Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thoughts on Thanksgiving...

I’m not really that into Thanksgiving.  Which is not to say I’m not thankful, because I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, and I try not to take all that I have for granted and be mindful of how good my life is, because it IS good.  I have my own set of ‘first world problems’, rest-assured, but I definitely know I am very lucky to have the life that I do, and particularly the family that I do.  I have love and support in my life, a roof over my head, a house I can be warm and cozy in, I never have to go hungry.  Did I mention my perfectly special and wonderful and did I say PERFECT not-so-little family that I am thankful for EVERY SINGLE DAY?!  I love James and our 3 amazing kids (and, yes, even Fifi, despite that she sometimes drives me crazy…) SO much, and couldn’t imagine my life without them.  I am so, so lucky, and ever thankful for what I have.

However...there are a few reasons why Thanksgiving as a holiday isn’t really tops on my list.  First of all, there’s the extra-mass slaughter of turkeys (and, arguably, pigs) at Thanksgiving time, which I can’t in all good conscience be thankful for, as a vegetarian because of my love for animals!  Sure, we enjoy our Tofurky at times (although generally just at Christmas) but yeah...Not huge on the ‘sacrificial turkey day’, personally.  The biggest reason for Thanksgiving being a bit of a downer for me, though, is because of the fact that the worst day of my entire life EVER happened at Thanksgiving time.  Three years ago yesterday I had my miscarriage, but it was the day before that we celebrated Thanksgiving at my bro and sil’s and that’s when things really started to go downhill for me.  I actually ended up at the ER that night, so the miscarriage was starting at that point.  I remember the day like it was yesterday, I remember sitting on my bro and sil’s couch and Andrew came over and I sat him on my lap and I remember feeling something flutter in my belly, only it felt almost a little more like a ‘pop’ than a flutter.  Not something anyone could have heard, but I remember instantly feeling like something just wasn’t quite right.  It wasn’t because of Andrew being on my lap, it could have happened at any time, it was GOING to happen and WAS happening...He sat on my lap all throughout my twin pregnancy (well, at least until I was way too huge to even HAVE a lap anymore...which probably happened around 20 weeks with twins LOL) but yeah...I really associate ‘Thanksgiving day’ with the day I ended up in the ER and was thrown into facing the fact that I was most likely losing my baby...and then the next day going through the worst experience ever (for me).  I honestly felt as though I had nothing to be thankful for that Thanksgiving, given all I went through.

But I WILL say, that even though the girls’ birthday party was on the same day as the anniversary of that horribly day, I had a really great day yesterday and didn’t even ‘remember’ what day it was until halfway through the day, and even though for a split second there was that familiar pang of remembering, it went away as quickly as it came.  I can recognize that it was a bad time, but I can also recognize all that I have, and I honestly couldn’t imagine not having been celebrating the birthday of my two beautiful little girls, Margaret and Emily.  They bring me a double amount of love and smiles and pure JOY, and I am SO lucky to have been able to have not just one but two babies at once!

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about Thanksgiving, but I also realized recently that with Andrew being in school now, and learning more about holidays, it’s important not to just discount them completely just because they may have affected me badly in the past, or because there might be certain aspects to them that I don’t like.  I can talk to him about some of my issues (he knows my stance on turkeys, for example!) but it doesn’t mean we can’t still be thankful and at least do SOMETHING to celebrate and show our thanks for what we have.  
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The girls' Frozen-themed 2nd birthday party

Yesterday we had the girls’ birthday party.  They’ll be TWO on Tuesday!  I still can’t get over that.

We had a Frozen themed party for them and it was such a hit!  I stayed up way too late the night before putting up the decorations and getting things organized.  Normally I’d be totally annoyed that Christmas decorations are ALREADY in stores, but I felt like I lucked out at the dollar store with the 3 big snowflake decorations I bought the day before the party.  I just happened to be there...and just happened to see them...and I feel like the decor was really brought together by those snowflakes.

The girls only napped for about 15 minutes yesterday, which was a bit frustrating, but Andrew and I managed to decorate the cupcakes (that I’d made first thing in the morning) in that time, and got the ‘Pin the nose on the Olaf’ game set up.  When Margaret and Emily came downstairs they were so excited to see Olaf (or, ‘Offoff’ as they call him!)  When I got them dressed in their birthday outfits - Anna/Elsa t-shirts with a big ‘2’ and their names on them, and super adorable blue tutu skirts, and their new black sparkly shoes) they were SO excited.  They absolutely love clothes, especially Emily.  They were twirling around in the skirts, and were so excited about their Frozen shirts.  ‘Oooh, pretty!’ Emily kept saying.  

For the food we decided to make things easier for ourselves, and had the event catered with Greek food from a restaurant nearby.  We also got some chips and cheesies and nibbly type foods but the Greek food was the main and it was SO DELICIOUS, everyone really seemed to enjoy it.  It was nice to do something different than what we usually do, and so much easier for us to just order in.

