Monday, March 31, 2008

My Spanikopita

Stolen from an appetizer recipe in my vegetarian cookbook, and modified to suit my imagined final product. Delicious.

Sautee 1/2 large onion, diced, and 3 cloves minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil (several tablespoons).
Add about 300 grams spinach, sautee until wilted (I buy prewashed spinach in the biggest bag I can find and use it all). Set aside.

Separately combine 2 eggs, a dash of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and a block of feta cheese (I use soft goat cheese, my fave, but I know Dana and others think it 'smells like hoof' so you could go with your regular feta)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter.
Take 6 to 7 layers of phyllo pastry (frozen food section of grocery store, approx $3 for big box) and brush each layer with melted butter and layer the pastry in a 9x9 inch baking dish (or I use a loaf pan for my smallish sized family).
Mix egg mixture and spinach mixture and place in phyllo pastry, folding phyllo over top.

Bake 35 mins at 350 degrees.

DEElish.
I usually serve this with either greek salad or tomato and boccochini salad with homemade oil and vinegar dressing and fresh cilantro.
Sometimes to bulk up the meal for my hubby I'll also bake some chicken. He's all about the meat. I'm all about the veggies. That's why we make such a good team.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Update

Sorry it has been awhile since I posted. First, there was easter (fabulous! We visited my parents in Vernon), and then my internet connection has been fritzing out so whenever I get on the computer I just get frustrated and turn it off before I actually punch it or something.
Even as I post this I can see blogger trying to save what I'm typing and getting nowhere, so if you are actually reading this consider it miraculous!
Guess what??????????
We're going to Hawaii for a vacation!!!!! :-)
I cooked up this idea near the end of Brent's training in Regina: what if the four of us go to a hot, beachy destination for a much needed, relaxing holiday to enjoy each others' company and have fun? We're a fun loving bunch and we didn't have much fun from August to January this past year. So, let's go make up for it! So we hummed and hawed and researched and talked about it. Brent applied for time off in April and woohoo, it was approved!! We decided I would pay for the trip. So, all my work money has been going into an envelope in our closet, saving up for fun in the sun. We went to book flights and West Jet was having a sale, but their flights were all full. :-( see me pout. But we hung in there, open to the possibility of just going to Vancouver Island for a week or something instead, but PRAISE JESUS folks, Hawaiian Air had a seat sale and we're off to Maui for 8 days April 16th to the 23rd. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! We found a nice condo across the street from the beach. We bought tickets for a luau. We found an underwater aquarium to take the boys to. We rented a car. I'm a wiggly worm when I think about it all! We're going to have SO MUCH FUN!!
Ayden and I spent 1/2 hour today exchanging knock knock jokes.

ME: knock, knock
A: who's there?
ME: We
A: we who?
ME: WE'RE GOING TO HAWAII!!!

A: my turn. knock, knock
ME: who's there?
A: bum bum
ME: bum bum who?
A: bum bum squirrel who had poo on his face!!

I look forward to the day when we can have more intellectual conversations.

I was doing some laundry this evening (what evening don't I do laundry? Jeesh) and thinking about how CALM things are now that Brent is back. I always knew how wonderful he was, and how much he held us all together, but to actually experience his absence for a long period of time really drove home how integral he is to our daily functioning. It would, of course, be just as disastrous if I went away, but as the mom you sort of harbour a suspicion that it really is you who is the glue. Dad's great, but really, when push comes to shove it's me who is imperative.
Isn't that terrible? But it hovered there in my semi-conscious. Now I know we share the 'imperative' factor with equal strength. My husband is exceptionally well gifted in the area of relationships. He is a calming force for all of us (you know, when he's not pushing my buttons), and it was evident tonight when Ayden cheerfully said goodnight at bedtime and rolled over to fall asleep with no protest, no clingyness, no screaming, no excuses, no begging....just, goodnight. All is right with the world.
Of course, earlier today I wanted to kill him for screaming at me to put more syrup on his waffles like I was some kind of semi human slave put on earth to do his bidding and be treated like a cow. It was in his best interest for me to lock myself in my bedroom for 10 minutes or so, and that I did.
Half an hour later he was voluntarily cleaning the living room.
He offered to hold Matthew in the rocking chair and rock him to make one of Matthew's owies disappear.
He kissed my baby belly goodnight at bedtime.
He pranced around my bed reciting The Lorax while I read it to him.

How can one small boy be so infuriating and so wonderful all in one day?
I'm SO GLAD I have boys (and now let's bring on some girls).

Today we walked 4.5 km round trip to a nearby park. It was COLD (only 4 degrees!) but not raining, and beautiful. Spring has sprung. Some trees are blooming and there is tons of greenery everywhere. We had a great time until the cold got to us and we had to hightail it to a nearby cafe for hot chocolate. On the walk home Matthew tried to pick a blackberry plant and got harshly prickled. He cried for half an hour.
HALF an HOUR, people. This kid has drama stamina.
A couple of times Stu tried reappearing, but I told him to *f* off. I was proud of myself: thirty minutes is a long time to not feel guilty about not being able to fix a prickled finger and some crocodile tears. I warned him that those kind of tiny, stinging prickles last for a long time and that I wouldn't be able to fix it until we got home, and about 10 minutes into the drama Matthew said, "Mommy, my finger hurt LONG TIME!" Yes, and you cry LONG TIME little man!
I'm trying to focus on teaching him empathy, which helps alleviate my frustration with his crying, along with refusing to feel guilty. It is amazing how kids are hard wired for emotional intelligence at this age: the smallest nudging has developed so much empathy in him, which I've seen manifested with Bennett, Ayden, daddy, and myself.

Also, a few times this week Matthew and I have gone out just the two of us, and I really, really enjoy his company. He's such a easy going, happy guy (when he's not in drama stamina mode). The only irritating thing he does is constantly ask for food and treats when we are grocery shopping (he does this when Ayden is around too, and it drives me wild! No bananas. No chocolate. No gum. No popcorn. No ice cream. No pop. Matthew! Stop asking me for food! "Okay. Mommy, me apple?").
He's also a slowpoke but that doesn't seem so irritating when I only have him to look after.

