Saturday, May 31, 2008

Books

I can't stop reading. Hee hee. Anyone who knows me, already knows this. Since I was four, I could not stop reading.

Tonight Ayden was sounding out words backwards over my shoulder. He's two millimetres away from actually reading (I pointed out that he was reading from right to left and that the words would only make sense if he read from left to right, but he laughed and said "I like it that way!"....much like when anyone points out that Matthew wears his shoes on the wrong feet, they hear "Me wike dat way!").

My latest finished reads were

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I read Wuthering Heights by the other Bronte sister before and didn't like it, so was wary of this one. Evidently Charlotte's style is more to my liking. I loved this one. Some rather Victorian convenient coincidences and some stock character foils, but all in all a total classic that I had trouble putting down. I loved the main characters, which always makes it difficult for me to put down a book. Recommended, for those who enjoy old fashioned fiction.

House of Testosterone by Sharon O'Donnell. Hilarious. My mom bought this for me. The subtitle is "One mom's survival in a household of males." Hundreds of piles of laundry, a male dog, three boys, sports, camping, and vacations planned solely around sporting events. Totally funny, and slightly frightening for me. Especially the part where her boys hit puberty and their voices changed. Yikes! My boys' sweet voices are precious to me, and it's sad to think they'll one day be gone. You know how there's the pondered "last kiss" after a breakup? As in, "When was the last time we kissed?" For a mom with boys it's, "When was the last time I got a cuddle?"
Too tough. They grow in you (heart or uterus), they cling to you, they come to you for so many kisses you think you'll go mad when they're little, they fight each other for your lap, they give you 'three hugs and three kisses' every time you say goodbye (which, by the way, is actually FIVE hugs and FIVE kisses, but who's going to STOP him?), they pick you dirty weeds and neighbours' garden flowers, and then one day POOF you're an infectious plebian and the cuddles are over.
Fantastically funny. Great for moms with boys.
The cover has a photo of a three year old boy wearing swimming goggles, a yellow towel tied around his neck like a cape, and underwear. My boys have worn that outfit thousands of times.
xo to my boys. May you stay little forever.


My newest books just arrived in the mail:
The Birth Book by Dr Sears
and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Here's to believing my body can do this! Hip, hip, hooray!

Did you know that in Genesis 3:16 when God addresses Eve after the Fall of Man, in this verse which is so often translated as "To the woman he said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall bring forth children"' the word itstsabown actually means "Labour, worrisomeness, sorrow, or toil," and is the SAME WORD that is used in verse 17 in reference to Adam, when God says "Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life...By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground..." Traditionally, biblical scholars have translated Eve's labour as "pain" and Adam's as "toil" or "labour." It is the same word in the original text to describe the consequences of sin for both.
Thus, labour is WORK, toil, sweat, worry, but not first and foremost, predominantly, pain.
This is a topic that deserves a post of its own, which I'll do another time. For now, I think I'll go read my new books.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Hobby

This is the most unlikely hobby for me to ever have imagined I would one day pick up.

I love to cruise through cookbooks and dream about food.

Funny, but I've never, ever, ever found cookbooks the least bit interesting. I've always found cooking to be oppressively feminine. Not cooking per se, but women in general cooking and being expected to serve men food. And cheerfully doing it. Women of my generation! Most women I talk to about it didn't find cooking as oppressive as I did, and expressed that they'd far rather have a man around who cleans than who cooks, because they hated to clean.

I still was averse to cooking.

I then, as you know, developed the basic knowledge of cooking while Brent was away, because I was forced to. I even learned to like it a bit.

Since he's been back, we share the cooking about 50-50.

Since I've been pregnant, I've developed a LOVE AFFAIR with food. I dream about food. I sniff my plate in fancy restaurants, trying to sort out marinades and herbs. I snatch recipes from other people. But best of all, I love to read the cookbooks we have in our house, flipping through the magnificent pictures and dreaming about eating the food there. Then I make grocery lists, and then I shop (and while I'm in the grocery store my mouth waters and I'm already super excited about eating these dishes), and then I cook, and then the most rewarding step of all: I EAT!!! Vegetables, cheese, meat, salads, fancy breads, yum, yum, yum....I have currently in my fridge seven kinds of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, soft goat, havarti, cream cheese, and parmesian. These I consider the basics. Fancy cheese like blue, gouda, etc, are purchased for specific recipes or cravings. Blue cheese on hamburgers is to die for.
I'm all about the fresh vegetables, too. Greek salad, cesar salad, roma tomatoes-cilantro-goat cheese-balsamic vinegar-EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, courtesy of Rachael Ray) salad, couscous salad, and my recently discovered pear and pecan salad. Here's the recipe:

1 head butter lettuce
2 heads radiccio
2-3 handfuls spinach
2 pears, diced
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted in oven on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes
3 generous Tbsp blue cheese dressing

TO DIE FOR, people. Could be slightly enhanced with a handful of dried cranberries.

I don't like salads in restaurants anymore. For the most part, I can do better. :-) That feels good to be able to say!!

