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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Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's all about me...for a few hours at least!

I got my hair cut today.  My hair was longer than it had ever been in my life, and was about halfway down my back.  It took a long time to grow it out, and there were times when I enjoyed it, but in the last few months I realized that really long hair is not for me.  I am actually vowing to never again in my life grow my hair THAT long.  It just isn’t comfortable, and I either don’t have the time or simply can’t be bothered doing things with it such as curling it or following through on cute hairstyles found on Pinterest, so it feels like long hair is lost on me.

Before she did anything else, my hairdresser chopped off about 4 inches of hair and tossed it.  I literally felt the weight lift off my shoulders!  I definitely made the right decision.  I now have a graduated bob, where it’s shorter in the back than the front, and my bangs are an angled fringe.  (Not sure if I’m using the correct hair lingo, but that’s the gist!)  I also splurged this time and got my hair coloured as well, with a brown colour that’s a shade or two darker than my natural hair, and then lowlights in a vibrant-ish red/pink colour.  It’s not as vibrant/wild as it sounds, it’s quite subtle and I think I’d get more of the red put in next time to give it a bit more of an edge, but I love the way it turned out.  It feels light, it will be so much easier to dry and style, and it feels like it has a lot more personality.  I’m not saying long hair doesn’t look good on other people, but for me it just felt boring.  I love this short ‘do!

It was also somewhat therapeutic for me to have several hours out on my own, where I was actually doing something FOR ME.  I don’t really take proper care of myself, I think.  I always put other people before me, particularly my kids, because I want to provide everything FOR THEM and when it comes to me, well, I tend to just put myself on the back burner.  I keep putting off taking care of myself.  I felt so much better today when I got home from having spent several hours away.  It’s been a long time since I did that.  I was probably gone for about 6 hours and that might not seem like a long time, but it was huge for me to get that time for me.  

When I came in, I had hot spaghetti and garlic bread waiting for me, which was AWESOME of James to make because I hadn’t eaten in so many hours and on the drive home was secretly hoping he’d have made a dinner like that!  Andrew complimented me on my hair right away and wanted kisses, Margaret wanted a cuddle, and Emily had the sweetest reaction of all.  She came over and touched my hair and actually looked at it front to back and grinned and said, ‘Ooooh, pretty!!’  A few minutes later she was behind me and she pointed at the back of my head and said, ‘COOL, COOL!’  LOL  It was SO cute, she really genuinely seems to love my hair.  She’s quite into fashion and whatnot so I do take it as a compliment =)

I feel a little better about myself with my new hair.  I still have to get used to it because when I catch sight of myself in the mirror I don’t look quite how I remember myself, but it’s a good change!
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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Andrew's first visit from the Tooth Fairy

On Sunday, August 31st, Andrew lost his very first tooth!  It just so happened to be the very first baby tooth that came in (bottom front left).  His bottom front right tooth is probably going to come out tomorrow.  My baby boy is growing up too fast!

He bit into a fork several weeks ago, which definitely helped spur along the loose tooth, but I think it was going to be happening anyway.  I just can’t believe he’s already at this stage.  I love his baby teeth so much, I hope his adult teeth come in as straight and as beautifully as his baby teeth did!

Andrew is quite the little hoarder, he doesn’t like to part with ANYTHING, and so of course when we discussed the tooth going under his pillow and the Tooth Fairy exchanging it for money, he wasn’t having any of it!  He said that he wanted to keep his very first tooth, and after that he’d be happy to give them to the Tooth Fairy.  Besides, he said, ‘I don’t really spend my money anyway, and I’ve got tons of it already, so I don’t really need the dollar, but the tooth on the other hand…!’  LOL  He’s a character.

The Tooth Fairy understood his desire to keep his tooth, but at the same time felt bad that she wasn’t getting to do her job, so she visited Andrew anyway and left him a glittery letter!  She congratulated him on being so brave when his first tooth came out, and promised to take good care of his teeth when he leaves them under his pillow in the future.  She also reminded him how important it is to brush and floss.

I was all excited when I got up in the morning, fully expecting him to tell me all about the letter as soon as he heard me get up, but when I went into his room to quickly make his bed before heading downstairs I saw that the letter was on the floor, as was his pillow.  They must have fallen off the bed when he got up and he wasn’t expecting the Tooth Fairy to visit so he didn’t even think to check.  I took the letter downstairs with me and told him I’d found it under his pillow when I was making his bed, and he was VERY excited!  He was thrilled that the Tooth Fairy visited anyway, despite that he was keeping the tooth, and he was relieved to know she didn’t find it in the Tiffany box he was storing it in on one of his shelves!  (The only Tiffany box this house has ever seen, which by the way had a baby rattle in it that he got when he was a baby...I don’t happen to own any fancy Tiffany jewels, which I’m totally OK with!)  

Because he now had a letter to go with the tooth and it would be awkward to fit in the Tiffany box, Andrew insisted we find him an envelope for the letter, which he wrote ‘Letter from Tooth Fairy’ on the front of in big 5 year old lettering, and then I had to make a teensy little envelope to glue to the back of the big envelope to put his tooth in.  I swear it’s his new most prized possession.

What a huge milestone!


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Friday, August 29, 2014

End of summer already?!

I can’t BELIEVE it’s already the end of summer.  I know September is usually fairly mild, and it’s predicted that even October will be relatively mild here (I hope they’re right about that).  But it’s just not the same...When you say ‘September’ you just don’t think ‘summer’ anymore.  I love certain things about the fall and even about the winter, but what puts me on edge is knowing how long it is before it’ll be summer again.  SIGH.

