Sunday, June 28, 2009


Holy CRAP am I ever tired. I had an UBER busy weekend~ uber fun, and uber busy.
Friday a.m. I had booty camp. Then ran home, rushed thru a shower, and sped to our friend's place for a Nerdette and mini nerd Mini Fest, picnic-and-playtime at the park. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, it was THAT GOOD to see my friend Dana, who lives in Mexico, and to get together with Louise and Torie, the other local Nerdettes.
Here is a short history of the Nerds.
There once were 6 men (this number fluctuates slightly, but there seem to be a solid core of 6).
Their names were Brent, Gary, Sam, Andrew, Andrey, and Dean.
Sam married Torie.
Dean married Caroline.
Andrey married Jen.
Brent married Melissa.
Andrew married Dana.
and Gary married Louise.

I think I got that in order.

Strangely enough, six men married six women who get along REALLY well. Isn't that weird? I find it amazing. And we get along with all the guys, too. So then,
Brent and Melissa had Ayden, Matthew, and Riley.
Sam and Torie had Bennett and Addison.
Dean and Caroline had Holly and Jillian.
Andrey and Jen are in the process of adopting one (maybe two!) baby from the Phillipines.
Gary and Louise had Kai and Koen.
Andrew and Dana had Eva, Micah, and (soon to be) Wee Wilms #3.

That was definitely not in order, though Ayden is the oldest and Wee 3 is the youngest.

Do you see how we are expanding exponentially? Getting together is getting ridiculous.

Brent and Melissa,
Gary and Louise,
and Sam and Torie are local.

Andrey and Jen live in the Phillipines.

Andrew and Dana live in Mexico.

Dean and Caroline live in Ontario.

And I really hope nobody minds that I publish all this info.

Anyways, our Mexican Nerd Contingent is visiting this month so we are enjoying as much Nerdtime as possible with them (True Nerdfest, a once a year event that tries to gather as many Nerds in one spot as possible, doesn't start til August, but Dana will be too close to full term to fly in August so they came early. Better early than never!)

We had a great playdate. It was actually kind of neat to sit back and let my oldest 2 do their thing and let Riley putter around close to me, and sit on a bench and relax a bit. The bulk of the kids are 2 and 3 so the other Nerdettes were sweaty from summer I'll be at it again with Riley, but this year I'm getting a breather. Ayden and Matthew are easy now. And I'm getting more experienced so the CRAP days aren't quite as overwhelming as they used to be. Hah, I say that now but I'm positive that tomorrow will overwhelm me. AND I did smack Ayden's leg in frustration tonight in the car so I'm no SuperParent who never loses her Cool quite yet.

After we were done at the park I dashed home to throw our gear in the car for 2 nights' camping and drove to Barrier (about 4 hours without kids and potty breaks and breastfeeding babies) with Brent's sister Cherilyn. This camping trip was to celebrate Brent's grandmother's 80th birthday. We had a blast! Oh my gosh, Ayden and Matthew played free range ALL Friday evening and Saturday. They were the same colour at the end of the day~you couldn't tell who had brown or white skin, or black or blonde hair, they were so covered in dirt. They collected grasshoppers and frogs and leaves and rocks and flowers, they had nicknames and superpowers and tussles in the dust, they ate, they played, and they got DIRTY. I LOVED that they were this free and this dirty and this full of classic Huck Finn fun. I didn't see them from dawn til dusk, except for mealtimes. This kind of stuff is SO GOOD for kids, I think. Some free range fun in nature with minimal adult meddling to sort out who they are in the world, you know? Awesome.
(it helps that I'm reading Last Child in the Woods right now, and plan to read Free Range Parenting--or is it Free Range Kids? Can't remember; whatever it is, I plan to read it next. Kids + free play in nature=Good Things)
We camped 2 nights, celebrated great grandma's 80th with all 8 (or 7? I didn't count them but they were all there) of her kids, their spouses, and many of her grand and great grandkids. Tons of people. Tons of food, cake, photos, games, campfires, marshmallow roasts, bugs, stories, jokes, laughs, memories, gifts, cards, and fun.
I hiked to the top of a mountain with Brent's brother Brian and sister Cherilyn. Brian carried Riley for me in the Ergo so he was there, too. It was beautiful and I was glad I went, but it showed me how much more booty camp I really need to do (actually I need to get back out there running sometimes to get my endurance up again)....
This morning we packed up and drove back again the 4-hours-without-kids trip home, I threw the kids in the bath for a quick scrubdown and there has never been a bathtub filled with dirtier water in the history of mankind, had a shower myself, and threw them BACK in the car for another mini Nerdfest, with the guys this time, for dinner. It was awesome to see everyone. I wish, wish, wish there were no such thing as money and we just did what we wanted to for free, so we could visit with these friends all the time. It is good for the soul to be with such good people.

