Thursday, 3 October 2019

Happy 13th Birthday to Alex!

I love looking at photos of our family over the years but when I'm looking for photos for a birthday it just makes me a little sad.  Nostalgic.  It's bittersweet. 

Alex turns 13 years old today.  I spent  his "birth"day walking up and down our lane way and it didn't take long for him to arrive after we got to the hospital.  I will always remember that day. 
I actually use his birth/age as a way to measure a few important parts of my own life.  I started quilting when I was 7 months pregnant with him... I took classes from a lovey person, Barb Robinson.  I also measure how long I've been out of the teaching profession by his age because I didn't go back after he was born. 

There's no doubt Alex has made our life interesting.  This started from the moment he was born.  He cried a lot.  The poor guy had red red cheeks for ages it seemed... I guess teething was tough on him.  When he was in kindergarten he had quite a hard time keeping his hands to himself.  He was always physical... not necessarily in a bad way but in people's personal space too often.  He definitely had a tough time adjusting to school.  By the time he entered grade one, he seemed to settle into the school routine and became a much loved student.  Alex is fortunate that learning comes quite easily to him.  He loves playing hockey.  He loves playing video games (ugh... the parenting challenges).  He is in between two sisters in age.  He is a typical 13 year old boy... driving his sister's and mom crazy at times but he is so loving and sweet.  He has a HEART of GOLD.  He has so much empathy for others.  He is so good to anyone younger than him... he especially loves babies and toddlers.   I am starting to see glimpses of his adult personality and I just know he will be a pretty great guy.  I have my own ideas of the path he should take but I hope no matter what he does in his life that he remains helpful and caring and that he always looks out for the underdog and the less fortunate.  Always.

My Alex. 



Thursday, 19 September 2019

Our Summer... In Pictures

 A simple blogpost is better than no blogpost.  Here's our summer 2019 in pictures and I just realized I did not take enough of them! 

Our pool area is one of our happy places.  It was another summer of cloudy water until the end of July but we enjoyed it anyways!  

It was a long wait but so worth it... my girls and I were very lucky to see Carrie Underwood plus others in concert in Ottawa.

Right after school ended, the girls and I headed to Niagara Falls for the Shine Dance Competition.  It's always so much fun!

Our Lucy is 4 years old now.  She is almost perfect... very nice personality, very sweet and loveable but still sometimes jumps and barks at all creatures that lurk around our yard.  We still love her to bits!

No summer is complete without a stay at the Curries!  It was hot hot hot but we enjoyed their pool and played games in the evening.

I love going for walks in our fields.  It's usually just Ian and I but sometimes the kids join us to!

This is Jenna's wedding (Ian's cousin) and we sure had fun tearing up the dance floor!

Our annual camping trip to BonEcho was a HUGE success this year.  It's always good company but this summer we also enjoyed amazing weather.  It's not always the case.  One big, loud thunder/lightening and rain storm at night didn't get us down.  We always go with our friends, the Collins family and the Costello family.

These two... not in a lot of photos these days but it was good to see this on my phone.

Courtney and Warren came for a visit at the end of the summer.  Courtney is  always up for some adventurous fun... Alex wasn't so sure of the rolling bale though.

My sweetheart and I on my 42nd birthday.

Same day... different outfit.  

This summer we worked with the kids most weeks... it's one of the best parts of the summer.

Alex was my sidekick for most of the summer at the Pembroke Farmers' Market.  He may have worked there even more than I did!  Our customers love him... he has an easy smile, is very, very polite and his math skills are truly amazing (and I'm not just saying that because he's my kid)!  I am so proud of him and cannot wait until he is big enough to do all of the heavy lifting!  Haha!

I'm going to end with the spot we spent most of our free time at... our lovely oasis in the back yard.  Looking back I'm missing a few photos that I didn't take.  I golfed weekly all summer long with my favourite golfing buddies, the kids had various camps, Ian and I did get to go on at least a couple dates and we worked pretty darn hard.  The summer was successful on our farm, thank goodness.  We are all busy again with various activities and I'm turning over a new leaf and beginning a part time (very part time) job at Mad About Patchwork in Stittsville.  More to come on that soon.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

My Tribute to Grandma and Grandpa Rimmelzwaan

My Grandpa went to heaven this week.  There is no doubt in my mind he is there and is back with the love of his life, Grandma.  He was 96 years old... I feel a sense of comfort now even though I miss them both a lot.  Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts especially if we've had the privilege of having them in our lives.

