Friday, 27 December 2013


Lots of driving and eating was done this Christmas. We are thankful for our families and the time we could spend with them. God has given us many blessings and we couldn't be more grateful!

Here are a few pictures from this Christmas:

{Groenwold Christmas}

playing "The Sneaky Squirrel"
Brad and Jace

Grandpa taking a nap in the "princess castle"
Callie/Ashley selfie!

(Kottelenberg Christmas)

Winter Wonderland
O Christmas Tree!
Colsen and Grandma
Grandpa and Hayden putting Daisy's glasses on
watercolour pencils!
Lindsay's "mute button"
reading "Panda Bear, Panda Bear"
Christmas hairdos
And in everything, we give thanks, knowing that:
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Birthday Outing

On Monday, James celebrated his quarter century birthday, and to celebrate we drove over to Peterborough to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum. Since James loves everything outdoors and canoe-related (and is slowly inspiring me to be interested in the same!), this was the perfect way to spend our afternoon!
poem making station

 We were really impressed with the quality of the displays and how interactive and interesting the whole museum experience was. I would even venture to say this museum is one of the best I've been to! It has some great hands-on displays for little kids- and adults- and does a great job of displaying the canoes, promoting outdoor culture and teaching about Canadian history as it relates to canoes!

workshop area- these benches are used to teach students how to carve canoe paddles

A voyageur canoe and all its contents! 
HBC blanket capotes- you can also take a class to learn to make these!

The day turned out to be a blast! We also visited the Whetung Ojibwa Crafts and Art Gallery. The gallery is a fantastic place to check out some native art and possibly get yourself an amazing pair of moccasins! :)

I'm going to leave you with a quote from Bill Mason. He was a famous Canadian outdoorsman who truly loved the outdoors and inspired many people to get out and enjoy it. Hopefully it will inspire you to get out and enjoy God's great creation as well! (Yes, even in the cold...)

A journey by canoe along ancient waterways is a good way to rediscover our lost relationship with the natural world and the Creator who put it together so long ago. - Bill Mason, Path of the Paddle

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Night at the Cottage

We had the special privilege of spending the night at a cottage in Fenelon Falls with a group of friends who came up for the weekend. It was so much fun to see them again: we played "Catchphrase", sat in the hot tub (...but not me *sniff sniff*), and laughed a whole lot! It was great to spend time again with good friends we don't see as much as we'd like to!

Here are a couple pictures of the place:

The view out the back winder- Sturgeon Lake

James enjoying the lake from the dock
 And of course... the quinzhee where James, Chris and Man slept. For those of you who aren't sure what a quinzhee is, it's basically a snow fort for big kids- read: men playing in the snow! Chris, Man and Reuben piled up the snow and then dug out a fort in the inside to sleep in. They even thought of a windbreak in front of the door to "keep out the cold air". Nevertheless they slept all night in -20 and survived to tell about it!

The quinzhee

Monday, 9 December 2013

Winter {Wonder}land

This morning I took a walk into town to do some errands. We had some snow overnight and everything was covered in a beautiful blanket of fresh snow.

My walks have become slower lately (due to obvious reasons). Those of you who know my family know we have a hard time walking slowly. Or thinking slowly. But today I was grateful for my slow walk down the street. I really felt that I had an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the winter wonderland God created overnight.

These last few months, and the few to come, have been and will be filled with an overabundance of thinking, worrying, and stressing. There is so much to plan and think about that sometimes I forget to stop and think about what is. It's hard to remember the good and beautiful things that are happening now.

The snow today was so pretty. So white and so quiet. Quiet is hard for me. I'm not a quiet or a still person. So today I am just happy to have been given the reminder to be still. As my body slows down even more (still 8 weeks to go...!), I will take it as a reminder to let my mind slow be still in the midst of the madness.

The quieter you become, the more you can hear ~ Ram Dass

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

{Gratitude Lately}

Today I'm thankful for...

...a beautiful crib where my baby can sleep and dream sweet dreams.

... a husband who is adventurous and excited to teach our baby about God's creation 
(in an awesome backpack carrier!)

... a job offer (finally!) for relief work in a group home

... the park near our house where I can enjoy the sun and the river

... our neighbour girls who apologize for "stealing" our snow to build their fort

... games of Sorry (and a husband who says he's not competitive, but...)

... a husband who puts up with things like this. all the time. I love you James!

What are YOU thankful for today? Please share! 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Loading... 75% Complete!

Yesterday marked 30 weeks of being pregnant! I am ecstatic to have made it this far! Only 10 weeks left until we meet our little one. We are starting to get antsy to meet our beautiful baby... we've got a crib and a car seat ready, so baby can come any time (... or just wait a few weeks until fully brewed)!

starting to feel like a house...