The lowlights of the Barrier trip were:
Riley poonamied a total of 6, yes hear me, SIX times in 36 hours.
Ayden played so hard and avoided the outhouse so hard he peed his pants once and pooped in his underwear a "tiny bit, mommy" once.
Matthew played so hard he forgot he had a bladder the whole 36 hours so by bedtime last night he had not a single article of clean clothing in his suitcase.
Riley got bit by some bug that made his ear bleed.
Matthew got bit by some bug that made his face bleed.
(joking. the drive wasn't that bad.)

The lowlights with the Nerds:
Leaving to go home after each mini fest.

I. Am. Exhausted.

Tomorrow is a lie low day. We're going to the water park to get a normal amount of dirty and tired; we need a break from all this extremity.
What a great way to start the summer.

[oh yes, and Brent had to work so he missed it all. Yes, you did hear me correctly: I DID take three children camping by myself. Well, there were relatives around, but I think this was closer to taking 3 kids camping alone than any of YOU have ever done. Pat, pat. Yes I deserve a medal. Thank you, thank you.]

photos to come.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yeah, but

There is nothing wrong with 150 lbs for someone who is taller than I. At 5 foot 1 inch, 130 lbs is heavy. 150 might actually be in the obese category, if you look at a medical textbook.
See? The numbers SHOULD mean nothing, but that is not the case. Sometimes I wish the scale had never been invented (or at least never applied to the human body). I'd be much happier.

The pound thing

So I've been in booty camp for a month now. I love it! It is tons of fun and lots of work, but feels a bit like hanging out with my friends because a few of the girls are friends of mine, and the others are really nice. I am finally noticing an upswing in my energy level, which is great, and some more stamina in some of the exercises. It is good to see results.
But I have a problem. To celebrate my return to fitness I broke down and replaced our old, $11 scale which had a margin of error of about 6 lbs (proven by stepping off the scale and then back on again: your weight could fluctuate 3 lbs in either direction in seconds. So, rather inaccurate. But usually fairly consistent if you stood a certain way and only weighed yourself once). I went digital because I figured it would be more accurate, and that you could really see if it WAS accurate by stepping on and off again to see if the number was the same.
The problem here is twofold: since I started boot camp I have GAINED THREE POUNDS. Yeah, I'm sure it is muscle, yeah, I look and feel better, but I still GAINED THREE POUNDS, people. And to add to that (pun intended), my new, digital scale measures a solid 5 lbs heavier than my old one. I have since been told by several people that a 4 to 5 lb heavier measurement is common with digital scales (all of you who have digital scales can now happily subtract 5 lbs from your current weight), so I would NOT have bought a digital if I'd known. The numbers game is extremely vicious for me. So, add the three pounds to the five pounds and suddenly, since starting boot camp a month ago, I weigh 8 lbs more. I'm sorry. Some can handle this, I cannot. I have been hovering around 140 lbs, up one, down one, since September sometime. I was 137 when I got pregnant, so I was pretty close to prepregnant weight and have been for awhile. So I think of myself as a "high 130s girl with a goal of low 130s." Often before I was pregnant I would hover around 135, so this goal wasn't ridiculous. Okay. My new scale calls me 149. In fact, this morning it called me 150, but the jury is out on whether that was a one day fluke or not. So I have to adjust myself from a "high 130s" girl to a "150s girl." I am SO not okay with this.
And to add to the confusion, I was complaining at boot camp about the 3 pound weight gain so they redid my measurements for me. If you add all the parts they measure together (shoulders, chest, bust, waist, abdomen hips, thighs, and calves), I lost a total of 6 1/2 inches!! A full inch around my abdomen, which was the part of me I hated most (I still look pregnant), so that was good news, even though I didn't FEEL like my clothes fit me differently, they obviously are, just a bit.
How can you lose 6 1/2 inches and gain three-but-sounds-like 15 pounds?
I can't even take the scale back because we already recycled the box.
My goal is 130. I used to be 11 lbs away from that and now I am 20.
I want to KILL MYSELF!

