more quieter, slower, and thoughtful. He’s affectionate. He’s one of those kids who actually enjoys doing school work.

And that’s ok, he is still 100% boy.

Because in this world, we have our men who are athletes and outdoors-men. And we have construction workers and police officers and fire fighters. But we also have scholars, poets, and musicians. Just like there were famous adventure seekers who made history, there were also quiet theologians and thinkers who made history too. And we need all those kinds of boys who grow up into all those kinds of men.

My second born is more of a typical boy. He’s wiggly and squirmy and can’t sit still. He’s always on the go and needs to be reminded to be gentle with his brothers. He is full of happy energy.

They are both so different. They both bring different gifts and talents to our family, and will bring different gifts and talents to the world.

So it’s OK if my boy or maybe your boy doesn’t fit the stereotype mold that our society has for boys. Not all boys are into sports and superheros.

Knowing each of our children’s unique personality, can help us to pray for them. We can thank God for the gift of their presence in our home, thank Him for their gifts and strengths, pray for the areas where they struggle, and ask God to help us see them the way He sees them.

Who will boys grow up to be?

Perhaps some will be warriors like David, taking a brave stand against a giant seeking to destroy God’s people. Perhaps some will be Nehemias, leaders in government, making a difference in the world. We hope they will be kind, caring husbands providing for their family. They might be scholars, writing words of wisdom truth. They might be musicians, writing new songs of praise to the Creator.

Most importantly, may they be who God calls them to be.

And for us mamas raising little boys, let us not be distracted by what society tells us boys should or shouldn’t be. Because each one is unique, and God gave them to us for a purpose.

razvan-narcis-ticu-46684

Advertisements

November 2017

November started with a lot of snow. Thick, fluffy white snow. We managed to get through October having fall weather and evading snowfall. Then on November first it snowed a lot and stayed that way throughout most of the month.

IMG-4626

Winter comes early on these prairies.

IMG-4627.JPG

And my kitchen has a couple new toys in it.

instant pot

First, I have joined the club of instant pot owners. This was a gift from my in-laws for Sukkot. It was totally a surprise. My mother in law really enjoys her instant pot and she decided to gift one to us as well. I am still learning about it, and have also found out that apparently there is a cult-like following for this new and popular appliance. So far, I have made hard boiled eggs in it and broth.

The broth making is really cool. Normally it took me 12 hours to boil bones and vegetables into broth. Since it was such a long ordeal I used to make a hug stock pot of it, and then i would freeze it in several containers to make it worth while. Well, the instant pot makes broth in only 2 hours (close to 3 hours if you count the time it takes to build up and release the pressure), which is a lot more convenient than 12 hours of cooking it on the stove.

Since making bone broth in this device a few times, I have developed a new system for frugally stretching out chicken meat for our family. First, I buy the big package of 3 whole chickens at Costco. I roast them in the oven and we have a chicken dinner. The next day we have leftovers. For the leftovers, I try to only reheat the meat that I think is enough for one meal for us. After that, we still have chicken meat left from the three birds so Ben picks off all the meat and we freeze it in 2 or 3 Ziploc bags and label it as cooked chicken. That is then used for curries, stir fries, chicken tacos, shawarmas, or the occasional pot pie. It’s also easier that way to dump in a bag of pre-cooked chicken into my curries than to cut and cook the chicken from raw. After that, we have the bones left over from the 3 birds. These, I divide into 2 large Ziploc bags, each weighing about 1-1.5 lbs of bones. That is just the right amount to dump into the instant pot along with veggies for making broth. And each batch of broth in the 4 quart instant pot makes a huge soup in the stock pot that lasts us 3 meals.

So, that way $25 bag of 3 chickens at Costco lasts us for: 2 chicken dinners, 2-4 meals of curry/stir fry, and 6 meals of soup. Not bad. And it’s nice to know that homemade bone broth is also full of nutrients and good for the tummy. This way I also rarely buy cuts of chicken meat, it’s just cheaper and easier to buy the big bag of whole chickens.

