Thursday, December 27, 2007

This must be just like living in Paradise

I asked my parents for three different books for Christmas. I received all three, plus two more I didn't ask for which look good, too. I'm currently working on Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky. It's set in German-occupied France in 1940. I'm not loving it, but I had just read a review of it a couple of months ago right before I went shopping in Port Huron, MI (I will only buy books in America until they stop charging $5 more here when the Canadian dollar is at par with the American) and it was on a table with The Kite Runner - buy one get one half price. I wanted The Kite Runner anyway, so I bought the two of them. I read The Kite Runner right away, then it got to be report card time, then I read something else, so I'm just getting around to Suite Francaise now. I also asked my in-laws for three different books, and we haven't done the gift exchange with them yet, so I'm hoping there are a couple more waiting for me. And to top it all off, I received three gift cards from students for a certain big-name chain bookstore, so I have $40 to spend there. Sigh. What more could a reader ask for? Well, maybe a book like The Thirteenth Tale, and unlimited amounts of time to read. With tea and chocolate. Or actually, at this point in the holidays, just tea.

So, dear readers (assuming I have more readers than just Daph, and Jodi), any suggestions on what to spend my $40 on? There is a chick-lit book I've been dying to read since I was pregnant with Rylee, and I've just learned it's on sale for $4.99 at the big-name chain store, but what else should I buy? (Daph - I already looked into the Twilight series, too, and will probably get the first one of those with the gift cards as well)

PS The sacks were a hit. The girls thought they were pretty cool. The elves have already taken them away for next year. The stockings were also finished just in time, with me running upstairs to my sewing machine during commercial breaks during It's A Wonderful Life, which Ryan and I had never seen and therefore watched late Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I finally figured out...

(it really is a song lyric...We're All in This Together, from High School Musical, which I performed with the grade 7/8 choir at our Christmas assembly on Friday)

It's almost one o'clock in the morning, and I've been working on these stupid stockings for hours...well, quite a while, anyway. I was having serious trouble with my sewing machine, which my mechanically/technologically inclined husband was able to help me with, then I just couldn't figure out how to make them look the way I had imagined them. But third time's a charm...on the third attempt, I succeeded! I just ran downstairs with the completed stocking and a big grin to show Ryan, who's watching a movie. He was appropriately happy for me and proud of me, and I think a little surprised at how well it turned out. Anyway, one down, four to go! Hopefully now that I've figured it out, the rest will go more quickly.

Here and now, it's time for celebration
I finally figured out...

Monday, December 17, 2007

I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman!

One last update on the day before I crash. I ended up going with option 2 and shoveling the driveway. After a few shovelfuls I looked around and said, "This sucks!" But I persevered, and managed to clear the entire driveway, including the pile left by the plow. When I talked to Ryan as he was on his way home, he asked if the plow had been by. When I said yes, he said, "Oh, that'll be fun when I get home," at which point I had the pleasure of informing him that he has the best wife in the whole world. He was happy.

I took the girls to gymnastics tonight and used some of the time to read, which I haven't done much lately. And once all the kiddles were sound asleep, I managed, in collaboration with Ryan, to create the template for the stockings and cut out three of them. I decided that's enough for tonight. I'm now either going to bed, or going to have a bath and then go to bed. I doubt I'm getting my snow day tomorrow, so I should rest up, but I think my muscles would thank me for the bath. Not sure when I'll get to the stockings, since no more snow days seem likely this week - hopefully I can get some craft time in the evenings. I just won't assign any tests or projects this week :)

I rock!!

I have finished all three sacks for Santa to leave presents in for my girls! They don't know Santa is going to do this - Ryan heard the idea on the radio and, knowing I've been looking for simple sewing projects, suggested it to me. So, if you're someone who might possibly be talking to my kids, don't mention the sacks! And after Christmas, once they know they have the sacks, they still aren't supposed to know who made them. Anyway, they're all done, and I've taken pictures, but as I said, I don't know where the cord is to hook the camera up to the computer, so posting the photos will have to wait until my resident IT guy comes home. I guess I don't totally rock, but in almost every case, almost every time, I do, and that's good enough, right Daph?

I'm very pleased with myself, and am now going to tackle one of two projects:
1) Stockings - when I bought the stuff to make the Santa sacks, I also bought material to make stockings. However, i want to have a sort of template to cut the material, and I'm not sure I'm up to the task of drawing that. I did one on paper, and Ryan mocked me, so maybe I'll just let him do it for me (he's the artist anyway!)
2) The driveway - it really needs to be shoveled, especially the pile at the end left by the snowplow. However, I seem to have done something bad to my back when I first tackled the driveway this morning, so I'm not sure this is a good idea. And IT'S STILL FREAKIN' SNOWING!!!

My one consolation is that maybe the continuing snow will keep the plows busy in town, and they won't get to the rural areas, and the buses will be cancelled again tomorrow. A girl can dream, right?

Walkin in a winter wonderland

So, 25 cm and the snow is still falling (for Daph, Ismail and any other Americans reading this, that's about 2 ft) I know we hardly got anything compared to my friends in Ottawa (can you open your front door yet, Jodi?) but it's quite a bit. Enough that the buses in the rural areas aren't running, which means my rural school is closed for the third time this winter, but Sammie still has school and they're all at the sitter's right now. I walked them over there this morning, because it was pretty and not too cold and they like to walk, and anyway, I didn't want to drive on the driveway before I shoveled it and even if I wanted to, I don't think I could have gotten past the snowbank at the end of the driveway that the plow left there. SO, I walked them over, and then walked back on a completely snow covered path and through knee-deep snow in my backyard. It looked so inviting that I had to drop down into it, whereupon I laughed hysterically, then made a snow angel. And that was so much fun I jumped in it some more and threw it around a bit. Finally I headed back toward the house, making sure to walk through the deepest part of the drift between our house and the house next door. It was good for my soul, I think.

I decided to shovel the driveway next, which may not have been a good idea, as my back now hurts. We'll see if ibuprofen helps. Next up is my Christmas sewing, which may get put off as the sitter just called with Rylee screaming in the background. Poor little thing is, um backed up, to put it delicately, and the sitter wanted to know if I had some prunes or something. I don't. I may need to go get her to spare the sitter listening to the screams of pain. I think I have suppositories but I don't want to go that route :(

Okay, more to come later, I'm sure, hopefully with pictures of my craft space and crafts!

edited to add: The first sack is done! And the sitter called back and said the plumbing has been cleared, so to speak, and the wee one is no longer howling in pain. Unfortunately, I can't find the cord that attaches the camera to the computer, so I can't post the photos I've taken. Maybe later.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I'm so excited!

I was going to say that I was too excited to even think of a song lyric for the title, but then realized that IS a song lyric - thank you Pointer Sisters. I guess I'm too excited to recognize the lyrics!