I had an acquaintance and her children over for a playdate Thursday morning. She and her husband adopted their daughter from Thailand a few weeks after we adopted Matthew, and we have quite a few things in common. We both adopted although we don't have fertility issues. We're the same age. We have a biological and an adopted child. We both adopted from Thailand. And we both struggled with GUILT after we brought home our adopted children. We both went through a grieving process after adopting, grieving the pregnancy, birth, infancy, and breastfeeding that we could not share with our adopted child. We both had high maintenance adopted children (her daughter is highly resistant to change, sensitive, and VERY strong willed. Matthew is the drama queen of the century, holds his breath until he faints when angered, tired, or stressed, and pessimistic in nature) that we felt less than able to cope with.
Wow, was it ever nice to share with someone who has been there. It is amazing how knowing someone else who has travelled a similar path can make your experience seem so much more manageable!
We're going to hang out again.

I'm reading a bunch of books. Most notably one on feminist interpretation of the church which I'm really enjoying engaging with.
I've given up on the guitar for the time being and picked up my violin. I volunteered to be a part of one of the worship teams at my church. I haven't played in almost four years! I went to practice tonight and my tuner appears to be past it's lifespan so I'll need to purchase another.
I'm going to sign the boys up for soccer.
I like my job again.
My baby kicks me all the time. But not nearly as often as Ayden did. Being pregnant is about as close as you can get to another human being. It's very cool.
I feel sorry for men because they can't experience it.

That's all for now!
:-)

Week Twenty

You're half way there!
The rapid growth stage is about over. While things have slowed down, this next stage is vital to survival.
The baby's heart grows stronger. Find a quiet place, lay flat on your back. Locate your own heartbeat by finding your pulse. Next lay your hand on your belly. You may be able to distinguish the two heartbeats!
His legs are reaching their relative size. With the increase muscle develop occurring as well, you will start feeling much more than tiny flutter kicks soon!
Immunities are being transferred from you to your baby now. These immune cells will protect her from viruses you've already had for up to six months after birth!
The nerve cells for taste, smell, hearing, seeing, and touch are now developing in specialized areas of the brain. Production slows down as existing nerve cells grow larger and make more complex connections.
Your baby may startle in reaction to loud sounds. Amazingly, she can actually hear noises outside of the womb. Familiar voices, music, and sounds that baby becomes accustomed to during her development stages often are calming after birth.
If your baby is a girl, her uterus is starting to develop. She has approximately six million eggs in her ovaries. About one million will remain at birth.
Baby is about 6.46 inches (16.4cm) and weighs around 10.58 ounces (300g).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kids are Parrots

This morning Matthew was trying to put on his coat to go out, but the sleeves were inside out. He looked up at me and declared: "Mommy? This toat dri me NUTS!" It took me two seconds to realize that I must say "This is driving me NUTS" fairly frequently!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Bee Movie

An alltime favourite of mine. Second only to "Mister Magorium's Magical Emporium" which is my #1 alltime fave in the children's genre.

Here is a quote from the Bee Movie:


According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly.
Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground.

The bee, of course, flies anyway.

Because bees don't care what humans think is impossible.



May we all be more like bees.

Serious Shit

PEOPLE! WHY DOES MY LIFE REVOLVE AROUND POOP?!!!!?
This story is so aweful I can't even laugh yet. I'm hoping that posting it will be therapeutic and I'll be able to laugh while I type it out.
Brent is on nights, which means he sleeps in the day.
This morning went smoothly. I was calm. The boys were golden. The cat didn't puke.
Then, at about 1 in the afternoon I decided to go have a shower. I leave them unattended while I shower pretty much every day, and they are fine. They entertain themselves (or not), for 10 minutes and no major disasters ensue, as a general rule. Well, today was an exception.
Today, while I was in the shower for 10 minutes, Ayden and Matthew thought it would be funny to strip naked. This is not unusual in our house, and as long as we don't have guests, the rule is naked rocks. For the kids. We're not modest either and both boys see us naked on a regular basis, but we don't goof around with them in the nude, obviously. The kicker today was that they decided to dump all of the bedding from Ayden's bunk bed onto Matthew's lower bed, toss in the entire contents of their play kitchen (plastic food, dishes, utensils), and dance on THAT naked.
And then Ayden pooped.
On the bed.
And the plastic food.
And THEN he took the play kitchen utensils and started transporting his poop to a cardboard box. And the floor (new carpet, remember?). And Matthew's legs. And one of Matthew's hats. Two, actually. One was not rescuable. And the playroom. And the pile of clean laundry in the hallway. And the sink, countertop, and toilet in the bathroom. In fact, he added toilet paper to the mess in the toilet and proceeded to plug the toilet, causing a poo flood in that bathroom (where have I seen this before??) which leaked onto the carpet. He then tried to unplug the toilet using the toilet brush.
Wet, poopy toilet paper flung all over the bathroom (new paint on walls, remember?), including floor, bathtub, counter, sink, mirror, and walls.
I KID YOU NOT.
I only started laughing just NOW when I re-read this.
What did I do to deserve a malicious, mentally retarded, seriously disturbed, poo flinging almost five year old laughing diabolically as he spreads poop over 500 square feet of living space?
Nothing I ever did to my mother amounted to this.
Did it, mom?
This HAS to top anything I did.

At least Matthew's crusty-poo-spread-on-700-square-feet-of-laminate last year was unintentional. Funny, not unexpected behaviour of a baby.
THIS....

I'm speechless.
I was FURIOUS for about 2 hours (I had to leave the house with Matthew to run errands, just to get me away from the diabolical child...Oh yes, I forgot to mention that some yelling on my part MAY have woken up my husband, so Ayden stayed with him), formulating complex disciplinary actions that stretched until adulthood, but I've since calmed down. A spanking and 1/2 hour waiting in the empty bathtub while we cleaned up the mess will probably suffice at this point!
The thing is, he wasn't even REMORSEFUL! Not even after his spanking! He seemed surprised that I was mad. He laughed after I spanked him. Laughed.
It wasn't very hard, but I'm sure it didn't tickle.
You can see how perhaps it was prudent of me to leave the house.
After the cleanup.