Of course, everything is going to be different, too, with Andrew starting school.  I don’t know when he’ll actually start given that the teachers are still on strike, so I doubt very much that he’ll be starting on Tuesday, as he’s meant to.  I’m also really confused as to what will happen because they didn’t send out a Kindergarten package as they would have during the summer if they hadn’t been on strike, and as a result I have no idea when we’re supposed to show up or ANYTHING.  Kind of bummed about that, but also somewhat hopeful we’ll get a few extra days together before this whole school thing gets started.  If he was in a higher grade I’d definitely be more worked up about the strike, but I don’t think starting Kindergarten a bit late will have much of an impact!

So many changes taking place.  Totally not ready for it to be fall.  It started raining today when I took the kids out (I’ve actually been making more of an effort to take all 3 kids out on my own (to places where the girls don’t have to be confined to the stroller).  Really just to the parks that are within walking distance of our house, but still, it’s a big step for me!)  We stayed out anyway because it was a warm rain, and not torrential or anything, but still, it really hit me how spoiled we’ve been with having NO rain most of the summer...I really hate the thought of having to get used to the opposite!  It’s only a matter of time, it’s inevitable here on the ‘wet coast.’

Anyway…

The girls are definitely a handful (make that TWO!) but they’re really getting so much better now at taking direction, and while obviously I can’t fully trust that they’ll listen to me, they really are very good when it comes right down to it.  I used to either get them out of the van one by one and take them into the house, then come back for the other one, OR I’d get one out of her car seat and then go get the other and carry them both in at the same time (which in some ways I’ll sort of miss because truth be told as complicated as it can be sometimes, it’s kind of cool to be able to carry two babies around at once!  I remember when they were very very newborn and teensy tiny (around 5 ½ lbs tiny) and I could just scoop them both up...No one else wanted to try picking them up the way I did and it kind of made me feel like a lion or a bear or some sort of wild animal scooping up her young like no one else could).  Now what I’ve started doing, just in the past few days, is I get one out, carry her around to the other side of the van, then put her down and get the other out, and then let them both walk into the house on their own.  They’re getting to the point of showing so much independence that yesterday after an early morning grocery shop, they each carried a bag of groceries into the house for me!  (After putting it in the kitchen for me, Emily picked hers up again and tossed it over her shoulder like a purse and said, ‘Byyyye!  Shopping!’  LOL  She figured she’d just head off to the mall for a while, I guess!  No idea where she gets that from!!

Both girls are talking up a storm, Emily saying more words still than Margaret, and little sentences, but they’re both talking so much more than I remember Andrew doing at their age (which is normal, boys vs. girls).  They both say please and thank you ALL THE TIME, although thank you is still the same as you’re welcome, which they say as, ‘Ockom.’  It’s really sweet.  The other morning Emily was doing her usual thing of shamelessly sprawling out on the couch and demanding ‘tinckoles’ (her way of saying ‘tickles’, as in come on mommy, tickle my back and legs RIGHT NOW!) and I heard her but wasn’t doing it because Margaret  was also vying for my attention and then I heard Emily say, ‘PEESE tinckole, Mommy, PEESE!’  Like if she was more polite about it, I’d do it, and she was smart to think so because she definitely got my attention (and tinckoles, as it happens!)

Both girls are trying their best to master doing headstands, which they get from constantly watching Andrew do them.  He’s really good at them, and they are getting to the point of actually being able to do them for a second or so before falling down.  It usually turns into more of a somersault, but for just shy of two I think it’s pretty darn amazing what they can do!  It’s also really interesting watching what they do as a result of having an older brother to mimic, because Andrew didn’t have that and he had to learn so much more on his own or from adults, which I think is a different experience than learning from a slightly older kid.  I love how he has taught them some cool things, and in all honestly the please and thank you thing they largely got from him.  Yes, we taught him his p’s and q’s but because he is always so polite, he encouraged them to be from a young age and they’ve definitely picked up on that.  

I think I can see where the ‘terrible two’s’ get their name...Andrew started the terrible two’s when he was one, FOR SURE...so I’ve been through it, but times two should prove to be much more...interesting.  However, I must say, that I think there’s something I really love about this stage.  Sure there are times when I miss the girls being teensy tiny and just little bundles of love that practically fit in one hand (each).  Sometimes I miss them being completely immobile (LOL!)  But each stage has its perks, and I love how they are communicating so well already, know SO much, understand what’s safe and what isn’t (to a degree, of course, they’re still little daredevils at times) and they can do more fun and interesting things the more they learn and the more I can trust them with stuff.  It’s a fun age over all!  I hope I don’t jinx myself in saying that…!!

Andrew just got back from a 2 night camping trip with my mil to Cultis Lake and he had a really great time.  I asked him what his favourite part of the trip was and he thought for a second and then said, ‘Roasting the marshmallows!’  What I’m jealous about is that they went to Dino Land and I have always wanted to go there!  If I’d known it wasn’t all that far away from us (maybe an hour’s drive?) I’d have gone by now.  I used to see the commercials for it when I was a kid and it was all about The Flintstones and looked TOTALLY AWESOME but I couldn't go because we lived on the island and it would have been complicated. Now that I know it’s as close as it is we are totally taking the kids next summer and I can already hardly wait!  So bring on the fall and winter I guess, because that will bring us that much closer to next summer, and I love having that to look forward to =)
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Monday, August 18, 2014

My babies are getting so big!