For the cake we got a big Dairy Queen ice cream cake (which in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with!) and I added some Frozen cake toppers to it.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  We’ve been told by people with twins that you should ALWAYS get two separate cakes to make sure the twins always feel like individuals, and last year I made giant cupcake cakes for each girl to ‘smash’ into for their 1st birthday.  This year we had one cake (the ice cream one) that said, ‘Happy 2nd Birthday Margaret & Emily’ on it.  Then with the cupcakes Andrew and I made we had one that had an ‘M’ and one with an ‘E’ and each girl got their own cupcake (with 2 candles each, that they managed to blow out all on their own!) to devour as they wished while we went and cut up the ice cream cake.  Truth be told I don’t think they had any of the actual cake (ice cream), but that’s just because they’d had enough by then with their cupcakes.  One day we might do two separate cakes again, but truthfully I plan on the girls KNOWING they’re individuals, but at the same time being comfortable with being twins.  At this age I don’t think 2 cakes is so important, but they got their separate cupcakes anyway, and they seemed to love them!  Last year was a whole different experience because they hadn’t really had sweets much before their birthday, whereas now (not that they get a ton of sugar because they don’t, but!) sometimes they’ll just randomly yell out, ‘CHOC-AT!’ because they’ve decided they want some, or Margaret will scream, ‘CAAAANNNDDDDYYYYY!’  LOL  But they NEVER get a WHOLE CUPCAKE complete with icing given to them so they were pretty much thrilled!

It was all family at the party.  I thought of inviting a few friends and their kids but I think we’ll stick with ‘just family’ for the first several birthdays and then they can invite their friends once we start doing ‘all friends’ parties, which we’ll be doing for Andrew this year.  (He already has 4 new friends in his class that he talks about every of whom seems to quite like him as she gave him a card she made with hearts all over it!!  Yet he claims it’s ANOTHER girl who is his girlfriend...LOL)  Including the 5 of us there were 13 people at the party.  

The girls had a blast just spending time with everyone, and of course everyone got a kick out of them because they say such cute and funny things.  Andrew was super moody before the party and I had to threaten to put him upstairs in his room and not let him even be a part of the party, it was that bad.  Then the party started and he completely switched gears, thank goodness.  He was a bit obsessed with when I’d let him have one of the Frozen lollipops, and after that when it would be time for cake (can you tell my kids all inherited my sweet tooth?!) but he was really good over all, and enjoyed ‘helping’ the girls open all their presents.  I think he was pleasantly surprised that they got toys that he would enjoy too, and he has already claimed several of the cake topper characters (the set came with all the main Frozen characters, although I only put Elsa, Anna, and Olaf on the cake).  The girls got a great assortment of stuff and while it’s of course a lot of stuff, it didn’t feel over the top which was nice.  James and I gave them musical Anna and Elsa dolls (Barbie size), Andrew gave them Tinkerbell nightgowns (which are ADORABLE and he picked them out all by himself, the girls LOVE them!), and Fifi gave them some tights with cats on them, and some socks with foxes on them.  My parents got them some play strollers for their dolls (that they LOVE, they used to have some but had destroyed them over time...well, they destroyed the new ones a few hours after their party...but we’re going to try to fix them and make them more sturdy!!), kid-Anna and Elsa dolls with some trolls, and several cute outfits, my bro and sil got them several cute dresses and as well brought them back some t-shirts from their recent trip to Berlin.  My aunt and uncle got them some bristle blocks (which Andrew is also loving!), a ballerina puzzle, some cozy jammies and an outfit, and my cousins got them some cute sweaters and Minnie Mouse toys.  So it was nice that they got some new toys but I love that they got so many cute outfits!  I LOVE their clothes and they look so ridiculously cute in everything, it really is something that makes me so happy - dressing my kids and enjoying their outfits!  Andrew too, of course!  He’s absolutely adorable and every bit the clothes horse as his sisters =)

Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the kids were all so well behaved.  The girls went to bed SO easily (unlike the night before when they ran around upstairs and refused to sleep till almost 10pm…) but unfortunately didn’t sleep through the night as we’d thought they would after such a big day.  Margaret has been sleeping horribly this past week.  Here’s hoping the age of 2 will be the magical age when both girls start sleeping through the night on a regular basis...although I’m not sure why I’m even saying that, given that Andrew was nearly 4 by the time he started sleeping well!!!  But here’s hoping, anyway =)

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Countdown to Halloween

Even though I feel like I have some sort of flu bug and really shouldn’t have gone anywhere at all today, Andrew and I ventured out to a huge Halloween store in Queensborough (New West) for some mommy/son time (after first purchasing a new car seat for one of the girls - we are going to start forward facing them now, which is exciting...I know a lot of people have issues with this and think rear facing for as long as possible is best, but we feel the girls are ready and it’s going to be nice to be able to actually see them in the rear view mirror now!)