Anyway, I am excited because I have my very own craft space! Not a whole craft room or anything, but tonight we cleared a spot in the office and dragged up a big ol' table that was always intended to be a craft table but has been sitting mostly unused in the basement. And then Ryan brought up a chair, and I brought up my sewing machine, and some sewing and scrapbooking stuff from the basement, and I'm so excited! Yesterday I bought material to make stockings for all of us, and some to make Santa sacks, in which Santa will leave the kids' presents (shh! they don't know about the sacks!) I was going to set up my sewing machine on the table in the basement, even though I didn't want to be way down there by myself crafting, and Ryan said he was planning to bring the table up as soon as we cleared some boxes from the office. So I cleared them, and now I have a craft space, and I'm so excited about it I'm rambling incoherently. Yay me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

We decorated the tree and the house last night, and it looks pretty good. We kept all the decorations high so as not to tempt the wee one, and cut back on glass ornaments on the tree out of safety concerns as well. We made a trip to IKEA yesterday (yay!) and while we didn't buy much, I am once more inspired to look at my house and figure out what it needs to make it ours, and to make it a home. Fortunately IKEA is not far away and we weren't late getting back, because we got a LOT of snow last night. Ryan went out to "do a quick shovel" this morning and was out for about an hour! We all ended up outside - Rylee loved the snow, and Sammie and Hailey played with the little boy from next door quite happily.

What else? It's been a long difficult week, with Ryan putting in a lot of overtime. This results in me putting in a lot of overtime as a mommy, and not nearly enough time for me. It's also report card season, and holiday season, of course, both of which require time, effort and action on my part. I'm doing my best. Ryan took Sammie to hockey today and took Hailey with him so I'd get a break, but of course Rylee is waking up now! I still have much to do - laundry will not put itself away, no matter how hard I wish for it, and there is marking and planning to do, and lesson prep, and...I'm getting worn out just thinking about it. Must go get started, and get the bug from her bed before she starts wailing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sick sick sick

I'm too tired and feeling too crappy to even try to come up with a song lyric for the title. I took the afternoon off, partly so I could take Rylee to the doctor but also because I felt like crap. Got Rylee in to see the doctor on call (our family doctor doesn't see patients Wed afternoons, but is part of a family health care group so there is a doctor on call outside of normal office hours) Turns out she not only has croup, she also has an ear infection. So we're both hacking and coughing and she's in pain in her poor little ears on top of it all. Sammie is also coughing quite a bit. Hailey was but seems to be better. Ryan also had it, but seems to be mostly over it, and just felt nauseated tonight. We're a sad little bunch in my house. I'm going to bed now. Here's hoping I actually get to sleep through the night tonight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pump up the volume

My life needs a soundtrack.

This thought occured to me the other day. I was getting Rylee's dinner ready, and Ryan had the iPod going, and I think it was even Pump Up the Volume that was playing. I started dancing around the kitchen as I got Rylee's food, and realized that a) it would be great exercise if I danced around like that more often, and 2) it's alot more fun when you dance to cheesy tunes. I'm not sure what the soundtrack of my life should sound like (although I could definitely soundtrack certain eras/events - my Finland trip is mostly Queen with a bit of U2, some Euro techno-pop and Mrs. Robinson in Finnish, for example) but I definitely think I would enjoy the mundane stuff more with music that gets me moving playing in the background.

What's the soundtrack to your life?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

I had all kinds of thoughts on things I would blog about a couple of days ago, but I forget most of them now. And I'm tired, and should be working on my report cards, and a million other things, and Rylee will be up from her nap any minute. So just a short post about today.

My grandmother served in the Canadian Women's Army Corps in World War 2. She was very proud of her service, and remained involved with the CWAC throughout her life. This is my first Remembrance Day without her, the first one where I'm remembering her. It's been tough. At school on Friday, I fell spectaculary apart during the Remembrance Day assembly. Fortunately, it was while a video was on (it was the sight of the veterans marching in the video that caused me to finally lose it) and the gym was dark, so few if any students witnessed it. However, I went back to class afterward and a student asked a question about poppies, and I started crying again. Fortunately (again), this was with my homeroom class, who are a wonderful group of gr 7 and 8 students. I did my best to explain why I was so upset, and they did their best to cope with the fact that their teacher, who is normally quite in control of herself and the class, was having a mini-breakdown. I doubt any of them are reading this, but if you are, you handled it beautifully.

We took the girls to the cenotaph after Mass today for the service there. We've actually managed to do this quite a few times in their short lives, what with one or the other of us being on parental leave and Remembrance Day falling on weekends. They were awesome, and the ceremony was as moving as always. As we were leaving, we saw a veteran sitting in his wheelchair, and almost everyone who went by him was shaking his hand and thanking him. It was beautiful.

My sister-in-law married an Army man this summer. He's leaving for Afghanistan in January. My friend Janet married an RMC grad five years ago. He's leaving for Afghanistan in January too. Remembrance Day has a whole new meaning for me this year. I just hope next year I'm not remembering Jeff or John, and the sacrifice made by Jan (and Hailey and Emma) or Rosalie.

Friday, October 19, 2007

There she goes...

Yes, for the two people (maximum) reading this who aren't on Facebook, Rylee is walking! She had her first birthday last week and decided it was about time she tried getting around on her feet instead of her hands and knees. She still crawls some of the time, but walks more and more each day, and is getting better and better at it.

Not much else to report. Everything continues to go well, which is great for me, but rather boring for blogging. Tomorrow I am acting as a co-interpreter for The Mennonite Story in St. Jacobs (the small tourist village where I teach, which is in the heart of Mennonite country). If it goes well, it could become a standing gig, which would be pretty cool for a French/history geek like me. Ryan is travelling less, which makes me happy. Sammie and Hailey can't keep their room clean and are still adorable. Sammie has started hockey and really likes it, which is great. Hailey still loves gymnastics.

Yesterday as I was dropping the girls off at the sitter Hailey gave me a big squeeze before I left. As I was walking out the door I heard her saying to the sitter, "Kris, do you want a squeeze?" So cute! This morning I asked Sammie if I was getting a hug and kiss. She yelled back, "No," so Hailey came over and gave me another hug and kiss. She's so affectionate.

Well, since I have nothing else to say...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oktoberfest is here!

So, it's Oktoberfest. Where I live this is a huge deal. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's Oktoberfesting just as much as I used to back in university, although for different reasons. Let's face it, you can call it a festival of German heritage, but for university students, it's just another reason to drink your face off. This is NOT my plan tomorrow night. Now, it's a chance to get together with some friends. It's ridiculous, really - these friends are people who live within a few minutes drive of me, but I rarely get together with them. There will be three couples going tomorrow night, to the best of my knowledge, and the women are two of my closest friends. I've known them for years, their kids are the same age as my daughters, we live close to each other...We used to get together much more frequently, but since having kids, there just don't seem to be the opportunities, or maybe we just don't make them. Whatever the reason we don't do it more often, I'm really looking forward to spending time with my friends tomorrow as friends, not as mommies.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job? I don't know what it is about this year, but I'm having more fun than I can remember having at work in a long time. I feel like I'm doing well, too, which is nice. I have no idea what's different about this year. Maybe the kids appreciate me more after having a substitute for much of last year while I was on leave. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling really good about my career these days.

Rylee turned one yesterday. We had a small family celebration on Wed night, as her godmother/aunt was able to come for dinner that night but not on her actual birthday. Her babysitter had cupcakes yesterday, then we celebrated again last night with cupcakes after dinner. She of course has no idea what the big deal is, but her sisters do, which was cute. They took the liberty of "helping" Rylee open her presents :)

Not much else is new. Sammie starts hockey this weekend, which should be interesting. She says she knows how to skate, and says she wants to play hockey, but we'll see. She looks pretty darn cute in all her equipment, that's for sure. She still likes school and is reading really well. Hailey still wants to do everything Sammie is. She's struggling with skating, too, but we're working on it. Last weekend we went skating with the Rangers, and Hailey was upset that she kept falling. I told her the Rangers fell a lot when they were learning too. She seemed amazed at that, so I suggested she ask one of them. Sure enough, we went up to one and I said, "Did you want to ask him your question?" She looked up at him and said, "When you were little, did you fall down?" He gave her a big smile and said, "All the time. But I kept getting back up and kept going." After that she told everyone, "He used to fall down all the time, but he kept gotting up!" My kids are so darn cute.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I want to thank you, thank you...