Margaret and Emily talk more and more every day and it’s both amazing and hilarious the things they say.  Case in point, this afternoon Emily started coughing while she was eating some food and Margaret patted her shoulder and said, ‘Chew n’ chew!’  Whenever the girls (and Andrew when he was younger) start choking (not worrisome choking, knock on wood but that’s never happened to any of my kids!) I say, ‘Chew and chew!’ and it seems to help them get out of the little funk and clear their throat.  It was the cutest thing to hear Margaret say it today.  She also said, ‘Sorry’ for the first time today (I think it came out more like, ‘Show-ree’) after biting her sister.  I told her if she didn’t make amends she would have to go up and spend some time in her bedroom so she went over and kissed Emily’s arm and said, ‘Show-ree!’ then grinned at me.


Margaret just started saying, ‘Yes’ (her version is ‘Yesh’) instead of ‘yeah’ and Emily now says, ‘Yep’ instead of ‘yeah.’  That’s not a great example, but in general Emily tends to pronuniciate words really well.  Something hilarious she did yesterday - while she was sitting on her toy push car, she was holding an o-ball, and accidently dropped the ball and it rolled behind her.  As she looked back to see where it went she said, ‘Aw, nuts.’  LOL  It was HILARIOUS.  We all started laughing (my parents were over at the time, my mom’s first visit to our place since her knee surgery) and then Margaret piped in and started saying, ‘Nuts’ to everything because she loved the reaction!


Both girls say so many words now I can’t even list them all.  I’d say Emily says more words than Margaret, but they both understand just as many and ultimately they both communicate just as well as each other.  They also (especially Emily) use 2 word and occasionally now sometimes 3 word sentences.  It’s the cutest thing.


They continue to be VERY different little girls.  I think they get along pretty well (today was a bit challenging in terms of how often they fought but most of the time they get along fairly well).  They make each other giggle and they like to play with the same toys but they also play with the same toys differently.  Emily loves to baby her toys and any toy that is a person or animal or character of any kind she will play the ‘night night’ game with.  She gets a blanket and wraps them in it, sometimes gives a quick little cuddle but ultimately acts like she’s tucking them into bed.  Margaret will sometimes mimic that but it’s only because her sister just did it, I don’t think she’d do that of her own accord.  She tends to want to just carry one small plastic toy around and obsesses over it till she loses track of it amongst all the other small plastic toys we’ve accumulated.  Her favourites are Fiona, Shrek, and their baby Felicia.  


Emily is more of a water baby, and for that matter enjoys being outside more than Margaret.  Which doesn’t mean that Margaret doesn’t enjoy her outdoor time, it’s just that Emily would spend HOURS in a pool or out playing in the yard whereas Margaret is good after a half hour or so.  She’s content to snuggle up in her chair and watch a movie, or better yet dance her socks off (if she wore socks, but like most toddlers and Emily included, I don’t think they’ve EVER kept their socks on when their shoes weren’t forcing them to stay on!)

There are so many little difference between them that most people probably wouldn’t notice, and that don’t really matter anyway, but are observations I can’t help but make.  For example, when in their highchairs Emily tends to always cross her feet over, whereas Margaret tends to try to have her legs lifted as far as they can be against the top of the tray.  Emily is a bit bigger weight wise and she feels more sturdy (always has) when held.  Margaret is a bit more waif-like and inevitably tucks right into you when you pick her up.  Margaret is extremely kissy and affectionate, Emily IS affectionate but she is stingy with her kisses!  Yet when she does give you a kiss it’s the sweetest moment of your entire day.  Emily reminds me of a Cabbage Patch Doll I had as a child and now really wish I had kept to give to her.   It had soft cheeks and was made from a different type of plastic I guess than the traditional Cabbage Patch and there’s something about her face and the softness of her skin that reminds me of that.  Her smile is absolutely infectious, but then so is Margaret’s, she makes my heart melt even with her cheeky up-to-no-good grin!  (Which reminds me way too much of their older brother!) They are both absolutely adorable, beautiful, cute, sweet, and perfect. (If I do say so myself!)
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My baby boy starts Kindergarten soon..

Andrew has really taken to math and writing lately.  He will actually request a piece of paper and his felts so he can ‘just sit and do math’ and he’ll write out problems such as 1+1 or 2x2 and solve them.  He’s pretty quick, too, when he’s asked something like, ‘What’s 10x3?’  He knows without even having to think about it!  Even things like, ‘What’s 5x10, +2?’  He enjoys figuring it out.

He’s taken to watching an Animal ABC show on Netflix and he’ll sit with his paper and felt marker, writing down the words as the show spells them out.  I love his interest in learning and seeing how well he’s doing with his writing.  He’s always so proud of himself when he spells out a new word.

He also loves playing with play dough, and will sit for a decent stretch of time as of late and just create things on his own.  He always prefers if someone’s with him while he works, and someone usually is, but I like that he’s finally showing more ability to just work away on his own for a while and be independent about his play.  He LOVES to draw and paint and do any crafts whatsoever.  He enjoys making collages on James’ computer, and recently became somewhat addicted to composing his own music through Garage Band.  He loves to read books, of course, and particularly likes to have Mommy tuck him into bed at night because he knows I’m an easy mark and will read a couple more books than what I tell him I will.