I have pictures.
I vowed that I WILL get him back someday, and those pictures will be my ticket to teenage humiliation, and perhaps even some wedding story banter to boot!
I will get him back.
Just you wait, blogosphere. Just you wait.

Update on Bennett

An x-ray revealed that Bennett's foot is not broken, merely sprained. Whew! Glad I ducked ACTUALLY having broken someone else's kid.

My mom once LOST her neighbour's 2 year old while babysitting her. Along with my brother. For 2 or 3 hours. Neither kid could talk yet!
And when my cousin was about 10ish? 11? She and my sister were jumping off the roof onto our trampoline, fully supervised by my lax mother, and fell onto the rocks and broke her collarbone.

It runs in the family.

I know I'll get my ass kicked for this post.

:-D

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tragic, but not

Yesterday I looked after my friend's little boy (Bennett: the one in the latest run of pix). Midmorning, I took the three boys to the park to get some fresh air. Ayden rode his bike, Matthew walked, and Bennett rode in the jogging stroller. Matthew was too slow and drove me nuts picking up every single piece of garbage, pinecone, stick, leaf, and flower on the 1 kilometer walk. We'll have to revise the transportation strategy next time. Anyways, while we were at the park all three boys were having a BLAST running around, and Bennett wanted to climb the play structure. So, I helped him with the steps and the climbing, and made sure he didn't go too close to the edge (not wanting to hand my friend's kid back with a broken foot or something). Then he made excited gestures towards the slide, so I put him on my lap and we swooped down the slide together. I was concentrating so hard on making sure our heads didn't hit that annoying bar that is across the top of most slides, that I didn't pay attention to his feet, and one foot got caught between my hip and the slide, twisting it as we slid down. He SCREAMED and was writhing in pain. OH MY GOSH he got hurt on my watch! I tried my darndest to calm him down but he was too upset. So within five minutes we packed up and returned home from the park (the trip home was torture: Ayden was cold and whiny Matthew was cold and whiny, and Bennett cried the entire walk). Bennett's foot didn't LOOK too bad; no swelling, bruising, or obvious deformity, but when I prodded it he complained. It being naptime I thought perhaps he was overtired and maybe that was contributing to his prolonged crying, so I put him to bed and called his mom to give her the bad news that I'd smashed her kid's foot with my big bum on the slide :-) She was very reassuring. Kids get hurt all the time. Call me back after his nap if he limps or it seems sore.
After his nap I tried to get Bennett to walk to see how it was; he couldn't weight bear at all and cried if anything touched his foot at all.
I called my friend and burst into tears so she could hardly understand me as I said, "I think you need to take him to the doctor!" I felt SO aweful! He got hurt while I was watching him! It could have been worse; at least I couldn't be thought irresponsible at all: he was on my lap going down the slide in order to be more careful!! If he went down alone and got hurt maybe the 'should haves' would be a little stronger. Anyways, from poor Bennett's perspective it couldn't be worse; he was in pain! I didn't even have any kids' tylenol to give him and he wouldn't let me put any ice on his foot. In the end the doctor said it was sprained and not broken, but if it still hurt today to take him for an x-ray. I'm still harbouring a suspicion that it is broken, since no doctor I have met thus far has x-ray vision and can see bones through skin, muscle, and several generous layers of baby fat.
I was a basket case.
I had two very strong Braxton-Hicks contractions yesterday evening and wondered if it was the stress of worrying so much about Bennett's foot.
His parents still trust me enough to continue with the original plan to drop him off at our place for me to look after him tomorrow, too! Thank heaven!
I couldn't help but think of that little boy I posted about from work about a month ago, the one who drowned? He was at daycare when it happened. Maybe some of my stress and worry was simply re-hashing and further processing that event. Sometimes that happens with tough calls at work. I'll think it's gone and I'm over it, but it will come burping out again a month later. I have a lot of empathy for his daycare provider (and everyone else in that situation, of course). Who will come alongside her in her grief? She'll live with that forever. How do you say, "I'm sorry" when someone's child dies in your care?
Yeah, I think maybe my intense emotional reaction to Bennett's injury may have been double weighted with the memory of this other child. Plus, I LOVE Bennett and hate to see him hurt or sad. He's the sweetest kid in the universe! 99.9% of his life he has the BIGGEST grin on his face, and he's game for trying anything new. Plus, I'm pregnant and weepy. Hopefully he's still game to come to our house tomorrow!!

seriously, visit my friend tamie

this one goes out

this one goes out to all my friends whose lives are messy,
who've got it all together, most of the time.
this one goes out to all the friends who've dipped one hand
in orange paint, and the other hand in purple, smeared it around, added some
speckled stones found stuck in crude oil--
and called it a life. those those who forget to wash their hair
for eight days straight and eat cheerios for supper; to those
who keep winging around the world like a remote-controlled airplane
with a two-year-old at the switch--because somewhere
some place it's got to be right, there has to be the
right slant of sunlight on the sea, with sailboats
decked and bobbing, peeling paint. someplace like that,
where we eat olives and cheese in long, drawn-out lunches,
there's got to be some peace.
this one is for the friends sleeping on basement library
floors, somehow not able to climb up the stairs;
for the ones who drown in nuance, who are trying to breathe
underneath the heavy water of birth,
heritage and tradition.
for those who forgot their passports at the border, forgot their crampons
for the snow, and can't peddle a bicycle to save their life.
we are all solitary, all hidden. it takes a lot of courage to sit down at the table,
wake up, listen. it takes courage to speak. this one goes out to my weary
friends, all my spider-like friends stringing webs from here to glory,
because that's what spiders do. the web gets ripped,
but look how the light snags on the threads, look how it glistens in the dark.


t. harkins

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Funny

Dear Tech Support:
Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3 , Football 5.0 , Hunting and Fishing 7.5 , and Golfing 3.6.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0 , but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0 . Please help!