Love fresh fruit. Can't put down mango, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, oranges, ruby red grapefruits, and my nightly frozen fruit smoothie.

The funny thing is, now that I enjoy food more, I weigh less. Eating is no longer a chore, so I pay far more attention to what goes in (and doesn't; no sugar or refined flours and VERY few potatoes), and to whether or not I'm full.
I guess technically I don't weigh less since I'm pregnant, but seriously most of my weight has been baby. I'm 19 lbs lighter than at this point in my last pregnancy, and I look good. My face is not fat. My fingers swell in the heat, but are not fat when it's cool. I think I eat less overall because I listen to my body and stop when it's full, because I love food and enjoy the experience of eating it. Isn't that funny?

Anyways, my new hobby is reading cookbooks. I no longer find cooking oppressive. My husband loves sharing the responsibility of cooking, rather than doing it all himself. And I love food.
LOVE FOOD!

This is a long, long road from the ballet dancer who vilified food and counterbalanced every intake with a cardiovascular output. Not an eating disorder, but a distorted view of food. I did not enjoy eating. I hated cooking.

Food is my friend! So is Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef. Naked food, naked men. What more could one ask for?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Parenting Picks and Pans

My friend Dana posted this recently:

A while ago, I did a post called Parenting Picks and Pans, Part I.

Now I'd love to hear from you. What are your indispensible products, tools, ideas, or rules that help keep peace and sanity in your home? Even if you have older or grown up kids, I want to hear from you!


So, back to Melissa speaking: I decided I'd post my "Parenting picks and pans" on here, so as to share what we've found works/doesn't work for us:

Life savers;

-Lanolin oil cream for sore nipples during 1st week or so of breastfeeding. Made of pure lamb's wool oil, I believe. Not everyone gets sore nipples, but if you do this stuff is gold.

-Sandy's cloth diapers, terrycloth. The latest cloth diaper craze is fleece, which is also supposed to be superior but which I've not yet tried.

-Bummi's diaper wraps. Cover for cloth diaper that is breathable yet waterproof. Best one IMO.

-Soothers. There is controversy surrounding soother use; why use artificial nipples when nature made the best nipple out there and attached it to mom's body? Also, soothers are frequently recalled for safety malfunctions. They are made of plastic and rubber/silicone. They can interfere with breastfeeding mechanics and milk production if introduced too early. They can interfere with speech development if used too often too long. They can interfere with jaw development if used too often and too long.
YET--the sucking reflex is a physical as well as an emotional need, and some kids just want to suckandsuckandsuck! I couldn't be Ayden's only nipple. I love to breastfeed but seriously, people. Sometimes I just needed an alternate nipple. Thus, the soother.
Washed in the dishwasher daily.
Cleaned (NOT by mouth but with soap and water) if dropped on floor.
And eventually restricted to sleepy time.
Giving up the soother at 2 1/2 years of age was incredibly easy for us (not all people find this to be the case), as we 'gave' Ayden's soothers to a friend's newborn baby, because soothers are for babies and Ayden was now a 'big boy.' He never looked back or complained.

-breastfeeding pillow. Not all women find this helpful. For large breasted women they are a lifesaver. I dragged my breastfeeding pillow with me everywhere for the first 4 months of Ayden's life (I don't have 'breasts,' I have 'large watermelons') and my back killed me if I went without it.

- pouch sling. I got this when Matthew was 2. He currently weighs 22 lbs. He weighed 23 to 24 lbs at that age. I LOVE my pouch sling. Love slings in general, but this is custom fit for my body and folds up into my purse. Didn't have a sling before this due to financial reasons.

-play doh

-wooden train set with tracks that link together and trains that stick together with magnets. Hours, and hours, and HOURS of peace have been gifted to me by this train set. Also hours of me on the floor with my kids, building and driving trains. Seriously, tons of imaginative, constructive, fun potential here.

-Toddler sized lego for the same reason, only with even MORE imaginative potential

-Wooden blocks made with love by my dad, for the same reasons as above

-BOOKS; what parent can raise a kid without books?! Best authors:
Dr Seuss
Robert Munsch
Usbourne books
Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James the Giant Peach
and Max Lucado, among others

-finger paints and a big roll of newsprint type paper that we tape to the table/floor/wall

-leap pads for car trips. Not so interesting around the house, but imperative for car trips.


Things for which we had little to no use:

-bottle bits and gadgets and sterilizers; breastfeed, and you will need very few if any bottle type stuff. If you like/need to pump to get out/work/etc, your basic bottle and nipple (BPA free, of course; many parents are using glass these days) will do but not until your baby is older. Many of my friends have never used bottles with their babies. They are marketed as a necessity but they are not. Any bottle given to your baby that is not filled with your pumped breastmilk compromises your milk supply because milk production is a supply and demand system. All the sterilizers and gas reducing gadgets and the bottle cleaning brushes and dryer racks andandand...they are gadgets for which we had no use. Bottles themselves we used minimally before I went back to work, and then slowly my milk was replaced by the bottle until I had no more milk. It's okay, I was ready to stop, but next time I plan to nurse for much longer, so I don't think we will use a bottle much if at all. After I stopped nursing I loved having my boobs back for about a month, and then I grieved that nursing relationship for another 18 months until Ayden was about 2 1/2.
Anyways, my point is this: minimal, if any, bottles and bottle gadgets were useful for us.