It’s hard to believe that my ‘baby’ boy is going to be starting Kindergarten IN TWO WEEKS.  I am actually a bit of a wreck over it.  I’ve always been sentimental about his milestones, of course, but it has always seemed that we’d hit a milestone and then we’d be onto the next one so quickly that I wouldn’t have time to dwell on the one he’d just had.  This one feels monumental.  It feels like it’s going to change everything, and in some ways it will.

Andrew has basically been my sidekick since the day he was born.  He’s never been away from me longer than 2 nights, and he’s usually with me every day, all day.  We do everything together, and on the days he goes to his nana’s every few weeks or so, I may have a few more quiet moments during the day, but I do miss his energy.

It’s going to be a huge adjustment having him in school.  Selfishly, I’m REALLY dreading the drop off and pick up every day, because it means getting up earlier and I already feel like the wind’s been knocked out of me, I’m so tired every morning.  I’ll have to not only get up earlier but be presentable myself AND have all 3 kids dressed and out the door by a certain time.  If we walk it means two hours of walking per day, and if we take the van it means a lot of rigmarole because I have to get the kids into the van, take out the stroller for the babies to get Andrew to his classroom, get the babies back into the van and stroller too, back home, and repeat it all in the afternoon.  If it’s raining I don’t love the idea of 2 hours of walking each day, but we’ll also get drenched just in the process of me getting the girls into their stroller and back into the van at the school.  There is no good way of looking at it!  This is coming from a person who, for the past 5+ years, other than a few days here and there with appointments has pretty much had the ‘luxury’ of seeing a dreary day and just not bothering to venture out in it.  I have to get used to a whole new scenario, and it includes twin toddlers who I know will get into the groove of it just as I will...I’m just not looking forward to it, and I doubt they would be either if they knew what was coming!!

I’m excited for Andrew learning new things and meeting new people and having proper friends that he can see on a regular basis.  But I worry about how much he’s going to change, not because I don’t want him to become his own person more and more but because up till now he’s been just under our influence and it’s obviously a lot easier that way!  I can recall COUNTLESS people, even perfect strangers, telling us when he was an infant that, ‘you should enjoy the next 5 years and cherish them, because once he starts school EVERYTHING will change and it will never be the same again.’  Here we are, 5 years later, and those words have obviously scarred me, because I feel really REALLY overwhelmed about him starting this next chapter.  It’s not like, oh, ok, we’ll enroll in a class and see how it goes and if we enjoy going we’ll do so but we’re not locked in.  This is major, this is the next 13 years of his life and then he’s an adult!  I feel like something really big and really important is coming to an end, which might seem silly, it’s just the way this is affecting me.  I’m not ready to let go.

I know it’s ‘only’ Kindergarten and we’ll ease into it just like everyone else does.  I know there are a lot of exciting things ahead for Andrew and for us as a family, and I realize that just because he’ll have more outside influences it doesn’t mean he won’t also take with him the morals and values he’s learned at home.  I just feel really sentimental, and I wonder where the last five and a half years have gone.  Life was so much simpler when Andrew was just a baby and everything but our time spent cuddling seemed so far off in the distance.  It’s just hard to believe that he’ll be having his First Day of Kindergarten photo taken in a couple of weeks.
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Robin Williams will be missed

I really enjoyed Saturday morning, and we weren’t even doing anything, really.  After the shock of Robin Williams dying last week, we decided it was time to show Mrs. Doubtfire to Andrew.  Our usual weekend routine tends to consist of me getting to sleep an extra hour or so than I do during the week, then James inevitably is exhausted and goes back to bed shortly after I get up.  I completely understand his need for a break/rest so I don’t begrudge him that, but I often feel a bit bummed that we’re not spending more time together.  This Saturday we sipped coffee (well, maybe that part still wasn’t entirely relaxing, as the girls are uncannily like magnets to the couch whenever mommy has a coffee in her hand) and lounged on the couch together for a while, laughing and enjoying the movie both from our point of view and from Andrew’s.  Even the girls seemed interested in watching it for a little while!

Robin Williams.  What can I say.  I felt immediately traumatized by the news he was gone.  I felt compelled to call James at work and tell him, and I told my mom so she wouldn’t hear it from the five o’clock news and be extra shocked.  Maybe we didn’t realize quite how high a pedestal we had (and have) Robin Williams on when he was here, because it’s easy to take for granted what you have until it’s gone.  But I mean, come on, it’s Robin Williams we’re talking about!  And while I KNOW he and the characters he played in movies are not one and the same, I can’t be the only one who believes there was a little part of him in those roles.  It sounds like he was there for his children every bit as much as Daniel was all about his kids in Mrs. Doubtfire, and I know from hearing fans’ accounts of having met him that he was a genuinely kind person.  He just also happened to have a talent that literally no one has or, in my opinion, ever could beat.  He will always be the funniest man ever, and it really does feel like the world is just not quite the same without Robin Williams in it.