The Halloween shop is HUGE, and I think it’s a new tradition that we will go there each year.  Last year I went but Andrew wasn’t with me, so today was his first time seeing all the creepy real-seeming zombies and witches and ghouls and so on.  They have tons of cool displays set up where you step on a little thing that says, ‘Step here’, which triggers the character to start doing its thing.  A zombie girl started begging for help and then lunged forward toward us and I thought Andrew was going to go right through the roof, he jumped so high!  You could hear kids crying and screaming throughout the entire store.  LOL  It was awesome!  Haha.  Andrew loved it, he wasn’t being tortured being there, it was his dream come true.  Halloween has been his favourite day of the year since he was two if I recall correctly, so this store was right up his alley.

We mostly got little decoration type things (I find the store fun to look at but it’s crazy expensive for what it is) and one ‘major’ purchase (a zombie baby...of course!) only because we had a 20% off coupon to use.  A zombie baby is on Andrew’s Christmas wish list (yes he already wrote his letter to Santa, what can I say, the boy likes to be prepared!) and I knew it would be difficult for Santa to get back to the Halloween store in order to put a zombie baby away for Christmas I decided to get it for him as an early Christmas gift.  It’s also a really cool Halloween decoration for our collection, so really, we all win.  I’ve decided I want to wait to decorate till after the girls’ birthday it’s quite likely our house will be decked out in ghosts and pumpkins and skeletons galore by their actual birthday.  Which is fitting, actually.  When we came into the house today with the zombie baby, Emily saw it first and said really enthusiastically, ‘Oooooh, pretty!’ (which means I can no longer feel special when she comments on how ‘pretty’ my hair or my outfit is, because all I’ll see in my mind is the zombie baby...but oh well).  I thought she should have been frightened by how creepy it was, but the truth is, instead of a mobile the girls spent their first several weeks of life looking up at a really creepy witch that we had on the mantle in our old living room.  They were basically Halloween babies - I had decorated the house a few weeks before they were born in anticipation of not being able to once they arrived, so their first experience of living with us was a house full of creepy ornaments!  We even bought a life-size skeleton to add to our collection last year.  Halloween is in their blood!
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The significance of certain dates

I can’t believe Margaret and Emily will be turning TWO in just over a week.  How did the last year fly by like that?!  It feels like just yesterday they wore their adorable little ‘birthday princess’ dresses to their cupcake themed party!  This year’s theme is going to be Frozen, and I’m just putting the last finishing touches on their party plans.

Their birthday will always be around Thanksgiving.  Their first birthday was on Thanksgiving Day so we were able to have their birthday party on their actual birthday.  Andrew has always had his party on his actual day because he’s a New Year’s Eve baby (although most likely we’ll do his bday party on a different day moving forward as it might be complicated to invite his school friends to a new year’s eve event, since people usually have plans that day).  We’ve never had to face the question of when to host their birthday parties because it just always worked out to be on the actual day.

This year the girls will be turning two on a Tuesday, which isn’t going to work for pretty much anyone.  We could have held their party the weekend AFTER their actual day, but we agreed it made sense to do it the weekend BEFORE.  Their birthday is the day after Thanksgiving, which is a Monday...and a lot of people do their Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday it just made sense to have the party on the Saturday.

Saturday, October 11th.

Likely anyone reading this blog knows the significance of October 11th for me, but if not the archives for 2011 will give an all-too-clear image, in case you’re curious.

October 11th, 2011 was the worst day of my entire life.  I honestly think I’ve had a touch of PTSD from it.  I still haven’t got over it, and even found myself blubbering and crying over it to James just last week.  I think because I’d had the invites for the party made up, which reminded me yet again of the date, and the terrible significance, and I just couldn’t help but delve into it again and wonder why it happened and how I’ll ever deal with the FACT that I will never, ever have answers.  I can’t ever get over it because of that.

But ANYWAY.  I remember that day every day, so I decided that there is no reason to just mope, I can remember what happened without it affecting the whole day.  And instead I can focus on celebrating the amazing amount of HAPPINESS that I get from the twins I was so lucky enough to have just one year and 3 days after that horrible thing I had to go through.  I may never understand WHY it happened the way it did, but I couldn’t possibly trade in my two girls for anything, so ultimately all I can be is grateful for what I have, and ultimately I wouldn’t have what I do now if what happened hadn’t, so, there we go.

So it is that the girls’ 2nd birthday party happens to be on the same day as the THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my loss.  Which is crazy, too - I can’t believe the girls are turning two, but how can it be 3 years already since that happened?!  Time has definitely lessened the burden of the pain of it, I do see how time helps.  It can’t ever fully heal it, but it isn’t debilitating to me anymore the way it once was.  It just ‘is.’  It’s not good, that’s for sure, but who could expect it to be.

