Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls & one boy. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King.ย Chicken and goat raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. โ™ฅ

She Turns Five!

April is a busy birthday month for our family. Today is Leia’s 5th birthday! It is hard to believe she is FIVE years old already! We adore her spunk and zeal and love for life and adventure! She keeps us on our toes and provides plenty of entertainment for our family. ๐Ÿ™‚ We love you dearly, Leia, and are so blessed to have you as a beautiful part of our family! xo

 

Leia asked to be a princess for a day – my mom bought her a pretty dress and we had a “fancy” pancake breakfast this morning with whipped cream and strawberries. Yesterday, her other grandparents came over and brought her a princess pinata and a cake. And of course, the birthday girl can skip chores for the day. I think she loves that the most!

Please, everybody, look at me!
Today I’m five years old, you see!
And after this, I won’t be four,
Not ever, ever, any more!

I won’t be three or two or one,
For that was when I’d first begun.
Now I’ll be five awhile,
And then I’ll soon be something else again.

April 25, 2017 - 5:37 am

Gigi - Too cute, Lynda! Thank you for the blessings!

April 24, 2017 - 10:57 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - In the last photo I can imagine her waving that “magic” wand and turning that kitty into a prancing white horse to ride away into the wind. God Bless her 5th year.

April 24, 2017 - 5:43 pm

Gigi - Thank you, Aunty Kate, for remembering her birthday and sending her a gift from England! You are too sweet and kind! The best auntie! xo

April 24, 2017 - 4:47 pm

Kate - Happiest of birthdays to precious Princess Leia! With lots of love from Aunty Kate xoxo

{Interrupted}

“Children should not be told to hurry up when they are young and little …
Certainly {you should not be} telling your children to hurry up because of YOUR agenda …
and as a parent, your children should not be an interruption to you.
That means that the priority in the relationship as a mother to your children is that it is not an interruption, it is not something you can be interrupted from.
In this culture where women and men are so intent on their own lives
– about their ministry, about their focus, about their work that God trained them to be –
brings them to a place where they are fully engaged with their own lifestyle
and their children become an addendum. ”
-Donna Otta, Modern Homemakers

 

 

It’s nap/quiet time for our household. Two of my youngest were just tucked in their beds, already washed and ready for an afternoon rest. Although I was ready to sit and have a quiet cup of tea after a busy morning, the third child- our rambunctious four year old – was not quite ready to take a rest.

“But I just want to play with the kitties, mommy …” she insisted, cradling her favorite in her arms. The little, fuzzy grey kitten clung tightly to my daughter’s dress as she attempted to pull her up to snuggle her. The little kitten’s sharp claws held tighter. Tired and needing my own quiet time, I sighed and gathered the rest of the kittens together and placed them on her bed. I knew a little time on her bed would do my girl some good – and do me some good too. Yet, sometimes, just the simple task of putting the little ones down to rest in the afternoon can take half an hour … with little interruptions along the way, slowing us down. I knew my plans of a three little ones napping at the same time had vanished as the kittens clambered up over my little girl’s bed.
My daughter continued to snuggle the kittens, circling them in her arms, lining them up on her belly. The kittens – one grey and three black balls of fur – did not seem to mind. With blankie in one hand and a kitten in another, my little girl was overjoyed with her few moments of quiet in a house of noisy, even if it was not the intended actual long nap I had planned for her.

 

What has God been teaching me this week?

Interruptions – how do I handle them? Have I been kind with interruptions of what I feel is important? Am I gentle with my words? Not always. It is definitely something I need to work on – not just with children but with all of my life and with all of the interruptions that come my way.

However, with seven children – whom I love and cherish dearly! – in the home, our lives and important schedules and daily tasks are often and repeatedly interrupted. How I handle those “hiccups” in the day is pivotal.

 

Do I handle with grace and tempered patience, even if I know the child has erred or made a mistake?
Just the other day, my now three year old (who rarely has an issue getting to the bathroom in time) had two accidents on the floor – it was during a very hectic morning, school books piled and littered everywhere, noises and vacuums running, cleaning and chores after a weekend of busy – calm and order just did not exist that morning. No wonder she was having issues getting to the washroom! With shame, I can say, however, that I did not handle the interruption to our morning gently. However, the Lord is ever so gently still teaching this old-mamma soul of showing love and mercy – even in the most annoying or silly interruption of the days.