The other new item in my kitchen is…a cast iron pan!

cast iron

I’ve been thinking about possibly getting one for a few years now but have also been a bit unsure about how to use them. This year I saw that Canadian Tire had a very nice sale, of $20 for a cast iron pan that was regular $85. So I took this opportunity to plunge in and try it out.

The first thing I noticed about the cast iron pan is that boy, is it ever heavy! I felt so excited to have one and first did bunch of reading online about how to take care of one. It turns out there’s a actually a lot of varying opinions about the dos and dont’s of cast iron cookware! Who knew? Well anyways, so far it has been going well with using it. I mostly use it for frying eggs for breakfast. I’m surprised at how naturally non-stick it is. If I do it right (which took some trial and error), it’s actually more non-stick than the stainless steel pan we were using before.

The reason why I’ve been wanting cast iron for some time is because there is some research to suggest that it can increase iron in the blood. You can research this yourself if you like. If so, then it’s an easy and inexpensive way to add a little more iron to your diet by cooking with cast iron. I’ve always been on the low-iron side and my doctor has told me I’m borderline anaemic. During pregnancy my iron level especially drops so I take iron supplements to keep it up. Already, I have noticed that on days when I make eggs in my cast iron pan for breakfast, I feel more alert and have more energy. I hope it’s not just placebo and I hope that if we have another baby that I’ll have a higher-iron level pregnancy.

Another exciting event in November is that we had some dear friends of ours come visit us and stay overnight in our home. They are a big family and came with 7 of their children. We had a really good visit. I found it remarkable that even though we had a combined total of 10 children ages 11 and under in our house, it was actually very calm and peaceful. They all played together so nicely and everyone helped out so everything went smoothly.

Well, that’s about it for November.

img-4688.jpg

October

October had its ups and downs

One of the highlights, of course was SUKKOT!! This year our  community rented a hall for the long weekend in the town where several families live. We had some good teachings on the book of Proverbs, as well as lots of free time to fellowship, lots of food, and some games. It was a really joyful celebration.

sukkot2017

We visited a pumpkin patch.

IMG-4581

And climbed a big hill.

IMG-4587 (1)

Malachi started music lessons. He has been begging for music lessons for a long time, but we’ve been putting it off until he’s five. Now this fall my sister in law began a group music lesson for Malachi and some of his friends. The children go to her house and have 15 minutes of individual instruction on the piano, and then a half hour group time where they sing certain songs and do movements with them. The songs are purposely done in different musical keys and styles so they get exposed to different kinds of music. Malachi just loves it.

clark-young-143623

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

This was the month when Zachy was finally weaned from his soother! For a while we had been only letting him have it at night time. I was dreading weaning him from it because he always really wants it and I feared there would be much night-time crying if he didn’t have it at night. If only I knew how easily it would go, I would have done it sooner! The first night was the worst and the second was a bit better. After that it was a breeze. Now that he doesn’t need it at night anymore it makes our life easier. No more searching for lost soothers. No more of him waking at night crying because he can’t find it and one of us having to go look for it at night. So. Much. Better.

About halfway through October I’ve started noticing some “health issues” and had a small crisis. I’m still not totally sure about what all I’m dealing with and exactly what to do, but maybe when I find more answers I can write a post about it and about what I’ve been learning through this.

chris-lawton-154388

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

 

 

Family Update: September

September has been a busy month for us, in a good way.

IMG_4459[1]

We started off by coming home from our road trip to Washington State. We had a really wonderful time at a family camp there, and got to visit some friends and make some new friends too. The kids did surprisingly well. We spaced it out over 3 days of driving each way, and aiming to drive about 7 hours a day. The last day on our way there we ended up spending about 9 hours in the car (Seattle area has really bad traffic), however the kids did REALLY WELL. I was mostly worried about how the baby would take it. The older two are easily entertained, but the baby just eventually gets tired of being in the car seat and doesn’t understand why we’re in the car so long. So, there were some tears but not very much, thankfully.

