Saturday, 28 November 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Funny words from the mouth of Caleb:

"Chaput" - ketchup
"Eatmore" - oatmeal
"Gravy" - scary
"1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 18, 20" - his way of counting
"__________, best friend" - the first time he said "Colin, best friend" which completely melted my heart. Since then he has filled in the blank with some of his play friends, and even some movie characters. The funniest one: "Grinch, best friend." At least he's learning to see past people's rough exteriors!


Caleb has developed the same love for the film "The Polar Express" that Colin has. And although he isn't reenacting full scenes yet, he's well on his way. He has ticket that he likes to get punched, and then "loses" it, and then runs around the house looking for it. And if you feed him the line "She didn't lose her ticket..." he throws his hand up in the air and replies "I did." He know acts out several parts, knows several lines, and has started to learn the songs. How cute will it be once Colin and Caleb can sing "When Christmas Comes To Town" as a duet?!


We always knew Colin had a great memory. He loves to "read" you books - and if you didn't know better, you would be completely fooled, because he has memorized several books word for word, page by page. Although this is remarkable, he took it to the next level last week. Before, I always assumed he used the pictures in the book to cue his memory, help him remember what part of the story came when. But last week he wanted to read "The Monster at the End of This Book," and the actual book wasn't nearby. So he chose another book, and read "The Monster" to me from that book! Word for word, page by page, and not distracted at all by the fact that the book he was holding was actually something completely different!


Colin seems to have a mental block on the number 17. He always skips it when counting. Yesterday, he counted to 20 for me in French - and yes, still skipped the number 17!


Thursday, 26 November 2009


Today I am especially grateful for friends. Over the past few days I have had friends really step in to help me out. I've never been partial to large group gatherings, preferring to socialize in smaller settings. I've always had people I like to hang out with, but until this "crisis" hit, I didn't realize just how many friends in how many circles I have. I am so grateful for all the help they have stepped in to offer, from watching the boys to making dinners to organizing frozen meals for when the baby comes - it's been amazing. And this isn't just a group of people trying to do something nice; these is a group of friends who are in tune with my situation and needs, and have truly discerned my needs and took the initiative to fulfill them. I've only lived in Orangeville for two years, and yet I feel more at home here than anywhere I have before. For the first time I feel as though my community is my family.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Health update

Today I had my first of 5 appointments as my OB checks into my dizzy spells, breathing difficulties and exhaustion. It was a little scary - I am not one who is usually found in a doctor's office, and this was certainly the most invasive medical appointment for me to date. I am currently hooked up to a small monitor that sits in a purse over my shoulder by all those little circle stickies that you see on medical TV shows. It monitors the activity of my heart, and I have a little log that I have to keep about what I do during the day and how I feel. The tape is itchy and the monitor is cumbersome - especially when I try to sleep. I keep it on for 48 hours and then they analyze the data. More tests and appointments to follow in the next few days.

Pregnancy Menu

How I wish I had found this menu a few months back! With my body craving healthy foods, and with me trying my best to get all my nutrients from food alone (without a supplemental vitamin), I often struggled with coming up with meal ideas. Today as I searched through the "Today's Parent" website, I came across this 7-day menu for pregnant women.

It's awesome!

Every meal is different, easy, and mouth-watering. Could you ask for anything more in a menu? Only more of them! And although there is no way I eat all that food in one day, it's at least nice to have some options at my fingertips. I may only have 5 weeks (or less) to go, but I'm hopping on this bandwagon today! And very likely most of these meal ideas will hang around in our menu even after the baby comes.

(If you want to have a peek, click here)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A baby shower for my third baby

I was pleasantly surprised last week when I received an email from an acquaintance from the community band in which I play. The band has seen this pregnancy progress since the start, and some of the ladies wanted to throw me a baby shower!

Now, what on earth could I possibly need, seeing that this is not only my third baby, but my third boy at that? I wondered briefly, but let the thought pass, awash in gratitude for such a thoughtful gesture. They have all loved sharing in this experience with me, and just want to celebrate.