-excessively genderized toys. I hate these.

-baby swing. Both my kids preferred to be held. I preferred to hold them.

-nursing capes. One of the things I loved most about breastfeeding was the eye contact and visual connection between me and my child. Nursing capes are supposed to help one be modest. I don't think breastfeeding is immodest so I naturally didn't care for draping a cape that would cut out eye contact and visual connection between me and my child over my shoulder and my kid's head. Besides, it's too hot for both mom and baby. Older babies pull it off. What use is this, I ask?

-breastfeeding clothes. My breasts are too big to allow me to unzip a breast pocket without half of my 'watermelons' spilling out. That was immodest even for me. Shirt pulled up worked best.

-battery operated toys in general, and especially remote controlled cars. The boys prefer to use their IMAGINATIONS and fine motor skills and voices when playing with toys, particularly vehicles.
The leap pads are an exception to the battery operated rule.


Imperative Non Object Parenting Tools;

-Trust in one's own instinct. We're hard wired to respond to our babies and kids appropriately. Trusting my instinct is paramount and got me through those first bumpy, full of learning years.

-Prayer. I pray for them, for my fears, for their future spouses, for insight into their temperaments and learning styles, for PATIENCE, for their nightmares and friends and little pets and little tragedies.

-Gratitude.

-Gentleness and forgiveness for myself, when I make mistakes, which I do. Each day starts fresh for me, releasing the errors or grouchiness or impatience of yesterday and embracing all the laughter, energy, love, and GOOD moments I had yesterday to build upon today. (Generally tough if one snaps at one's three year old before breakfast, just for being perky first thing in the morning, but still...I can't survive if I hold onto my guilt).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hilarious

Matthew was in the bathroom washing his hands and I had to go pee. As I'm sitting on the toilet he studies me for a minute and then cheerfully announces,
"Mommy, you hab redy, redy, redy, redy big bum. You no fall in! Right?"

I laughed so hard I couldn't answer him for a few minutes. It takes some courage to answer in the affirmative when your son asks you if you have a really big bum, but I managed, while wiping the laughing tears from my eyes.
He looked kind of confused, like he was wondering, 'What's so funny?' But when I affirmed that yes, I have a big bum so I won't fall in the toilet he was back to being cheerful.
"Yeah, mommy. You hab redy big bum."

good thought

We aren't trying to raise "good" children, we are trying to raise "good" adults. Good children are marked by docility, good adults are marked by character.

from tamie's blog

awesome.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Impromptu Nap and Belly Pix

Yesterday afternoon at lunch, Matthew was the last to leave the table. He is a very slow eater so this is not uncommon. This, however, IS:


Here is Ayden with his finished, planted garden (he's so proud!):


And some belly pix. Ain't I big? I measure 2 cm (thus 2 weeks) larger than my dates, but that would be immaculate conception so we know it's not my dates that are off! I measured large for my dates with Ayden too. And I look big enough to be full term or close to, but I've 12.5 weeks to go. I remember that with Ayden, too. I'm a small person, with no extra room in my gut for a child, I guess, so it pops straight out. Hopefully this guy will be smaller than Ayden (9 lbs), for the sake of my lady parts!





And as far as the dog is concerned, we are in the very early research/looking phase so don't freak out! I realized after I posted that it sounded like Meelu was THE ONE for us, but I meant that we found a possible dog, not a for sure one. This dog was rescued by an organization that rescues/fosters/adopts out dogs in the Lower Mainland and Taiwan, for some reason. They must have some connection with Taiwan. For sure we realize there are SPCA dogs locally, and we plan to check them out too! Some of our specs are kind of picky, and Meelu fit them all, that's why we considered an international doggie in this case. The Taiwanese doggies are $260, which covers airfare. Meelu happens to be purebred but we're not looking for that particularly (though if we were it would be a steal!). In fact, behaviourally, mixed dogs are often best according to our vet. Anyways, not to worry! We're not committed yet, just inquiring. But people, her FACE! Who could resist such a face! (And I forgot to let you know that I love Duna, too, Daen).