Shortly after we got home it was my husband’s 30th birthday! He’s still so young, hehe! I attempted to put on a surprise birthday party. It almost worked (isn’t that how it always happens with surprise parties?) He did get a whiff of it coming the day of the party. But he still played along well. 🙂

IMG_4487[1]

September was a busy time with the garden harvest. I can’t get over how happy I am to have a garden this year. In May we moved out of our very small house with a tiny yard in the city to our current home which has more space inside and out. It’s so freeing to just see the children playing outside so much in the fresh air. And a garden! There was a garden tilled and ready for planting when we moved here. We moved right around planting season and were very busy with moving so I felt like I couldn’t put a lot of effort into the garden right away. I also know very little about gardening. Surprisingly, the garden did prolifically wall. We have had so much produce coming in from it, and we are very thankful to God who makes all things grow. It’s been so wonderful to see my children learning about plants and seeing their food grow in the garden. They would get very excited as each plant would get ready to harvest.

Along with gardening, came something new for me that I have never done before: Canning. There were so many tomatoes coming in, that I decided to go ahead and try canning. To be honest I was a bit scared of it, but after researching it some and reading the guidelines in the national food preservation site, I went ahead and canned a bunch of tomatoes. The jars in the winter will remind us of our happy days in the garden.

And the other exciting thing about September, is of course, homeschooling! I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this all my life. It has always been my dream to marry, have children and get to stay home and homeschool them. Before I had children I was teacher in public school. With homeschooling it’s like you get all the best parts of teaching without all the negative aspects of public school teaching.

Malachi is just in Kindergarten and this is what we are doing for our various subjects:

At the beginning of the day after breakfast we have “morning devotion time” where we do some singing, reading from an old children’s devotional book, Bible and we pray. Malachi has also been working on memorising a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet since about spring. We are at “S” now.

Writing: We are using “A Reason for Handwriting”. I just like that it’s simple. It gives him a little simple handwriting practice and then a picture to colour. It’s nice and relaxing.

Reading: I was strongly considering getting a more comprehensive reading curriculum, but at the end decided to go with the very simple “Explode the Code”. Again, because it’s simple. He’s only in Kindergarten and I don’t want to push him at this age. He enjoys doing school and I want to do it gently just a little bit each day. He’ll gradually learn to read, there’s no rush. We also read the “Bob Books” that are good for beginning readers. I have to say I just love seeing those gears click in his brain as he learns to sound things out. He is so excited about being able to read some simple words that he also tries to sound out words that he sees in other places, and sometimes he surprises me with the words that he figures out!

Math: We went with Math-U-See. I thought it would be neat to go with this program that has good manipulatives. I remember learning math in school and knowing how to do it but I didn’t necessarily understand why it worked the way it worked. I hope the visual manipulatives will help in that. We will see how it goes.

Science: Here I just handpicked some units based on what I think Malachi would find interesting. For the fall we are learning about insects. So I basically requested a whole bunch of children’s books form the library about bugs and along with Pinterest for activity ideas, we just learn about bugs!

IMG_4507[1]

Social Studies: I’m using “Come Sit By Me”. It’s a lovely, gentle (Canadian!) children’s curriculum based on children’s literature. We are doing the “Canada Coast to Coast” Unit and in September we read and learned about BC.

Read aloud: Other than the books that we read for school subjects, we’ve also been reading some chapter books. I found this neat little set of Little House chapter books for younger readers and we are enjoying those.

In September we’ve also been busy with the Fall Feasts! We first had Rosh Hashanah. Ben’s family has traditionally done an appetiser supper for the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and it’s been a really fun and delicious tradition. We all make the yummiest finger foods that we can think of and bring them all together and have a meal of it. (Along with apples dipped in honey, of course!) It’s such a blessing to see the young cousins growing together learning about the Torah and doing fun traditions to go along with it.