I know, I know, it's been a while, and probably no one is reading this anymore. But in case I'm wrong, in honour of Thanksgiving, here is what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my families - the one I was born into, the one I married into, and the one I've created with my husband. And I'm thankful for the family of friends who surround me and support me on a daily basis.

I'm thankful for a career that I truly enjoy, for work that is fulfilling and meaningful, and for which I am quite well compensated. I'm thankful that I live in a country where I'm free to have a career outside the home if I choose to.

I'm thankful that I'm one of the people this weekend who ate too much, and not one of the people who didn't eat enough. I'm thankful that I had enough food for my children and no one at my table had to go without.

I'm thankful that I have my wonderful husband. And I'm thankful that I didn't make the mistake of marrying one of the other guys I dated (note to any of them reading this - nothing against you, guys, you're fabulous. You just weren't right for me, and I wasn't right for you. Not in the long run, anyway)

I'm thankful that in university I met someone who helped lead me back to my faith. I'm thankful for the faith community of which I am part. And again, thankful that I am free to worship as I choose, where I choose.

I'm thankful that I have twice had the experience of living in a country other than my own. I'm thankful for the friends I made in Finland, especially the ones who are still part of my life.

I'm thankful for chocolate.

I'm thankful that I'm in good health, and that my family is, too. I know I'm very lucky to have had three uncomplicated pregnancies and three healthy children. And I'm thankful that when I wanted to get pregnant, I did. I know it's not that easy for everyone. I'm thankful that the growth on Em's thyroid was benign. I'm thankful that Tatiana is home and getting better every day. I'm thankful that my mom survived her heart attack last year. I'm thankful that Mim isn't suffering.

On a more lighthearted note, I'm thankful that Rylee is sleeping through the night. I'm thankful that the gr 8 trip to Quebec is going ahead in February, and that I'll get to go. I'm thankful that Rylee isn't quite walking yet.

I'm thankful that I have too many blessings to list here.

Friday, August 3, 2007

You don't know what you've got...

Just a quick thought, inspired by Daph's blog. After this past weekend, renewing the bonds shared with my exchange student friends, we swore we wouldn't let 14 years go by again without getting together, and those of us who are geographically close promised to keep in better touch. What I'm pondering is this: why are we so determined this time to keep in touch? Why do we think it'll be different? I think the answer is, because we're 14 years older than we were when all went our separate ways. I don't think I realized at age 18 what an amazing thing that friendship was, and that I should cherish it. I think I thought I would find other friendships to take its place. I *have* found wonderful friends since being home, and I treasure them, too, but they are in addition to Daph, Darren, Monica and Ismail, not instead of. And I know now how lucky I am to have those four people as my dear friends. I promise to be a better friend this time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Some things'll never change...

...but some things will. Like a 17 or 18 year old kid sent to live in a foreign country for a year.

At my reunion weekend, my friends kept saying how our year in Finland made them who they are. This got me thinking. How did my year abroad change me? How has it affected who I am today? I mean, the man I'm married to knows very little about that year, I don't talk about it much with friends did it contribute to who I am today? Or did it?

So yesterday, as I drove for 2+ hours in 30+ degrees Celsius in a car with no AC, alone with a baby, I thought about it. I came up with ways Finland changed me and ways just being an exchange student changed me. Here's what I came up with.


Drinking coffee - I never drank the stuff before I went to Finland, but when you go to a Finn's house, they will offer you some. And go into an absolute tizzy trying to get you something else to drink if you say no. So I just started drinking it to save everyone's sanity.

Drinking beer - Never drank this either, but then again, probably would have started in university if I hadn't already.

Cheering for Finnish teams/athletes - unless of course they're competing against Canadian teams/athletes.

Cheering against Swedish teams/athletes - and basically being against all things Swedish. It took me a long time to accept that the Leafs had a Swede for a captain. And even longer to admit that I actually liked him.

Amusing anecdotes - like the time I went to St. Petersburg and was so focused on bringing my camera, passport and American money that I forgot to pack underwear. I have many more stories like this. Ask me about my trip to Stockholm sometime. The thing is, I don't want to bore anybody, and I always think these stories are only interesting to me and the people who were there. If I'm wrong, let me know - I'd be happy to share some stories.

Interesting second language stories - these serve me well as a second language teacher. Like how tuli, tuuli and tulli all mean different things, and sound SLIGHTLY different. Or how Finnish only has one word for both he and she.

An affection for all things Finn - like Finlandia vodka, Fazer chocolate, Lapin Kulta beer, pulla, Karelian pies...sigh.


Not letting people too close - this is all I could come up with that was at all big. I have some wonderful friends, but we aren't as close as I was with my exchange student friends. I don't know if this is because I don't let them get as close because I don't want to go through losing them like I did with my exchange student friends, or if it's just because adults don't form friendships like that, or what.

Being self-reliant - I can get through just about anything, and do it on my own. I learned to do that when far from home in Finland, too shy and/or proud to ask Rotary to help.

That's it. Most of that isn't even huge, I don't think. So, here's my question. I know at least some of my Oulu buddies are reading this - how did our year abroad make YOU who you are? Or if any other exchange students - past or present - are reading this, how did/has your year changed you? And if that's too personal for the comments, email me. I'd love to hear.

PS For pictures from my weekend, check out Daph's blog. And for a someone else's take on the reunion, check out Darren's blog.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Crazy for you

And a little aside, my 7th wedding anniversary was a few days ago. So to my sweetheart, I love you more than ever, which I already told you, but now I'm announcing it for anyone who happens by my blog to read. I love our life together, and I'm so so so happy I married you seven years ago.

Finland, Finland, Finland

I usually try to use song lyrics for my post titles, so thank you Monty Python for writing the song that gave me today's post title :)

I have been crazy busy this summer and won't even try to catch up on everything I've done - camping, cottaging, Rosalie's wedding, visiting both sets of parents - I haven't been home more than a few days at a time since the end of June. But I will tell you about last weekend.

I spent last weekend in Ottawa with four of the best friends I've ever had or will ever have. Daphne, Ismail, Darren, Monica and I met 15 years ago as Rotary Youth Exchange students in Finland. We were all sent to live in or near Oulu, Finland, which is just slightly south of the Arctic Circle. It was north, it was dark, it was cold, it was an absolutely amazing year. When we came home we tried to keep in touch (most of us, anyway) and we saw each other a few times in various configurations, but never all together, and eventually we just sort of drifted apart. A couple of years ago, Darren decided to find us all again, and wonder of wonders, pulled it off! We started trying to plan for a reunion and it finally came together this summer. Daphne lives in California now, and Ismail and Monica are in Oregon, and they all flew into Buffalo last weekend. I picked them up and we drove to Ottawa, where Darren is now.