Playground sibling rivalry

Lately Riley has been quite vocal about his opinions on things. He has learned that in order to KEEP the toy he is playing with, he needs to put up a fuss when it is circumvented. Matthew figured out early that taking toys from a baby is very easy and has few consequences. Well, lately, circumvention has been circumvented by Riley screaming like he's being murdered!
Today at the playground Matthew was very gently and sweetly playing with and around Riley, and doing VERY well sharing the equipment. At one point Riley discovered a twisted metal climber and was gleefully hanging onto the bottom rung. Matthew climbed on and zoomed to the top, and Riley SCREAMED and SCREAMED! It was HIS toy and he would NOT share and Matthew was NOT allowed to climb on it or touch it or even walk near it. His face was beet red, he had big crocodile tears falling down his cheeks, and he was angrily slamming his fist on his thigh. So FUNNY! Fortunately Matthew could care less about Riley flipping out, and I have the all magical comfort boob, so all was not lost. Within minutes the incident was forgotten and everyone was playing happily again.
It is hilarious to watch them get so riled up over nothing. I wonder if God watches US that way, sometimes?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Actual conversation

"Ayden, it is time to get ready to walk to school. Please put on your socks."

jump, jump, jump

"Ayden, did you hear me? I need you to get your socks on now."

jump, jump, jump

"Ayden, time to put on your socks."

jump, jump, jump

"AYDEN! PUT ON YOUR SOCKS NOW! If you would OBEY me the first time I asked you to put on your socks, I wouldn't have to yell at you. PUT ON YOUR SOCKS!"

(singsong voice) "Ayden, put on your socks!"


(singsong voice) "Do NOT copy me!"


(from his bedroom across the hall, where he has hopped to during the singsong)
"Mommy, can I please have a spanking?"

Wow. I had to close my bedroom door so he wouldn't hear me howling with laughter. That kid is FUNNY. Comic relief is a good method of dealing with conflict sometimes, and I use it often with my kids. Today I guess he turned the tables on me.

Momma Guilt part #2

I've been feeling like I want to address a post to this idea for several weeks. I posted a link awhile back to an article that really resonated with me regarding attachment parenting being a frame of mind rather than a dogmatic rulebook [if you didn't get a chance to read it before, here it is]. I have been posting for awhile about different attachment parenting techniques and how great they are, but neglecting this very fundamental principle that I believe about attachment parenting in general: it is an attitude, not a method. And guilt has no place in attachment parenting. If at some point we come across a method or idea that we didn't implement or realize in our earlier parenting, we can incorporate that new idea without regretting our earlier methods, because it is a tweaking of style. Attachment parenting is the style; the tweaking is HOW we act and which methods we choose to adopt as parents, which will look different for every family if we are TRULY responsive to the needs of our individual families.
The basic premise of attachment parenting comes from psychological theory surrounding the importance of emotional attachment in the first years of life. Wikipedia has a pretty concise definition of AP with references;

"Attachment theory, originally proposed by John Bowlby, states that the infant has a tendency to seek closeness to another person and feel secure when that person is present. Bowlby had earlier proposed in his maternal deprivation hypothesis published in 1951 that maternal deprivation would not only cause depression in children, but also acute conflict and hostility, decreasing their ability to form healthy relationships in adult life.[5][6]

In comparison, Sigmund Freud proposed that attachment was a consequence of the need to satisfy various drives. In attachment theory, attachment is considered a biological system and children are naturally attached to their parents because they are social beings, not just because they need other people to satisfy drives.

According to Attachment Parenting International (API) there are 8 principles that foster healthy (secure) attachment between the caretaker and infant. While none of these principles is derived directly from original attachment research, they are presented as parenting practices that can lead to "attunement", "consistent and sensitive responsiveness" and "physical and emotional availability" that research has found to be key factors in secure attachment.