We are hoping the next few weeks will fly by... I mean, we've got 8 family birthdays, Christmas and New Years all in the next two months before Baby G arrives... time should fly, I'm thinking. We continue to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

And speaking of being thankful, this past Sunday and Monday I had the chance to spend some time with friends in Hamilton. My one and only disappointment was that a few of my old co-workers and one of my students that I went to see were not at school on Monday. Hopefully I will see them next time! But thinking positively, here are some things I am thankful for:

- $2 packs of diapers
- comfy couches to sleep on
- Grey Cup parties (even if Hamilton didn't win)
- smiley babies and precocious toddlers
-breakfasts and dinners out with friends
- really loud whispers in Gr. 6 classrooms (yes, I'm pregnant, guys)
- care packages from friends (thanks Jim and Marcia!)
-co-workers who welcome me back with open arms

So much to be thankful for! And I wish all of you a "Happy-rest-of-November-let's-get-ready-for-Christmas" time!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Tour

Yesterday evening James and I had the chance to get out and celebrate our birthdays and Christmas together. With a baby on the way and both our birthdays and Christmas in a couple of weeks, we decided to lump everything together and celebrate with one big event. And what an event it was!

We started the evening off at Hot Belly Mama's, a Cajun restaurant located deep in the heart of... Peterborough. Although not a very Cajun city, the restaurant did a great job of preparing some awesome Cajun food! James ended up having Cajun pulled pork and I had a Deep-fried Cajun shrimp Po'boy... deee-licious! It was a break from pub food or fast food, so we thoroughly enjoyed it!

After dinner we escaped to the Showplace Academy Theatre and were treated to an evening of stories and music from Stuart McLean and the Good Lovelies. Stuart had us on the edges of our seats laughing right out of the gate! His style and body language when telling stories is just so entertaining! We heard stories of turkey gravy falling off lightbulbs, defibrillator mishaps, non-offensive Christmas pageants and so much more. Unfortunately the lighting was not great for pictures, and my camera batteries decided to bail on me at the last moment.

The way that Mr. McLean could command the audience with a pause or a hand gesture will never cease to amaze me! James and I have always loved listening to the Vinyl Cafe on CBC, and seeing Stuart live gave even great meaning to the stories we've already heard. I definitely recommend going to a show, even if you haven't listened to (or even heard of) The Vinyl Cafe. If you can't go to the show, tune in on Saturday mornings at 9 on your local CBC Radio 2 station (for most of you that's 94.1), and have a listen. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A Very Special Remembrance Day

"Attitudes towards the Jews during the Holocaust mostly ranged from indifference to hostility. The mainstream watched as their former neighbors were rounded up and killed; some collaborated with the perpetrators; many benefited from the expropriation of the Jews' property. 
In a world of total moral collapse there was a small minority who mustered extraordinary courage to uphold human values. These were the Righteous Among the Nations. They stand in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded the Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation."-

This past summer I learned that my Grandpa (Kottelenberg) was to be honoured by the Israeli government and a Jewish organization called Yad Vashem for his work hiding Jews during the Second World War.

I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of awe and pride in my Grandpa. This award is given to men and women who put their own lives at risk to save Jewish people from the Nazis. He did something about the evil he saw in the world. He believed these people who were so different from himself were still worth saving. He acted on his faith.

What an example.

I have prayed so many times since I learned about this that God would work that kind of faith in me. I am so thankful to have grown up in a peaceful country where my life is not threatened by war daily. But I pray that if war came to me, that I would be able to stand for the truth and fight for what is right. I pray that I would be able to humble myself and sacrifice my own comfort and wellbeing for someone else.

And to think, we already have the greatest example of sacrifice and love to live by! It was by this example that my grandpa lived and made his decisions. Without knowing the grace and love of God, he may not have sacrificed himself and his wellbeing for another. He believed that Jesus had already made the ultimate sacrifice for him, and therefore decided to put his own life at risk to fight for what was good and true.

This Remembrance Day, I will be remembering more than just strangers who fought for a cause that was so distant from myself. I've always felt respect for soldiers who fought for what was right. But this Remembrance Day, I know that in at least one instance, the sacrifice that was made impacted whole families, one of them being mine. I know the names and faces of people who lived the truth and were victorious in the face of evil.

Oh, that I may live up to this legacy! I hope and pray that my life may reflect not only the faith of my fathers, but also reflect the One who paid the ultimate sacrifice for me.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3: 14-21

Thursday, 7 November 2013

November, November

It's generally safe to say that November is not one of my favourite months. It usually brings drizzly, cold, nasty pre-winter and less light.