There will always be a sadness in me from what happened, but I am so lucky to also be filled with the huge amount of joy my 3 children bring me every day, and I always hug and love them extra amounts, in honour of the baby I lost, because I feel like I truly know just how precious all of my babies are.  And in going with the Frozen theme of Margaret and Emily’s upcoming party, I know that I have to just ‘Let it Go’, and remind myself of all that I have!  I’m excited about their party and getting to celebrate our love for them with our family.  And give them their Frozen dolls that they are going to LOVE, and Frozen shirts with their names and age on them...It’s going to be a HUGE day for them, they have no idea =)
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Settling into our new routine

Today Andrew told me that he was able to reach the soap and tap in the bathroom to wash his hands without even having to stand on his tippy toes.  It reminded me of Raffi’s song, ‘I wonder if I’m growing.’  Hey, I can reach the tap now for the very first time today!  Awww, my little boy really is growing up...and he’s not so little anymore!

He’s really enjoying Kindergarten so far.  He just completed his first week in full time Kindergarten, although he missed Friday due to illness.  I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday and he started feeling symptoms of it Thursday evening.  He decided Friday morning he couldn’t possibly go to school given how he felt, but I thought it was important to at least TRY so off we went to drop him off (it was a bit easier because Margaret had gone downtown to my mil’s for the day, so I didn’t have to haul out the giant stroller to take Andrew to his class with just Emily to carry!)  Sure enough when his teacher asked if he was well enough to stay he said he wasn’t, and I brought him home, but at least we showed up and didn’t give the impression of not even trying.  Quite a few people in the class were sick and the teacher knew I already had a cold, so it wasn’t a surprise that Andrew came down with it.

I really love his teacher and I’m just so pleased with how everything is going so far with Andrew’s own experience at school, as well as mine there.  I was bummed when we found out he didn’t get accepted to the school we actually live WAY closer to, because I liked the convenience factor of having it so close.  But the one we’re in the catchment area of, even if we ARE right on the EDGE of the catchment area, literally takes 2 minutes to drive to (maybe 5 if there’s traffic!)  It’s not a big deal AT ALL.  Walking would take a lot longer but it’s not that far...I just haven’t done it yet usually due to weather, but also because Andrew’s still getting used to the long days and I don’t think he’d fair too well if we added walking 20 minutes to and from school to his day at this point.  But we’ll get there eventually!  I do want the extra exercise for myself, although truthfully just the act of getting everyone ready when normally I wouldn’t, and getting out of the house every day like that has made a world of difference for me already.

I’ve joined the parents’ council to feel like I’m more connected to what Andrew’s doing, and I’ve already met some really nice people through that as well as a few of the parents’ of other kids in Andrew’s class and the other Kindergarten class.  Everyone I’ve encountered at the school has been SO friendly, including the principal, who I have to say I am really impressed by.  He’s super involved with the kids and really takes the time to talk to the kids AND the parents and genuinely seems to care about how everyone is feeling about their school situation.  I honestly couldn’t feel much better about the experience so far.

A few days into school, Andrew’s teacher asked me to stay for a moment after all the kids went into class in the morning, because she had something she needed to talk to me about.  She’d been looking at the kids’ information and noticed that Andrew was born in 2008, which means he technically could have started Kindergarten last year (which we knew).  The way she presented it was that no one legally HAS to do Kindergarten, so he would have to be bumped up to a Grade One class because of his age.  I was dumb-founded, because the way I’d heard it was that you were allowed to hold your child back as long as they’d be 5 when they started school, which Andrew is.  He was ready to do Kindergarten last fall and definitely we COULD have enrolled him then, but it saddened me the thought of him starting school when he was 4, and being 4 for half the year.  If I was a parent who was working full time and Andrew was going to be in daycare if not school, it would be a no-brainer and we’d have put him in Kindergarten earlier.  But because I’m a stay at home mom, it just didn’t make sense for him to start school so young and have that whole year taken away from us being able to just hang out and have that special time together.  He got to have more bonding time with me and his sisters and I don’t regret for one second the decision to hold him back.  I also think it’s advantageous to be one of the oldest kids in the class, which he is because of our decision to start him in school once he was actually 5-almost-6 rather than 4-almost-5.

Sure enough because it had been our choice to hold him back, it wasn’t an issue and he was ‘allowed’ to stay in Kindergarten - which his teacher was happy about, it wasn’t that she wanted him to have to transfer.  Quite the contrary, she wanted to keep him in her class so badly that she’d offered to the principal to make her classroom a K-1 class so she could offer him the Grade One cirriculum despite the rest of the class being in Kindergarten!  But the principal was able to just make a note in his file that he’s indeed meant to be in Kindergarten and all was well.