Thanks,
Troubled User.....

another tamie quote or two

maybe, instead of quoting Tamie all the time, I should just tell you to read her blog yourself. It's linked on my sidebar.

"[W]e pray for salvation. Salvation from the belief that we are separate at all, salvation from our tendencies toward cruelty or hopelessness, salvation from falling asleep."


"What a revelation. RT pointed out that instead of trying to be faux-holy all the time, perhaps I should just try to be completely and authentically me, and be willing to present this real me in a vulnerable and honest and open way to other people. The real me might not always be nice, but then again Jesus himself wasn't always nice. In fact, Jesus was often not nice. But he was compassionate, and he was brim-ful of grace, and maybe learning how to be me is the path to genuine compassion and ungrasping grace. "

Work

Yesterday was tough. First thing in the morning we hit the ground running, all the way to Vancouver with a sick patient. We saw the station for a total of 1 hour, 10 minutes yesterday. It was a very busy day, but that wasn't why it was tough. It was difficult because, first of all, almost everyone we came in contact with yesterday mentioned or wanted to discuss the hit and run incident in Aldergrove last week. For those of you from further away, I'll give you some details: three men in their early twenties were driving to the Abbotsford airport early in the morning. They passed a truck, somehow angering the driver. The driver of the truck sped up and rammed the back of their vehicle, driving it off the road. All three passengers got out of their vehicle and the angry driver sped off. A honda pulled over to make sure the three young men were okay, determined that they were, and left. A few minutes later the angry driver returned, hit one of the young men with his truck, and took off again. The young man who was hit died. The police have issued a vehicle description and an admonishment for this angry driver to turn himself in. I think everyone is shocked and horrified because of the lengths to which this road rager went to with his vehicle. Who, who, WHO, I ask you, thinks power is more important than a human life? Who loses their temper THAT badly? WHO lives with that much anger in them and doesn't seek help? BEFORE killing someone? Anyways, everyone is talking about this tragedy and it's a tough one to deal with.
Also, one of our patients yesterday (actually there were two victims) was beaten in the head with a two-by-four with 4 inch nails sticking out of it. He had a massive brain bleed and his eye was irreparable. He needed both neurosurgery and opthamological surgery. His buddy was not much better off.
Also, a pregnant mom went into a coma and is now on life support, brain dead, and the docs are trying to keep her body alive long enough for her baby to develop to a gestational age where they can deliver it by c-section and hopefully save it. The likelihood that her organs will hold up that long is not good, but they are going to try.
Also, one of our frequent flyers is an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. She has seizures every single day. Most days her mom can control them with extremely heavy duty drugs, but once or twice a week they are so bad and last so long that she runs out of drug options and has to call us. One of the problems is that this little girl is constantly developing a higher and higher tolerance for the anti seizure medications that work for her, and eventually reaches an unsafe threshold. Seizures are extremely exhausting for the brain and the body. Muscle contractions are so strong and so constricted during a seizure that breathing is often inhibited and all the muscle groups involved become extremely tired and painful as lactic acid builds up. Some seizure muscle contractions can be so strong that they break bones. This little girl uses up so much energy every day seizing that she is very thin. I think the worst aspects of her seizures are that she is conscious the whole time (unusual) and that they last for so long. Usually her mom will call after 45 minutes or an hour. ALS comes with us, they start an IV and give a stronger dose of the drug that works best, and finally it slows and stops. She will usually try to talk to us, and this is what she says, "Pain, owie, pain, owie, owie, help." When we pull into the driveway she recognizes the backup signal and she says, "Beep, beep, beep, help." She knows we have the drugs that help. She's usually tolerant of our needles, but yesterday she was pulling away. Can you blame her for wanting to avoid MORE pain? She makes me cry. Every day she lives like this. Every day. When she's getting a needle I tell her, "You're so brave. You are such a strong girl to put up with so much," but it feels dishonest: what choice does she have? Be brave or keep seizing. Stick your head in the lion's mouth or the cougar's paw. No doctor or neurologist yet has been able to tell her parents what is wrong, what it is called, what it is caused by, or what to do beyond the drugs that work. The seizures are not grand mal seizures because she is awake, and can somewhat control her muscles (bladder, for instance, and, while seizing, can pull her arm away if she is not ready for a needle). But the movements look like grand mal movements. She has brown eyes. She is very sweet. It is very sad.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Speaking of books

don't you just love the Velveteen Rabbit? I read it to Ayden tonight. He got it for Christmas. I love it!

123 meme

I got tagged by Jen to:
grab the nearest book, turn to page 123, and write the 5th, 6th, and 7th sentence.

My nearest book is literally 1/2 under my bum because I'm going to read it when I'm done on my computer. Page 123:
"Whether their ailments were linked to polluted groundwater would be a question for another day. It was filed in Hattiesburg at the federal courthouse, a good stone's throw from the Forrest County Circuit Court building, where Dr. Leona Rocha and her jury had rendered its verdict barely two months earlier. Lawyers Sterling Bintz of Philadelphia and F. Clyde Hardin of Bowmore were on hand to do the filing, and also to chat with any reporters who'd responded to their prefiling press alert."

Gosh, I could have picked a more intellectual book than my latest John Grisham. But that was what was under my bum!
:-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