It’s obviously even more tragic to know the way he died.  It’s sad to think that the man who made us all laugh till we cried was hurting so much inside that taking his own life seemed like the best answer.  I see pictures of his face, that classic Robin Williams face, and I just want to give the man a hug.  He seemed so sweet, and of course you always hoped that behind those jokes and the laughter brought to his fans, that he was happy, too.  I know he had demons and addictions and I can’t even begin to fathom what it would be like to live the life of someone of his calibre.  My brother used to work at a bookstore that he used to frequent when he visited Vancouver, and he saw him there when he was working one night.  My brother thought it was pretty cool to see Robin Williams so close like that, but he let him be and didn’t go bother him.  I read once that one of the things he loved about Vancouver was that people generally didn’t get too crazy and he therefore had a bit more time to do his own thing if he wanted to.  It would be hard enough to be in the limelight when you feel like your life is pretty alright, but depressed, I can see where it might seem impossible.  I just wish he could have known how much he was loved, and that he would have been supported in whatever he decided to do, even if it meant quitting show biz and never performing again.  Now its come out that he was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s, which one might speculate could have also had something to do with his decision.  I guess we’ll never know.  It’s just so sad to think that Robin Williams is gone.  What a life force he was when he was here.  I can only be grateful for all the amazing work that he did, and all the laughs he will still share with us because of it.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My crazy, random food sensitivities

The night last week when me and the kids were going to meet up with James at the park after work, I decided to feed myself and the kids before we left so I would only have James’ dinner to bring with us.  I did, however, decide to make a fruit salad to bring as a dessert treat for all of us to share.  For the first time in year and years, I had bought 2 kiwis, and decided to add one to the mix of fruit I was bringing.  I rarely buy them because, truth be told, they’re just not my favourite fruit in the world, but I saw them there at the store and they seemed summery to me so I thought I’d get a few for a change, and to try them out on the kids.

I sliced up one whole kiwi, and snuck a taste - literally I cut a slice in half and ate the one little half.  I both liked it and didn’t, I mean I didn’t mind it but it’s not something I’d miss eating if I couldn’t any more - which it turns out is a bit of a blessing in disguise!

Within probably 2 minutes of eating that sliver of kiwi, my entire mouth and throat were indescribably ITCHY.  I couldn’t stand it and it just felt like it was getting itchier and itchier each minute.  It came on suddenly but at the same time it was such a bizarre feeling that at first I didn’t associate it with the fruit.  I have an intolerance to a few foods, but never have I experienced an itchy mouth and throat from eating something, usually it would make itself known with a really terrible stomach ache.  This reaction was just so weird.  I was trying to eat dinner and I felt like I couldn’t because the food was making my mouth even itchier, and my tongue was starting to feel a bit swollen.  I started to get a sort of panicky feeling that’s also hard to describe, I guess because I’d never had anything like that happen before and it made me worry that something really bad was happening to me.

I decided to look up ‘kiwi allergy’ to see if it’s an actual thing, because it seemed so random!  But as it turns out, while it’s not hugely common, it’s not entire uncommon either.  So I am officially (self diagnosed) allergic to kiwi fruit.  I’m just thanking my lucky stars that it’s not something I felt inclined to devour a huge amount of, because honestly if I got the reaction I did from essentially one bite, I can’t even think what would have happened if I’d eaten even a half of the fruit, and it’s crazy because it’s not like it’s a big fruit! The allergy can be so severe it can cause anaphylactic shock, and I feel like I now understand what that means, because I was heading in that direction for sure (if I'd have eaten more...) It's pretty scary. Apparently once you've had the symptoms I had from eating kiwi, the likelihood of the symptoms being significantly worse the next time are quite high. I definitely don't want to take that risk.

As it happens, I have a major intolerance to avocados and have since I was about 16 (or at least that’s when I realized it).  The symptoms are completely different, where I end up with a wretchedly horribly stomach ache that feels like my stomach is being eaten away from the inside out and I literally wish I was dead when I get it.  (I will NEVER EVER risk even one bite of an avocado again in my life if I can help it, my last reaction was so bad). I did end up with a slight stomach ache from the kiwi, too, but the itchy mouth was way more prominent.  It turns out that people with kiwi allergies are more prone to having issues with avocados, as well as I think it said bananas and latex?  Other than occasionally causing some heartburn, I eat bananas without issue, and I’ve never eaten latex (!) but I don’t have an issue with wearing gloves or being around balloons or anything, like I know some people do.  So, yeah.  I do have issues with pineapple that cause basically the same problems for me as avocados do, not sure if that's generally associated.

To top it off, around 3 months ago, after having viscous stomach aches every single day (just about) for months on end, I decided to cut out drinking milk (only having it in tea or coffee or if it’s baked into something, but never drinking a glass of milk, or having a bowl of cereal or anything like that), and I cut out eggs (again, unless they’re in something where you can’t decipher the egg on its own), and yogurt.  I can still eat cheese without any trouble for some reason, but largely cutting out dairy I’ve been able to reduce the stomach aches I was having by at least 95%!  So I’ve obviously developed some sort of sensitivity to dairy that I didn’t have before.

I know I’m going to have to get to the doctor sometime to get this stuff checked out properly.  I think it would be good at this point to have a proper allergy test to see if we can get to the bottom of all I’m allergic to and see what I might be able to do about it, aside from just avoiding the foods altogether.  In some ways I’m ok with the dairy intolerance in that in a perfect world I’d be vegan, or as close to it as possible, and consuming less dairly is therefore a good thing to me but at the same time having horrendous feelings of my gut rotting isn’t necessarily how I want to be reminded that dairy is bad!  It also seems odd that all of a sudden I can’t drink milk or eat yogurt when for my whole life up to several months ago, I had no issues with it. (I've always had occasionally issues with eggs, but now it's severe to the point that two bites could potentially cause the stomach ache - and it can last for HOURS).