We were a bit taken aback by the whole questioning of it, though, and started to wonder if maybe we SHOULD bump him up to Grade One.  He’s very mature for his age anyway, and his teacher said she DID think he would be ready to do Grade One should we decide to go that route.  But in the end, after talking it over and me chatting a bit with the principal and his teacher about it, we decided to keep him where he is.  For one thing, he’d lose the advantage of being on the older side if we bumped him up, and as well he’d miss out on what Kindergarten does have to offer.  Even though it’s much more play based than Grade One, that’s not to say they don’t learn a lot, too.  I also have such fond memories of my own Kindergarten experience, and I didn’t want to take that away from Andrew.  Let him just be a kid and when he’s finished Kindergarten he can move onto Grade One and so on, just the way it should be!  It’s heart-warming to know that he’s doing so well, adjusting perfectly, is enthusiastic about school, and has already shown signs of learning and maturing just in the few weeks he’s been in school so far!  He has also made a few friends, which is so wonderful.  

I’ve had a really hard time connecting with others in our community, despite living here for several years.  Part of that is just because of my personality, being so introverted and not really having an easy time putting myself out there.  But I have to say that I feel like we’re a part of a community now through Andrew’s school, and I’m already loving that aspect of it.  It’s forcing me to put myself out there when normally I wouldn’t, and while it’s easier to not have to break out of my shell, it’s been so good for me to be getting out most days of the week, having to chat with other adults, and feeling like there are opportunities for us to be involved with things.  It’s definitely complicated at times with the girls, but for the most part everything is still doable, and they get to enjoy being out and experiencing new things, too.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Done with cribs...

The girls are both talking up a storm these days.  Emily still says more sentences than Margaret but they both have a huge vocabulary already.  Way more than what Andrew was saying at this age.  The other day on James’ way out the door to work, the hood of his jacket hit the wreath Andrew and I made and one of the pinecones we’d glued on fell off.  Emily say it and said, ‘Oh GAWD, he broke it!’  LOL  It was HILARIOUS.  I fully admit, I say, ‘Oh my gawd’ A LOT and have since I was a teenager, I can’t help it.  So of course she’s picked up on that, it’s just funny that she understands the context in which to use it.  

So, BIG NEWS...On Andrew’s very first day of school (Sept 23rd) Margaret figured out how to climb out of her crib on her own.  My mil had come over to watch the girls so I could take Andrew to his first day on my own.  When we got home we were sitting at the dining room table and heard Margaret, but we thought we were just hearing her on the monitor and one of us would go get her in a minute.  No sooner did my mil get up to go get her, we could hear her bounding down the stairs and then there she was, with a big cheeky grin on her face, obviously very proud of her accomplishment.  Emily was still sound asleep and hadn’t seen what her sister had done, so we hoped Margaret would just ‘forget’ and not do it again for a while.  She was fine for a day but then on Friday at nap time, JUST as I was about to get started on a project I was hoping to finish (it was my first day, too, of the babies’ nap time coinciding with Andrew being at school, so literally my first chance for ‘me time’ in ages) I heard Emily on the monitor say, ‘Naughty Emmy!’ and then I heard a bang against their bedroom door.  (Emily was actually saying naughty MARGARET, but they both call each other Emmy still).  So I went and opened their bedroom door and sure enough, Margaret was out of her crib with that cheeky grin again.  Only this time, just as I opened the door to witness it, Emily was being an escape artist too, and she slid out of the crib so effortlessly, like she’d done it a hundred times even though I know it was the first time for her.

They didn’t nap AT ALL on Friday, which made for a very long day for me.  It’s hard enough getting into the groove of getting up earlier to take Andrew to school, getting the girls back home afterwards, going back to get him in the afternoon...I was REALLY hoping that I was going to get a bit of a ‘break’ in the day now that Andrew would be taken care of at school, and the girls would be napping...I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself losing that freedom because they chose the same time as Andrew starting school to be little big shots and not be in cribs anymore.

In one last ditch effort to keep them ‘confined,’ we did what several moms of twins had recommended to me - take the piece of the crib out that holds the mattress up off the floor and just have the mattress directly on the floor, just with the frame around it.  

‘It will be too low to the ground for your babies to escape,’ they said.  ‘You’ll be able to keep them confined for at least a few more months,’ they said.


At 5:50am the next morning, BOTH GIRLS were outside our bedroom door, Margaret the ring leader beating on it to wake us up…….!!!!!