A Tribute to My Grandpa Rimmelzwaan:

Grandpa Jake (1923 – 2019)
Grandpa was a special person in our lives.  He was a steady, strong influence always sharing his love for us, love for his family, love for his farm and his strong love and pride for his heritage.  Our heritage.
Our first memories of our grandparents are from visiting them on the Rimmelzwaan family farm.  What fun we had there!  We were fortunate to get to spend time with them for extended stays (overnight).  We would follow Grandpa and Uncle Jim around the farm… there was always work to be done but it seemed fun to us.  Grandpa had a love of animals and Grandma loved her gardens… the front yard was a magical, fun place to play.  Our aunts and uncles (in their 20s at the time) would come by and play with us… these were good family memories.  Once Grandma and Grandpa moved to their beautiful, dream home we spent time there to.  When we visited, we had fun playing games with them and sharing delicious meals.  The gardens out front were stunning and a pride for both of them to share with us.  I am so thankful we were able to continue to visit them there with our own children… their great grandchildren. 
Grandpa loved to share stories of his youth.  Growing up in Holland wasn’t easy especially during WWII.  As children, we didn’t always understand this but we listened and over time, as we grew up, it became more important to understand his history.  He shared stories of his siblings, his parents, the animals he loved (horses were always in his stories) and the people he met.  He would also share stories of those first years as a new immigrant to Canada.  I don’t think, as children, we understood the significance of his stories and but as adults, we know some of our history and I think it was so important he shared with us.  Recently my sister, brother, mother and I travelled to the Netherlands and we were so fortunate to visit where both Grandma and Grandpa came from.  It made all of his stories so valuable and I wish I could remember more of the details. 
Grandma and Grandpa shared their love for their family with us.  I will always remember their voices… their dutch accents.  I can spot a dutch accent from a mile away and as soon as I hear it, I can feel them around me.  I feel lucky in those moments when they come back to me. 
Grandpa lived an extraordinary life.  I am so thankful for that… he was a healthy strong man that I always looked up to.  We all did.  His devotion and love for Grandma was amazing to witness.  For me, his legacy is be proud of where you came from, share your story, work hard and love your family. 

Written by Deb McGregor, August 2019

A Tribute to My Grandma Rimmelzwaan (1926-2013)

I find myself thinking about my grandma a lot these days.  She was an avid gardener.  Her farm home and the home my grandparents built when they retired from farming were always surrounded by beautiful flower gardens.  When I was a child, she would take me to greenhouses shopping for flowers to plant and then other times when I visited, we would just go for a drive, find a garden centre and just wander around.  Every single time I visited her home she would want to take me on a tour of her gardens and talk about new and old plants, names of them and when they would be at their best.  She worked hard to maintain her gardens and my grandfather would help her when they grew older.  In the last few years of her life the gardens were much smaller but no doubt there were still flowers to look at and enjoy.

Once I had a home of my own, she would give me shrubs and flowers for my own gardens.  I have a beautiful garden rock with "Welcome" painted on it near my front door which was a gift from her.  My love of plants comes from many influences in my life but the influence of my grandma has been strong.  I will forever have those memories in my heart and it makes me happy... and sad at the same time.  I wish she could come for a visit and I could take her on a tour of our farm and then maybe she could give me advice on what I could do with my own gardens.  She knew so much about what different plants needed to grow to their potential and she wouldn't hesitate (in her younger years) to just get down on her knees and get rid of a few weeds.

I have a vivid memory of her long row of peonies along their farm's front lawn.  My brother and sister and I played a lot in that front yard... it has beautiful, tall trees and a lush lawn... perfect for running and playing.  When her peonies were in blossom, it was a beautiful sight; something I will remember forever.

My grandma passed away last August (2013).  As a tribute to her, I am planting a row of peonies on my own front lawn.  I planted one peony plant a few years ago and it is strong and tall but I have added a few more and hope that someday it will be a tall, beautiful row of peonies and I will tell my children and grandchildren about why I planted them and tell them about my own grandma.  She was very special to me and I hope that I can pass on at least some of her wisdom to my own children and grandchildren.

Written by Deb McGregor, 2014

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

19 for 2019

This past year I have thoroughly dived in and enjoyed quite a few podcasts about self-discovery and happiness.  I read the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and quickly found her podcast, Happier, which I LOVE!!  If you like listening to podcasts, I highly recommend this one. It's light yet thought-provoking!
Anyways, in this podcast, 18 for 2018 was introduced and continued for 2019.  I decided to follow up by creating my own list of 19 items I would like to accomplish by the end of this year.  The list can include ANYTHING.... big, small, ordinary, simple, easy, complicated and difficult but all of these items need to make me happier in some way.  It's like a list of resolutions but I like it better because it's open to interpretation and it doesn't have to be ways I want to change or improve but just a list of "stuff" I want to accomplish.
So here goes...
There's an explanation for almost every point but I won't get into that today. 