What I can say, however, is that so far, November is turning out to be pretty alright. A week in, and I've already enjoyed company for 3 of the 7 days, and done some pretty awesome things.

Last weekend, Nate and Amber came up for Friday night and Saturday. Since we hadn't seen them since we moved, we were going through withdrawal and were pretty excited. We ended up celebrating Nate's birthday with pumpkin cake (sooo... good. ask for the recipe!), and a day spent in downtown Lindsay and at the Loggersports competition at Fleming. I wish I had remembered to take pictures! We watched people climb telephone poles in 4 seconds, chop logs in seconds and generally exhibit crazy skills in all things wood and axe related. It was pretty awesome.

On Saturday afternoon, we bought a puzzle and have been working on that since... with a hiatus for Erin and the kiddos on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I let James pick the puzzle. We ended up with "Canoe Lake". Any surprises there?

Erin came with Hayden and Colsen on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Again, less pictures were taken than I wished, but that's because my time was monopolized by a three year old girl asking me to read the same book 50 times and "dance to the drums". A worthy distraction, I admit. It was nice to have one-on-one time with my sister to hang out enjoy each others' company.

Hayden "helping" Colsen with his banana... it kept slipping
out of his hand, so she would poke it and feed it to him
"Mom" and Hayden saying "cheese" while eating grilled cheese

Lastly, I thought I'd put in a quick "update" picture of Baby Groenwold. I'm officially leaving the first 2/3 of pregnancy behind and heading into the home stretch!  Not much to report on. I love watching the ocean that is my belly when I lay down. We definitely can tell Baby G is alive and well! So thankful.

27 weeks

Monday, 28 October 2013

It's Like, "Baby, Baby, Baby... Oh!"

This past weekend we had the amazing opportunity to share some time with some close friends and family and their new babies! Obviously I am slightly baby crazy at the moment (with reason, right people... right?), and James and I headed back to the Hammer to cuddle all day. We were so happy to be able to attend the dedication of our friends' baby Jackson at Philpott. We love that family like crazy and were happy to share the occasion. After church we slipped to another friend's house to meet their new little girl, Melanie. She was so precious. A beautiful, sleepy bundle of joy!

We finished off the day by meeting the newest member of our family: Jace Bradley! He was basically perfection. Dark and handsome and so warm. We loved holding him and seeing his sisters interact with him. We can't wait to see him grow up and become an active part of the family.

p.s. Isn't James going to make the best dad!?

Friday, 25 October 2013

{Weekend Hike} Kawartha Highlands

Today, to celebrate James and Joanna's reading break, we set out on a hike to Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. A relatively new park (not made a park until 2005, not opened till 2011), this park is mainly a canoeing/fishing/hunting backcountry park. Being the biggest park south of Algonquin, we had many areas to choose to explore. We finally settled on the east side of the park, taking Beaver Lake Road up to the park boundary and stopping at Bottle Lake. First stop however, was Gold Lake, a calm and beautiful part of the park:

After arriving at the Beaver Lake Access Point, we soon discovered that there are no maintained trails in the park. This didn't deter us, however, and we set out along the shore of Bottle Lake to blaze our own trail. A few things we saw along the way:

Signs of beavers hard at work
The sun shining through the trees
Bottle Lake
Bottle Lake
The lakeshore was very hilly and there was a lot of dead/rotting vegetation under our feet. 
Bottle Lake Narrows
Sometime around noon we got hungry and decided it was time to stop and "make camp". We were determined to build a fire and make our tea over it. It turned out quite well I would say! It was a lot of fun for me to be with two people who love being outside and are naturally adventurous. It makes me more adventurous and I learn so much from them! Mostly the talk consists of "nature-y" things where I sit slack jawed with the info going over my head.. but hey, we all need to be quiet and learn sometimes, right? Here we are preparing for lunch:

Starting the fire

James, being the woodsman that he is, fashioned an amazing "kettle hanger" (his own words), to set the kettle on to boil the water. It consisted of a "y-shaped" branch and long support stick on which to hang the apparatus, and a notched out stick where the kettle balanced. It really was an ingenious device and I wish I had a better picture to show you.

 After lunch we hiked back out to the car, and started to leave the park. We discovered another ATV/hunting trail and walked along that for about an hour. All in all, we had a great time discovering Kawartha Highlands! We decided that it is definitely more suited to canoeing and resolved to come back sometime in the spring/summer to try out the Kawartha camping experience. Can't wait to share that with you, when the time comes!