Lastly, our September ended with Yom Kippur. It was a serious day, and also a peaceful day, praying together as a community and focusing on the atonement that we receive through Yeshua.

 

 

 

 

How to Boycott the Boycott

We love Israel.

As Joshua and Caleb reported thousands of years, it is a good land!

As you may have heard in the news, there is a boycott out against Israeli goods, particularly those from Judea and Samaria, or what is politically known as the “West Bank”. Judea and Samaria is the heartland of Israel. It is where most of our Bible stories took place. This is where the patriarchs lived, and where the Tabernacle stood in Shiloh. In fact, if you visit Shiloh today, as some of my extended family has, you can still see millions of little pieces of pottery shards everywhere that go back to the time of the Tabernacle.

 

Sadly, the European Union has chosen to label products coming from Israel’s heartland with a yellow boycott sticker. (Didn’t we see Jewish people labelled with a yellow star in Europe in the past? It’s sickly familiar).yellow boycott sticker

If you also feel strong feelings for Israel, you may be wondering, what one can do about this boycott.

During Nazi Germany, before the horrors of the concentration camps began, there was a slow gradual increase in anti-Jewish laws and regulations. In fact, at the beginning there was a boycott against Jewish businesses in Germany.

germany jewish bocycott

I would like to think that if I lived in Germany during those terrible times and there was a boycott on Jewish businesses, that I would have gone out of my way to purposely support these Jewish businesses even if it would be inconvenient.

Well, there is a wonderful organization that has created a way for people in other countries to help support businesses in the heartland of Israel, defying the current boycott. This is a project that our family has recently signed up for and I’d like to share about it with you!

This organization is called Lev HaOlam. What they do is this: every month they put together a box of Israeli products from Judea and Samaria and send them out. You can sign up to pay a monthly payment to receive each month this “surprise” box of Israeli goods.  Here is a lovely video explaining how it works:

 

We heard about Lev HaOlam through some friends of ours and finally we decided to sign up a month ago. This month, we received our first mystery package!

IMG_8660

I had been waiting in anticipation for this package to arrive and was so excited when it came! Malachi was excited too, when I told him this special box came all the way from Israel! We decided to wait until Daddy got home for lunch to open it together.

And here is what was inside our box this month. Another neat thing about this box is that it also comes with a sheet of paper explaining who made the products, so it feels more personal that way.

Inside there was…

IMG_8646

A bag of halvah pieces. These are like candies made from sesame. This bag had three flavours: chocolate, vanilla and pistachio. The packaging was all in Hebrew, but we were able to figure that out. 🙂

IMG_8649

Next, was a jar of honey from the land of milk and honey…This honey is specifically from the Golan Heights.The Golan Heights is one of Israel’s last wilderness areas. The bees made this honey from the wild flowers growing in that region.

IMG_8647

An assortment of dried fruits and nuts from Israel, just in time for Tu B’shvat.

IMG_8652

A set of bookmarks with Bible verses on them in Hebrew and English. These are made by a lady who lives in Shiloh. She and her husband made Aliyah to Israel from Australia.

IMG_8657

A pair of pretty earrings. These earrings were made by a lady in Judea whose family members (the Fogel family)  were brutally murdered in a terrorist attack 5 years ago. I remember reading about this sad story in the news. She helps take care of the surviving children and also makes jewellery such as these earrings.

IMG_8650 IMG_8651

And a pretty scarf. I already wore this one as a tichel on Shabbat.

It was so much fun opening our box. I can’t wait to find out what next month’s box will bring! A lot of these items also make lovely gifts and we want to be able to use some of them that way.

Now, you may be wondering about the price for this endeavour. It is on the costly side, and you can find that on Lev HaOlam’s website. However, we see it as an opportunity to support families in Israel, and we get blessed in return with these lovely items. I know of some families who split the cost of the box in half and then split the products between them.