Perhaps maybe a little bit, I may have put Meelu's picture as my desktop picture. Maybe. But don't tell anyone.
And we're not committed.
No, no.
Yeesh.
:-P

28 weeks


Week Twenty-Eight
Eyebrows and eyelashes are now very noticeable!
Hair on baby's head is growing longer. Some babies are born with almost none at all, while others appear to be ready for their first haircut!
Eyes are completely formed now. Quite a view from inside!
Your baby's body is getting plump and rounded. Most of that increase is muscle tissue and bone. Fat will be added during the third trimester.
Muscle tone is improving. Preparation for the Olympics feels like it is taking place in your womb!
Lungs are capable of breathing now (but baby would still struggle and require medical attention if born now)
Talk to your baby often, reading stories, singing songs and more. He or she can recognize your voice now and will often calm to it later on!
Your baby weighs in now at 2.2 pounds (1005gm) and is 14.8 inches (37.6cm).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Doggie hunting

Are we crazy? We're in the market for a dog.
In true Vose fasion, we individually mulled over the desire to add a dog to our family (particularly strange for me; I'm not the world's biggest dog lover...it has to be the RIGHT dog for me to take an interest...my favourites are my dog Amber, who lives on my parents' farm and by all intents and purposes belongs to my father but with whom I have a special bond. She loves me best. What can I say? And my other favourite is Lola. Though she lives to far away for me to really establish a relationship with, so I love her from a distance. And she's always sexually assaulting me with her nose. Have to work on that).
So after mulling it over for a few months, I said to Brent, "I've been thinking lately that it might be nice to get a dog."
And he said, "Actually, so have I!"
(this happens so often with us that it is freaky. We have e.s.p. or twin brain waves or something).
So we've been looking for something that fits our family. Yesterday we found her:


Isn't she cute? She lives in Taiwan. Another international family member (?)...We applied for her tonight. We'll see what they say. I'll keep you posted. She's 2 years old. Here's a pic of her with her best friend at her foster home:


Doesn't her buddy look uncannily like Paige, our cat? It was meant to be.

We're crazy. Yes.
But look at her!

Wildly funny forward

My mom forwarded me this and I think it's hilarious. She figured I was close enough to a nurse to fit, so wherever you read nurse, think "nurse or paramedic." But not #27, I don't agree with that one. I particularly agree with #7, 8, 10, 22, 24 (especially #24), 29, and even 30 (yes, as in crochet hook up the penis...don't EVEN ask...)

You know you're a nurse when..

1) the front of your scrubs reads 'Nurses.. here to save your ass, not
kiss it!'

2) you occasionally park in the space with the 'physicians only' sign... and knock it over.

3) you believe some patients are alive only because it's illegal to kill
them.

4) you recognize that you can't cure stupid.

5) you own at least three pens with the names of prescription medications
on them.

6) you believe there's a special place in hell for the inventor of the
call light.

7) you believe that saying 'it can't get any worse' causes it to get
worse just to show you it can.

8) you wash your hands BEFORE you go to the bathroom.

9) you believe that any job where you can drive to work in your pajamas
is a cool one.

10) you consider a tongue depressor an eating utensil.

11) eating microwave popcorn out of a clean bedpan is perfectly natural.

12) you've been exposed to so many x-rays that you consider it a form of
birth control.

13) you've heard a patient with a nose ring, a brow ring, and twelve
earrings say 'I'm afraid of shots.'

14) you've have placed a bet on someone's blood alcohol level.

15) you've told a confused patient that your name is that of a coworker
and to call if they need help.

16) your bladder can expand to the size of a Winnebago's water tank.

17) you have seen more penises than any prostitute could dream of.

18) you believe that not all patients are annoying.. some are
unconscious.

19) your family and friends refuse to watch medical sitcoms with you
because you spend the whole time correcting everyone and pointing out
upside down x-rays.

20) you don't get excited about blood, unless it's your own.

21) you've sworn to have 'do not resuscitate' tattooed on your chest.
Soon.

22)discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal is perfectly normal to
you.

23) your idea of fine dining is anywhere you can sit down to eat.

24) your idea of a good time is a cardiac arrest at shift change.

25) you believe in the aerial spraying of prozac.

26) you believe that 'shallow gene pool' should be a recognized
diagnosis.

27) you believe that the government should require permits to reproduce.

28) you believe that unspeakable evils will befall anyone who utters the
phrase 'Wow, it's really quiet, isn't it?

29) you have wanted to write a book entitled 'Suicide: getting it right
the first time.'

30) you have had a patient look you straight in the eye and say 'I have
no idea how that got stuck in there.'

31) you've had to leave a patient's room before you begin to laugh
uncontrollably.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Worry

I think I worry too much. Here are a few things currently on my 'worry plate' that I might think soon about actually letting go of

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Matthew 6:25 and 26

-preterm labour
-another c-section
-another breech baby
-not being able to breastfeed
-lack of sleep
-proper nutrition
-keeping my family safe
-my husband dying at work
-my husband being forced to harm someone else at work
-my weight
-getting enough exercise
-using the 'best' parenting techniques/philosophies (which I actually don't believe exist, but still I worry I'm not using them)
-war
-ecological disintegration
-pollution
-excess garbage in oceans and landfills
-Biosphenal-A
-anger
-anxiety (is it just me, or is it weird to worry about being anxious?)
-depression
-coping with three kids
-unfaithfulness in my husband
-raising rapists, terrorists, murderers, drug addicts, thieves, or perverts
-raising unhappy children
-money
-becoming ugly

And that's just on a regular, daily basis. Not to mention the 'occasional' worries that come around less frequently. Ha ha. Seriously, I think I need to spend this 'worry time' energy somewhere more positive! Hm, will work on that. Will keep you updated as to (non)progress thereof.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May Long Weekend Events