my friend Tamie's photos are beyond amazing...here's one

Good day

I'm so glad today was a good day, after the night I had!! Thankfully we didn't have to be anywhere this morning (our only weekday morning like this!), so when they woke up, I encouraged the boys to ferret out some crackers and turn on a movie (they are now capable of doing this independently). Of course, after snoozing for two hours I ventured downstairs and discovered that they had helped themselves to COOKIES, not crackers, so that's a healthy start to the day!! I howled. It was worth it for me to sleep those two hours! Today was actually not just good, but GREAT. I felt calm and happy all day. What a contrast to yesterday and last night!
I wanted to add a new development, post Stu.
Before, I definitely internalized moments where Matthew felt overwhelmed or pouty, and blamed myself. If he was unhappy, it must be my fault. And this made me SO, SO frustrated with him in those moments. Who wants to be reminded of their failures time after time? Anyways, since Stu left (he really doesn't talk much anymore, even from the ground), I've noticed a slow shift to externalizing sad, pouty, tear filled moments. Today I even thought a few of them were endearing. THAT'S a first! When I am not expending energy on internalizing his sadness and managing my guilt, I've so much more energy for EMPATHY. Which is what we're supposed to teach our children in those early years, most importantly above all else. And the best way to teach anything to a child is to model it. Like, this morning, Ayden and Matthew were waging World War III downstairs and I called Matthew away to get dressed. He was whining and sobbing and carrying on, but I noticed myself smiling at his antics (in my sleeve; not so he could see...would hate for him to feel I didn't take him seriously) and I opened my mouth and said, "Why are you sad?" He answered "AYDENMWEAHBEFWENE ME!!" I had no idea what he said, but I knew what he meant, so I just said, "Oh, sometimes it's hard when Ayden is mean to you and doesn't share, isn't it?" And he said, "Yeah," and that was that. Then he snuffled a few more times, and got on with life.
See, before I would have FELT angry, though I would not have said much.
Ah, Stu. How much better off I am without you. On my most tired days I've more to give.
Halleluah.

Into the Wild and up all night

We watched 'Into the Wild' last night, a movie based on the true life experience of a young man who purposefully 'disappeared' from his life and family, to travel around the country and search for truth. I had read his story somewhere, seven or eight years ago, and it stuck in my mind as remarkable and curious, so I was looking forward to the movie. It was a remarkable movie with a vast array of locations and characters and events, and the main character, Alexander, was a really amazing person. Almost everyone who got to know him, loved him deeply. He challenged all social constructs in himself and those around him. Eventually he cooked up an Alaskan Adventure; isolate himself in the bush of Alaska with minimal supplies, and live off the land. He was crazy! Crazy, crazy. But, he did it. He succeeded in surviving a winter and spring in the far Northern bush, and tamed some personal demons in the process (he kept journals of all his adventures), but underestimated the power of spring runoff and wound up trapped on the far side of a river to deep and powerful to cross. He decided to wait out the spring rains, found himself entirely without food, and started foraging for edible plants. He mislabeled one of the roots he found and ate it, thinking it was edible, when in fact it was poisonous. He died.
Even though I knew the ending of this adventure before I watched the movie, it still struck me hard. I think because my original reading was a magazine article of some sort, and didn't delve as deeply into his character and his motivating forces, so I didn't become as attached to him. Also, the movie portrayal of his parents was very difficult to watch, as I felt much empathy for their loss when he disappeared, and then later when his body was discovered in Alaska. Suddenly I felt very anxious about the safety of my own children!
So, after getting to bed at 12:30 and drifting off to sleep, Matthew waking me up at 3 was not the greatest. It's now 5:41 and I've not fallen back asleep. I'm tense and anxious. Something going on with my hormones was exacerbated by this (wonderful but sad) movie, and now all I can do is lie in bed and stress about my kids disappearing and/or dying. I'm hungry to boot.

In other news, when Brent got home from work last night at 6:30, I fed him dinner and then escaped to a coffee shop to read and be alone while he put the kids to bed. He was more than happy to give me this leap for freedom, and I'm very grateful! He called me once they were both in bed, and I came back. Oh, happy day! Some days I just need to curl up by myself for a bit.

Oi, how am I going to survive today on 2.5 hours of sleep? Does ANYONE know what is GOING ON in my body at 18 weeks that would beat me up like this? Yikes. Dana? Asheya? C'mon, help a girl out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Argh

Today my emotions are all wonky. I went to the chiropractor and the receptionist was unhelpful, nothing major, just unhelpful and insistent that "we've always done it this way" when I know that's not true. But I've been going to this chiropractor longer than she's been working there, so maybe they changed the way they do things. Anyways, it PISSED ME OFF. I was (and am still) SO ANGRY about this! ?????????? And I came home to make supper and I almost started crying because the recipe I was going to make requires me to start cooking the chicken 1/2 hour later than I thought. ????????????? It's like PMS, but 3 or 4 times stronger, and without the pending flood. What is going ON? HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

18 weeks


Week Eighteen

Vernix (a white cheese-like protective material) forms on baby's skin with the lanugo (soft, lightly pigmented hair covering the body and limbs); both serving to protect your baby's skin during the months in water.
Your placenta continues to grow and nourish the baby. Don't forget those prenatal vitamins!
Tiny air sacs called alveoli begin to form in lungs. He'll be putting these lungs to good use in just a few months!
Her vocal chords are formed. She goes through the motions of crying but without air she doesn't make a sound.
Features of your baby's heart, including ventricles and chambers, should be visible during an ultrasound.
Your baby measures about 5.59 inches (14.2cm) this week and weighs about 6.7 ounces (190gm).

"and you love your job because why?"

Hehe, sorry to have grossed you out. That garnered a few complaints. The reason why I can keep loving my job within and after a call like this, is because I see the human behind the poop. No person should have to roll around on the floor in their own poop for twelve hours, incapacitated and helpless. But because sometimes they do, no person should be abandoned in that state. My presence represents help, and the hope of a return to dignity. I don't LIKE the poop, obviously, and I complain about the poop (afterwards, long out of earshot), and I hate smelling it all day (I call it olfactory memory, which only works with horrible smells, go figure), but I can deal with it because I see the person behind the poop. Someday, that may be me, old and incapacitated, unable to help myself perform basic functions, and I sincerely hope someone will be there to see ME behind the poop, because it will make all the difference.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Poo again (and no lack thereof)

I worked today. Seriously, I'm no longer wiping up poo at home, so now I apparantly MUST do it at work. This morning I did THE POOPIEST call I've had in my five year long career. This guy had poop IN HIS MOUTH, on the bottom of his feet, and on his floor from wall to wall to wall to door. On the top of his head. In his armpits. Crusty. Dried. Stinky. Poop. All I smelled the rest of the day was poop. We checked his shower to see if we could hose him off with warm water before we brought him in, but it looked as though it hadn't been used in ten years. He wasn't getting cleaner in THAT shower, so we wrapped him in plastic sheets, put him in our bed on the porch so we wouldn't slip in (or smell) the brown grossness, and did our assessment there. Diagnosis? Stroke. Gahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! We let the hospital do the scrubbing (which I felt AWEFUL about, but there really was a question as to whether the shower would even WORK, and it really was too dirty to clean anything in). Poop, poop, everywhere. Hopefully tomorrow will be all about clean people with no poop!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stu again (or lack thereof)