I am actually considering doing a cleanse, maybe a juice cleanse? at some point soon to see if I can sort of jump start my metabolism and reprogram my body to some degree.  Not saying a few days of a cleanse would change intolerances to foods, but I feel like I need to do something ‘extreme’ (and yes, a 3 day cleanse seems totally extreme to me!) in order to change my eating in a big way, which is something I STILL NEED TO WORK ON IN A BIG WAY...sigh!
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Braving the summer heat

Aug 9 - I had hoped to go to a Saturday market as we’ve still yet to go to one all summer...but it didn’t work out again due to the babies’ nap time coinciding with the optimum time to go.  Instead, after their nap we loaded the kids up into the van, stopped by Subway for an easy picnic lunch, and headed to Blue Mountain Park in Coquitlam.  It’s a really great park, featuring pretty much everything you’d expect and then some.  There’s a big playground for all ages, a great water park, and even a wading pool.  Lots of trees for shade on such a hot summer day, too.  We spent a lot of time at the spray park, which was lots of fun and I got totally drenched having a water fight with Andrew!  I love how all 3 kids absolutely love the water.  After the spray park we checked out the playground for a while, but even soaking wet it felt too hot in the sun.  We finished off with a little splash in the wading pool and then it was time to call it a day.

Aug 10 - The plan was to check out Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, which we’ve never been to before but it was/is on my ‘summer bucket list.’  We got there only to discover all the parking lots in the area were bursting at the seams, there was literally ZERO parking anywhere in the vicinity, and we circled around a few times in hopes of something opening up for us but no such luck.  I was a little bummed about that, but James looked up other parks in Coquitlam that would be somewhat on our way home and we found a little gem of a park very close to Blue Mountain (I can’t remember the name of it). It had a cool spray park that was mostly in the shade, and we had fun playing at that, but while the kids did check out the playground for a bit, it was just way too stifling hot to be out in the direct sun for any length of time.  The cool thing about the experience was that we pretty much had the whole entire park to ourselves the entire time we were there.  Not that it’s bad to share, and I like to see the kids interacting with other children, but it was more relaxing just being able to let the kids run around doing their own thing.

The weekend went by way too fast, and James and I were both pretty exhausted after the outings.  I think the heat was getting to us, and we just don’t have the luxury of being able to fully relax/feel rested, etc.  It was great for the kids to have those outings, though.  I feel like it’s so important for us to get them out like that even at times when we might think it’s easier to just stay home, because the weekend really is the only time we can get them out for any period of time like that.  It still makes me sad/stresses me out that logistically I can’t take my kids out on my own (unless the babies are locked into the stroller, but they aren’t ok with that for very long stretches of time anymore, so we’re pretty limited in what we can do!)  

I was way too tired on the weekend to do a grocery shop but we really needed stuff, so on Monday morning I braved the store with all 3 kids - something I haven’t done for a LONG while.  I regretted it as soon as we walked in the door and Andrew was bossing me about something while both the girls started sobbing and were trying every which way to escape from their stroller!  (We had to get enough groceries that I had to push the stroller and pull the cart, like old times when I used to shop with all 3 regularly!)  But once I started moving the girls were mostly ok, and then I caved and got a bag of cheesies to feed them some junk food to get me through the rest of the shop without all the whining.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!  It was 9am and there I was plugging my babies mouths with cheesies, but hey, whatever works, right?!  By the time we got to the till they didn’t want the cheesies so I gave them each an olive to keep them occupied while I got the groceries into the van.  What an adventure that was...Definitely don’t plan on shopping with all 3 again any time soon, but it was either that or go on my own or just with Andrew when I’m exhausted in the evening, so I guess it felt at the time like the lesser of two evils.

Yesterday it was just a ‘me and Margaret’ day, for the first time ever in her life!  My mil took Andrew and Emily for the day.  We had a nice day just the two of us, although it rained off and on enough that I didn’t want to venture out with her somewhere outside just in case the rain hit while we were out.  I also resist because I’d have to use the double stroller and I hate the thought of having to use that with just one baby!  (My mil has a tendency to ‘lose’ umbrella strollers...two now, actually...but anyway).  I also just wasn’t feeling all that great, and still have a really bad sore throat that’s making me wonder if I’m coming down with something.  Still, we had lots of snuggle time that we don’t usually have with 2 other snugglers fighting for the attention, and it was interesting to watch her just play on her own and not need her sister or brother there to help entertain her.  She had mommy's full attention for once!! Throughout the day she did mention ‘Andrew and Emmy’ and explained to me, ‘Daddy, go, Nana’ - that they had gone with Daddy to spend the day with Nana.  But I think she quite enjoyed her day just her.  Next time I’d definitely like to have a nice outing with her somewhere, especially since it’d be ‘easy’ taking advantage of ‘only’ having one child with me, which of course is still a lot of work but would feel easy compared to adding a +2 to the mix!
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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Two weeks

Not quite sure how its been over 2 weeks since my last post...I feel like we’ve done so much the past few weeks, too, and now I feel overwhelmed with how much I have to try to remember to piece it all together!

On the 24th my mom had her left knee replacement.  It was a bit of a whirlwind leading up to her surgery date, as she was only given 10 days notice.  It was a long time coming, yet it felt so last minute once it was finally happening.  I was pretty wrought up about the whole thing, and felt fairly stressed out for several days before and after her surgery.  It went as well as it could, she’s healing nicely and I’m hoping she’s going to get her mobility back finally, which she hasn’t had for YEARS now so it’s a pretty big deal.  It just felt like a bit of an emotional rollercoaster I think, having it sink in that it was finally actually DONE, yet knowing the hard work she has ahead to get right on track.  It’s been a bit of a crazy time, but I’m happy and relieved that she’s doing so well 2 weeks post op.