The weather was gorgeous Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but the May Day Parade on Monday was pretty soggy and VERY slow. Here are some awesome pix;

The garden I was painting with Ayden last week needed some final touches before being planted, and the boys were out there with improvised eye protection to 'help'



The May Day parade:

Matthew


Ella napping (isn't she sweet? I could eat this girl up. It was really, very awesome to see her this weekend)


Matthew has a soft spot for Ella and she LOVES her cousins





Ella's feet


Once the parade finally began, Ella was a fan


The Vose cousins





Grandpa and Matthew;


the whole family (wow, do I look fat when I sit down)


Ayden and Ella play at the restaurant that night


The cousins in their matching sweaters from grandma


Doesn't she look good on Brent? We offered to keep her, but her parents didn't go for it!


It was difficult to say goodbye. Too bad Brian, Billie, and Ella live so far from us!! It was a wonderful weekend. Hooray for good old Queen Victoria, and for long weekends!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Post #400

I have a joyful subject for my 400th post. Remember when Matthew was mad at me and turned to me and vehemently declared, "Me no like wu, mommy!"? It hurt my feelings so much that I just left his room without explanation, went downstairs, and cried in Brent's chest. We try to be understanding, as parents, and to see that their vehemence is transient, and that they are learning to juggle more than one emotion at one space of time, discovering that it is possible to be angry at and to love someone at the same time, but sometimes our kids just wound us. Intentionally or not, the wound still bleeds.
I'm actually quite thankful that this topic ever came up. After I soaked Brent's shirt with snot and tears, I went back upstairs and finished putting Matthew to bed. During the course of our conversation I mentioned that you can like both mommy AND daddy at the same time. (He initially was mad at me because he preferred daddy to put him to bed that night--in fact, most nights--and we had insisted upon me putting him to bed). He was silent for a bit and then changed the subject. But the next day he asked me, out of the blue, "Wu like me AND wu like Ayden, mommy?" And I knew I had gotten through to him. One of my hidden fears is that Matthew will grow up believing Ayden is my favourite, because my relationship with Ayden is often easier than my relationship with Matthew, and because I fear Matthew will think I prefer my biological kids. When he said 'wu like me AND wu like Ayden?' it cut down my fear substantially. Yes, I like both you AND Ayden. You are my boys! I love you!
Many conversations have sprung out of this first one, initiated by Matthew as he figures out who he 'likes,' and who 'likes' him, and whether or not that changes when you feel angry. Sometimes after I've been angry with him I will tell him, "Even when I am mad at you, I still love you. I always, always love you. I always like you. You are my favourite Matthew in the whole, wide world." Last week at the lunch table he said to me, "Me like wu, me like Ayden, me like daddy, me like wu! Bose team!" Yes sweetie, we are the Vose team! We like you, too!
And sometimes I'll leave it at that, and sometimes I'll follow this little conversation with 'things I love about you,' or 'this is WHY I love you,' and he listens intently without comment. It makes me feel like a good parent to make and capitalize upon opportunities like this one.
And spontaneously he has started to tell me, "Me like wu, mommy." When he says it, he sounds so full of contentment that it fills me with joy. I earned that statement! Tooth and nail. Despair and courage. I lost all my weapons in the fight and resorted to my fingernails, teeth, and ferocious instinct. Some days, people, it took all I had not to pack a bag, walk out the front door, and never look back. Live with less again. Less complication, less grief, less responsibility, less...But obviously I knew that what I really wanted to leave was my self loathing, and leaving my children motherless would only make me loathe myself more, having actually broken the hearts of two children and one man, so I yanked up my boots and waded through the mess and finally, finally, am far enough into the other side to trust that this goodness will stay, that I'm past the muck and failure and loathing, and can once again say "I'm a good mommy. My kid likes me." His declarations are sometimes accompanied by spontaneous giddy hugs, and wiggles.
Blessed Jesus.
That's all I can say.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Girl/Boy Thing

I have 2 1/2 boys. See, I always wanted 4 girls. Now I'm quite satisfied with having had my eyes opened to the joys of boys, but by #3 I really did figure I'd learned my lessons and that God owed me a baby girl. I thought of the baby as a girl from the minute it was conceived (I knew I was pregnant before I KNEW for sure), I talked about it as if it were a girl, and I had a great number of dreams of the baby after it was born and it was always, without fail, a baby girl. My mind was made up. I even bought some girl clothes. Not too many, but some. A sleeper from Costco. Some dresses from Carter's. A pink soother. Some pink socks.
The week before my ultrasound my mom kept saying, "But if it is a boy..." and I wouldn't admit it, but I was thinking the same thing.
And it's a boy!
Which was fine! And still is!
But I have my moments. When we found out we were simply excited, no disappointment. And then the next morning I went in my closet and saw the girl dresses and felt sad. You see, we want one more, but we want to adopt next time, so we won't get an infant small enough to wear those clothes, even if it is a girl. There was some grief. When I see other moms with baby girls, it's hard. I don't wish little Vose were a girl, because he's not, and I love him the way he is, but I do wish I HAD a girl, in addition, you know?
I bought my niece a dress in Hawaii and had to hide it in my suitcase so I didn't have to look at it all the time.
I still have dreams that my baby is born, and sometimes he's a boy, but sometimes he's still a girl.
Oddly, lately I've been having dreams that I forget to breastfeed the baby for the first few days. Like, how could you FORGET to feed your baby? I think it's because breastfeeding is so important to me and I'm afraid of losing that relationship, and the fear comes out in the dreams.
So, I have 2 1/2 boys. And I'm happy. But I am sad I don't have a girl.