Then, today she passed along the invite to me (it has the date, time and location as a reminder for me!), and I saw that this is actually going to be a "freezer shower." I had never heard the term before, but as she explained it on the invitation, I was amazed at such a brilliant and perfect idea. The concept is that instead of a baby gift, everyone brings a dinner that I can throw into the freezer for when the baby comes, so that I'm adequately prepared to feed my family without having to tire myself out with yet another chore. And this is actually the perfect idea for a third baby! With one baby, you can grab a few minutes when he sleeps. With two, you can still generally coordinate naps. But now with three (plus a husband) - that's getting busy, and warming up a can of Scarios just won't cut it any longer.

I am so grateful for good friends with brilliant ideas. This one is definitely going on my list of excellent ideas for the future.

Friday, 20 November 2009

More tests

I had my 34 week OB appointment today, and mentioned the dizzy spells I'm having that are occurring about every other day. As a result I have a battery of tests and appointments over the next week I have to go to. There are no big concerns yet, as all my and the baby's regular vitals are perfect. But dizzy spells are concerning, hence the tests.

The big disappointment was that I was advised if I have one more bad spell, I need to stop driving. Yikes! Not having the energy to walk all the time, and then taking away the car...and at this time of year. But since the first spell occurred while I was driving, and while I had Caleb in the car with me, it is by all accounts the safest thing to do.

I'm at the point now, however, that I'm ready for this baby to come any day.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Get it together, body!

Dear body,

You are not allowed to crave a certain food, and then reject it once I give it to you. This is especially not fair when you ask for chocolate and then punish me with hours of pain.

PS - I hope you enjoyed that entire crate of clementines I ate over the course of 4 days. You may be lacking in iron, but you have no shortage of vitamin C!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Getting used to our new family

This pregnancy has been interesting, because we've really gotten to talking about "Benjamin", when he'll arrive, what he'll be like, the things he will do (or won't be able to do). It truly seems like he's already a part of this family, and has been since we found out I'm having a boy back in August. We picked his name out, without any indecision at all. And although there has been nothing about being pregnant that I have liked, it's been an interesting feeling to talk about this third baby as if he was already here.

He moves like crazy inside. Almost every moment of the day (and even through the night) he's wiggling around. I don't get any kicks, or elbows sticking out in one spot - just the endless wiggling and tossing and turning, like when you're lying in bed at night half asleep and half awake and can't seem to settle down to sleep. Actually, if anyone were to sit near me, they would basically see a constant shifting. It's actually really visible, which makes me a little self-conscious. I just hope people don't stare too often at my stomach. I'm always aware of how much he's moving. It's hard to forget he's there when he's making himself known all the time! Maybe that will be part of his personality. Heaven knows there isn't a shy bone in our family yet!

The boys are really taken by him. Usually at least once a day one of the boys comes to give Benjamin a hug (cuddling my stomach). They like that they "share my lap" with Benjamin when we read stories. Caleb likes that I can carry both him and the baby at once. We often talk about how Benjamin will be coming at Christmastime. If you ask Caleb who is coming at Christmas, he will actually answer Benjamin, instead of Santa! Oftentimes Caleb will even offer Benjamin his soother.

It's just over 6 weeks until my due date, so hopefully about 4 weeks until Benjamin makes his debut. It will be interesting to see how things actually change once Benjamin is actually here. This is the first time I've felt so attached before the baby arrived. I think it's probably a good thing; I still worry every day that everything is going fine with the pregnancy. Everything has been picture perfect, but that there's a little dark corner in the back of my mind where worry still lingers. That's partly why I haven't complained much about how much Benjamin moves: every movement is a relieving reminder that he's thriving and doing just fine.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Online garage sales

I have, in the past, complained about shopping the "online garage sale" sites like Craig's List and Kijiji. There is just so much stuff out there that people are selling, and I have little patience for sifting through the ads, trying to find what I want for the price I want in a location that is even somewhat accessible. Mostly I end up frustrated and just give up.

But today I have made what is likely the best online garage sale buy I could get! It struck me the other day that it could be time for a new double stroller. I bought the one I currently have the same way - from a Kijiji listing. It cost me $40 and I have gotten more miles out of it than I imagined. It is still functional, but getting really worn out. Because I got so much use out of it, I didn't feel bad about searching around for something better.

And wow, did I find it! I was out and about town a few weeks back and saw a double stroller that just made me drool. It was sleek, functional, had two seats that can face forward or toward each other, could fit both a newborn (fully reclining position) and preschoolers. It had these fantastic little wind blankets that attached to the stroller. Nice canopies, and it all collapsed down really well. I took a mental note of the name and looked it up when I got home: Peg Perego Duette. For those of you currently in the throes of motherhood of young children, you might recognize the name. Their strollers retail for around $1000! Yes, there are three zeroes after that 1. I could never bring myself to pay that for a stroller, no matter how pretty and functional it was. But knock a zero off that, and that's what I'm paying for this gently used, second-hand stroller.