So our little plan didn’t trick them.  We had no choice but to convert their cribs to toddler beds, so that’s our new situation.  On Saturday morning James got the beds converted, just in time for them to go for their naps.  He decided it would ‘take a BIT more time’ but would be easy to get them down for their nap.  Well, it was an absolute STRUGGLE for about an hour and a half, close to 2 hours.  Margaret kept getting up and crying when we said she had to go back to bed.  Then both babies pooped their diapers.  Twice.  Then Margaret kept getting into Emily’s bed and I would hear poor Emily on the monitor saying, ‘No!  MY bed!  NOOOO!  Emmy’s bed!  MY BED MYYYYY BEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!’  I’d go in and Margaret would be sprawled out on Emily’s bed with her arms up behind her head, grinning away!  She is such a little scamp, that one.  And there was Emily, crying, just wanting to settle in and go to sleep.  I left and went back downstairs, and a few minutes later heard Emily on the monitor saying, ‘GO night night.  GO night night.  GO NIGHT NIGHT!’  And then Margaret yelled back, ‘NOOOO!’  LOL  That right there tells you their personalities, seriously.  It was so them.  Emily loves her sleep and I bet if she was a singleton she’d have slept in her crib no problems till she was 3 if we’d kept her in there!  She loves her sleep and that’s all there is to it!  But Margaret, being the little instigator that she is, and not being one to sleep longer than she has to, changed it for both of them.

When I heard Margaret gargling her milk on the monitor I was about to head back up and sternly tell her one more time to GO TO SLEEP.  But soon it was quiet and they’d FINALLY drifted off.  Margaret only slept for maybe 45 minutes but Emily continued to sleep quite a while after that.  Last night was their first night in their big girl beds, and it went a lot better than we’d expected.  Margaret did get up several times before she finally settled, and Emily got a bit annoyed with her for making so much noise but eventually they were both sound asleep.  

When I went to go to bed, I looked in on them and couldn’t see Emily in her bed.  I thought maybe she’d got into Margaret’s bed with her, but I could just see Margaret’s feet sticking out off the side off the mattress.  No Emily.  She had fallen out of bed, obviously, and was asleep on her tummy by the bureau that’s in between the two beds!  It was hilarious and I took a picture before I picked her up and got her back into her bed.

A few days have passed since I wrote the above...The girls are mostly doing well in their new ‘big girl bed’ situation, although their napping has become a lot less predictable.  Margaret’s never been the greatest napper but now she either naps really well, or not at all.  And when she doesn’t nap at all, she tends to take Emily down with her.  Yesterday, when James had the day off work and was able to give me time to nap regardless of whether the girls napped, they slept for 2 hours.  Today when I was on my own with no help at all, they napped for less than 10 minutes.  Murphy’s Law, or…?!!!
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's officially Fall...

Andrew’s first week of school went really well but he was soooo tired by the end of the day on Friday that he was completely hunched over and not quite himself.  Not fussy and tantrumy either, just really quiet and we could tell by the look on his face that he was out of sorts due to exhaustion.  I felt so bad for him!  I know he’ll get used to his new routine, and it’s not that he doesn’t enjoy school itself, I know he’s happy while he’s there.  It’s just a really long day for a 5 year old.

On Saturday my nana and one of my aunts came over from the island for a visit.  We had them and my parents over for an afternoon pizza party.  It felt like this weekend went by WAY too fast.  Other than the visit, the only thing I really did this weekend was clean up the backyard and all our spring/summer stuff is now packed away.  We still have the slide and climber out because there’s nowhere else to put it, and there might be some days when it’s decent enough to go out there and play as long as we’re all bundled up.  But the rain is supposed to set in tomorrow so I wanted to get as much done getting stuff today this weekend while it was still nice.  Even when its been rainy lately it has been so warm.  I hope it stays mild like this for a while, it’s definitely not hot like summer but it feels more like summer than fall.

Even though I miss summer already, there are things about fall I enjoy.  Andrew and I made a fall wreath for our door and we have that up now, as well as some fake fall flowers to match that we’ve put in the front yard to give it a bit of colour.  I miss our birdhouses and all the fun ‘flair’ we had going on in the garden for summer, so I wanted to do something for fall, too.  We also have a cute little scarecrow type character in the front yard that adds some cuteness to the mix!  Pretty soon we’ll be removing some of that stuff to decorate for Halloween...I want to wait till the middle of October to decorate but I don’t know if we’ll be able to wait that long.  Andrew and I are itching to get all our Halloween boxes out from under the stairs to get decorating!  We have almost as many Halloween decor boxes as we do Christmas.  It’s a big deal at our house =)
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kindergarten success

Andrew is LOVING Kindergarten, I’m so excited for him.  Yesterday he was there for an hour and a half, today it was a little over 3 hours, tomorrow will be 4, and then on Monday he starts all day.  He attended his very first ever assembly this morning!  I thought I was going to be super emotional about him starting school, and I’m definitely noticing the change and I know there are going to be times when I’ll miss how our lives were before this, but I’m finding myself so excited to hear about his day and I love knowing that he will have memories of his own from this experience that he’ll carry with him his whole life.