Yes, even the older sisters are learning to handle interruptions from their little siblings. It just comes hand in hand with family life – no matter how big or small or grown up your family may be.

 

“You have to forsake your agenda for the day, for the moment, to parent them.
It may feel like a huge imposition, a hassle. Don’t be impatient or discouraged or irritated because
your children have broken into your ‘little kingdom’.
Pause long enough to say, ‘This is a God-given moment of ministry.’
Remember that God has given you to shepherd and guide and shape this child.
Pray that God will give you new eyes:
eyes that are focused on eternal works of grace when a momentary thing
comes into our lives that changes our plans.”

If you have time, listen here to this lovely podcast. Donna Otto, the speaker, even mentions that as a women, with grown children, you should still embrace the interruptions of your life- caring for your sick neighbour by making a pot of soup and delivering it in time for dinner,ย  visiting someone and bringing them flowers as they recover from their medical situation, helping a relative with some handiwork around their home, helping the stranger who lost their keys at the grocery store:ย  even if that changes your momentary plans of getting home, making dinner, cleaning the house, working on your own projects. Embrace the interruptions.

P.S. Much to our dismay (we just love the kitties!), our sweet kittens will be looking for forever homes in a few weeks,
if anyone is interested.

They are so cuddly and … well adjusted to children. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

May 3, 2017 - 3:04 pm

Gigi - Liz, hugs to you! I think of you often!

May 3, 2017 - 1:35 pm

Gigi - Hi Pam, I do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will send you an email.

May 3, 2017 - 8:29 am

Pam - Hi Gigi;
I’m interested in a male kitten. Please let me know if you have any.
Thanks
Pam

May 2, 2017 - 11:34 pm

Liz - Funny, we read these things on days we so need to hear them. Thanks Gillian!

April 23, 2017 - 5:34 am

Gigi - I know, isn’t she adorable?! The girls named her Pussy Willow. She is the sweetest, fat little kitty!

April 23, 2017 - 12:22 am

Lauren - My previous comment doesn’t show it but I had ten emojis with heart eyes <3<3 that kitty is SO cute lol

April 23, 2017 - 12:21 am

Lauren - Gillian I’m serious. I want that grey kitty with the pink nose in the pictures.

Slow Your Days

“I remember reading about a man of God who used to sign his letters, ‘Restfully busy.’
Learn to be busy with a restful heart.
This is your right as a child of God.
God has provided a rest for you.
Hebrews 4:9 says,
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

God lives in rest. He is not in a hurry.
And He lives in you and you live in Him.
Acknowledge this and start living in the rest that God has ordained for you.”
-Nancy Campbell

 

I have a tendency to do things fast.

In fact, I was known as the hyper child in our family and even received an award at school for “The Bounciest Student“.ย  Later, I remember desperately working to graduate from high school early and despite my teacher’s encouragement to slow down and relax, I still managed to graduate earlier than others my age. A few years later, Abby & I met- within three months, we met and became engaged – and six months later, we married. (I am so grateful it turned out like that!) We also didn’t wait long to have children and still have kept having lots of babies year after year. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love to have energy and bursts of excitement – I thrive on setting goals and reaching them and jumping into projects and life experiences feet first without planning too much (which can be a downfall, I must admit). I love crossing things off on a list and learning new and wonderful things.

And yet as I age and have (lots of) children to care for, a marriage to nurture and a household to tend, Iย  am finding I love and crave the simple, the slow and the non-rushed. Our home is already bursting with exciting people and muddy rubber boots, on-going projects, things to do on a daily basis, some exciting and some just regular every-day-items: there is rarely a boring day around here.

 

 

However, even with our flexible home school and home life schedule, I feel like I’m always rushing the children. Hurry up to do your chores, hurry up and eat your breakfast, hurry up and get ready for school to start, hurry up and finish school because it’s lunch time …and yet, I know in my heart of hearts that this is wrong.

This is NOT how I want to be remembered as a mother.

This is not how I want my mothering to sound like… this is not how I want our days to be handled.

Still, I know there is a time and place for everything – the children, indeed, need to get up on time and get their chores done in a timely manner so as to not start school at 10:30 a.m. And honestly, lunch needs to happen at noon because the little ones are hungry, we’re all hungry and need a break. We reserve our afternoons for other activities that interest us or perhaps a few household chores that need tending to – like the afternoon we spent today raking out the dead leaves and branches and twigs from a winter-long flower garden. I don’t really want to be doing “school” all day long as I have my own personal mother-involved chores and projects to tend to.