The best part of it all is that I know that probably 90% of moms who buy strollers don't get nearly the use out of them that I do. Especially in a country where half the year is wintery and snowy, most strollers get walked around the malls, and pushed on occasional walks to the park. Me, I have taken my double stroller out on average 3-5 days a week, 12 months a year, through rain and sun and snow. I have pushed it over nearly every square inch of my town, loaded it up with shopping, and used it more than I used the car in the past two years. I love to get outdoors and I love walking, and having two kids in tow hasn't slowed me down yet.

And so, despite all the annoyances and complaints I have had in the past about online garage saling, I will try in the future to hold my tongue and remember the fantastic stroller deals I have been able to find. Oh, and because the double stroller I currently have is still functional, I will also try my hand at selling it online for a small price. It will serve someone else well who really needs one and can't afford the current prices out there.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Food fun

Is anyone else as excited as I am about holiday feasts? And not just the eating of them (in fact, I always find that part rather anti-climactic), but the planning and preparing of the meals? I've spent the last hour or so flipping through a free food magazine that came in the mail today, bursting with beautiful (and simple) dish ideas and decadent, mouth-watering photos. Although this year I won't be too ambitious with any plans, I've been savouring each page, "tasting" the recipes as I read them, making some mental notes and alterations, and just generally getting excited for this artform. Even most weekdays I opt for dishes that are a little bit of a step up than usual family weekday fare. Because I enjoy the process, it never feels like work to me. Perhaps the magic of cooking will fade as I rack up meal after meal over the years for four men who can devour a meal before I make it to the table. But I'm hoping to foster that same love of food in my family, helping them to appreciate meal time as an opportunity to connect as a family, engage in good conversation, and feed the soul while we feed our bodies.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Happy Birthday Caleb

It was two years ago today that Caleb arrived into our family. James had to put in an extra long day today, which meant that I've had the boys all to myself. I was able to sneak in so many extra cuddles with Caleb - he's been a little under the weather these past few days, which makes him even more cuddly than his usual self. But I'll take it - I know it won't last forever.

I love how Caleb adds to the dynamic of our family. His infectious smile and darling eyes, his husky voice and bouncy manner, his love of just spending time with you. He's still my baby right now, which adds to my surprise that he's already two! I'm sure once the new baby arrives he will all of a sudden seem so big - just another reminder to treasure each and every day.

Happy birthday, Caleb!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Slowing down

This pregnancy is making me slow down more than I've ever had to in my life. The toughest part has been that I'm mentally gearing up while physically slowing down. I have all sorts of projects I'd love to have my hands into, including tearing out and replacing the bathtub faucet, cleaning out the garage, directing the city Nativity pageant, singing in a Christmas choir, doing the "once-a-month" cooking, getting set-up for the arrival of our baby, organizing the basement, getting an electrician in to do the basement lighting, being a little more hands-on with Caleb's "schooling" (letters, colours, numbers, etc)...

But these days I can barely get the basics done. I don't always get to my weekly cleaning. Many days I can't be standing long enough to make dinner or clean up afterwords. I'm struggling still to breathe, and find I can't even climb the stairs without needing to sit down at the top. Laundry piles up because I don't have the physical energy to walk to the basement. It's even too much now for me to take Colin to school, so if James isn't home to take him, Colin will have to stay home also. For a person who is a "doer", it's becoming really hard on me.

But I know I've got to just take it easy. Last week I landed in the hospital after coming this close to passing out while driving in the car with Caleb. I was gratefully only a few streets from a friend's house, and so by running all the stop signs and praying with a fervour I have never prayed with before, I was able to pull up to her house and crawl to her front door. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Thankfully her husband was home and watched Caleb while she drove me to the hospital. Everything is fine with the baby (as has been this whole pregnancy), but once again the tests showed that my own body is just taking a terrible beating from pregnancy.

