Sunday, August 19, 2012

The end of this phase

The bags (mine and the children's) and lunches (mine and Dave's) are packed. The outfits are chosen and set aside. I just finished my last load of cloth diaper laundry...and least until next weekend. I'll need to head to bed really soon, as I'll be heading out the door around 6:30 a.m. tomorrow (and even earlier for most days after that).

I'm due back to work tomorrow. And I'm surprisingly chill about it. It's what I need to do right now for everyone's future, and we adore our care provider. Big, unbloggable-for-now stuff continues to happen, and it's a busy, exciting, and sometimes nervous time. If you're a pray-er, would you mind keeping all the members of our little family in your prayers tomorrow?

But oh! I have really enjoyed this phase. I never expected to enjoy being home with my kids so much, but here we are. I mean, we hope to be blessed with more kids, so maybe I'll end up back here again. But there are no guarantees, so I've tried -- not always sucessfully -- to enjoy the little moments of the day with the kiddos. The random dance parties, the hours spent at the park, the snuggles...and tried to focus less on the not-as-rosy parts. It has been a great ride with these two, and even though the rhythm of our days will change drastically starting tomorrow, I will always cherish the memory of these years and look forward to different memories in the future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I wonder who'd play Stringer Bell?

Both my kids are starting Speech Therapy, though for different reasons. I am torn about how much to talk about it here -- it's not my story to tell, and I'm not even 100% sure what T's underlying issues are, but that's what been eating up a lot of my mental energy that's not related to the unbloggable stuff.

We are super fortunate because one of my friends from University is an SLP, now lives in the area, and has just started taking patients again after having 3 kids. Julie is AMAZING, loves working with preschoolers, and is excited to be working with my guys. Teddy will be getting assessed next week, and Veronica had her first session today. It went really well.

I'm not sure if it's our encouragement, or the fact that she's 23 months today, but Veronica has recently embraced the word "No" with such enthusiasm it defies description. She busts it out in hilarious ways, but this afternoon took the cake. While I was doing dinner prep, she sat in her brother's chair, played with books and toys, and -- I kid you not -- had a 4 minute chirpy conversation only using the word 'no' in as may possible ways as possible.

It was like something out of "The Wire", only G-rated.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July is flying by...

Summer's a scorcher around here. In the five years we've lived in this house, it has never been this dry. Our yard is shady, but any non-shaded grass anywhere is yellow and dead. It's over 40 C with humidex today (so over 100 F) and wow! I'm very thankful to have air conditioning.

So - hello! Time is flying, flying, flying. But four weeks from today, I will be back at my full-time job. I am incredibly fortunate to still have a job to go back to after two years, especially in light of all the government cuts happening (my job is unaffected). If I stayed off on unpaid leave, though, they'd be able to back-fill my position and with so many people whose jobs have been eliminated, this is not a great time to be searching. So, back to work for me.

My return is tied to something potentially awesome, something as-yet-unbloggable, which is eating up all spare time and causing lengthy absences from stuff Twitter. I'll be able to talk about it eventually, but for right now, it's keeping us hopping.

My plan is to try to post SOMETHING every day over the next 4 weeks, because I won't be able to do much once I'm back at work. It'll likely be a lot of stuff about the kids, but there you go.

I hope that you're all well!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Three years ago today, our friend Greg took his life. He was the husband of my dear friend Jen, but a good friend of ours in his own right. Even now, I find it hard to believe that he's gone. He had turned 31 mere days before his death.

At his funeral, the minister's sermon reflected on the exact same passage I'd read at my beloved Aunt Floriana's funeral 3 months earlier. And wouldn't you know it -- it was in my 'read the whole bible in a year' project - it was today's New Testament Passage as well. I am not sure I'll ever read Romans 8 without crying about loved ones dying too soon, but it contains such a message of hope:

"What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8, 35-39.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

So. Hello there.

I can't believe that it's been over 2 months since I posted. There has been a lot going on, but I just haven't known how to write about it. And Twitter is stressing me out a bit, too. I can't follow all the conversations, so I find myself just avoiding it. I guess that Lent has meant a bit of an internet fast for me, too.