And so I wrestle between keeping a somewhat-schedule in our house of nine and allowing free time for everyone to play with their animals, draw and paint, explore outside, take their time doing their chores, find the first frog of spring time and enjoy being a child. I think the fine line is being organized and clean and tidy but allowing freedom for real life to happen.

I think I have learned this:

Be organized with my own personal timeif I have dinner bubbling away at the back of the cookstove , bread is rising and laundry is hung, I have lessons prepared for home school – I am less in a hurry during the day and may find myself not rushed and then in turn, may not rush the children.

Get up earlier than everyone else.ย By doing so, I can make sure breakfast is hot and ready as the girls come clambering in from their barn chores and are ready to eat their first meal of the day. “An hour lost is in the morning is an hour chased all day” – or so says the vintage sign in my kitchen.

Be home more. Don’t attend everything. Leaving home too often, also, can create stress and a rushed atmosphere. There are many great venues to attend or activities to participate with – but that does not mean we need to be involved in everything that is offered. Pick and choose and your family will be less rushed. Your children will adjust to more time at home and find creative ways to play and use their time. If you have music lessons outside the home for your children, that is obviously a priority. Our music lessons are a true blessing as they take place in the home twice a week – no rushing out the door to town. It is indeed a blessing (and a blessing I encourage all mothers to find a teacher to come to the home, if they can! Pray that the Lord will send teachers to you and see what doors open your way).

Guard your time wisely. Do what is important early in the day – take care of your home, prepare your meals, and do the hard chores in the morning, if you can. Then your afternoon will be free to spend time with your children, work on a project, catch up on the schoolwork with that one particular child … when I was a single woman, I would visit my married sister – she had a toddler and was pregnant with another baby on the way. When I would drop by in the afternoon, her house was always sparkling clean, dinner was prepared and cooking in the slow cooker or oven and her little boy was happy and nearly ready for his afternoon regular nap. There was order, cleanliness and peacefulness in her home. She was a wise young wife.

In a world where “busy” seems to be a glorified term, I am constantly reminded of the need to slow down, to hurry less, to leave the rushing at the door. This requires work on a mother’s part. We need to be organized in order to live simply and quietly. We need to schedule less and be home more. We need to take on less tasks that are not necessary and handle the important necessities at home. We are not to be lazy as mothers – we are to guard our times and use our hands willingly around the home – but, we are also needed to be present, to not be stressed and to slow our own personal pace down to that of a child’s pace at times.

These children of mine are growing up so quickly – and I can blink and miss it, rush them through their daily schedules and to do lists without even realizing the blessings of the day that was before me. Suddenly they are a day older, a year older, a decade older – growing and changing but still needing that mother to be more present.

And so I remind myself: slow down.

 

 

 

{Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}

 

April 20, 2017 - 6:25 am

Gigi - Rebecca, wow! Congratulations on the adoption of your daughter! How amazing! I think when a new baby or child enters the family, it is surely harder to get back onto schedule. Grace ๐Ÿ™‚

April 20, 2017 - 1:18 am

Rebecca - So good! I’m still working on this. I started getting up early because you inspired me to many months ago, but then we flew to Hawaii to adopt my 4th daughter and I’ve had a hard time getting back into the groove! But I agree — if you get up and get your few things started (breakfast made, dinner started, get showered and dressed, have some quiet time, get laundry started, etc) then the rest of the day goes so much better!

April 18, 2017 - 10:29 pm

Leigh Sabey - What a good reminder. I might try preparing dinner earlier in the day to have more time to be present and relaxed in the late afternoon.

April 18, 2017 - 6:45 pm

Gigi - Katy, sounds like a responsible family plan! I do know about the kick to get going though. ๐Ÿ™‚

April 18, 2017 - 3:26 pm

Katy - A truly beautiful post! My family chooses to live a slower life….we are not involved in sports or a bunch of things that keep us running. We still have commitments and responsibilities and my children have music lessons once a week…but we try to keep busyness to a minimum. I do agree with you though that it is easy to even be hurried at home. Hurry and get this done…hurry to finish that. I just find it hard to balance because sometimes my children need that little kick in the bum (so to speak) to get stuff done…but sometimes I feel like I say it too much….Get your School done….Chores need done..let’s go! Thanks for the reminder to slow down a bit….life doesn’t need to be a rush. ๐Ÿ™‚

April 18, 2017 - 9:39 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - You are building the children moment to moment byloving example..You should feel very accomplished, they are getting a great foundation by example to live by.