[edit] Eight principles of attachment parenting
Per Dr. Sears' theory of attachment parenting (AP), proponents such as the API attempt to foster a secure bond with their children by promoting eight principles which are identified as goals for parents to strive for. These eight principles are:

Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
Feed with Love and Respect
Respond with Sensitivity
Use Nurturing Touch
Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
Provide Consistent Loving Care
Practice Positive Discipline
Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

These values are interpreted in a variety of ways. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, natural health, cooperative movements, naturism and support of organic food.

However, Dr. Sears does not require a parent to strictly follow any set of rules, instead encouraging parents to be creative in responding to their child's needs. Attachment parenting, outside the guise of Dr. Sears, focuses on responses that support secure attachments."

[read the definition on Wikipedia here]

This is a pretty good way of describing attachment parenting as I understand it. There are common interpretations of how to apply attachment parenting theory, and these include natural childbirth, stay at home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, and other methods listed above (and more). I take issue with these only when they become dogmatic. For example, natural childbirth as attachment based parenting only works where appropriate. In general a striving towards natural childbirth is healthier for everyone involved and encourages a natural maternal-infant bonding process, but a dogmatic frame of mind which might insinuate that a drug free childbirth is the ONLY way to apply attachment based parenting theory is absurd~obviously some babies can't be delivered safely through natural childbirth and so this method cannot apply to everyone. Rather than focus on natural childbirth as a methodology, I would say it is far more constructive to focus on studying the components of natural childbirth that help promote a healthy bonding process and strive to apply these as much as possible for all moms, regardless of mode of birth or drug use thereof. We get far too wrapped up in the most natural method and leave women who have not had the opportunity to have a natural birth out in the cold. So if a mom has a cesarean, an epidural, an instrument assisted birth, or narcotics during labour, encouraging skin to skin contact, breastfeeding initiation and continuation, rooming in (keeping babies' hospital cots in their moms' rooms as opposed to the nursery), and parental responsiveness/responsibility taking (diapers, baths, infant care, and ALL medical decisions pertaining to the infant being performed by the parents as opposed to medical staff) would mimic those elements of natural childbirth that are beneficial in promoting bonding. Human beings are adaptable, and attachments begin and flourish regardless of methodology if we are mindful of creating them.

Some moms and some infants cannot sleep in the same bed. Some parents have health issues that preclude babywearing, like back problems or pelvic floor damage or physical limitations. Some parents cannot breastfeed. Some moms don't like to stay at home full time. Some parents are excellent teachers and others are not gifted in that area, or do not want to homeschool or unschool. In fact, now that I am writing about this, I realize I must include the fact that some moms cannot give birth biologically at all. Does this negate their ability to attachment parent? Obviously this is ridiculous. Adoptive parents have been tuned in to attachment theory longer than biological parents have, out of necessity. If we are mindful that what we are building is empathetic, self assured, kind, and productive adults, and that the best way to build those types of adults is to encourage attachment and perform responsive parenting with our children, the methodology is as various as the people who embrace it. I think one of the fundamental tenets of attachment based parenting IS responsiveness~~watchfully listening to your baby and responding gently and lovingly to them. If your baby is telling you they would rather sleep apart from you, or that they are too hot or uncomfortable when you wear them and would rather have some distance, it is NOT attachment based parenting for you to force them to do it anyways, just because it is often part of other AP parents' methodology!

Also, sometimes, a parent doesn't like a method. Responsive parenting still occurs when parents honestly assess their own capabilities and needs and take them into account when making decisions. When we adopted Matthew I had a very difficult transition. I realize now that I likely had post adoption anxiety, which manifested as anger, frustration, guilt, and high levels of anxiety, particularly regarding Matthew's attachment to me and his transition into our family. Because of all this, I could NOT co-sleep with him. Of all my children he could probably have used it the most, since co-sleeping does encourage attachment and discourage feelings of isolation in children. But I spent my daytime hours so mired in anger, frustration, guilt, and anxiety that I desperately needed a break from those feelings at night, and I needed my space as I sorted out my relationship with my second child. He was accustomed to sleeping in his own bed and slept 12 straight hours at night from a very young age (not due to a lack of responsiveness on the part of his caregiver, but from his own natural biology), so fortunately he did not challenge this nighttime separation. Of course, on the rare occasion where he did wake up we responded immediately and gently, which is what works about co-sleeping anyways~it is simply easier to respond quickly when a baby is in your room or your bed already (especially when still nursing at night~seriously, I hardly wake up at all, and neither does Riley, despite numerous nighttime feeds and waking). There are benefits to sleeping with your baby, but this method is not a necessary parenting dogma.
This example is not the BEST example to support my argument, since Matthew's and my relationship was unstable and difficult, and took a long time to resolve into a comfortable attachment. But what I'm saying is that mommas have needs, too. Daddys have needs, too. No one is better served by a parent who denies these needs, and sometimes a little space is exactly what the doctor ordered, for a parent. Other attachment based parents I know didn't co-sleep for various reasons, or babywear for various reasons, and are really good at responsive, gentle parenting, and THIS is the best evidence I have to support my argument. Responsive, gentle parenting with a focus on attachment theory has various methods. No one knows what is best for someone else. So no dogma. No guilt. No rules. No absolutes. Just attentive parenting, and a willingness to accept each other without judgement and without guilt.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Crochet Toy