Weather update

It is now 33 degrees out. My body is swelling and I'm basically a sausage. It's great BBQ weather, though!

Relaxation, batman

Yesterday we had another full blast of sunshine and 31 degree weather. I LOVE the sun, I LOVE LOVE the heat, and I hate to complain. However, some moderately warm weather, say in the low to mid twenties, for a few weeks or so, would have been appreciated to ease us into this hotness. My boys are overheating. I'm swelling up like a balloon. But I'd far rather have this weather than the ice cold spring we've had thus far!!
My payroll office messed up last week and my ROE wasn't completed or mailed to me so I couldn't apply for government maternity benefits yet. I was anxious, because there is a deadline for applying after you start maternity leave, and the application process is difficult and convoluted and their office is only open during office hours so I would have to bring the boys with me to that office since B is working days all this week and all last. Then, on Thursday I received a call from my payroll clerk letting me know that the ROE had been completed and mailed to me that day. Friday, it arrived in the mail! Can you believe it? This is Canada, people! Mail takes 4 to 7 days to move from origin to destination. Never one day.
SO! When it arrived I immediately took the boys to the employment office and filled out my application. Twenty minutes later I was done with the convoluted form that asks difficult, weird questions (the form is supposed to take an hour to fill out, but I'm a fast reader). My boys sat beside me super quiet and super good THE WHOLE TIME. I have never, ever had them act so well for a boring adult activity. Seriously, they were angels. God is good. He must have injected them with Benadryl or something, they were that well behaved.
Then we hit Wendy's for frosties (it was 30 degrees, the boys were melting!) and went to the park. And then went home to play with the water hose some more--it was a repeat of yesterday afternoon, but at a different park (for variety).
The best part was when their grandparents picked them up for a sleepover. Brent and I went on an impromptu date; White Spot for supper, and Babies R Us to browse around and dream out loud and generally get excited about another baby, and Chapters to browse the $10 or less table for some smoking good deals (4 books for $30, 2 of them hardcover and one of them written by a nobel peace prize for literature winner--hello!). And then home to watch 2 episodes of Grey's Anatomy (we have the first 3 seasons on DVD...we prefer to watch TV that way, than all drawn out over weeks and with commercials, and on someone else's schedule), and fall asleep. Now THAT is a great evening, folks. No dinner to make or clean up after, no bath, no jammies, no arguments, no negotiating, no teeth brushing, no story reading, no chaos, no tears, no bedtime. Just grown ups doing life. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Then this morning we woke up when we felt like it, and I am eating my breakfast in my bed and typing this as we speak. Heaven loves me. THIS is something I needed. I feel so freaking relaxed right now! My cousin Tonya will be jealous, won't you babe? ;-) She's got four kids and is pregnant and doesn't have grandparents who take her kids for sleepovers so she can relax. Plus, she's in the middle of moving. No fun. Sorry, Tonya--if we lived closer, I'd give you a night off for sure!
I'm going to go read a book. The kids are due back this afternoon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Diaper service!

Holy smokes. I just found this company today that offers cloth diaper service for an extremely reasonable price! Too reasonable to believe!!
We used cloth diapers with both Ayden and Matthew. I was in the market for some new ones for little Vose, since so many washes have worn out many of our diapers. Then I found Happy Nappy. I just may give them a try! For $23.45 a week Happy Nappy will pick up my dirty diapers, leave me a week's supply of clean ones, and wash everything with environmentally friendly soaps, no bleachs, in COLD WATER! I'm thinking that with 3 kids washing cloth diapers may be less feasible, but it's still pretty important to me. SO! They even provide the diapers. You purchase the diaper pail (optional), and then pay the $23 a week.
Check them out here if you find this in any way interesting. They offer service in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, the Lower Mainland, and starting in June on Vancouver Island. It's not the perfect diaper solution (see Elimination Communication on my friend Dana's blog, particularly because of the carbon emissions involved in the delivery aspect, but here's what I figure;
-with three kids I need to be realistic. Either my cloth diaper use gets compromised or I'll have to re work my cloth diapering system (ie, if I have to wash them myself, which I'm happy to do, it will get done less often and baby will be in disposables more often)
-diapers at the service are prob. washed en masse, so higher carbon emissions produced by delivery vans are partially offset by the reduced number of washes done by washing machines (and in cold water; I always did mine in warm)
-their delivery vans are diesel, slightly fewer emissions and less refinement involved.
-I'd also like to try some Elimination Communication myself, and reduce the number of diapers used overall. I'll see how it works with 3 kiddos!