Altogether, I think this is a productive and fun way to take action against the boycott of Israel.

What do you think of this idea? What are some other ways that you try to support Israel against the boycott? I also like to notice if there are Israeli products in the grocery stores where we shop. This week I found grapefruit at Costco that was a product of Israel. The special aspect of Lev HaOlam is that it specifically supports the heartland. Although of course, it is good to support Israel in any way we can.

 

 

 

Our Trip Out West

In mid June, our family took a trip to Spokane, WA. We were going there for the UMJA conference. It was a bit of an adventure for us because it included driving through the mountains and spending lots of time in the car with our 4 month old and 3 year old. Ben’s parents let us borrow their minivan for the trip which was a huge blessing!

How did the boys do on the road trip? They did really well! Better than I had thought! I think that they’re both at the perfect age for road trips. Zac isn’t mobile yet, so keeping him in a car seat wasn’t so bad. It’s not like he was restless to get out and move around. Since we were in the minivan, I usually sat in the middle row next to Zac and Mali sat in the back row. This way Zac could see my face while travelling, I could sing or talk to him and hand him toys or his soother. He was pretty happy most of the time. Mali was in the back and I could hand him some toys or put on a movie with the portable DVD player that we borrowed from some friends. Mali doesn’t get a lot of screen time normally so watching movies on the trip was a real treat and kept him occupied. He was happy most of the time as well. We took frequent stops as can be expected. Zac needed to nurse, and Mali needed to run around a little bit. The scenery along the way was quite epic and we all enjoyed our trip.

As we left home, we first drove through our flat prairies. It really is flat out here. I remember when Ben and I were friends, he would tell me that the prairies are so flat that if your dog runs away, you can still see him running away for three days…

IMG_8219

But you know, the prairies have beauty of their own. Standing out by a flat field, looking out at the vast open space around you makes you feel really small. With nothing obstructing the view, it makes me feel closer to God.

Our first day we drove about 6 hours and then spent the night at Ben’s uncle and aunt’s house.

The next morning, as we continued to head west, we started to see some hills and distant mountains.

IMG_8226

Then we came to a town and saw the world’s largest truck! It really was quite big and Malachi was fascinated by it.

IMG_8232

The weather was overcast that day and then turned to rain. We were planning to go hiking when we would reach Fernie, BC, so we prayed for clear skies. And indeed, when we reached Fernie it became nice and sunny!IMG_8234

We stopped by a nice mountain trail for an hour long hike. It felt so good to get out of the car and start walking.  The mountains are so amazingly gorgeous. I mean, I’ve always heard people say that  mountains are amazing, but you really don’t know it until you’ve been there and seen them. They are so huge and majestic and tower over you. Wow, it just makes you feel so in awe of God to know that He created them in just one word.

IMG_8245

It makes you feel small, like on the prairies, but in a different way.

IMG_8242

One of the first things that I noticed when walking into the woods was the smell. My first thought was that I must smell someone’s perfume that had just walked past. But there was no one else there and I realised that what I smelled was the forest itself. The plants literally perfumed the air.

IMG_8241

IMG_8254

Someone got a little tired…

IMG_8249

We saw this interesting sign:

IMG_8236

And these footprints:

IMG_8257

The second day we spent about 12 hours to get to our destination in Spokane. It should have taken only about 7 hours, but we took our time and enjoyed the ride.

In Spokane, we attended the UMJA conference. Ben was excited about meeting some of his friends from Torah Resource Institute (TRI), as well as meeting new people. TRI is a really great organization. It’s an online Messianic school and it’s very well balanced. The courses are scholarly and prepare the students to not only have a good knowledge of theology, but also how to discern between proper and improper scholarship. Ben has really enjoyed his studies at TRI. While at the conference we also were able to meet other people invovled in UMJA and/or TRI. Ben had the opportunity to talk about Messianic mission and promote Messiah to the Nations.