It’s a lot more tiring for me now - I get up half an hour earlier than I used to just so I can get myself ready before James leaves for work.  I could get up later but then I’d have whiny children bugging at me the entire time I’m trying to get sorted for the day, and truthfully I prefer losing a bit of sleep and keeping my sanity intact (at least for those few minutes while I get ready!)  James has been enjoying seeing me ready for the day in the morning - not that he doesn’t love me even in my jammies with bed head or whatever, but he’s not used to seeing me dressed to go out with my makeup done (the little bit that I wear, it’s not much!)  In some ways it’s nice to be ready for the day so early, but at the same time so far I’ve been having to change when I get home from dropping Andrew off anyway, because it decided to start raining on his first day of school and has rained every morning since.  It’s not cold, but the rain sucks.  I miss summer already!  Anyway, it’s somewhat frustrating getting the stroller in and out of the car so many times every day and having to weigh the pros and cons of letting the babies out of it at the school, since Margaret in particular loves to run off when I tell her to get back in.  But I know eventually we’ll be so used to the routine that it won’t be a big deal anymore.

Today was the longest Andrew has EVER been in a class situation (just over 3 hours) and when we got home I asked him if it felt like a long time to be there and he said, ‘No, it felt like I was there for 5 minutes!’  I take that as a very good sign that he’s enjoying himself, and there’s so much going on that he doesn’t think about the time.  He needed this, actually, because he’s been getting so antsy at home lately and in need of more than I can give him given the girls and their needs, so I’m happy that he’s started this new adventure.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Andrew's first day of Kindergarten. (Sort of).

Today was Andrew’s very first day of Kindergarten.

I was so nervous (yes me, not him, he literally had zero apprehension about going) and then the actual experience ended up being a total let down.  We were so excited and had built up the day so much and then we got there only to discover that ALL they wanted us to do today was sign up for an ‘interview time’ for tomorrow.  The kindergarten teachers weren’t even there introducing themselves and making the kids feel like it was a special day.  It was just an empty room (not even the kindergarten classroom!) with a signup sheet.  Not how I’d expect the first day of school to be.

I took Andrew to White Spot for breakfast so he’d at least feel like we’d done SOMETHING special on this so-called ‘big day.’  It felt like such an important milestone to be starting school and I didn’t want it to go uncelebrated.  So we went and had pancakes and strawberry waffles and did some colouring and I think he really enjoyed that (as did I).  My aunt and uncle were over looking after the girls so we could do the school thing (and breakfast) just the two of us.

Tomorrow my mil is going to stay with the girls while I take Andrew to the interview.  It’s kind of lame knowing that his second day of school is just a 15 minute interview, but at least we have a better idea of what to expect!  And at least we’ll actually know who his teacher is and see his classroom.  They start off gradual from Wed-Fri this week and then starting next Monday it’s all day till 3pm.  Usually they transition over the span of two weeks but because of the teacher’s strike and already losing 2 weeks of the year, they’re doing it in just one week.  I definitely think it will be an adjustment for Andrew, and this is where kids used to full time daycare will have an advantage, but at the same time Andrew is very outgoing and I think he will adapt quickly.  Certain things about being there all day might be challenging, but I think it’s the same for anyone starting a really different new routine.  Once he gets the hang of it, I know Andrew’s going to really enjoy school, and I know it’s going to be good for him.

I got a good vibe from the school and the people I did encounter, despite that it wasn’t any of the teachers.  I think that while certain things will frustrate me about the school system and the logistics of drop off/pick up, I also think this new routine is going to be good for me, as well as for Andrew.  I just can’t believe he’s already starting actual SCHOOL.  Next week when he starts full time, it’s really going to have to sink in that THIS IS HAPPENING, and I’m feeling a bit emotional just thinking about it!
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Monday, September 15, 2014

So that happened...(I'm still in shock)

Today I got the biggest scare of my life to date.  I feel traumatized by it, and haven’t been able to shake the feeling it left me with since it happened.

It was such a beautiful, hot, sunny day and I didn’t want to waste it staying home since I know our hot summer days are nearly over till next year.  When I suggested we walk over to the lake to feed the ducks, all 3 kids were raring to go.  I’d been saving some old bread for this exact purpose, so once I packed up the stroller with some juice and snacks for the kids, we were off on our mission.  Emily was so excited she was saying, ‘Quack, quack, duck!’ on the way.  The girls had never been out of the stroller to feed the ducks before as the last time we went (its been awhile) they were fine with just staying in their stroller and watching Andrew do the feeding.  I was somewhat hoping they’d be OK with that scenario this time, and maybe just throw some pieces of bread from their seats, but I knew that wouldn’t actually happen because who would want to just sit there strapped into a seat when they could be free?!  Before I unstrapped them from their stroller I said that they had to be REALLY CAREFUL not to go near the edge by the water, and that no one was allowed to fall in because Mommy didn’t want to have to go in after them.  They understood as best as almost-two-year-olds can, and I wasn’t really that concerned because I used to take Andrew to feed the ducks at Lost Lagoon all the time when he was little and there were never even any near mishaps (and Andrew is a total klutz!!)