Pix from yesterday

Our first real day of warm weather in 2008...First, around noon we were treated to some of this action:



Mr sun, sun, Mr. golden sun, please shine down on me!

See how happy the boys were to be at the 'boat park' in the sunshine?



They were busy keeping the jungle safe with their sticks shaped like guns, and cleaning out the pipes at the water park, and all manner of imaginative play



And when we got home, they didn't make it inside before this happened:






Aren't they sweet?

Freaking weird weather

We woke up to wet roads, clouds, and 12 degrees. By 11:30 it was 14 degrees and overcast. Then by noon it was clear, sunny, muggy, and 21 degrees. That is a climb of SEVEN degrees in THIRTY minutes, people! (My new car has an external temperature display in it, so handy). I'm sure it got hotter but I was then outside the car, playing in the sunshine. What is with the weather, dude? Cold, cold, cold, HOTHOTHOT!?
We had a blast at the park. I have pix but blogger is stUpid and won't let me up/download them, whichever it is from computer to blog.

p.s. Ayden felt the baby move yesterday for the first time. He got a big smile on his face but it also kind of weirded him out. Too cute!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Whacky hair day

It's whacky hair day at Ayden's preschool today--I think we're one of the whackiest families out there, so it is fitting that Ayden had the whackiest hair in school.
:-)





p.s. I started my room yesterday. Got about 5 square feet of space cleared by the window. It's a start!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Freaking out

You know that widget on my sidebar that counts down to my due date? It's freaking me out because I've less than a hundred days to get this place ready.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
I'm working on our bedroom after I finish here. I think the project is so big I'm procrastinating starting. Our room is a pathway between towers of crap, and a bed. I'm on it.

I'll go now.
And tackle it.

Well, maybe in a minute.

What else can I take pix of and share with you? Oh, Ayden and I have a collaborative art project. Brent built a huge box for Ayden to plant his '08 garden in, and he wanted us to decorate the outside of it. So we drew it together, and painted it together, and here is the end result! Pretty neat! I love his birds. I think they are SO beautiful. And his sunflowers (the things on the bottom are roots; he likes to show the roots of flowers in his drawings and paintings). Enjoy! And then I will check all my regular blogs, and THEN go tackle my bedroom.
I promise.
:-)




My new right hand man (thing)

Wow, I tried out my new gadget yesterday. Does it ever cut down on my work/time commitment to food prep! Holy. Smokes. I made borscht, from a recipe I got from the most AUTHENTIC SOURCE--the family that hosted me as an exchange student in Russia. Usually chopping 2 heads of cabbage and 2 onions, and grating 4 carrots and 2 beets is pretty labourious, but yesterday I was seriously bored between steps because my food processor does all the chopping and grating in about 5 seconds. Wowsa! The best best BEST part? Dishwasher safe. Oh, yeah. I ran it thru the dishwasher and it was sparkling and ready to grate cheese for the supper I made. Then I ran it thru the dishwasher again and it's nice and sparkly again. Here's some pix of my handiwork;






and the recipe for borscht;

1 small head green cabbage
1 small head red cabbage
2 small onions, or 1 med/large
1 or 2 cloves garlic
4 carrots
2 beets
1 litre soup stock (I use organic vegetable base soup stock, but traditional Russian recipes call for beef)

Place soup stock in pot, add 2-4 cups water to allow for reduction, put on low heat and let simmer.
Chop cabbage and fry in vegetable oil on medium heat with salt and pepper until desired softness. Add to soup stock.
Chop onions and fry in vegetable oil until soft. Add to soup.
Mince garlic and and add to soup directly.
Grate carrots and fry, add to soup.
Grate beets and fry, add to soup.

Simmer for about 40-60 minutes and serve with a spoonful of sour cream in the middle. Tastes fabulous and authentic with rye bread.
Yummy.

My dinner was pretty good, too, although the boys were squeamish.
3 cups cooked brown rice
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
1 chopped roma tomato
1/3 cup onion, fried to soften with 1 clove garlic
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 fried mild Italian sausage
1 tsp dried mexican chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano

mix ingredients together in a casserole dish, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Add 1 cup grated cheese to top and cook another 7-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly (not too bubbly).
Both boys whined and cried and tried to negotiate NOT eating this dish, and supplemented their dinner with peanut butter bread (although required to eat some of the casserole before getting bread). Brent and I loved it. Pretty much I make what I like and don't care if the boys like it or not. I like dishes with all food groups mixed together. The boys hate that. Maybe when they are teenagers they will start to like my food?
I have a sneaking suspicion I may be getting better than my husband at general duty cooking. He uses his imagination for special meals, but not so much with day to day stuff. He also doesn't plan ahead (I plan my meals down to the spices and garnishes a week in advance and shop accordingly) so sometimes doesn't have the ingredients for his ideas. And my favourite food group is vegetables, but he sometimes forgets that food group altogether, and when he remembers he uses frozen peas/corn even when the crisper is full of fresh vegetables. ??????????? This is a turn of events; he was our cook, and good at it, for 5 years! In fact, once when Ayden was 3 1/2 or so I made dinner one night and Ayden asked me, "What are you doing, mommy?" When I replied that I was making dinner he laughed at me and said, "You're not the supper maker! You make funny jokes, mommy."
Brent still cooks 50% of the time. I still don't like it much. But I'm getting better. And I LOVE to EAT, so I'm motivated to discover and create good recipes. I'm at the point now where I can make recipes up, or modify something I've made before to something even better. What a surprise. I can cook!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Messy boys on Mother's Day