I can't decide if I only have 8 weeks to go, or I still have 8 weeks to go. Some days it seems like it's right around the corner, other days it feels like I'll never get there. But the beautiful thing about time is that it passes no matter what. The nausea and illness and exhaustion will soon come to an end. And even with a newborn I know that recovery is right around the bend, and I can get myself back into the routines and organization and involvement that I'm used to.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The end result

Well, we have made our decision - informed and with prayer. Which I think is the only way to do things.

Both boys and James received the H1N1 flu vaccine today. I will be waiting until the baby comes, and then get mine done (if it is still available).

I'm feeling a little exhausted after all the reading and research I've been doing. Never mind the actual reading and understanding of all the medical terms, just trying to sift through all the information available to make sure I was reading only reputable facts and not people's personal opinions. But I feel very educated about the situation now, and confident with my decision.

In the end, there was one important fact that was reinforced for me: God has a plan for me and my family, and if I seek his guidance, He will not let me walk in darkness. The decision about the vaccine will be different for every person based on circumstances, experience, and a myriad of other factors. It is possible a person could get serious complications from the vaccine; it is possible that a person could get serious complications from the flu. It seems like a game of chance, if you try to make the decision alone. But with the knowledge that God has a plan for me and my family, and if I seek Him he will make it known to me, I can have confidence that we have made the right decision for us.

Does that mean He will necessarily protect us from all harm? I am not that naive. Suffering is a part of life, and it could strike our family in many ways and at any time. Ask a mother that loses a child, a husband that loses his wife, a family that endures great tragedy - they all could suffer from the unending questioning of "what could I have done differently?" But I have been greatly reassured by this quote lately:

"We should never complain, when we are living worthily, about what happens in our lives." (Richard G. Scott)

What a wonderful reminder of who is in control. We can find peace in these troubled times, we can conquer the fear swirling around us. We can put our trust in God. We can not only believe in Him, but believe Him - believe the assurances and promises he has given us and take shelter in his loving arms.

Christmas shopping

Is it okay to brag that I had all my Christmas shopping done before November? I'll use the excuse that I need to be ready early because I'm due during the holiday season, but really I just love doing the shopping! No quick stops, last minute shopping for me. I love to peruse the stores, thinking about each person I'm buying for, what they might like, and the smile on their face when they open the gift.

This year I headed down to a huge toy warehouse with my sisters. What drew us down was the promotion of huge savings. The deals weren't all that fantastic, but it was wonderful to see such a widespread selection all in one place. And each toy was $5 or $10 cheaper than in a store like Toys R Us. Add that to the savings on gas and time from store hopping, and it really was an economic decision after all.

Next week I'm planning an afternoon of wrapping - possibly one of my most favourite times of the holiday season. Listening to favourite Christmas songs, I lay everything out and visualize again what I've got for each person. Then I choose the wrapping paper and write up the gift labels and then pack all the wrapped presents into a few boxes to be stored away until Christmas.

It seems appropriate to be thinking and writing about this today, as this morning we had our first snow in town. Big, huge, fluffy white snowflakes falling slowly from the sky. It didn't snow long and it didn't stay on the ground, but it was a beautiful sight out the bedroom window while it did fall.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Still on the fence

Just when I thought I had worked everything out in my mind about the flu vaccine, things change again.

Firm in my resolve to get the vaccine for myself, I called our local public health office to find out when the "pregnancy" vaccine (a different one than the general public one) would be available in our area. I was told that being so late in my pregnancy, they would not give it to me. I was both shocked and outraged. Although the health experts are saying that it is possible to give the regular vaccine to pregnant women, they strongly encourage the separate one. What had eased my mind about the vaccine was the fact that it had been used in Australia over the past 6 months, which ultimately can amount to "testing." The regular vaccine has not been tested on pregnant women.

And now, over the past few days, I have heard from several health expert sources that the flu season in our province is essentially peaking right now. And so, even if I am able to get the special vaccine over the next few weeks when it is anticipated to arrive, add another 10 days for the vaccine to take effect and I wonder if there is any use in it at all. I will be less than a month to my due date, and from what I hear, past the real danger of the flu season. At that point I see myself simply waiting until the baby is born, as my baby is my real concern when it comes to injecting myself with a new and relatively untested substance.

Add to that the fact that I am not willing to go and stand outside in the cold for 5 hours to wait for the vaccine. Caleb has the sniffles, I can barely stand for more than 10 minutes, and there is no way Caleb would actually wait that long.

And so the waiting game continues...