Things of Value

You know how there are some phrases you come to live by?  I guess some people call them mantras, but that sounds a bit too hippy-ish for me.  I’ve got a few of these phrases, some old and some new.  One of my most recent additions is about faith, and the nature of God.  It comes from the book of James (in the bible), chapter 2, the last part of verse 13: “Mercy triumphs over justice.” I think this is such a great way to summarize the character of God.  He’s perfectly just (fair), but his desire for closeness with humanity overcomes his justice.

But today is a special day, and I’m not actually writing to talk about religion.  27 years ago today, Laurel and Andrew Jamieson welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world.  A baby who, if you saw her today, would look strikingly similar to the baby you’ve seen in many of our recent photos (Eden Jacquelyn).  If you had peeked into the hospital room in the day or two following the birth, you probably would have observed a scene very similar to this:

A moment worth capturing!

Andrew and Laurel went on to raise this girl to be mature, confident, beautiful, and adventurous.  Being ten months into parenthood myself, I’ve started to become aware of how much work it really takes to raise a child, which brings me to another one of my phrases to live by:

“Anything of value takes work”

It’s a simple concept, but my life experience has shown me that it’s so true.  If something comes completely naturally or is perfectly simple, anyone can do it.  If anyone can do something, lots of people will do it, and the results/products will be abundant.  Basic economics and common sense have taught us that abundance generally leads to lower value and scarcity leads to high value; therefore, anything of value takes work!  If you allow life to pass you by without putting effort in, there will be no great outcomes; your coming and going will be like the passing of a season, blooming briefly and fading away.  Sad, but true.

Kathryn is – and I mean this in the most non-material sense of the word possible – an item of the greatest value for me.  There are not many parents who have done such a fantastic job of raising their kids as the Jamiesons, and not many kids who have had the guts and ambition to accomplish what Kathryn has accomplished.  At the young age of 27, she is a world traveller, a superstar chef, a creative genius (I mean that), an encouraging and supportive partner, and perhaps most impressively, she has given birth (for those of you haven’t been through this, all I can say is: what other circumstances can lead a person to literally tear a hole in their own body by shear force of will?).  While there was an element of love at first sight with Kathryn and I (well, maybe it was one-sided – I kind of freaked her out), I had to work to convince this girl that I was the one who could make her happy for the rest of her life, more than any other guy.  Even though she rejected my first request to start dating, and even after she found things out about my past that were almost too much for her to bear, I knew I couldn’t give up on her.  Even though it meant long-distance dating for several years, I knew I had to work to keep this thing of great value – our relationship – going.

So Happy Birthday Kathryn.  You asked me the other night, “are you glad I was born?”  Even though I said no at the time (jokingly!), what I really meant was “there is nothing in the world I’m more grateful for than the fact that you were born.  Every day I’m grateful, when I kiss you in the morning and when I kiss you goodnight.  Wherever life takes us I look forward to spending it with you, with many, many more birthdays to come!”

Post-engagement, March (?) 2007

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Sun!

This afternoon was the first sunny period of time we’ve had for weeks so Eden and I went out on the back deck to get some fresh air.  I decided to get over the fact that I have a crappy camera (old point and shoot digital from many years ago) and take some pictures anyway. I just took a whole bunch hoping that some of them would be clear.  Here are the winners of the little cutie.

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My Girl is 10 Months Old!

Photo by Julia Thompson

Today Eden is 10 months old. Every mom told me that the time flies and that those first few months become hard to remember but to be honest I didn’t really believe them. Those first few sleepless months seemed SO long at the time, not having a clue what I was doing and mostly just trying to survive. But it’s true, I can barely remember them (probably due to the lack of sleep) and they seem so distant now. My little girl is developing such a personality and is learning new skills almost daily. The other morning when she was practicing her new scooting skills I was filled with such love for her. It was amazing to see her move to where she wanted (no matter how slow) and to see her come to me when she wanted some milk and cuddles. I had to call Tim at work and tell him how amazing our girl is!

Photo by Julia Thompson

Eden at 10 months:

  • is scooting! She can now go where she wants and get the toys she wants all by herself (she never had any interest in crawling)
  • loves to walk holding onto someone’s fingers, this is one of her favourite things to do but it’s pretty hard on the back
  • eats all sorts of food and is starting to enjoy more textures
  • loves to read stories
  • loves to eat stories (there are paper bits missing from some of her favourites)
  • can be very loud if she wants to be
  • slept for 8 hours straight for the first time last night, no middle of the night feeding felt wonderful!
  • loves going for walks in the stroller (most of the time)
  • enjoys helping us fold her diapers (or unfold them)
  • has little ticklish spots on her sides
  • loves music
  • is beginning to dance (move) to music when it’s on
  • says “dada, or dadoo” for tim
  • can say “mama” (not really in reference to me yet), “wow”, and lots of other sounds
  • knows “milk” in sign language
  • mostly knows “more” and “all done” in sign language
  • has enough hair for a barrette, it often only stays in for about a second though
  • sleeps in her own bed most nights…sometimes ends up in bed with us
  • loves to drink water by herself
  • always has a morning and afternoon nap unless we’re out somewhere
  • loves to clap
  • often points at things
  • absolutely loves her big cousin Charlotte and little cousin Lila
  • has 3 teeth, soon 4
  • snuggles mommy when she’s tired
  • loves the phone (or any other electronic device that she’s not supposed to have)
  • gives kisses to mommy and daddy
  • will only let mommy cut her nails if she’s watching something, usually The Wiggles (pretty much the only time she watches anything)

Photo by Julia Thompson

What an amazing little girl we have! It’s hard to believe that in only 2 months she will be 1, wow! Our lives have changed so much since we found out about this little gift and now I would have it no other way. I honestly feel sad for couples who would make fantastic parents and who don’t have any children yet, they’re missing out on so much that you can’t even understand until you have a little angel of your own. We are thankful everyday for Eden, she’s truly a perfect gift from God.