Wow, my relationship with Matthew really IS different now. Only a bit, but a bit in the right direction! It wasn't aweful before, but SO frequently overshadowed by Mr. Guilty Voice that it was difficult to really enjoy the good stuff to its fullest. Parenting is so much work, and so much GIVE, and so much CLEAN, and so much TEACH, and so much TALK, and so much REPEAT YOURSELF, and so much PLAY BORING GAMES, and so much WASH SCRUB WASH, that it's kind of a bummer to then have a muted experience of the GOOD, rewarding, wonderful, funny, affectionate, playful, awe-filled, tumbling, wrestling, laughing side of things. Now, it's not muted. I no longer dwell on his negative, whiney, or 'misbehaving' incidents later in the day because I no longer feel guilty about them. I deal with them, and then I move on. If I could have dealt better with it, I think, "Hm, next time I'll do ----------- instead" and then I leave it in the past. Like this morning: I overreacted to Matthew grabbing something out of my hand, though I was clearly indicating I wanted to keep it in my hand...so, I got mad. Then I felt bad. Then, I apologized. Then I came up for a plan for clearer body language and verbal reenforcement, for next time. Simple! I'm learning! Last night I put him to bed and we had another cuddle (we usually do, BTW...but now I'm enjoying them more), which I internalized. I even 'felt' that Oh, I love you, and 'said' Oh, I love you at the same time (usually they are not simultaneous for me with Matthew), and he said "Wuh. You." And I felt tremendous joy. Great! Whew, I like parenting him so much more now that I am fully taking in the good stuff. That guilt fog was CRAP.

Shoot me now

Two nights ago my cousin Sara woke up at 2:30 with insomnia. She started blogging at 5:00.
This morning I woke up at 2:41. It is now 6:18 and I have not fallen back asleep.
should I even try? I need to wake up in 42 minutes to start my day.
Shoot me now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Random stuff

Okay, tip. If you know someone who is adopting/has adopted, avoid telling them they "did it the easy way." I've done both. Adoption is harder.

Okay, peeve. What is with people driving in school zones? I should refine that with, what is with PARENTS driving in school zones?? Seriously, some of the worst driving I've ever seen has been in the school zone at Ayden's preschool, which is located in an elementary school. When it is drop off time at 8:45, people speed through the zone at 60-70 Kph, sometimes the worst offenders are DUMP trucks...child pedestrian vs. dump truck: who do YOU think will win? People park illegally. People merge back into traffic without signalling or shoulder checking. People don't stop at the crosswalk. People angle park to drop their kids off, ACROSS THE SIDEWALK, and then have to back into traffic to get back on the road. People park across the street from the school and encourage their kids to dash across the street half a block from the marked crosswalk (this happens more often at pickup time in the afternoon). People drive too slowly. People talk on their phones while driving through the school parking lot. People don't signal their intentions to pull over, off to the side. People stop dead in the middle of the driveway without pulling over, blocking traffic behind them, and sit there while a ridiculous number of kids pile out of their back seat.
Good grief! Basic rules, people: drive 30 in a school zone, signal and shoulder check, and take the time to go in the school driveway to drop your kids off safely. Even better? Walk your kids to school (hello, I'm guilty; it would take us 3 or 4 hours to walk to Ayden's school one way). Lots of people do, but lots don't. I wonder what happened to school buses? When I was little, I took the bus.

okay, hunting for infant car seat. This brings to mind one of those issues that is close to my heart (and line of work). Car seat safety. I can't tell you how much it breaks my heart to see kids standing up in backseats, or sitting on a parent's lap, or using an adult-sized seat belt when clearly not appropriate. The #1 way children are accidentally killed or injured in Canada is in incidents involving vehicles, (crashes or pedestrian vs. vehicle) so it would be prudent of us to take every precaution with regards to vehicle safety. Most parents know that car seat safety is very important, and that ICBC claims 8/10 car seats are installed incorrectly. My beef with this is that alongside this should come a public service announcement listing of 'common mistakes' made in carseat installation or use!! Some common mistakes I see or hear about, mostly through work:
Infant car seats have a carrying handle. This handle should be stored DOWN, out of the way when in the vehicle. Otherwise it interferes with the crash cushioning mechanism in rear enders, and the handle often breaks off and injures the baby (sometimes stabbing them in the head or torso).
All seat belts must be TIGHT; you should not be able to pinch the seat belt harness at all when it is fastened around your baby. The seat belt holding the car seat to the car should be so tight that you can't move it more than one inch in any direction. The best way to achieve this, in my experience, is to kneel in the seat while tightening the seat belt. Also, the H-shaped locking clip is good for keeping the belt super tight. Lock that seat belt by pulling it all the way out at the top, tugging firmly, and then releasing. If you pull on the belt, it should no longer pull out because it is locked.
Use your tether, and, after removing your knees from the seat to tighten the seat belt, tighten it as firmly as possible.
Infants must not be turned around until they are 22 lbs AND 12 months old. It is commonly believed that 22 lbs is the marker for turning your child front facing, but a baby's spinal chord will not stretch more than an inch when forced forward before 12 months of age, causing it to snap.
Preschoolers must not be moved up to a booster seat until at least 40 lbs (usually around 4.5 years of age, but Ayden is almost 5 and only 37 lbs).
School aged children must (legally in Canada as of Jan. 1st, 2008) be in a booster seat until age 8 or 80 lbs, whichever happens first.
Car seat harness belts should be AT or BELOW an infant's shoulders in the rear facing position.
Car seat harness belts should be AT or ABOVE a child's shoulders in the front facing position. (Often, kids will outgrow their harness belt before they are heavy enough for a booster seat: Ayden outgrew his and we had to buy a whole new car seat just for the 6 to 8 months between car seat and booster).
Register your car seat: there are a LOT of recalls of entire seats or parts. If you are registered, the company will contact you.