1.  Run 5km (I did it before and can do it again).
2.  Make my Fox pattern quilt.
3.  Make something out of the fabric Ian gave to me (a couple years ago).
4. Finish my Tulip pattern quilt.
5.  Finish blocks for my solid fabric sampler quilt.
6.  Consistently drink 100oz of water each day.
7.  Enter "onederland" (for those of you who know what that means).
8.  Golf regularly all summer (again).
9.  Get rid of old teaching supplies.
10.  Paint our kitchen.
11.  Find a new place to volunteer my time.
12.  Go on a quilting retreat.
13.  Continue therapy sessions.
14.  Visit an optometrist.
15.  Promote my Farmhouse Quilter business.
16.  Get a logo for the Farmhouse Quilter.
17.  Get another piercing.
18.  Plan a big trip.
19.  Empty freezer of berries.

I made this list shortly before the New Year began so it was interesting to revisit it today... I feel a little hesitant and nervous about some of those items but I am going to give it all a try!

Monday, 12 November 2018

Learn to Sew and Quilt

Do you want to learn to sew and quilt?  I love to share my passion for sewing and quilting!

Do you know a child or teenager that would like to learn to sew?  
Have they been asking for a sewing machine but you don't really know where to start?
I offer private and semi-private "learn to sew" classes for all types of beginners including children.  

In my classes I use this amazing book The School of Sewing which has quite a few small projects with instructions and photos that are easy to follow.  I can also provide a tutorial to get to know your sewing machine and tips on what to look for when purchasing a sewing machine.

In my home, I offer one-on-one classes and semi-private classes.  Students need to have a sewing machine that is working well.  We start by becoming familiar with the sewing machine first, if necessary.

Looks at those smiles!

The following are two beginner class project ideas from the book.

Private class projects start at $60 plus materials.
Semi-Private class projects start at $45 plus materials.
Please note that the project book, The School of Sewing, is not mandatory to purchase but suggested.

Classes can also be customized as well.  Please contact me directly for more information.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Dear 41

Dear 41 Year Old

Here's another birthday you were not looking forward to.  Being 41 brings another fresh new batch of feelings you don't like.  It reaffirms that you haven't met some of your goals and you have so much more to do to be happy and "healthier". 

Then you woke up this morning and you feel very happy.  It's like you just need a little sadness and a "feel sorry for yourself" moment and then you can realize all of your blessings.  There are so many.

Being 41 is just a number but you know that.  You just don't like that number very much.  You haven't accepted that you are not some young chick anymore with loads of energy.  You hoped to start embracing this age, but, well, you are waiting for those feelings to begin... maybe today. 

At 41 you thought you would be happier in your body.  By 41 you thought you wouldn't have financial worries.  You had hoped that you would be excited about your career(s) and be moving towards some exciting prospects.  You also thought at 41 you would have travelled more.  At 41 you thought you would have a solid group of friends that you could call upon at any moment and not worry about bothering them.  You also thought your marriage would be rock solid with no challenge that couldn't waiver you. 

It turns out that doesn't always happen.  It turns out that you can move into your 40s and still feel insecure.  Well that wasn't what you were expecting as a 41 year old.  I am sorry about that.

Keep going though.  Maybe this is just a blip before something amazing will happen.  Maybe something amazing won't happen in one big shot but maybe it's the little things.  Maybe you need to love yourself more just like the people around you do. 

Dear 41 Year Old, don't worry that this letter sounds sad and negative because your life is what you make it.  If you want to be happy, then just be happy.  If you want to make some changes, then do it... it's super scary to disappoint others but maybe you will be surprised that by your happiness you will make others around you happier to.  Maybe life is a journey not a destination where all your dreams come true.  Some dreams will come true and be thankful for that but some won't... hold on to the ones around you that love you.  Hold on tight.  Give yourself grace... and find your passion.  I have a feeling you already know your passion just don't be scared of it.  Don't be scared of what you love to do and don't be scared of failure.  Continue to surround yourself with the people that lift you up and give others a break.  You don't need to be close to everyone but be kind to everyone.  Continue to keep the mantra "there is only love"... ahh there you go... that's the good stuff.  There is only love.

So this letter didn't end up being so sad.  Love is all you need to move forward. 

Love Me.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Happy 14th Birthday to Grace

Grace (our oldest) just turned 14 years old.  It actually seems like she has been 14 years old for a while now... mature and ready to move on to bigger opportunities.  I try hard to remember her as this cute, sweet girl of mine...

She has been mature for her age her whole life.  Always pushing herself to be better and to accomplish her goals.  Rarely do we have to nudge or push her along... she is self-driven towards her own goals.  I know her high school years are going to fly by... 

My hopes and dreams for her for the next few years is that she can find her own people that will support and love her (other than her family of cheerleaders, of which she has many).  I hope she goes after all the opportunities that give her excitement and that we can support her journey... and maybe even follow along a few times.  I often say I don't want my children to go very far but honestly I want them to soar and find their way and it doesn't really matter where they end up as long as they are happy there.  It's amazing how different all three of our children are... Grace wants to do so many things.  She is adventurous and independent.  How awesome is that?  

There are two lasting things we can give our children; one is roots and the other is wings.