This one is a monster~for my chiropractor's baby, who was likely born yesterday sometime! Isn't this toy cute? I love the asymmetrical eyes. Next up is a penguin for Ella bella.

Bike Riding!

We took the training wheels off Ayden's bike last summer, but he hasn't been comfortable riding it alone until yesterday. We had some warm weather, so we all went outside and Brent gave Ayden some tips, and within 5 minutes he was riding his bike alone! Here is some skoukum video of our biggest monster, riding his bike!


And some more video of Riley being excited about the world of bikes. Look at me, momma! Just like the big boys!! (this video is probably a bit boring if you are not fantastically in love with our baby like we are...but it's not that long!)


And not to be outdone, Matthew on his skateboard:

Aren't my kids cute? Seriously. Today Ayden and Matthew rode their bikes to Ayden's school, and Matthew rode back. I'm the only member of our family who doesn't own a bike, so I need to get on that bandwagon now...I'm thinking garage sales? Tons of people have bicycles in their garages that they never ride. There is no way we can afford a new one right now. Anyways, the wonderful world of bike riding has been opened up to Ayden and we are super proud and excited that he can do it alone now! He was very persistent on the way to school; numerous times he wound up in the blackberry bushes or the fence or simply the pavement of the path, but he kept getting back on! So great. School is finished for Matthew now! Thursday is Ayden's last day! Hooray for SUMMER!!!!!!!!!! [wow, it takes a long time to upload three videos to blogger. i hope you enjoy them, that took over an hour!]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blog fodder

I don't complain about my husband. Mostly because he's wonderful, but also because I don't believe it is constructive or nice.
Well, I'm not a saint. I do complain sometimes, just not very often. Tonight while I was cooking dinner I realized I had forgotten one (69 cent) ingredient. Brent offered to go get it, so I happily sent him because it was one of my most delicious, favourite ingredients. I was even happier when he took the two oldest children without being asked. It makes a trip longer to take some kids with you, but it is a nice break in routine for everyone else!
One item. That should take 10 or 15 minutes, right? Not 25. So. Brent shows up 25 minutes later with 3 boxes of cereal, 2 bunches of bananas, salsa, juice, and (the requested item) cilantro. One of those boxes of cereal is Fruit Loops. There is no way I let my kids eat fruit loops, and no way in hell I waste my money on them. Or any other cereal that is sugary junk! [note: it is always dangerous to go to the grocery store when one is hungry] While they were at the store, all three of them ate free samples of food and the boys ate a bag each of the popcorn that my grocery store gives out to kids for free. Funny enough, no one is hungry for their supper.

The moral of the story? Don't send your husband to the store for any ingredients right before supper. You'll be out $30, 25 minutes, and any children hungry enough to eat their suppers. And you'll be mad as a hornet, sulking over dinner and snapping at people, which isn't nice.

That is the moral of this story.
And that completes my husband griping for this evening (for now).

Brent then teased me about the great husband grocery disaster winding up on my blog. Doesn't he know me well?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reuben Ezra Gordon Vose

Isn't he amazing? Truly, there has never been so cute a child born in the history of the universe. And his sister is SO SWEET. She loves babies so she must be in heaven. Reuben weighed 6 lbs 14 oz when he was born (a slight correction from my previous report). Perfect, perfect, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, beyond words.
I love you, I love you, amazing boy. Born last night at 11:08.