On July 26th (a Saturday) we went downtown for part of the day.  It seemed like an odd day for us to go downtown given it was a fireworks night, and we weren’t actually attending the fireworks (but somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400,000 people were!) but James’ bro and new girlfriend were visiting so it’s just the way it worked out. It ended up being kind of nostalgic to me being downtown on a busy summer day.  We used to live right in that area, and while it makes way more sense to be where we are now - I love the amount of space we have, as well as the relative quiet - being there made me miss the lifestyle we once had.  Still, it was fun just taking the kids to second beach for the afternoon, having a little picnic and a walk along the sea wall.  Andrew loved the playground at second beach, and getting a bunch of ‘vintage’ mcdonald’s toys from a garage sale in the area (!!!)  The girls enjoyed their adventure on the beach and dipping into the ocean.  Especially Emily, she is such a little water baby.

The 27th was James and my 7 year wedding anniversary.  It’s crazy to me that it’s been 7 years since that day.  Pretty much that entire day is so fresh in my mind, as if it were yesterday, and yet it was that many years ago already.  My aunt and uncle came over in the early evening to look after the kids so James and I could have a date night to celebrate.  We went to a Thai restaurant on West 4th that we really like and had the chef’s platter of vegetarian dishes, which were all really delicious (although slightly on the too-spicy side for me...might have to ask them to tone it down a bit next time, but James loved it!)  After dinner we took a leisurely stroll along kits beach, sat on a bench by the water for a while, and finished off the night with a gelato waffle cone before heading home.  It felt like a really romantic and fitting way to celebrate, especially being close to the water when our wedding (and honeymoon, for that matter) theme was beach/nautical.

James had booked the 28th off so his mom came over to look after the babies while we took Andrew to Playland.  Of course eventually the girls will get to go, too, it’s just that there really isn’t much for them there yet, and we wanted to get the full experience with Andrew.  He’s 43 inches tall now, so he’s onto the next level in terms of rides he’s able to go on that he was too short for last year.  It was so much fun, we went on the small rollercoaster 4 times, our (his and mine, not so much James’!) favourite ride was The Scrambler, which we went on twice, we went on the Ferris Wheel (which he said as he got off of it, ‘Im NEVER going on that ride EVER. AGAIN.!’ and I kind of have to agree!  Something about the way it sways and how you’re stuck at the top waiting as people at the bottom are getting off and on the ride just doesn’t appeal!)  He went on the motorcycles, Super Slide (all by himself) the Carousel all by himself for the first time ever, we went on the hot air balloons, tea cups, you name it, if he was big enough we did it.  Bumper cars were fun!  James and Andrew rode in one car and I was on my own, and Andrew had a field day making sure they bumped into me every chance they got (and thought it was funny when I bumped into them, too!)  We had cotton candy, popcorn, and luckily brought our own water and other food to avoid insane costs.  Andrew loved that the Haunted Mansion (which he’s still way too young to go into) had made some additions with a few creepy new characters added to the outside of the building.  Last but certainly not least, I went and checked if he was tall enough for the log ride and sure enough, he was one inch above the minimum height so I convinced him to go on it and OMG!  What a thrill!!  Andrew was totally freaked out and I don’t blame him, I was too, truth be told.  Basically within seconds of going down the first slide, which seems relatively big, you’re going up the steep embankment to the ridiculously high drop off, and you can see people going down it and screaming their heads off.  Andrew was sitting in front of me (and I was holding onto him tightly!) and he said, ‘I don’t want to go on the big one!’ and I had to tell him it was too late!  Up we went...and D-O-W-N we went!  It was crazy, I haven’t been on a ride like that since I was in Disneyland in 1998.  It’s a feeling I get in nightmares sometimes, where I know what’s about to happen but I can’t do anything to stop it, and I’m slightly terrified!  That completely out of control feeling where you just have to brace yourself and let it happen.  He was a good sport about it but yeah, I don’t know if he’ll go on it again with me next year or not!  We didn’t buy the picture because it was insanely priced ($9 for one 4x6 print) but I kind of regret not getting it now, because it was kind of priceless.  The look on Andrew’s face was a perfect depiction of how he was feeling in that moment!!

Fast forward to the next weekend because there’s no way I can remember all that happened during the week, and we come to July 31st, a Friday but James booked it off for a vacation day.  His mom was going to look after the kids for an overnight deal so James and I could go away for a night somewhere like Harrison Hot Springs like we did once what seems like a lifetime go, but it wasn’t meant to be so she said she’d look after the kids for a whole day at least so we’d get a good chunk of time together (well, we sort of had to press a bit to get that amount of time, and then didn’t completely get it because she called to let us know Andrew wasn’t being entirely cooperative so we didn’t feel comfortable staying out as late as we would have otherwise, but I won’t get into all of that…)  We did have a good chunk of time out, probably about 6 hours, which for the two of us to have together just us is generally unheard of (sad, but true).  We went downtown and biked through Stanley Park a bit, shared beer and French Fries at Stanley’s in the park (not super vegetarian friendly or we’d have had a proper meal there), drinks at the Westin lounge, we cycled to a place called Crab Park where we ate take-away baguette sandwiches from Finch’s (good, but it’s not the same as Baguette Time, which I don’t know if I’ve mentioned is GONE, which has left me heart-broken...and craving sandwiches I will never taste again...but anyway)  It was SO nice and so much like old times to be hanging out at a park together having a little picnic, chatting, taking in all the sights.  We loved that part the best of our whole day.  From there we cycled back to Canada Place and went to the Flyover Canada ride at the Imax theatre, which is a total tourist trap in the sense that it’s crazy expensive for the shortness of the ride, but it was SO COOL, I’m really glad we did it.  We both loved it.