It is CRAZY how we just picked up where we left off 14 years ago. We've grown up, gotten married, come out, gotten divorced, finished school, started careers, but when we got together we were as close as we were then, like we'd never lost touch. We spend most of the weekend on Darren's back porch, reminiscing and catching up, but also discussing all kinds of things. It's just amazing to me how we all just came together like we never lost touch, how we could all still say anything, and how all 5 of us could still have that incredible bond. I expected to still share it with Daphne, because I was closest to her and we've never really lost touch, but for 5 people to have that 14 years later with minimal contact in the intervening 14 years is, to me, mind boggling.

That reunion was one of the best ideas you've ever had, Darren. I'm SO glad we made it work. I hereby pledge not to let another 14 years go by without seeing everyone again, and to keep in better touch with everyone. I love you guys.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quick Rylee update

Just realized I haven't posted about any of her latest milestones. She now has two teeth on the bottom. If she gets top ones anytime soon we may have to end our nursing relationship, as she tends to bite down and tug and that hurts enough with just bottom teeth. She's also crawling, and man can she go! Baby gates will need to go up soon.

In related news, well, there isn't much. Sammie continues to amaze me with her reading. Hailey's speech is getting clearer, which sadly means some of her cute babyish talk is disappearing. I've realized I may have to finally correct one of Sammie's last remaining mispronunciations. She came home with a story she'd written at school about swimming in Opa's pool and about the "babing soot" she was wearing. I can't bring myself to teach her to say baTHing suit.

And a personal milestone...our nephew is staying with us this week, and tonight I had the pleasure of getting all four kids to bed on my own, as Ryan was at a ball game (I'm out with an injury, which is why I stayed home with the kids). Wouldn't you know it, the boy pooped right before bed, so I had to change my first poopy boy diaper - I'd only changed wet ones before, and only a few of those. I had to call my mom for advice on applying diaper cream because he had a rash and I didn't know where you could put the stuff on a boy! (No, I don't have any brothers, but my mom had brothers who were much younger than her, so she changed their diapers) Anyway, it seems to be okay now - fingers crossed.

So...what did YOU do today?

Monday, June 11, 2007

10 Things I Love (and 5 I wish I did)

I got this idea from Daph, who used it on her blog. Let's just assume that it's a given that I love my family and friends and go from there, okay?

10 Things I Love (in no particular order)

1. Facebook - I forgot to mention this in my last post about why I haven't posted in a while - any computer time seems to be spent on Facebook. I've gotten back in touch with so many old friends this way! It's completely addictive.
2. The A-Ha moment - any teacher reading this knows what I mean - the moment that comes after you've spend countless hours going over and over something and all of a sudden a student says, "OH! I get it!"
3. Baking - even better now that my kids (well, two of them) are old enough to help. We have a lot of fun with this, and then get to have a treat at the end. The clean up? Not so much fun, but worth it.
4. Trivial Pursuit - I've been hooked since I was a kid and played the original one with my mom. I was too young to answer any of the entertainment questions (I still don't know who Tyrone Power is) but I could get a lot of the other ones. I now own several versions of this game.
5. Travelling - love it. Preferably with a favourite travel companion (Daph and Ryan are the best I've found so far). Preferably far away.
6. Diving - I was scared at first, but there is nothing like it. Being in that silent, still world under the water, gliding along, seeing things most humans don''s pretty darn cool.
7. Reading - preferably in the bathtub. With a cup of tea. And some chocolate. That's my ultimate fantasy right now.
8. Sleeping - don't do near enough of this anymore. As I've said before, it takes forever to get all the kids to bed, then I have to do school work and want to do things like check email, check Facebook, read, watch TV, hang out with Ryan...if I'm low on my own priority list, sleep is even lower.
9. Biking - I should do this more often. Hopefully I will now that the weather is staying nice. I was going to bike to work today but I hurt my ankle yesterday so I couldn't.
10. Sun - I know we have to be careful what with the holes in the ozone layer and whatnot, but I challenge you to spend a year in northern Finland and not come out of it with a renewed appreciation for sunlight.

5 Things I Wish I Loved (or think I should)

1. Breastfeeding - I hear so many women talk about how they love it. I have to admit, I don't. I do it because it's what's best for my babies, and it's easier than mixing a bottle, and more economical, but I don't really like doing it. I don't dislike it, but I sure don't miss it when I stop.
2. Crafts - I WANT to be a crafty-type person. I do. I have scrapbooking stuff and cross-stitching and a sewing machine and I always swear that when I get some free time I'm going to make use of them, but then I get some free time and I'd rather read, or watch a movie, or something else. I'm working on it.
3. Being active - again, I WANT to be an active, on-the-go, walking and biking everywhere person. But I usually manage to find a reason not to be. I'm working on this one, too.
4. Vegetables - it would be easier to convince my kids to eat them if I actually liked them too! I do eat them, and even enjoy some of them, but would like to be eating more.
5. My body - just as it is, belly and all. I'm REALLY working on this one.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Where does the time go when it's not around here?

Whoops! I have no idea how that much time passed without a post. Well, actually, I do. Life happened.

Rylee started taking longer to get to sleep in the evenings. It's either 8 or 9 pm, or she goes down at 7 pm for an hour, then is up for 2 or 3. Aaargh! Not sleeping so well through the night, either.

Work got VERY busy, especially once report card time rolled around. Thankfully, they're done now, although if any of my students have happened across this blog, your marks can still be changed at any time up to the moment the report is in your hot little hands!!!

Ball season started. Our team has never been a contender, until this year. We've actually got some wins! More than one! And of course, this is supposed to be the last season for the league, since the land where our diamonds are has been sold. Figures.

And then the bad news.

My grandmother finally succumbed to non-Hodgkins lymphoma in May. She was on a respirator and it was doing all the breathing for her, so my mom and her siblings made the very difficult decision to have it turned off, which was according to my Mim's wishes. She passed away with her kids near her, very peacefully. The doctors told our family she would likely not last long after the respirator was turned off, but she fought for a few more hours. What a wonderful, brave, special woman. I miss her so much already.

When my grandfather died in July 2005 I went to Windsor with my sister and stayed at my cousin Ami's house, with my sister and another cousin, Christine, who lives in BC. We actually had a great time hanging out and shopping when we weren't doing funeral-related stuff. This time, I thought it would be different since Ami has a daughter now, I was going to have Rylee with me (the girls stayed with my in-laws last time)...turns out, Ami's daughter went to daycare and my sister-in-law said she would help my mother-in-law take care of all three of my kids. So after the first visitation, five of us cousins went to a drug store, went out for ice cream, and went back to Ami's to do facials and toenails. The next night, almost all the cousins who were in town and over the age of 12 went to Ami's again, where we ordered pizza and had a talk. See, some of my Mim's kids are squabbling amongst themselves for reasons we don't really understand. My cousin Matt wanted everyone to get together and agree that just because our parents aren't getting along, there's no reason we shouldn't. It was a great get-together, and hopefully the next time we do it, it won't be in honour of a dead relative.

I was asked to do a eulogy for both of my grandparents at their funerals. I barely got through this one. I had back-up ready to come take the speech and finish it for me if I couldn't. I managed, however. I was going to post my speech here, but it's pretty long. Anyone who's really interested can ask - probably anyone who's interested either already heard it, or lives in town and can see my copy.

Last bit of news (because Hailey just wandered into the hallway saying she can't sleep, so I need to go put her back to bed) - my niece Tatiana is still in hospital, now the veteran of several surgeries (and she's just 2 months old tomorrow). Her omphalocele has been put back in, she looks normal except for the stitches on her little belly that make her look like a football, and the many tubes and things coming out of her. She's far from being out of the woods yet, so keep praying to whatever higher power you believe in, please.