Teddy is approaching 3.5, which is awesome and dreadful at the same time. He's FUNNY, trying to make us laugh, and he is much more likely to tell us stories and sing us songs. But he's increasingly inflexible when it comes to his desires, especially those relating to Thomas that Tank Engine. We're not looking forward to 3.5, but he's generally a sweet little boy and a joy to have around.

Veronica is now the EXACT age that Teddy was when she was born. Boy - we thought that he was SO BIG; little did we know. She's a cuddly little sweetheart, but she WILL NOT say anything you want her to. She knows how to say things, but she just WON'T. I'm starting to get a wee bit worried about her lack of speech, but we're keeping an eye on it. The fact that she recently had her first ear infection isn't helping. Poor baby -- perforated ear drum, and now she has a non-allergic amox rash. But she's very sweet -- she greets everyone with a "Hi-ya!!" and blows kisses goodbye. She even does this when she's desperate to leave. At the doctor's office (the inside of which we've seen many times of late), she starts blowing kisses at him the second she sees him. "Get me out of here, stat!!", I imagine she's saying.

The two of them generally get along well. Yesterday, they walked a bit while holding hands, and they hug often. I really hope that they'll be friends.

Dave has been really busy with work and his big dream stuff. He's sick this week, which is unusual. He's plowing through, but he's looking forward to having some time off soon.

I am doing well. February was tough (though far tougher on people I care about). My best friend Beth lost her father, which sucked. That's part of the reason for the silence; I'm not sure what to say about it. One year earlier, another one of our friends lost her dad, and a third's dad is in long term palliative care. We're turning 35 and our dads are in their mid-sixties; I just figured that we'd have more time with them, you know? It all just stinks.

I've also gotten sucked into "Bones". It's on Netflix here in Canada, and I thought I'd give it a shot. It's solid, not amazing, but I'm enjoying it. I figured that I'd like the David Boreanaz character best, but I did not expect to develop a huge TV crush on one of the scientists! It helps that the character is hilarious, sweet, and looks like a blend of Dave and the guy I dated for a year when Dave and I broke up during University. So - loving Dr. Jack Hodgins over here. Mmm...Hodgins.

Anyway, that's some of the goings on around here. Next week, we're heading off on a long-planned transatlantic trip, about which I should blog before we go. We can't wait!

I hope that you all have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Breastfeeding and Guilt - My Take

Breastfeeding. One of the hottest button issues to talk about with fellow moms, or in general. I've wanted to write about my experiences with breastfeeding for so long, but I've hesitated. I've written about 10 posts in my head and have 2 in my drafts folder, but they never seemed right. I've never posted a comprehensive post about what I've basically spent the past 3 years doing every few hours.

There's been a lot of talk about breastfeeding in my Twitter stream lately, and Arwen wrote a wonderful post on the subject of Breastfeeding and Guilt. Go read it; it's great. Also check out Emily's comment, which is spot on. Rather than completely take over Arwen's comment section with my take on the situation, I thought I'd write about it here. I want to have a post talking about my experiences, especially since the situation with Teddy was atypical.

I've been very fortunate. Both of my children have had breastmilk for at least 17 months. But guilt has fueled both of these experiences. It's an odd guilt -- guilt that I'd failed Teddy in utero and in the first days of his life.

Tongue-tie runs in Dave's family. Dave is tongue-tied, and we always joked that if we had boys, they'd have it. While pregnant with Teddy, I knew that he'd probably be tongue-tied. I spoke to my midwives and my doulas about it as well as the nurses at the hospital. I lined up a 'breast-feeding buddy' through a city-run program so I could get support and I knew when all the clinics were all over the city. We took courses, I watched videos and bought reference books. Being a first time mother who'd never breast-fed before, I think I did as much as I could.

Teddy was born with a posterior tongue-tie. It's so far back that it's difficult to diagnose. The nurses and midwives didn't spot it. I knew that something was wrong, but it wasn't until we went to a lactation clinic that the IBCLCs spotted it, realized that he wasn't really latching, and got me pumping at the end of Day 2. I couldn't even pump enough to cover the bottom of the bottles; I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life as I tried. By the time my midwife came by the next morning, Teddy was down from 8lbs 4 oz to 7lbs 3 oz with his clothes on.