The conference was quite teaching-intensive. In the mornings the boys stayed with us and played quietly with some toys that I packed for this conference and trip. I packed a little suitcase with toys, stickers, crafts and colouring activities that would be new to Malachi and that would keep him quietly busy. In the afternoon, there was a children’s program available. Malachi was extremely shy and didn’t want to participate in any organized children’s activity, even if I stayed by him the whole time. So, instead we tried our own different things. There was a playground near by as well as a big nature reserve area and some stores. I was nervous about trying to drive around there…I don’t really like driving in the states and there were a lot of one-way streets in that area, plus we had my in-laws minivan so I chose not to venture very far.

spokane1

We also went swimming as a family at the hotel where we stayed and on Shabbat afternoon we went to a park that had a playground and a rose garden.

IMG_0716

Malachi was a little sleep deprived on this trip and as such got cranky at times. While we were at the rose garden was one of those times. He was unavailable for pictures.

On our way home we got to drive through the mountains again! Our first night we stayed with some friends in BC and Mali enjoyed playing with his friend whom he had not seen for a long time.

IMG_0721

Don’t they look like they’re having a jolly time?

The next day we continued on our journey home and stopped at a place called Frank Slide in Alberta. This is known as “Canada’s deadliest rockslide”. A huge avalanche of rocks fell down over a town called Frank in 1903 and tragically killed many people. There is an interpretive centre there as well as a trail through the rocks. It’s a very eerie looking place as there are rocks and rocks everywhere.

IMG_0725

We spent another night with Ben’s aunt and uncle on our way home. We don’t get to see them very often so it was nice to visit.  We also visited for a little bit with Ben’s cousin who lives along the way too.

Finally we arrived home.

At first when we were talking about the possibility of going on such a road trip, I thought it might not be a good idea to travel so long in a car with a baby and a three year old. But it turned out to go really well! The boys enjoyed it and we made some good memories together as a family.

One of the best gifts ever. (Or, some musings on siblings and fertility)

What is one of the best gifts your child can receive? It’s not a toy that stimulates imagination or creativity. It’s not a game or a bike or even music or sports lessons. I believe that one of the best gifts a child can receive is a sibling. And this is not a gift that a parent can always choose to give…as secondary infertility is on the rise.

IMG_7795

This. This was why I so badly wanted another baby.

I grew up as an only child for most of my childhood. When my parents first had me, they were happy with just having one child. They were nominal Catholics at the time in Poland. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, they were saved and saw children as a blessing from God. They decided they wanted more. But, it didn’t happen. My mom had unexplained secondary infertility and she was never able to conceive again. She was only 18 when I was born, so she still had many childbearing years ahead of her, but for some unexplained reason, her womb was closed.

I have a lot of good memories from childhood, but I also remember feeling lonely and wanting another sibling. Preferably a sister. Preferably close to my age. Even better, a twin. Sometimes in my imagination, I pretended that I had a twin sister. We had some good family friends and a wonderful home fellowship that I attended with many children and I enjoyed playing with them. But much of the time, at home, I was lonely. I played with Lego and made crafts…by myself. I remember seeing ads for sponsoring children. They showed all these African children and I so badly wanted one. I was disappointed when I found out that sponsoring doesn’t mean you get to bring one of those children home.

Many of my friends were homeschoolers and came from larger families. I wished so much to have siblings and as I got older I dreamed of one day getting married, having lots of children and homeschooling them.

When I was 12 years old my parents became foster parents. We started having children in our home. It was challenging and fun in different ways although most of the children we had stayed for shorter periods of time. Then, one day when I was 16 years old we received these little fellows:


brothers

And they stayed. In fact, my parents adopted them.

June 2

So then I acquired 3 brothers.  Receiving 3 brothers at once as a teenager is different than growing up with siblings close in age all your childhood.

So anyways, moving ahead I ended up getting married to my wonderful husband. Knowing about my own mother’s struggle with fertility, I wondered if I would have struggles in that area. I hoped not.