The Origin of Species by Nino Ricci

I haven't done very many book reviews on here in a very long time. I have been reading, I just have not had much time to post about what I've been reading! I just finished this book and had to do a review because my reaction to the book was so unusual for me. This is a book that is really an existential journey with an Uber intellectual thirty something year old PhD student trying to reconcile his profound belief in the lack of higher meaning to life with his emotional attachment to life and certain people in it. It was a good book. But I hated the main character. It is unusual for me to dislike a main character this deeply and STILL like the book, and continue reading to its conclusion, and feel sympathy for and attachment to that main character. VERY intruiging.
I think it arrogant of Ricci to assume Darwin's title, The Origin of Species (when I mentioned I was reading this book to a biologist friend of mine she was momentarily impressed, until she realized I wasn't talking about Darwin's original). Who does that? Take the title of a great, famous piece of scientific literature and name their unknown, unpublished, as-yet-untested-in-the-public-eye fictional manuscript after it? Arrogant.
But it was GOOD. Read it, and see if you like that main character. I just wanted to slap him and say, "Grow UP already! Take some action! DO SOMETHING!"
AND very interesting because my last book review was on Bel Canto, which I didn't like mainly because all the interesting plot development was mentioned in the past tense as almost a non event. So any suspense or curiosity regarding large or interesting developments of plot are baisically neutralized. THIS BOOK did the same thing. Over and over. And yet, enough of the daily action was described in the present tense to make up for it, or something, because I didn't mind it as much in this book. It drove me wild in Bel Canto--mainly because the entire premise of the book was a huge, scary, life threatening event that didn't get described in a way that did it justice, in my opinion. Plus the opening of the book is described in a way that leads one to believe that the plot IS integral to the story, which it turns out it isn't. This time around the main movement of the plot was more like daily, normal life, so a single, major event was not the central premise of the book. So maybe that was why it wasn't so frustrating to have significant events described in the past tense as almost non events. Or maybe the writing is just better.

Mama bear meets Mama bear

I've encountered this dilemma several times this week, and it is one that only happens when you have more than one child. One of my children does something that hurts another of my children, and my Mama bear protective instinct comes out ready to pounce, and encounters itself protecting the instigator. So weird. Yesterday Ayden neglected to close the baby safety gate at the bottom of our stairs and in an instant while I wasn't looking, Riley climbed partway up and came crashing back down, smashing his head against the gate at the bottom. Did I want to KILL Ayden? Mama bear withholds full disclosure on that one, but suffice it to say I didn't, because I have a Mama bear instinct for Ayden, too. I managed to control my voice but be decidedly disciplinary in my tone as I admonished Ayden to CLOSE THE GATE OTHERWISE THE BABY FALLS DOWN THE STAIRS. I knew he wouldn't need much disciplining anyways; he felt aweful.
Then the other day I overheard Matthew asking Ayden for a bite of his apple. Ayden said no. Matthew said, "But you shared a bite with mommy!" Ayden's response? "But I grew in mommy's tummy so we have the same germs. You are adopted so your germs are gross."
HeLLO?!?!!! Where the #@#$%^&*^% did you get THAT from? Mama bear was ferocious. Inside. I didn't want to make it a big deal in Matthew's mind, though I certainly bit that one in the bud. Or I hope so. I told Ayden it wasn't acceptable and that it hurt Matthew's feelings, but I still want to have a chat with him when Matthew isn't around to reenforce the whole adoption-pain-integration-forever-family-no-matter-how-we-got-here-inclusion-sensitivity thing. I haven't had a chance yet, because Matthew's always around! We'll have a chat. I just need to find some private space with Ayden where a conversation can organically grow so he can truly listen.
The only thing that saved Ayden from Mama bear in both cases was that I happen to be Mama bear to him, too.

p.s. no further news on Little Vose yet, and no pictures. Soon to come!


I'm an aunt again! A little early this time!! Baby boy Vose was born this evening, weighs 6 lbs 10 oz (? on the ounces there, I'll have to double check), natural childbirth with no complications, healthy baby, happy parents, wonderful day. Hooray!

He has no name yet.
A bit of a Vose tradition, since my niece Ella had no name for several days, and Riley had no name for a full day, and now our littlest Vose has no name....