Day 3 postpartum ranks up there as the worst day(s) of my life.

So Dave had to race out and get formula, and he bounced back right away. Every two hours, we fed him any milk I could pump and topped it up with formula. My milk started to come in that day, and he just kept gaining and gaining. The midwives came every 12 hours to check on him (LOVE them) and he was great. But we struggled to find ANYWHERE that would do a tongue-tie release.

He had the release done on Day 5, but it was only partial. He still couldn't get much when he latched, but I pumped my way into an oversupply so that he'd be drowning in milk. No word of a lie - I was getting over 1.5 L per day (50 oz). But when he was 2 weeks old, we got thrush and kept passing it back and forth. After several weeks of that, I gave up trying to get him to nurse and just pumped.

Oh, that pump. It SUUUUUCKED. And the stupid flanges (even 3 sizes up) were awful and kept giving me plugged ducts which lead to mastitis. Weeks and weeks of awful mastitis. The pump couldn't move the milk, so I had to hand-express to keep the milk moving. In the midst of all this, my Aunt Floriana died, so we were dealing with all her funeral, mourning, and I was just a hot mess.

Everyone around me told me that I could stop (maybe should stop) because it was too much. But I was like a woman possessed; my kid was going to get breast milk no matter what. Also, my supply was bullet-proof. Even with mastitis it didn't drop for long.

So I kept on going. I switched to hand expressing full time, and the mastitis cleared up, as did all the pain. It was SO MUCH more convenient and easier (especially during a 12 hour power outage), so I just doing it. I slowed down gradually when I realized that the entire bottom of our massive chest freezer was full of milk. I kept it up until Teddy was 14 months old, and I was over 5 months pregnant with Veronica. He had enough milk in the freezer to take him past 17 months.

I look back now and why was I so consumed with it? I think it's because I felt like I'd failed him as a tiny baby. I hadn't been able to advocate for him and he'd lost all that weight. I'd been unable to find a doctor to address the issue. I couldn't help my baby in the way he needed to be helped, but I COULD DO THIS. So that's what I clung to.

Now Veronica does not have a tongue-tie. She, however, had a complicated delivery. She was intubated 3 times and had chest compressions, and she just did not want to nurse right away. But her latch didn't hurt like Teddy's and she wasn't losing as much weight, so I thought we were on the right track with nursing.

Then Day 3 rolled around and we discovered that she'd lost 10% of her birth weight. She wasn't anywhere as dehydrated as Teddy had been, but it was not good. I am not ashamed to say that I sobbed like I'd been stabbed in the heart. But Jackie, my amazing midwife, realized that her suction reflex had been thrown off by the intubation. She suggested that we finger-feed her using the last lonely bag of Teddy's breast milk from the freezer. And she reminded me that on Day 3, the tears bring in the milk.


So I nursed Veronica and then Dave would finger-feed her as much extra milk as she wanted. But about 12 hours later, my milk came in with a vengeance. Seriously -- I felt my entire torso was undergoing electric shocks. She was no longer interested in finger feeding, and when Jackie came back to weigh her 24 hours later, she'd gained 7 oz. She regained her birth weight before she was 1 week old.

And yet - I was PETRIFIED that I wasn't producing enough milk. She was consistently in the 95th percentile for weight, and I was nervous before every weigh-in. I still catch myself worrying and she's 17 months old!

My terrible time with Teddy and my rough start with Veronica have caused me to stress about my supply. I won't chance cold medicine, as it is known to make your supply drop. I worried about missing feedings so much that I was never away from her for more than 3.5 hours until she was 14 months old. She never took a bottle. I am still rarely away from her for more than 4 or 5 hours.

I suspect that I'm also trying to atone for my failure to effectively nurse Teddy by nursing her as often as she wants for as long as she wants. I'd have given anything to have had it work with Teddy, so I'd better not take this for granted. Am I turning it into penance for my belief that I let her brother down?