I will try not to let so much time pass before my next post!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Workin' 9 to 5...

Well, more like 8:15 to 4:15, plus some work at home, but you get the idea. I've been back to work for a couple of weeks now and am feeling right back in the swing of things. I had forgotten how much I really do love my job, and have been reminded these last couple of weeks. Ryan has been home with the girls and they're all still alive and the house is still standing, and they're even smiling most days, so all is well in that area too. I also hadn't really realized how drained I was when I was pregnant. I just can't believe how much more energy I have at work than I did a year ago when I was just starting my 2nd trimester. It's amazing! And that's even with all the waking up at night thanks to the monster. I don't know what it is, lately she's back to eating every few hours around the clock. I have this theory that the reason she's hungry is that she doesn't get enough at any one feeding from me, so I keep nursing her when she wakes up to try to increase the milk supply, but all that seems to happen is she wakes up again in a few hours and I'm exhausted when I finally get up in the morning.

And I'm really tired of looking pregnant! I know, it took 9 months to gain the weight, so why shouldn't it take more than 6 to lose it, but it's not about the number on the scale. It's about the fact that I don't look fat, I look pregnant. I don't know why. I don't know if it's because I had c-sections and the abdominal muscles aren't healed, or because I only gained weight in my belly so that's the only place I need to lose it, or what. I'm almost back into the clothes I was wearing the summer before I got pregnant with Rylee (after the 12-week challenge) but I still look like I'm pregnant and I hate it. I know I should just focus on being healthy and not worry about my appearance, but there it is. I look like I'm pregnant and I'm not and I hate it.

Update on Tatiana - she did not have a very good weekend, but Carianne's was okay. She did go home and got to be with her boys, which helped her spirits. Some of the fluid had to be drained from the prosthesis in Tatiana's abdomen because she was just in too much pain, and apparently there's been some swelling, but Carianne was allowed to hold her again today. I'm hoping that's a good sign. I've passed on all the good wishes people have sent to me and ask that you continue to keep them in your thoughts/prayers.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The latest on Tatiana

Copied from the most recent email from Carianne:

Tatiana was transferred to a different hospital on april 18. She left the neonatal unit and is now in the pediatric critical care unit (PCCU). The doctor requested she be moved since she works out of the new location, can check on her frequently, rather than stopping in before or after her work day. I was okay with the move, like I had any choice anyways! The Victoria hospital is newer, larger, more spacious and the parking lot is right across from her room. Nice!

Since she has been on her antibiotics the past couple days she has been doing really well. Hopefully the infection is gone. This morning I sat with her for a few hours, enjoying the cuddle and watching her peacefully sleep in my arms. And the chair was a nice soft lazy boy lounger, not too hard to relax in.

We were told there would possibly be surgery today, april 19. But only if they could book some time in the operating room. 12:30. Call comes in and her time in the OR will be 1:00. Surgery shouldn’t take any more than 2 hours. We wait. Mom, rosalie and collin are with me. Finally at 4:00 the doc tells us all went well. The balloon type thing was inserted into her lower abdomen, they filled it with 80mls of liquid. A tube comes out of her so the doctor can keep filling the balloon till her abdomen is large enough that the omphalocele will fit into it. Not sure how long this will take. Maybe 20 days, or that is what the 2 other medical papers have stated that have tried this procedure. It’s a new way to try to fix this abnormality so I’m hoping it works well.

Me again. Carianne was going to go home this weekend to be with her husband and son, since there's not much she can do with or for Tatiana right now anyway. I will be passing on all the good wishes you've been sending to me. I know it will mean a lot to her.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More news on Tatiana

For those who were wondering about Tatiana, here is an update I copied from Carianne's last email:

The game plan: surgery 1: they will insert a prosthetic (balloon) into her lower abdomen. Over time they will pump this balloon up, hoping to increase her skin tissue and also her abdominal cavity. Once the cavity is large enough …

Surgery 2: they will remove the prosthetic, drop the omphalocele (her liver, stomach and bowel that is now on the outside of her body) into the abdominal cavity and hope that the skin stretches enough over the opening. Also over the opening they will use a board type thing to help keep the omphalocele where it is supposed to be, keeping her tummy a normal shape, so it doesn’t pop out.

Surgery 3 + ?: the next surgery or more will be to remove the board and keep stretching the skin till it covers over the opening. It will depend on how fast her skin grows to be able to cover the opening whether it will be 1 or more surgeries.

We went to see her on the weekend. I got to look at her in her little incubator in the NICU, and you'd never guess there was anything wrong. She's adorable, her colour looked good to me, she was wrapped in a blanket so you couldn't see the omphalocele, she was just a little smaller than most babies I've seen (but we tend to have babies the size of toddlers around here!) Carianne was allowed to hold her on the weekend, and was even starting to try to nurse, but that's been stopped now.

My mother in law called tonight to say that Tatiana was supposed to go for surgery today but it had to be cancelled as she is running a fever due to an infection. She is being moved to the hospital in London where her surgeon is, so that she can be wheeled into surgery at a moment's notice if need be. I'm not sure if they know where the infection is.

It seems Carianne was told that the doctor has seen this maybe 10 times in her career, and that anything they've done before hasn't worked too well, so they're trying something different. Understandably, Carianne is having a very rough go. She's staying in London to be near Tatiana, away from her husband, her son and most of her immediate family (although her brother is in London, and some extended family). Please keep praying for Tatiana, or thinking good thoughts, or whatever works for you. She still needs it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thank heaven for little girls

Tatiana Jayne Brophy arrived today, on her mommy's birthday. Happily, it seems that she is even healthier than expected. She needs surgery because she was born with her liver, intestines and stomach outside of her body, but the good news is that the doctors seem to think that's the only thing wrong. The surgery was supposed to be on Friday but now it might be earlier because the doctors think she can handle it, and has no other issues they need to worry about. Thank you to anyone who sent prayers and wishes to Carianne. Ryan and I are Tatiana's godparents, so Ryan went to London today to see her and be there for the baptism.

Welcome baby girl!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back in the saddle

I started back to work today. It went quite well - someone said it was like I never left. The grade 4/5 class swarmed me when I walked in on supervision duty, and when I showed up to teach their class they all told me how happy they were that I was back, even the gr 5 boys that I wouldn't have expected it from. It was an ego boost, to say the least.

I was a little surprised at how easily I got back in the routine. I guess it's because I was off for a shorter leave this time (six months, as opposed to 8 or 9) and because I started the school year with these kids and am now finishing it with them. Besides, I've taught most of these kids for three years now, so I know them and they know me.

I was supposed to start yoga tonight but there was just too much going on - Ryan had two meetings, one of which overlapped with yoga, I had plans to prepare, the girls needed a bath (Sammie has school pictures tomorrow), I had housework I was hoping to tackle...something had to give. I decided it would be yoga, which I will probably not do now for this session. I've already missed the first two classes, and will likely have conflicts once baseball starts. I figured I had to choose, and I chose baseball. I've already committed to playing ball, and I can always do yoga in the fall.

Rylee is still a monster when it comes to sleep. I don't know why I bother mentioning it. I should just post about the times she actually does sleep. Actually, she slept quite well at the in-laws this past weekend. I think it might be because she was in a dark room, but I'm not sure yet. She's been sleeping for about 3 hours now, so maybe we're in for a better night. Maybe. I should be sleeping too, but I was feeding my addiction (yay facebook!) and checking OHL scores (Rangers lost - boo) and decided to post about my first day back.