Looking back we didn’t have much trouble getting pregnant with Malachi. However, at the time I was already getting worried when it didn’t happen in the first few months that we wanted it to. We were so happy to have a baby! Becoming a mother truly changed my life and I was overjoyed with the love that comes with having a baby. When Malachi was 9 months old we got pregnant again! I was a bit surprised at how quickly that came about, and figured that I wouldn’t have the same struggles with fertility as my mom experienced. However, at 12 weeks into that pregnancy, we lost our precious baby. It happened while we were on our trip in Poland. It was a terrible experience. For some time after we lost the baby I just felt in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe that it really happened. It all happened at the end of our trip to Poland. There was a whirlwind of activity. We lost the baby and we still had a few days left to visit with family there. It all felt so unreal. But then the sorrow sunk in and I had to deal with all the emotions that came with it. There was sadness and anger and thinking of all the things that I could have done differently that maybe could have prevented it. Maybe if I had not flown on a plane while in my first trimester…maybe if I hadn’t pushed myself to stay up late every night and visit and walk around everywhere so much….maybe if I hadn’t changed my diet drastically from being (at the time) gluten-free at home to eating gluten every day in Poland….maybe if…And so I wondered about the maybe’s and of course blamed myself for not being more this or more that to prevent the miscarriage. But anyways, it happened and there was no undoing of it. At least I had my very supportive and caring husband with me through this as well as my parents who were with us on this trip.

Now, before this miscarriage happened I remembered reading an article in a women’s magazine about how right after a miscarriage you are the most fertile you can be because of all the pregnancy hormones still running through your body. I had told this fact to some of my friends who had miscarried and they all got pregnant right away again. I was pretty sure that this would happen to us too, that we would just get pregnant again right away. I wasn’t prepared for the year-long wait that lay ahead.

We came back to Canada and I didn’t get pregnant right away. Or soon after. The months went by.I started to worry and panic on the inside. I was so scared of having secondary infertility. I really desired for Malachi to have siblings. In my worrying I would pray. I took fertility-friendly supplements and tried to eat a healthy diet. I would also do google searches for “secondary infertility” and read other people’s stories of not being able to conceive again. This wasn’t an encouraging activity. I also read articles online about parenting an only child. They suggested things such as:  you’ll need to organize more playdates with friends because  your child won’t have siblings to play with. You’ll need to play with your child a lot more, because they’ll be lonely. It made me sad. I would go to the park with Malachi and notice all the moms of 1 and 2 year old toddlers who were pregnant with their second. Meanwhile, a lot of my close friends were getting pregnant or having babies during that year. My Facebook news feed was flooded with pregnancy updates, birth announcements and baby photos. Every month that went by where I found out that I wasn’t pregnant I would cry.  I wanted another baby oh, so badly.

Finally, I had to release my fears of infertility to the Lord.

And then, we conceived! We were so overjoyed to see the two pink lines on the pregnancy test. Finally, after all the tears, all the prayers and that long year of waiting I was blessed with the desire of my heart!

Looking back, I know that a year isn’t really that long to wait. But it seemed terribly long at the time. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t been so distressed about it. But hindsight is 20/20.

I have some friends who struggle with fertility, a lot more than I ever did. Although I didn’t struggle with it as long as they have, I feel like I can empathise with the struggle. It’s real. And saying  trifling comments about it doesn’t help.

Children truly are a blessing from the Lord. I love seeing the large families around here who are blessed with many children. I love seeing the siblings being best friends with each other, encouraging each other and being like “iron that sharpens iron”. I love how large families work together and play together within the varying age ranges of the siblings. We want to home school our children, so my hope is that my children will be best friends with each rather than needing others to be their best friends.

In the public-school mentality, siblings are seen as annoying. You have friends with kids that are your age and in your classroom. My hope and prayer is that our home will be a centre for friendship and security for our family, and that our children can learn and grow together, spurning each other on to do great things for God’s glory.

IMG_8213