Mother's Day I had a work seminar. I'm required to take educational credits every year to maintain my paramedic license so I signed up for a seminar on safety, thinking "there's nothing going on that sunday!" and it turns out it was Mother's Day. Oops.
When I got home from my seminar the boys were playing outside. Ayden wanted to know if we had any face paint, and we had some left over from halloween. In very short order the boys looked like this:




Stinkers.

My Mother's Day card from Ayden was too cute; on the front he actually wrote "I love you mom"




and inside he drew a picture of me with a baby in my tummy





and this was my gift


This was the most traditionally feminine gift I've ever gotten for Mother's Day. Usually I get some gadget for work, but this year I was in the market for one of these so Brent decided it would be a good gift for me. It is, definitely, as I love practical gifts and am now in the market for gadgets to adjunct my new interest in cooking. There was a food processor at Costco for $170 with a 9 cup capacity and all kinds of accesories, and the same brand at the Bay for $250 with a 12 cup capacity and even MORE accesories. So I was pondering which would be the best. One day last week I took the boys into Costco so I could look again at the size, accesories, etc, of the food processor there, and as I was looking at them and 2 degrees from buying one (as there were only 2 left and returning things to Costco is easy peasy), when Ayden said, "Hey. We already bought one of these."
I looked at him for a second. "For Mother's Day?"
"Yeah."

Lol.
So we left without one and I phoned Brent at work and told him the story.
"Uh...he's lying!"
Sure, sure.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ayden's 5th Birthday

Okay, first of all I took this three weeks ago to show that although we live in a rainy climate that I often complain about, this is the payoff in April:


Now for the birthday boy. His actual birth day is May 8th, so I recorded his activities that day. After spending the morning at preschool, I put Matthew down for a nap (rare nowadays but necessary given the projected bedtime) and Ayden busied himself riding his bike, watering his garden, and generally enjoying the solitary play.




Here is our annual tradition, taking a photo of the birthday boy at the exact time he was born (let's hope little Vose shows up at a reasonable time of day, for the continuation of this tradition!)



Ayden chose Red Robin as his birthday restaurant this year, mainly because he remembered how the staff sang to Matthew on HIS birthday last fall;







Today, Sat. May 10th, was Ayden's party day. We attended another friend's party in the afternoon at the Mountainview Wilderness Centre. They rescue sick, endangered, or misbehaving animals in captivity around the world and care for them on their ranch in Ft. Langley. It's very cool, and they do birthday parties. The kids were amazingly well behaved, like, amAzing, and the animals were curious about the quiet group of little people and came right up to the fence in many cases, so I got some good pix.




Then to grandma and grandpa's house for Ayden's party in the evening; lots of screaming and running around!




Did you see the cake I made? Aren't I fantastic? Actually, Brent planned the entire party and the only thing I did was the cake. But it was a pretty good cake.
We also had a weiner roast, planted little 'gardens' with watermelon seeds, broccoli seeds, carrot seeds, and a few others for the kids to take home with them. Ayden loves to garden, so this was quite expressive of him.






And of course, an insane gift opening. The events I didn't get pix of were the pinata and the movie (Shrek III). We were very fortunate not to get rained out. It started to pour about 5 minutes before the end of the party, so we JUST missed getting rained out. What a fantastic birthday. Whew!


How do I feel about my baby turning 5? Oh dear, don't make me cry. Five was a tough one for me. Every year it is difficult to see time passing by too quickly, but the milestone of '5' is a big one. Before 5, the groundwork goes down for their social, emotional, and intellectual health for the rest of their lives. 5 means school starts. Five means big boy and no more baby. Five is really grown up. Every year until now I've thought to myself, "but at least he's not five yet!" and now he is. When I look at him I see a fat newborn, a sleeping baby, a tantruming 2 year old, an excited 'big brother,' a soother baby, a breastmilk loving baby, a thumbnail rubber (he soothed himself by rubbing our thumbnails until just recently), a diaper boy, and who he is now all at once. What happened to my floppy little baby with the fat rolls? Seriously, what happened? Oh, it hurts. I'm so proud of who he is and who he's becoming, but it is so hard to watch time pass and things change. He's my BABY! In some ways I think heaven, for moms, will be God handing over a magic remote control that brings us back in time to any place we choose, so we can re-experience our favourite moments with our children.
He's so precious, so smart, so unique, so strong, so energetic, so bossy, so enthusiastic, so artistic, so full of BOYishness, it's wonderful. I'm so glad I have him.
:-)