Also, don't buy second hand car seats.
Car seats expire after 10 years.
Car seats should be disposed of after a crash, much like helmets.
Car seats purchased in the U.S.A. are crash tested to lower crash speeds than those purchased in Canada, and are thus illegal to use and not covered by auto insurance in Canada.

I'm sure no one is still reading this, but at least I've had my say!!
:-)

Pix

Both boys love to climb trees;


This is Bennett, a friend's 1.5 year old who I have the priviledge of sometimes looking after. Ayden was giving Bennett a ride on the back of his tricycle, and every time he stopped, Bennett eagerly signed "MORE!"


First time both boys successfully shared the teeter totter at the park (yesterday)


Matthew


Today the boys had a picnic on the lawn for lunch. Hooray for springtime!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Update

Well, last night after I posted my complaints things really improved. The boys were well behaved and cooperative, and bedtime was better than usual. I even stayed with Matthew until he fell asleep with his cute brown arm wrapped around my neck and shoulder. I can always tell when he's falling asleep because he twitches rather violently. Sometimes mommy just needs a cuddle, too.
I've switched up the bedtime routine because the one we had was too long and involved, and took up the entire evening. I try now to get them bathed either before or just after dinner, and keep it separate from bedtime. Then at bedtime we just brush our teeth, read ONE story each, pray, and that's it. I love to read to my kids, but four stories (one of Ayden's favourite stories is Dr Seuss' "The 500 hats of Bartholemew Cubbins," which takes 35-40 minutes to read) during the bedtime routine is just too much.
Both kids were in bed and asleep before Brent got home from work (9:30). So, I got to read MY book for several hours before bed (great for me!). I'm reading Solzhenitzyn's Gulag Archipelago--very good!

This morning I took the boys ice skating. They had a blast! My feet hurt, though. I need new skates (my old ones are at least one size too small and have some rust on the blades). I was a horrible mom and forgot their helmets. Mine were the only kids on the Parent and Tot ice rink without helmets. Next time!!

Okay, as promised, 25 things I'm thankful for:
1. Sunshine
2. Spring
3. bright colours
4. my kids' laughter (as long as it is not precipitated by getting into something off limits)
5. Gut laughs for me
6. my husband
7. adoption
8. books
9. poetry
10. good music
11. my new car (Oh yes! We bought a new car! Crazy purchase...but we can't fit 3 carseats in the Corolla and we do need 2 vehicles again for the first time in 4 or 5 years. 2006 Toyota Matrix...LOVE IT!! And we totally lowballed the car dealership and got a smoking deal)
12. biology (esp. human)
13. tea
14. babies
15. good food
16. shelter, clothing, and all that
17. friends
18. my king sized bed
19. family
20. year long maternity leave
21. education
22. flowers
23. sunsets
24. mountains
25. grace

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sick of this

I'm not sure if it is the rain, but I'm pretty crabby today. I just yelled at Matthew for dropping his fork on the floor. It makes a LOUD NOISE and I'm sick of loud noises today. This really sucks. I'm trying to tell Stu to get lost, but how do you not feel guilty for yelling at your three year old for doing something perfectly normal for a three year old? Brent's 12 hour shifts are LOOOOOONG days for me~pretty much I'm the only parent for 13 1/2 hours. When it's sunny, things look up! When it rains, I want to strangle everybody. Hate rain. Hate rain. Hate rain. 1400 square feet of house may be huge by international standards, but it's not big enough when the heavens open up, I'm telling you! Both boys love the rain because it means they can use their umbrellas (which I also hate, because I have to put them up and put them down, and it's difficult to hold their hands, and you can't see their heads to predict what they might be thinking about getting into, and the umbrellas are constantly bumping into my legs, getting them wet).
Okay, I just yelled at Matthew AGAIN because he is eating to slowly. I want to go hang myself!! If I can JUST get through this night without anger, I will be eternally happy.
Next post will be a list of 25 things I'm thankful for, to make up for this pissy mood post, I promise.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thoughts on Stu

Today in church the boys were wiggling around, doing their boys can't sit still thing while we were singing. I was keeping an eye on them, but letting them roam a bit, and dance a bit, and talk a bit, since the music in my church is pretty loud. Suddenly Matthew smiled at me, ran up to me with his arms wide open, and gave me the biggest, widest, snuggliest hug ever. It's not unusual of him to be spontaneously affectionate, but what was unusual was my emotional reaction. See, Stu talked to me so incessantly about the things I do/have done WRONG with Matthew, that I ceased to even note moments of sheer happiness or joy, and if I did notice them I never took credit for them. I did know this was backwards; with Ayden, I've always internalized his positive moments, characteristics, and aspects (crediting the hours of positive parenting I've done), and externalized his negative ones (crediting little sleep, developmental phases, or hunger, for example), but with Matthew I've generally done the opposite. I say 'generally' because for the first six to eight months, I did this exclusively, and after I realized that I did this I started to take more credit for the positive things I saw in him, but still internalized the negative.
This generally made me externalize positive, affectionate moments. Which elicited a positive, but more neutral, or muted emotional response in me.
Today, I internalized that moment.
Today, I had a beautiful, positive moment with Matthew that was pure and unadulterated by Stu's voice, influence, or shadow. It was great! I even heard someone sitting near me comment on how cute Matthew was, and I internalized that, too. He IS cute, and his moments of open, vulnerable, pure affection are mine to enjoy, embrace, and take credit for.
How MUCH Stu stole from me, for two years. Not that I never enjoyed those pure affectionate moments before now--just that I enjoyed them not to their fullest, because of guilt. I am becoming more and more convinced that this emotion of guilt is so destructive! Remorse, humility, repentance...these are emotions that outline our true posture before God, but guilt...I think it is black, and rotten, and heavy, and destructive. It takes on a life of its own, and it starts to colour even our sweetest interactions.
Oh, Stu. Why, oh why did you come live in me?
I'm so glad you're gone (as he speaks from the ground...meaning, not gone, but purged, and being repeatedly ignored, beat down, and told to STFU).