April 18, 2017 - 9:13 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Such good advice. Thank you Gillian for the reminder to “slow down” and “smell the roses” xoxo

Today, She’s Three!

Someone sweet had a lovely birthday today … just thought I’d share some quick photos of her playing in the driveway before we dressed up to go to my mom’s for a family get-together. Celebrating your three-year-old’s birthday is quite fun because everything pleases them – it is lovely. We had a nice birthday breakfast with homemade pancakes and homemade maple syrup and enjoyed a lovely family time.

 

Lavender, we love you dearly and are so grateful for the past three years of your life with us! What joy you have brought to our family!ย  I love the little freckles peeking out on your wee button nose and your squishy grin … and your dark hair and bright eyes – you are a true blessing to our family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. It has been quiet here on the blog and that is because lovely spring is bursting forth and there is much to do outdoors! Oh, blessed spring time! It is such a joyful and lovely season, even if it is a tad muddy around here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A few days of rain and I will be able to catch up on what I need to blog about.

Miss Tiggy Winkle’s Linen Spray

“There was a nice hot singey smell; and at the table,
with an iron in her hand stood a very stout short person staring anxiously at Lucie.”

– The Tale of Miss Tiggy Winkle

Have you ever noticed the beauty of an ironed pillow case?

I did not realize there was a difference between just a regular, clean pillowcase and a freshly ironed one – until a dear friend of mine from England showed up with some second hand vintage, flower-embroidered white pillow cases. They were so lovingly ironed and pristinely folded that they looked like they were from a fancy, speciality shop.

Needless to say, my opinion of ironing changed that day.

I don’t necessarily mind ironing – and in fact, with today’s clothing, not too much does require ironing (or so I have been told by my grandma, compared to the clothes of days gone by). Perhaps adding a few special touches to your chore at hand, however, will encourage the tasks to be more enjoyable.
After reading Miss Tiggy Winkle’s adventures, so creatively told by the famous Beatrix Potter, my older daughters seemed enchanted with ironing. They love the smell of the steam, the feeling of a warm, freshly pressed linen in their hands. We have some linens and some shirts to iron recently – so we thought it would be fun to have a Miss Tiggy Winkle Linen Spray to go along with our task at hand.

The spray is a mix of water and the following essential oils:

Lavender

Rose

Geranium,

Lemon

Grapefruit.

Mix together in a glass jar (or whatever spray bottle you may have on hand) and spritz on your linens, pillowcases, sheets, and so forth as you iron.

It smells so fresh and lovely. Combined with the smell of the laundry hung outside on the line in the fresh air, your bedding will be a haven of delicious, cozy, clean scents. Your pillowcases will never be the same again.

The little person made a bob-curtseyโ€”
“Oh, yes, if you please’m; my name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle;
oh, yes if you please’m, I’m an excellent clear-starcher!”
And she took something out of a clothes-basket, and spread it on the ironing-blanket.”
-The Tale of Miss Tiggy Winkle

P.S. Here is a collection of amazing, lovely Beatrix Potter-inspired projects.
If you love Beatrix Potter tales, you will enjoy many of these darling ideas.

 

April 7, 2017 - 3:47 pm

Gigi - Oh and tea towels! Yes, that sure makes them look nice!

April 7, 2017 - 3:46 pm

Gigi - We should be ironing our napkins too! I will now add that job to a little lady in the house. We do go through our cloth napkins rather fast – I think it’s time for some more.

April 7, 2017 - 12:03 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Yes, it is a precious memory. I love being a homemaker!! And guess what? I also iron my napkins. and some tea towels. LOL

April 5, 2017 - 4:03 pm

Gigi - I love that you ironed Grandpa’s shirts … ! What a precious memory! xo

April 5, 2017 - 10:52 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - I LOVE ironing!! and I love ironing pillow cases especially … When I was a young girl, it was my job to keep all my dad’s sirts ironed. He was in the military and all shirts had to be freshly pressed! I always felt so proud when he was wearing the shirts that I ironed! Thanks for bringing back such a sweet memory!! xoxo