I will post a picture as soon as I get one! I can't sleep! I'm too excited!!! Hooray for babies!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Friday, June 19, 2009

small triumphs

It really is one step at a time, this life! It is late and I should be sleeping, but instead I have been lying awake thinking about this and wanting to share it, because it feels good to take small steps forward.

Tonight while I was driving home from book club (where we are studying Last Child in the Woods--HUGE recommendation for this book! I'll post more about that later) with Riley asleep in his car seat, I forgot to account for a newly developed jog in the road and nearly crashed. Going about 50% faster than the posted speed limit, no less. I overcorrected a bit and wound up in the next lane over, but fortunately it was late and there were no other cars around so we were fine.
This story is ripe with anxiety fodder. Rotting with it. The stuff of panic attacks. And my mind defaults to the worst crash imaginable, with the worst outcome (rollover crash with Riley ejected from the car), BUT. I did not allow myself the indulgence of imagining any horror or crashing or emotional toll taking, but rather reasoned with myself in a more balanced manner. "I didn't crash because I have quick reflexes, which I can trust. I did come rather too close for comfort to the edge of the road, but my mind knew the visual input wasn't matching my memory of the road, and reacted accordingly. I can trust myself. I am a good driver." And I remained calm.

Remember in the fall when I fell in the parking lot of the mall while carrying Riley and it was really scary? And then when I fell walking down my stairs while carrying Riley? And then fell down the stairs carrying Riley AGAIN?!? Those three times I had anxiety attacks afterwards because it was so scary and because I encountered all manner of mangled, damaged baby in my mind as I lived and relived those falls. This was similar in that it had potential for danger, but was not in the end an incident that caused any injury~~the difference lies in that my treatment group for my anxiety disorder TAUGHT ME how to DEAL with my tendency to believe so strongly that death, tragedy, and danger are imminent and that it is simply a matter of time before they take over my life.

It is a small triumph, I realize, since most of you are able to take a missed jog in the road in stride. But I am not able to, which is what makes it a triumph that I was able to put it into rational context and NOT panic about it! I'm so happy about this.

And about the falls: I have concluded that the reason I fell so many times in such a short period of time is that I was visualizing myself falling so often. EVERY time I walked near the stairs, MOST of the time I was walking holding Riley, and often when I was sitting or lying down, I would picture myself falling and Riley being injured, and all versions of how horrible that would be (the rest of my time was taken with making sure Riley wasn't dead of SIDS and that the kids' car seats were installed correctly in a desperate kharmic balancing act with the Universe to be vigilant enough to earn the priviledge of one more day with my kids). Visualization is really powerful in a positive context and can help people achieve major accomplishments in life, including Olympic feats and job interviews and public appearances. Apparantly it is true in the negative, also. Visualizing oneself falling repeatedly can actually make you (me) more likely to actually fall in real life. So interesting! My life now, though I still struggle with some anxiety, is so much more peaceful than it was last fall. I had lots of joy, but no peace. Now I have both.

Also, on the ferry on Monday I had some wicked anxiety brewing over Riley being on the outer deck of the ferry because it is so close to the water. All my brain wanted to do was picture him falling over the side in some horrible accident and what I would do to rescue him (dive in, obviously, since he would sink like a rock), but I fought it and fought it and managed to stay on the outer deck in the sunshine and NOT allow myself to go there in my mind, and to enjoy the water and the sun and the wind in our faces....

Which scene is somewhat ironic, since years before I was married I was in a very dark place and wished many times to disappear beneath that same dark backwash of the ferry, and realized I was out of that darkness when I regained a healthy fear of the water. Now my fear of that water wants to grow to epic proportions, to an equally dysfunctional place on the other end of the spectrum. Is there no peace in this life? Heal from one thing only to walk straight into the mouth of a lion? Who knows.
But I know there IS a measure of peace, and I've been able to claim it in a small way for myself, which feels really big. And to which I say, Thank You, Universe (you know who you are), your yoke is actually quite light, and I am grateful. I am learning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some stuff