I’m sure you know where this is going...We did have a few minutes of happiness, maybe two minutes?!  Andrew seemed so gleeful at how the ducks were responding to his bread throws, and I remember thinking how we should do this more often.  I took a few pictures of the kids and then was just watching them throw the bread, when out of nowhere Margaret ran too close to the edge (it happened in a split second) and before I could blink my eyes she was in the water.  I couldn’t believe it...but at the same time I can’t believe how quickly my instincts kicked in.  I threw my phone somewhere on the ground behind me and jumped into the water so fast and grabbed her by the back of her shirt and pulled her head up out of the water.  The image that haunts me is of the way she was floating face down, and starting to sink further under to the point I couldn’t see all of her, and her face was still completely under the water.  It totally freaked me out.  I just grabbed her and pulled her out of the water as quickly as possible, and basically threw her up onto the embankment (not literally, I didn’t THROW her, but I placed her there really fast because I also needed to get myself out of the water ASAP!)  This particular lake is not one anyone in their right mind would ever go into willingly.  There is even a sign that says, ‘Swim at your own risk.’  The water looks murky and gross from outside the lake, well let me tell you it is worse on the bottom.  It was like quicksand and I started sinking further in as soon as I jumped in, which actually made it harder to lift Margaret out, because I had no leverage.  As soon as I moved my left foot, my flipflop was off and I could tell it was sinking further into the sludge and then when I took a step to get Margaret out, my other shoe was gone.  There wasn’t even a second of thought that I might retrieve the shoes, I knew immediately they were done for.  I started to panic slightly when I realized I was sinking so much that I wasn’t easily able to hoist myself out of the water, and for a moment I thought I was going to be stuck there till someone could help me!  I started yelling out, ‘HELP, SOMEONE HELP ME!’ but there was no one around but us.  (Andrew told me later that he was standing by holding out his hand and he was going to save me, but I didn’t look his way to know he was there for me - how sweet is that?!)  I finally did manage to gain enough leverage holding onto the little ledge above the water and climbed out, then I scooped Margaret up and asked if she was OK (she said yes) and took her to the bench nearby to hold her and get a better look at her.  She was shocked but otherwise seemed fine, she didn’t cry, she didn’t cough and didn’t seem to have any issues with her breathing.  I can’t see how she didn’t ingest any of the water, which has me worried because I wouldn’t doubt there being e.coli in there or something, but she hasn’t shown any signs of any issues from it, and I got her out of that water at lightning speed.  She was under for MAYBE 5 seconds, although I still think that’s a long time to be in gross murky water when you weren’t expecting to be.

So there we were, covered in muck from the nasty lake, me shoeless, and now I’ve got to try to force Emily back into the stroller, when she’s wondering why we’re leaving so soon when we just got there!!  I literally had to grab her up while still holding Margaret and get her into the stroller, then I got Margaret in, which I hated to do because it meant getting the stroller covered in nasty ‘swamp water’ but what else could I do?!  Andrew was most concerned about my shoes because I just got those flipflops this summer and he knew I loved them and he didn’t like that I was going to have to walk home in bare feet.  I didn’t like it either, but I told him that shoes are just ‘things’ and I didn’t care at all about losing my shoes because all that mattered to me was that Margaret was safe.  I wish I still had my shoes, now that I think about it I’m a bit sad to not have them, I actually loved those shoes, but who cares, they are so easily replaced!  I am just SO GRATEFUL that my baby girl is safe, that all 3 of my kids are safe.  That split second really smacked me in the face and it’s not that I didn’t know how much I love them because I think all the time about how much they mean to me, but wow.  I can’t even think about the what if’s on this one.  It’s too scary, and it was way too close to me today, what could have happened.  Way too close for comfort.

So what was going to be a nice long outing to feed the ducks, then wander to the park and maybe kick a ball around, turned into a very fast barefoot walk home after less than 5 minutes at the lake, and the rest of the day feeling such a heaviness from the day’s events.  I definitely gave all the kids extra hugs and kisses, and had a lot more patience with them throughout the day (although at the same time it was so hard not to just break down, because I felt so distraught but had to continue on about the day catering to their usual needs).  We got home and the girls and I had a tubby to clean off all the grime (Emily got a bit dirty when I had to scoop her up into the stroller).  Tonight James hosed down the stroller and sprayed it to get the nasty out of it.  

I just can’t believe that happened to us.  Seeing her in the water like that, totally helpless, it’s every mother’s worst nightmare.  When I was talking to Andrew about what a scary experience it was, and how bad I felt about it happening, he told me that I shouldn’t see it that way, because the way he saw it, I was the biggest superhero ever because I jumped in and saved her life.  I appreciated him saying that, but I definitely did not feel like a superhero today.  I hope that’s our only brush with the possibility of something horrible happening, it was too much for this Mama Bear to handle as it was!  I tossed the rest of the bread when we got home, I don’t think we’ll be feeding the ducks again for a while.
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