Before I head off to sleep, I'm asking for prayers and good wishes for my sister-in-law, who is giving birth to her second child tomorrow. The baby has medical issues that will require surgery within a couple of days. We're hoping there are no other issues that the ultrasound didn't show. Please send happy thoughts in the general direction of London.

Friday, April 6, 2007

25 random things you might not know about me

1. My youngest daughter was almost named Danielle.
2. I have lived in Haukipudas and Oulu, Finland and in Nantes, France.
3. I have been to Oregon and California, but no further west in Canada than Thunder Bay.
4. If I could live in any country in Europe, it would be the Netherlands.
5. I had a small crush on my Canadian history prof in 4th year.
6. I am the 2nd youngest teacher at my school.
7. I can say I love you in about 10 different languages.
8. I did gr 3 and gr 4 in one year.
9. I once ran up a $200 phone bill in teacher's college.
10. I am great at talking myself out of buying things.
11. I am first generation Canadian on my dad's side.
12. I have TMJ disorder. Also chondromalasia patella (sp?)
13. I want to be on What Not to Wear. And Jeopardy.
14. I like being tickled.
15. The Les Miserables soundtrack makes me cry.
16. In high school I played clarinet, alto sax and baritone sax.
17. I was mentioned in the liner notes of a CD (Us & Wilbur - Through These Walls)
18. I am a huge fan of Dave Barry.
19. I have been to the northernmost point of mainland Britain.
20. My first concert was Glass Tiger.
21. I have never broken a bone.
22. My favourite game is Trivial Pursuit (okay, if you know me at ALL, you probably knew that one)
23. I have only once in my life lied to my mother and gotten away with it.
24. My favourite colour is blue.
25. My confirmation name is Angela.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Easter what?!?

Just had to share this Hailey-ism. It's a two parter.

Sammie and Hailey are playing behind Daddy's chair when they are supposed to be cleaning up their toys. I ask them to come out from behind the chair and ask what they're doing. Sammie, still holding a book, tells me she's reading a story. Hailey looks at me and with a perfectly straight face, not trying to be funny, says, "I'm the Easter egg piggy." Trying hard not to laugh, I ask, "You're the what?" Sammie says, "She's the Easter pig," still not joking, at the same time that Hailey repeats, "I'm the Easter egg piggy." And I thought it was funny when they said Easter egg bunny. Hailey also referred to Christmas recently as Santa Claus Day, so maybe we need to work on the meaning of Christmas around here. And Easter.

Takes place immediately after part the first. I remind the girls that they are supposed to be cleaning up and tell them to get started. Hailey holds up her hands, waves them around, still not trying to make a joke, and says very seriously, "The Easter egg piggy doesn't have any hands."

YOU try to keep a straight face at that point. The funniest part was, I really don't think she was even trying to get out of cleaning up her toys. She just saw a real problem with this since she was the Easter egg piggy and the Easter egg piggy doesn't have any hands. Too funny.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

And where have YOU been?

I gave up. I have been letting her have the soother and, wonder of wonders, it seems to soothe her. Rylee is now settling into a sort of pattern where she goes to sleep, wakes up a few hours later, falls asleep again fairly quickly when you stick the soother back in her mouth, and sleeps a while longer. How much longer varies, but I'm not on hourly search-and-rescue missions anymore. Hooray.

On Friday I went to a conference in Toronto for modern language teachers - the only work-related travel I ever do, and at my own expense, of course. It was great. I went with my friend Carrie, also a French teacher, and stayed over. You can usually find people you went to school with, or taught with, but this year I even found someone I went on exchange with! The person who handled my check-in at the hotel was the guy who went on exchange from the same Rotary club as me, the same year. It was good to see him - he seems like time has been kind to him, and he's happy with himself and his life now. Carrie and I had a good time (or at least I did - I think she did too) being without kids for once, doing girly things.

This is my last week before I go back to work. I guess I should be getting some stuff ready. I will try to do so this week, but with Ryan gone, it may be difficult. I get so run-down when he's gone, it's hard to motivate myself to do anything. Oh well.

We bought a tent trailer this weekend. I wasn't sure I wanted to, but Ryan convinced me. I really like the one we ended up getting. Now I'm looking forward to the summer more than ever.

Not much else to say. I will try to be more interesting next time.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hush little baby

Well, the sleeping is getting better, as I've said before. However, as I think I also mentioned, she's falling asleep with a pacifier, which means that when she wakes up as a normal part of the sleep cycle, she notices she no longer has the pacifier and cries for it. So tonight I'm biting the bullet. Last night I managed to keep her in her crib all night, and even managed to get her to put herself back to sleep once or twice. I had decided that this week, while Ryan is away and I don't have to worry about keeping him awake, I would wean her off of the soother. I know that at 5 months it's not a big deal for her to still be on it, but it's not giving me any more sleep, it just means I don't have to nurse her to sleep. Tonight as I stood over her trying to keep the soother in her mouth, I decided this is the night. I'm not going to stand over her forcing it into her mouth when I'm just going to take it away soon anyway. So now I'm in the office, waiting 10 minutes before I go back in to try to settle her down without giving her the pacifier or picking her up. This has been my stumbling block in the past. I know I'm supposed to go back in after 5 min, then 10, then 12, etc, but without picking her up, she doesn't settle down or stop crying even when I come in, so how long do I stand over her trying to get her to stop?

Four minutes to go.

The other problem here is that I need Sammie and Hailey to fall asleep quickly, because they have to get up early tomorrow as we're going to London to look at flower girl dresses. I don't know how they're going to fall asleep with that screaming in the next room. And yet, for the first night in a long time, I haven't heard a peep out of them since I kissed them goodnight and left their room. Hailey didn't nap today so she's very tired, and they were outside riding their bikes after dinner, so maybe they're good and tired for once.

Two minutes.

I suppose I could go do something useful and productive like put away laundry or clean my room. Nah. If I have to listen to a crying baby, I'm at least going to do something I enjoy while I listen. I'm thinking for the next 10 minute stretch I'll have a shower or something. Maybe read a book - I've just started a biography of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I've always been fascinated by him, even if I'm too young to really remember Trudeaumania.

Okay, 10 minutes are up.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who's watching me?

So, if you ever read the comments, you will know that I've received my first comment from someone I've never met. I've wondered if there's anyone out there reading this other than my friends. I don't even know how many of them are reading. So, who's watching (or should that be reading?) me? Please let me know! I'll even make it fun for you. Please tell me:
1. Who are you?
2. If I don't know you, how did you find me?
3. If I do know you, tell me something about you I don't already know.

See? Isn't that fun?

Well, the sleeping thing is getting better. She has been consistently going to sleep without being rocked or nursed, but since I'm using the pacifier, I'm on a search and rescue mission every hour or so. But on the whole, I think it's working out well. She's happier when she's awake, she's going to sleep quickly, and I think we're getting more quality time when she's awake, because I'm making an effort to be tuned into her moods and needs, and making sure she gets lots of cuddles and love (my theory is that babies make a bigger fuss and demand more attention at night if they aren't getting enough affection during the day) Next step will be getting her to sleep in her crib, then getting her to fall asleep without the pacifier. Hopefully by the time I go back to work after Easter she'll be sleeping beautifully.