Photo by Julia Thompson

Here’s one more photo for good measure!

Photo by Julia Thompson

Thought-Filled Thursday: Food Rant

I like to read blogs, especially food blogs. I love being inspired by new recipes and healthy alternatives to tried and true family recipes. I truly believe that our culture, the North American Caucasian culture, has a lot to be accountable for when it comes to food and our relationship with it. People are dying from food addiction and abundance and in all honesty it’s disgusting. Food is too cheap and the cheaper the food the more unhealthy it is. Most of us struggle with self control when it comes to snacking and junk food, and in turn we often hate ourselves, our bodies, because we’re too fat and unhealthy…and then we eat to comfort ourselves. This is really messed up if you think of the thousands of people worldwide who die of starvation daily.

Recently I’ve tried a few healthy substitutions in recipes and a few recipes that have surprising ingredients. It feels so great to be eating better and more creatively! Eating should be a positive, enjoyable experience. Not one filled with guilt and regret.

Here are a few things I’ve tried:

  • Chia Seed – a great source of omega 3 and a substitute for fats in recipes when mixed with water
  • Quinoa
  • Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies from The Everything Beans Book, the main ingredient is black beans!
  • Eating more beans – dried, soaked, cooked…not canned as much
  • Veggie pizza – we pretty much always make vegetarian pizza now with whole wheat crust. We don’t use any sauce, just a layer of tomatoes and then top it with whatever we have in the crisper and finishing off with low fat cheese. Delicious!
  • Low Fat cheese – the same price as full fat but with a lot less of the bad stuff. I really notice now when I eat full fat cheese. Even the low fat stuff isn’t that healthy, but it’s a step in the right direction, right?
  • Drinking primarily water. We never have juice (let alone pop) at home anymore. When I have the occasional drink of something sweetened I can really taste the sugar (or artificial sweetener, which is even more distasteful). It’s crazy how you can train your taste buds, just like you train them to need sometime sweet after you eat a meal or when you drink tea.
  • Ground flax seed – I put it in pretty much everything, it can also be used as an egg substitute in baked goods when mixed with water
  • Homemade granola instead of store bought cereal (which are filled with sugar, even the plain ones like Shreddies) I use the granola recipe from Kitchen Stewardship – one of my favourite recipe sites right now
  • Plain low fat yogurt! We only buy natural yogurt and add flavours or fruit to it as we want. This reduces the sugar and preservatives! I would like to try making my own at some point, I’m a little scared for some reason though
  • Making things from scratch and therefore eating less packaged foods (which are high in sodium and preservatives)

There are so many more things I want to try, like eating less refined sugar and dairy (which is known to be difficult to digest). We are trying to reduce our meat consumption to only local/free range/grain fed meats. This is difficult because these meats are often quite a bit more expensive, however, you can taste the difference and if we eat less in general and more protein substitutes like lentils, than it should balance out. We are also getting a CSA box from Sunshine Miles Farm this summer and are very excited about having local organic veggies all summer!

Now, I do have a sweet weakness and I’m trying to have self control when it comes to sugar. This is very hard for me, especially because I enjoy baking and one of Tim’s favourite things is baked goods. I just try and see it as a challenge to make some of our favourite recipes healthier. I also try not to be too hard on myself, especially when there are special events or holidays. Portion size is key, and having a taste of ice cream or another dessert to curb that sweet tooth is very different from having a large slice or cake or bowl of ice cream (also known as a “Cross-sized dessert” in our house).

I also have a carb weakness…especially if there’s fresh bread in the house. What that really comes down to is self control and only have healthy breads around.

The biggest thing for us is just not having those junk foods in the house, because if they’re there then we’ll eat them. I really need to make an effort to have fresh veggies cut for snacking on in the fridge and lots of fruit around because if it’s there than I will eat it!

Changing your diet to include healthier ingredients does take planning and that’s why I love menu planning. Every week I sketch out at least 5 planned meals that we’re going to have (hopefully with leftovers for lunches) and then we go grocery shopping for the necessary ingredients. This reduced (eliminates?) food waste, promotes trying new foods and eating healthier and doesn’t really take much time. I know I haven’t been posting my menu plans lately but I have been making them (for the most part)! You’ve got to be flexible when menu planning and you’ve got to think about your schedule, but once you’ve got it down to a routine it’s a pretty painless endeavor. I definitely recommend it!

I do bake unhealthy things occasionally, like my Rainbow Cake that I made for baby Awna’s shower this past weekend. It was a hit and I only ate half a piece so I was proud of myself for that!

Do you do anything to alter recipes to make them healthier? Do you have any delicious and nutritious foods/recipes that you want the world to know about? Please let me know!!!