This guilt comes entirely from my own psyche. Everyone around me has been so supportive of me and was so proud of how hard I worked for Teddy. Heck - I'm proud of how hard I worked to feed Teddy. But man - did the Mom guilt ever start early for me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My 2012 Resolutions/Goals

I've been plotting this post in my head for 2 weeks now, so I'd better get it written. I'd really like to record my goals for the year and put them up here to help make myself accountable. And I am going to try to group them into categories...that start with F. Because, why not?

This is driven by my fear (another f word) that I'm getting nothing done, that I'm just spinning my wheels. I'd like to do updates quarterly, if not monthly, to stay on track.


  1. Develop a more structured routine for the children, especially on days when Teddy doesn't have preschool. The child LOVES routine, and on the days where we don't have one, I spend much of the day with him begging to watch The Backyardigans or Thomas.

  2. Reduce mindless screen time for all of us. I am so bad with this. It's just so easy to pop on an episode so that I can get laundry put away without two little kids crying for my attention. In the evenings, it's so easy for me to lose myself on Twitter or Google Reader. But I want my kids to be imaginative and this is the time to nurture their development.

  3. Have a minimum of one family adventure per month. This can be to a museum, a local park, a movie, skating on the canal, sledding, a trip - anything along those lines. For the majority of them, I'd like for them to be cheap or free.

  4. Have at least one 'Date Night” per month. These can be 'you pick the movie and I'll watch with no complaining or distractions', or dinners out (like the ones we have when we cruise), but I'd like to have at least 12 this year.


  1. Visit/chat with one old friend per month. I feel that friends are drifting out of my life, even those who live nearby, so I want to devote time to replenishing these friendships.

  2. Send Birthday Cards/Anniversary to all loved ones this year, and get back into sending “Thank You” cards. Card-making is my hobby, but I often feel that I don't have enough time to make nice ones. I need to get over myself and just do it.

Family Home

  1. Better organize the toys. We need a better system, as the current one is killing me. We need better storage and a method of toy rotation. This will likely end up bleeding into the next task, too.

  2. Tackle 6 organizing and 6 decorating or small renovation projects. They'll likely be inexpensive ones, as we're on the austerity plan for the next few years. But August will mark our 5th anniversary in this house, a house in which we still haven't hung our art. A fact that is totally the fault of my perfectionism. Poor Dave. This will include: better organizing my card-making supplies, as well as getting blackout blinds for the bedrooms that don't have them.

  3. Try making laundry detergent. I love my Nellie's (which is almost identical to the homemade stuff), but I am going to give this a try once this year.


  1. Develop a routine for prayer. This year, I once again used Jen's 'Random Saint Generator' to help me find a patron/patroness for the year. Last year's was the lovely St. Anne (grandmother of Jesus). This year? St. Dorothy of Montau. People seek her intercession for such things as: 'Against Death In Children', 'Marital Problems'. She's also a patroness of 'Widows'. GULP. I have no idea what this year has in store for me, but I'd better get my prayer life sorted.
  2. Go to confession at least 6 times. That'd be 4 more times than last year!

  3. Be better organized with the Familia Group that I'm leading, as well as the one in which I am participating. I was really late with the follow-up email after our last meeting, and I do not want that to happen again.

  4. Work on prayer with the kids. I also hope that this will keep me in the moment more; I've always struggled with that.

  5. Pray the usual novenas, and perhaps add one more.


  1. Attempt 30 new recipes. That's more than 2 a month. Let's do this!

  2. Have 12 new go-to recipes. I'll need to try a whole bunch before the year is out in order to pull this off (see #1), and they can be in any category, but I want 12 new ones mastered by year's end. Some I'd like to have: the blueberry scones Arwen served, escargot, quinoa salad, Crockpot black beans, Johnny cake, and my Nonna's pizza.

  3. Better organize my meal-planning. I'll need to organize all the new recipes I'm trying, anyway, so this is just a logical extension. More lists!

  4. Make one meal per week from the pantry or the freezer. I generally do this, but I want to ensure that I'm using up my stockpiles so I'm making this a goal.