Because of the new sleep training program, I decided not to go to the first Kitchener Rangers playoff game tonight, so Ryan took Hailey. I just thought I shouldn't throw off Rylee's sleep patterns so early in the program, and I wasn't going to go and leave her here, because I know I wouldn't enjoy it, I'd just be wondering if she was sleeping or screaming or what. Sammie and Hailey discussed it at dinner and realized Sammie went with Daddy last time, so Hailey went tonight. Sammie and I cuddled while we watched Madeline's Winter Vacation, then played the Caillou memory game and had TWO stories before bed (unheard of when Mommy's putting them to bed!) It was nice, because as I said before, I don't get a lot of one-on-one time with Sammie where I can just enjoy her and let her be a little girl. So often she has to be the big girl and Mommy's big helper, when she's not quite five years old! So tonight we cuddled on the couch and on her bed.

I am very excited because today I made contact with one of my best friends from high school. I haven't seen her or talked to her in about 15 years (am I dating myself? I suppose it doesn't matter, pretty much everyone reading this knows exactly how old I am). She graduated a year before I did, and her family had moved away from Peterborough, so we lost touch. Now we've found each other again and it turns out she lives in Burlington! (for anyone unfamiliar with southwestern Ontario, that's less than an hour's drive away from me) Welcome Jo - I'm so happy to have you in my life again.

I think Ryan and Hailey are home so I will go help get her ready for bed. Assuming she's still awake.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I do believe it's getting better...

Well, last night she fell asleep nursing at about 9 pm (I know - I shouldn't do that!) She woke up when I tried to put her down at 10, so I let her cry for about 5 min, then Hailey started crying and Ryan's sister was here, so I picked her up and let her sleep in my arms and on my chest. I tried to put her down around 11:30 so I could watch 24 with Ryan, but she woke up again. This time I was determined not to pick her up or feed her. Ryan heard the cries (hers, not mine) and came up. Between us, we talked and cuddled and soothed until she, to put it delicately, passed gas. A few times. Then she settled down and finally fell asleep on our bed. If Ryan hadn't been with me I know I would have given in and nursed her, and set up another terrible night. As it was, she fell asleep around 1 am (I think) and slept till almost 8 am with only one waking/feeding. She fell asleep in the car on the way to the grocery store this morning, and slept while we walked around. For her afternoon nap, I lay down beside her on our bed, put her bedtime blankie on and gave her a soother, and talked softly to her and let her hold my finger until she fell asleep. Incredibly, it only took about 15 min and let go of my finger on her own, I didn't have to pry it away from her. I've read that if you can just steel yourself to listen to the crying once or twice, these cry it out methods work quickly. Maybe it's true. I will try again tonight. I think I'm starting to figure out her wake/eat/sleep patterns too, which is helping.

Crap. She's awake.

edited to add: Yay! I got her back to sleep again the same way, without picking her up or anything!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A meme!

I've never done one of these in my blog before - I don't even know what a meme is, really. Anyway, I got this from Daph's blog - thanks Daph!

Comment and I will:

Tell you why I friended (befriended?) you.
Associate you with a song/film.
Tell a random fact about you.
Tell a first memory about you.
Associate you with a character/pairing.
Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
Tell you my favorite story about you.
In retort, you must spread this disease in your blog (well, you don't have to do that).

I was actually just going to post to share this story - we were just looking out the window trying to decide if it's snowing or if that's just snow from the ground blowing around, and trying to convince Hailey that the snow isn't actually melting at this precise moment, and certainly not in amounts that you can actually see. Sammie told her the snow looks the same every time you look at it, and that it's all sparkly. Then she said, "It sure is beautiful when it's sparkly. It's like God put glitter on it."

Last night was terrible, then better. At one point I was sobbing almost hysterically, begging Rylee to go to sleep, or at least stop crying. Strangely, it seemed that the more hysterical I got, the quieter she got. And of course she didn't start any of this until Ryan left to play hockey, and stopped about 2 minutes before he got home.

At least I had a yummy breakfast. Ryan came up and told me there was breakfast on the table for me, and when I got downstairs, the kettle was on, too. What a good man :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

130 baby!

Ryan and I watched Test the Nation on CBC tonight and took the IQ test. We had a few different answers, but ended up with identical scores - 52 out of 60, for an IQ of 130! And that's with a crying baby in my arms for most of the test!

Now, as a teacher, believe me, I know standardized tests are not the be all and end all. I know they are somewhat questionable as actual measures of intelligence because they are culturally biased and because people from lower socio-economic strata are at a disadvantage. I know all about multiple intelligences, and that it's all about not how smart are you, but how are you smart. I KNOW all this. But at the end of a sleep-deprived week, when I'm feeling like I can't do anything right and I'm not doing a good job at anything in my life, that 130 felt pretty damn good.

Rylee has just been so fussy lately. She cries a lot through the day, is very difficult to get to sleep day or night, and wakes up every 2-3 hours at night. If I don't just bring her into my bed, I'm up for at least half an hour with her each time. I get to the point where I just need my sleep so I'll do whatever it takes, which is usually bring her into my bed and feed her, which then perpetuates her being reliant on that to get to sleep. I'm at the end of my rope and don't know what to do anymore.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who needs sleep?

Apparently not Rylee! Yes, for all my smugness a couple of months ago, the child has turned into a non-sleeper. She has been waking up every 2-3 hours at night, and insisting on eating each time. She's been quite fussy during the day too, which is why I haven't posted in a while. A public health nurse suggested it was related to her being sick a couple of weeks ago, and that it was temporary. I sure hope so. Things were looking up on the weekend but last night was bad again. Tonight, however, she fell asleep without nursing and when she woke up an hour later, I was able to get her back to sleep without nursing again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts, and just in case it doesn't, I'm going to bed now.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

New Blog!

I have started a new blog, one that's just for fun. Check it out and let me know what you think - Thanks to Daph and her poetry blog for inspiring it! Daph - I think I even copied your template - I didn't mean to, it's just the one I thought suited the blog.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

If a four-year-old gets it...

Sammie saw my book on the kitchen table the other day and asked what it was called. I told her it's called Shake Hands with the Devil. The cover has a picture of Romeo Dallaire and she asked if he was the devil man. I told her no, he was a good man, so she asked if there was a bad devil in my book. I explained that there wasn't actually a devil, but some people doing bad things. She of course wanted to know what the bad things were, and who wants to explain genocide to a four year old? Not me, thanks, so I told her that a group of people was hurting another group of people just because they were different. She frowned and said, "But they don't have to hurt them just because they're different. They don't all have to be the same. They can still just be friends even if they're different." Here's hoping she never stops thinking that way.

More words of wisdom from Sammie: I had Hailey in the bathroom yesterday trying to get her to sit on the potty or the toilet and pee, which she still refuses to do, despite the fact that Sammie pees on the toilet and these days Hailey can't even decide what to drink with lunch until she knows what Sammie's having. So Sammie pops in and tells Hailey, "Peeing on the toilet is good. You get to have some time by yourself to just think about things." Is that why it takes her so long in the bathroom?

Sammie is getting frustrated by Hailey copying everything she eats, drinks and does, so she's taken to whispering her requests so that Hailey can't hear and therefore can't copy her. Yesterday she asked for apple juice, and just to be sure I'd heard her correctly, I asked, "A-p-p-l-e?" Since this is one of the words she can spell, she recognized it and nodded. Today at breakfast the same thing happened. Then I asked Hailey what she wanted to drink, and she replied, "Ay-pe-pe-pelly" or something like that (it's difficult to put in writing!)