On the Saturday I went for a short visit at my mom and dad’s to check in on my mom (it’s tough not being able to visit at all during the day on weekdays, but I can’t take the babies over because they wouldn’t understand not being allowed to climb up on my mom’s lap).  After the girls’ nap time we had planned to go out to a park for the afternoon but it was such a ridiculously hot day that we decided to just stay home, fill up the pool in the backyard and stay in the shade.  In the late evening James and Andrew went downtown to watch the fireworks, and Andrew stayed over at the mil’s (she has a view of the fireworks from her place) and James cycled home after the show.  On Sunday we relaxed at home till after the girls’ nap, and then headed to Queen Elizabeth Park.  They have a huge water fountain that people use as a pool, which we discovered last summer and had a really fun time hanging out at.  Last year the girls were much less stable on their feet and basically had to be held the majority of the time.  This year they were running around, splashing, having so much fun.  We set up a little picnic area where we parked the stroller, and the girls would occasionally run over there and then back to the fountain to play in the ‘poo’ which is how they say pool (actual poo is referred to as ‘poop’ so there’s no confusion there! lol)  It was nice to see the girls exploring their independence and playing so nicely in the water.  They absolutely loved the whole experience.  James’ mom dropped Andrew off and he changed into his bathing suit and had a chance to run around and play in the water for a while before we’d had too much sun and had to leave.  He really wanted to stay longer but they arrived an hour later than we were supposed to meet up and the girls had had way too much sun by that time.

We wanted to pick up a gift certificate for my cousin’s bday present so we went to Red Robin to get that and decided to have an early supper there so we wouldn’t have to think about cooking when we got home.  It wasn’t relaxing for me and James at all, entertaining the kids the whole time and making sure they were eating/food wasn’t going all over the floor etc, but as far as restaurant experiences with little ones go, we were really pleased with how well the kids did.  They weren’t very noisy at all, and were really well-behaved, and seemed to enjoy their food.  They all got some ice cream for dessert, which was a definite highlight!

Monday was my cousin’s bday party at my aunt and uncle’s place downtown, so we went to that and got to meet some of my cousin’s partner’s family, and hung out with my bro and sil.  The kids did really well at the party, especially for being the only kids there, they didn’t get into any mischief and the babies were so good about not going for wine glasses and cups that people inevitably left out on toddler-reachable tables!  It was exhausting for James and I because we unfortunately find most people (even family) very unhelpful with the kids (my aunt and uncle helped as much as they could, but they were also hosting the party) but I will maybe save that rant for a future post...It was of course a lot of work with how busy the kids were, but ultimately I thought they were amazingly good, and really enjoyed the party,  We didn’t leave till almost6pm and given their bedtime is 730, we were nervous they’d fall asleep on the way home and bed time would be a disaster, but they didn’t fall asleep at all (Andrew did LOL) so bed time was fine and they slept pretty well after all the excitement of the day.

It was sad to have the long weekend end, I love having James home with us so much.  I feel overwhelmed during the week when it’s just me all day long with the kids - not that I can’t handle it, it’s just a lot to take on, and I’m always fighting exhaustion on a different level than I do on the weekend.  Also, we just enjoy James/Daddy’s company!  The girls often say on weekdays, ‘Daddy.  Bike.  HOME!’ like they know he went to work on his bike but they want him to be home already, and I can’t help but agree with them!  Andrew, too, he’ll say, ‘Daddy, do you have to go to work today?’ and James will say, ‘No, it’s the weekend’ and Andrew will get all excited because that means he gets more father/son time =)

While I’m at it, we had some fun adventures during the week this week, and I felt good about getting the kids out a few times.  Last weekend we started getting Andrew out on his bike more.  He still uses training wheels because we so rarely get him out practicing given how chaotic life often feels with twins and a lack of time.  But we really want him to be training wheel free before the summer ends, so he started practicing more on the weekend, and a few nights this week James took him out in the evening to get some more practice.  He’s doing really well and if he goes out just a few more times for practice rides, I think he’ll be able to start riding without the training wheels.  On Wednesday night we met up with James after work at Confederation Park and the kids loved playing on the new playground and especially in the water park.  It was SO nice to get them all out running around enjoying the summer evening not just in our backyard or inside as per usual.  It felt really good for me, too, to be out like that and not be just doing our usual of sticking close to home.  Then on Thursday, Margaret was downtown at the mil’s so after Emily slept for 2 hours I went and woke her up (or she’d have slept the afternoon away, which would have been perfectly fine except then we wouldn’t have had time for an outing!) and we got ready and I took her and Andrew to a park we’d never been to before that has a wading pool and activities set up throughout the summer.  It turned out to be a really great park, definitely one I’ll take the kids back to.  I wouldn’t be able to manage all 3 kids there on my own, but we will figure it out so we can go back!  Andrew got his face painted like a pirate and made his own little pirate hat, and after we hung out there as long as we could handle being in the hot sun, we went to White Spot so they could have a Pirate Pak.  I found it a bit challenging there with the 2 kids on my own - there’s NO WAY I’d take all 3 to a restaurant on my own till they’re much older!  But they did seem to enjoy it and it was a different experience for us, since it’s a rare treat that we’d do something like that.

We have some fun things lined up for this weekend too - hopefully it won’t take me so long to write about this time!
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