  5. Be vigilant at introducing new foods to Veronica. I was spoiled by Teddy, who was an incredibly adventurous eater. While she loves fruit, her current preferences lean towards fat and carbs. We need her to eat more protein and vegetables.

  6. Join a CSA and plant a garden again. Full disclosure – I am currently reading “Raising Elijah” by Sandra Steingraber and it's terrifying me. Last year, I tried to garden in pots in our incredibly shady backyard. I got 1 bell pepper, 5 tomatoes, and maybe 30 cherry tomatoes. So – not so great. I did, however, grow delicious herbs that I am still using. So I'll try the cherry tomatoes again, and will definitely grow the herbs, but I want to support local farmers and have access to delicious, fresh produce. This will also help me accomplish #5 and #1 above!
  7. Try my hand at preserving. It might be tomatoes, it might end up being freezer jam, but I'd like to give this a shot.


  1. Transfer the money for our TFSAs and Veronica's RESP ASAP. I'd like to send this to Jim within the next 2 weeks.

  2. Continue tweaking the austerity plan budget to ensure our savings goals are met. I'd love to have a month where we buy nothing that isn't essential. Maybe during Lent I'll go for it.

  3. Make over $1000 by selling/consigning things. I must get off my butt and sell the double stroller we never use, and some of our old diapers now that Teddy is potty training. I also need to bring more of my things to the consignment store.

  4. Add info to our financial tracking documents so that all our stuff would be easy to access in case of tragedy. This one is depressing as heck, but


  1. Start running again. We have a treadmill in the basement, so there's no need to run on the ice.

  2. Run a 5k before the end of the year. It can be a fun one or a charity one, but do it.

  3. Eat less junk and drink lots of water.

  4. Go to bed every night by 11. I am TERRIBLE at this. I hope that the reduced screen time will help with this, too.

Future Planning

  1. Set aside 5 hours per week (on average) to support Dave's big dream. Sorry to be so cryptic right now, but I have to keep it quiet. This will evolve as time goes on, but I need to set this goal.

  2. Develop comprehensive tools (plans, budget) to support this, with professional help when needed. This, too, is a vital goal.


  1. Read, watch or listen to something in French every day. Prayers count, too. I'll need to use French every day when I go back to work, so I need to flex these muscles again!

  2. Read 75 books and recap them in a blog post. I managed to read 60 last year (recap post forthcoming), while abandoning another 20 or so because they were AWFUL, so I think this is doable. What? Reading keeps me sane.


  1. Travel for pleasure at least 4 times this year. Details for 2 of these trips are already booked while another is in the works, but I think this is doable.

  2. Watch at least 5 of the TV shows on DVD that we own. It's hilarious – we have a whole bunch of these that we keep meaning to watch, but don't. I'm thinking: FNL (I KNOW, OK! It breaks my heart to watch, though), Justified, Sports Night, The Vampire Diaries, and something on Netflix (maybe Bones).

  3. Don't feel guilty about taking some time for me. That said, don't feel resentful that personal time is limited. I'm at the stage in my life where I need to view these activities as treats – things to savour and enjoy but not my full diet.

Finish What You've Started

  1. Complete the album from our Australia/NZ trip (that was in Feb. 2008). Oy.

  2. Write at least 12 blogs posts about the kids and what they're up to. My blog is serving as a de facto baby book right now, and I'm slacking. I should also document other stuff we're doing, too, but the stuff about the kids is both charming and fleeting.

  3. Keep writing daily/weekly 'To Do' lists. I do stuff all day long, but I feel like I'm doing nothing. If I keep these lists, I'll stay on track AND feel like I'm accomplishing stuff.

  4. Track these goals and do quarterly updates on the blog. At least it'll be blog fodder, and I can tweak the goals as needed.

  5. Be ruthless about eliminating time wasters. Time ,while always at a premium, will be even more valuable this year. If the task doesn't tie to one of these goals, then DON'T DO IT!!

I think the very last one will be the hardest for me. But wish me luck, and I promise to keep you posted on my progress.