Minor Vose Miracle(s)

Ayden has officially peed/pooped on his own with no help, 21 times in a row. Once he even went at a friend's house (more intimidating), though we have yet to tackle the public bathroom without needing moral support and bum wiping. That's the first minor Vose miracle for today, to which I say, hip hip hooray! A sticker chart and some hefty prizes at the end of each 7 full boxes of stickers (one box=one poop/pee) were the key here. Matthew has also followed suit without the aid of stickers, averaging one accident per day, which is infrequent enough to allow for underwear (I was going to do a sticker chart for him too, but after I focused on Ayden...but then, Matthew is doing so well we may not need a chart).
The second minor miracle happened tonight at dinner. Ayden helped me make the salads (I chop, he divides the veggies into bowls), and, following our discussion regarding which vegetables I like and why, he tried a red pepper for the first time in his life. AND LIKED IT! That only took five years. He requested that I put 2 peices of red pepper in his salad, and some cilantro, because I said those were my favourites. He usually just eats the carrots and cucumber in his salad and avoids the rest like the plague.
Hip hip hip hip hooray!!

Rant

So, while Brent was gone, I tried to surround myself with an insulating layer of God in order to survive. Part of this included changing my radio listening habits from secular to the cheesy, fakey, evangelical, focus-on-the-family type Christian radio station here in our area. The talk programs I generally couldn't listen to, but the music was sometimes nice for reminding me to pray, or just wrapping me up in the presence of God. So, recently, desperate for something different, I switched the radio station BACK to a secular one and OH BOY was it awesome to hear good music again! Not that radio in general plays good music as a rule, but there happened to be a good guitar solo on the minute that I switched. I still listen to both, but I'm done saturating my ears with the evangelical stuff. Too bad there isn't a GOOD Christian radio station out there, one that plays some half decent music (which I know exists), avoids repetitiveness in music selection (I swear, this other station I was listening to had 5 or 6 songs they rotated between), and has programs which acknowledge the wide variety of opinions and interpretations within the context of "Christian" that exist out there...for example, all their family radio programs revolve around this (f***ing) ideal: Well employed, hard working man as spiritual head of household, stay at home mom and properly submissive wife who may or may not be homeschooling her children while possibly selling tupperware on the side, and 2-3 obedient, biological, middle class white children whose struggles are limited to how to bring their friends to believe in Christ, and how to get into University, and how to learn to submissively obey their parents. Of course, I exaggerate. But only a little. Most of their radio talk programs were 'family' programs; meaning intended to strengthen and teach parents regarding family life. The thing is, most of their talk was crap. Crap, crap, crap. Interrelational advice based on entrenched male/female stereotypes and excessive investment in the 'wives be submissive to your husbands' sentence in Corinthians. Some acknowledgment that women might work out of necessity; none that they might work because they like their jobs or find work rewarding. Some anti feminist dialogue. A LOT of (MEN) spouting anti abortion and anti gay rhetoric. Sick, sick, sick. Like I said, most of the radio talk programs I couldn't listen to, being more liberally minded, or at least desiring to acknowledge another more moderate side of the story....like, for example, I don't really agree with abortion, but I don't think making it illegal is the answer...nor is it really relevant an argument in Canada anymore; no one is going to make it illegal again and that is a fact, protesting that fact with placards on the side of the highway only incites rage...someone pointed out to me once, "how would you like to be greeted at the door of your church by a man wearing an "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart" sweatshirt, if you had had an abortion at some time in your past?"...PLUS, I get really really really REALLY sick of evangelical MEN spouting off regarding an issue that almost entirely pertains to WOMEN and belongs in a feminist forum to which men are welcome to do a lot more listening and a lot less talking, if you ask me.
Shouldn't women's reproductive rights be the subject of women's conversations rather than the subject of men's didacticism?
And what about those of us who consider ourselves Christians but don't believe submission is exclusively a woman's role? And who don't like being stuffed in boxes labelled with sexist stereotypes, along with all the other people in the world who happen to share their sex?
And, seriously people, WHAT is so threatening to my family about two people who love each other and happen to be gay getting married?
The #1 question I want to ask God when I die? "WHY on EARTH did you make it so difficult for people to be gay?"
Last week Ellen Degeneres talked about a 15 year old boy in America who was murdered by his classmate for being gay (and for having the audacity to ask his murderer to be his valentine). WTF? How is this possible? HOW is this POSSIBLE? When I heard about this tragedy I cried and cried. I actually had to pull over my car. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been, to be a gay teenager walking the halls of high school every day, overhearing all the anti-gay rhetoric and fag jokes that get tossed around, being mocked and harrassed himself, and then, on top of all that, one of his classmates decided that his brave act of asking out a straight guy deserved the DEATH PENALTY?
I ask you: who taught a fifteen year old to hate that much?
What gives us the right to impose our beliefs (this one I have to disclaim as NOT being a belief I share; doing some listening to my friends who are gay, and some weighing of my experience of God, it is hard for me to accept that simply being homosexual is wrong) on the people around us? Why is living in a society that agrees with us so much more important than validating each other and loving each other, despite or even BECAUSE OF our differences? We need to equip our children to LOVE, not to judge!! Who are we to decide we know who goes to heaven and who goes to hell? Who is 'right' and who is 'wrong?' There IS a true and a not true out there, but who of us really knows how much closer we are to realizing what is true and not true than any other person? I really don't think God set us on earth to delineate who fits in the in box and who in the out. I think he set us on earth to learn how to love each other. Is it love to add to people's pain? Guilt? Shame? Rejection by society? Do you really think Jesus would avoid homosexuals and feminists (ME! Just for the record! In case you didn't already figure that out!) if he came to hang out on earth as a divine human again?
Whew, I had that rant pent up in me for a few months.
I'm grateful for the praise music I listened to for the past six months (all six of the songs), and how it helped me cope with single parenthood. But I guess I had a few things to say to the evangelicals who created the radio station that plays them. Not that they read my blog! But sometimes a rant is warranted.