Monday morning my friend asked me to come and speak in her grade 4/5 class, since they were studying human biology and had some questions that were more involved than her knowledge base. I'm no biologist, but I have studied anatomy and physiology for paramedic school, and for biology classes in university, and have always been very interested in the subject. So I put on my uniform Monday morning and I went to speak to 32 VERY enthusiastic students about human biology. It was VERY good for me, as it reminded my why I like my job and why I am interested in medicine, and how very passionate I am about health and the human body. I was asked questions that ranged from, "Have you ever had anyone die in the ambulance?" to "What's the weirdest thing you have ever seen?" to "What makes blood move in the right direction in the veins as it returns to the heart?" to "What causes a heart attack?" to "Why do babies sometimes not come out when the pregnant woman is in labour for a very long time?"
These kids were SMART. And they were so attentive; I answered questions for an hour and not once did I get a silly question, a repeat question, or notice anyone's attention wavering. It was so fun, I would do it again in a nanosecond. It helped me remember why I like my job, and made me feel a bit better about going back again in August! I'm so, so glad I was able to get more time off through EI, since I was not ready to go back this month and would have resented the extra time separated from Riley before he is a year old. This way I can go back with a more positive attitude and enjoy what I do, which is a very cool job with incredibly weird and complex situations which require creative thinking to handle. Especially the car crashes. I love the crashes. All paramedics sign up for the crashes.

I then went directly to the ferry to go to Victoria (with just Riley) to celebrate my sister's graduation from UVic's Nursing program. She graduated with high marks and great feedback from clinical instructors, and tons of interesting experiences. Awesome!! I'm so proud of her. I clearly remember her slogging away at 2 years into her 4 year degree, and feeling like the next two years just COULDN'T be done...but she persevered, and now she's a boda fide nurse~it is neat to hear her and my mom commiserate about or discuss nursing issues, and compare their experiences at the beginning and end of their careers.

Here are the rest of the lost-then-recovered photos I have. Two of my favourites, including one of Riley's first few times standing alone, were destroyed. But many were saved. Enjoy!

Hmmmmm....the captions and photos are all mixed up....I'll have to fix it later, as I don't have time now!

Here is one of our early trips to the water park this season (Matthew and Ayden have discovered that lying down on the cement path can be quite warm if you are cold from the water)

The only photo we were able to recover of the boys' bedroom with Riley's crib in it (Disappointing, because there was a super cute one of the three of them in the crib--we'll have to take another one like that!)

The Pooplosion in Chilliwack:

Pooplosion reactions;

And me, after the cleanup

I HAD to take this because Ayden was reading the Toys 'R Us flyer on the couch--he's so like his father it is hilarious. I never read flyers. Brent reads every single flyer that enters our house.

backyard fun;

In Vernon;

Ayden picked me a bouquet of wildflowers

and made me this card (with help from Nana)

Monday, June 15, 2009

10 Months!

Riley is ten months! He is growing so fast.

Walks up to 7 or 8 steps unaided, several times a day
still scoot-crawls most of the time
climbs stairs unaided
can get off our bed unaided
recognizes the sign language for 'milk' and the word milk
stands alone
screams when his brothers do something he doesn't like
screams when he sees a dog
still has only two teeth!
is switching from two naps to one
can turn the pages on a book

eating dirt
his brothers
eating rocks
food, especially very flavourful or spicy food
meat (he is living up to the Irish name by loving the meat half of meat and potatoes. He doesn't like potatoes)
blueberries and strawberries

bland food like rice or potatoes
being restrained
having his head covered with a blanket
being away from home
long car trips

We love you, Bu!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Latest crochet creation

I finished this doggie for Ayden in Vernon;

And here are all three of my Amigurumi crochet creations, all together on a playdate;

I'm currently speedily finishing a monster for my chiropractor's baby, who is due next week. Almost done! Getting faster, and better!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Some more photogs from the past month

This is our May Day parade, with a visit to the Fort in Fort Langley. The weather that day was decidedly un-May like. We had a good time watching the (very looooong) parade, and a wonderful visit to the Fort, where we explored all the buildings and history, including a real live blacksmith using old fashioned tools. Only a few photos were saved from that day!

And the BEST HUSBAND IN THE UNIVERSE award goes to....


He was able to recover approximately 100 of the 138 pictures that were accidentally deleted yesterday! Woohoo!!!!!!

And without further delay, here are some of them:

Here is our first trip to the beach this year, and Riley's first time playing on any beach...

[yes, Riley's shirt does say 'I suck'~we had it made for Ayden when he was little. That in a nutshell is our sense of humour, folks.]

more later...