Apparently my grandmother's lymph nodes are shrinking, which is supposed to be good news, I guess. She's been moved to another hospital for rehab on her hip. However, the doctors drained more fluid from her lungs last week and the oncologist said she didn't like the look of it, so she sent it for testing. The results should be back today. The oncologist said she has suspicions but doesn't want to say anything until the results are in.

Enough for now - I think I'll try to get a shower in while the baby is sleeping!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shake Hands with the Devil

I'm currently reading this book, and it's just so powerful that it deserved its own post instead of being lumped in with my trivia about my family.

For anyone who's not familiar with it, it's the story of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, written by the Canadian Lt-general who was commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda. Obviously you're not going to have actual pictures in a book of this type, but believe me, Romeo Dallaire creates incredibly vivid images with just words. There was one line I read today in a description of the aftermath of an attack that just disturbed me to no end, to the point where I was scooping up my little baby and kissing her and telling her how much I love her. I won't even repeat the line here, because I think it might be that upsetting to some people (but if you have a strong constitution and you're curious, ask me about it in the comments or in an email)

Reading today about how Dallaire desperately needed troops and supplies and got neither because no one was interested in Rwanda made me stop and think. However unpopular the decision to send Canadian troop to Afghanistan (or anywhere else) may be, once that decision has been made and Canadians have been deployed, we have a responsibility to them. It just boggles my mind that the UN decided it was worth sending peacekeepers to Rwanda but then was unwilling to provide them with the support to carry out their mission. That member countries refused to send troops when the genocide started and the Belgian troops were ordered to withdraw. It's a little late now to get upset and say that governments and organizations could/should have done more, but maybe there's a lesson that can be learned from that terrible, terrible situation.

I'm also left wondering why I didn't know more about this when it happened. I know I was in first year university, and was quite submerged in my own little world, but is that the only reason? Or were we just not being given the whole story?

My thoughts on this book and this story are a little incoherent. Maybe I'll post again when they're a little clearer.

What a man, what a man, what a man

I am lucky enough to be married to a great cook. I'm not too proud to admit he's a better cook than I am. For one thing, he's not afraid to try new things, and to play around with a recipe. Me, I won't even make a pasta sauce if I don't have the type of pasta recommended by the cookbook. Ryan has a very high tolerance for spicy food, so he's gotten into Thai and Indian cooking, with incredibly tasty results. However, he outdid himself this past weekend. First was Ginger Chicken, which he's made before. It never ceases to amaze me that I actually like this because I don't much like ginger, and this dish is FULL of it. Then it was Red Curry Chicken with Pineapple. That may be the first time a food has moved me to profanity. It was that good.

So, illness is sweeping my family. First it was Sammie, who woke us up a week ago Sun by throwing up in the bathtub. This past Saturday it was Hailey's turn - we thought we heard one of the kids cough, then we heard footsteps. It was Sammie, trying to find us to tell us Hailey threw up. Change the sheets, change the kid, back to bed, everything's okay. Until we hear crying through the night on Sunday. Ryan goes to the big girls' room to investigate and I hear him call my name, at the same time Hailey is telling him, "I fwowed up!" Funny note here - Sammie was still sleeping, so Ryan carried her to our bed to sleep there while we cleaned up. Once all was well, he moved her back. She woke up just as Ryan was asking Hailey if she'd had her teeth brushed yet. Hailey said no, and Sammie piped up with, "Yes we did!" Anyway, Monday was Rylee's turn. She threw up at least three times during the day. I finally called Telehealth Ontario, who recommended an oral rehydration solution. I figured she'd be alright and didn't bother. At 1 am she woke up crying, I fed her, and she threw up all over us both again. So at 2 am I took off for a 24 hour drugstore to buy pediatric electrolyte solution, and was up until about 3:30. Thank goodness The Hour is on at 3 am - I have a small crush on George Stromboloupoulous so he made it worth being awake at that time.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My girl

Tonight Sammie went to the Rangers game with her daddy, who just got home from Montreal. They came home a little bit early because poor little Samster was falling asleep in her seat! Ryan is playing hockey tonight, so he brought Sammie in, got his stuff and left again, leaving me with some one on one time with Sam. I don't get a lot of that these days, with two more demanding little ones to take care of. I feel bad about that sometimes. She's only four, she still needs cuddles and hugs with Mommy. But because she's the oldest, she's the "big kid" and doesn't get as much of that affection. Of course, she got way more as a baby than the other two have because she had my undivided attention. Anyway, she curled up on the couch while I chatted with Ryan for a couple of minutes, then I went to her and put her on my lap. We cuddled like that for a little while, then got her pyjamas on and said prayers, and I carried her up to bed. That hasn't happened in a VERY long time, because I'm usually carrying Rylee. It was just so nice to have that time with her tonight. She never complains about not getting my attention, or about not getting cuddle time, but I know she loved getting it tonight. And so did I.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

Okay, let's say Jane and John Doe divorce after two years of marriage and two small children. Now let's say rumour starts circulating that Jane, who is fighting John for custody of the two small children, has been partying it up and flashing her womanly bits, and has checked in and out of rehab three times. In less than a week. Tell me Family and Children's Services would not be knocking on her door to investigate. And if the rumours were true? John would SO have custody.

Now, let's call Jane, oh, I don't know, Britney. And we'll call John Kevin. And instead of rumours, it's documented fact that she is out partying, letting everyone know she's going commando, checking in and out of rehab and shaving her head on an impulse that she almost immediately regrets. How is it that those boys are still living with her? Now, a friend has pointed out to me that while she may be the custodial parent, she is almost certainly not the primary caregiver, and in that case, as long as the nannies aren't indulging in the behaviour described above, she's okay.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wow, my posts look weird without titles

Another quick post - there are chores to be done, a kid to be picked up from the bus and Ash Wednesday services to attend (so maybe I should change out of my track pants and t-shirt) but I had to share.

I was grocery shopping yesterday (which is SO much better with only the child who can't run off - thank you sweetheart for taking over the other two, not that he reads my blog) and found a bread called Finland Rye. Now, Finland is where I discovered rye bread, and though it's not my favourite, I couldn't resist. It really seems like all kinds of things are bringing up Finland lately, so I decided it's a sign. Today I had some. I couldn't have it with my favourite toppings (summer sausage and dill pickles) so I made do with my second favourite - butter and Havarti cheese. I wasn't even sure that was the same kind of cheese, but once I bit into, I knew - oh, it so was the right cheese. There is NO way eating that on a regular basis is going to help me lose weight, but holy crap it was good. I bought summer sausage yesterday too, so I'll have that tomorrow (no meat today).

Still trying to figure out what to give up for Lent. I thought about giving up procrastinating, but maybe I'll do that next year :)Since it starts today, I should probably figure it out soon.

My grandmother is doing okay - she had chemo on Sat and still isn't sick from it. She may be released from hospital soon, but my mom and her siblings don't think she's okay to take care of herself, so they're looking into options. And our friend Chris (he of the head trauma) has been sent home! Yay Chris!

My kitchen is about the only room in my house that doesn't stress me out right now. It's the only one that doesn't feel cluttered or messy, which is something considering the girls and I made banana cake and banana muffins this week. Yes, there's a theme there - R and I both bought a bunch of bananas a day apart and they had to get used up before they went bad. There's a limit to how many bananas a family can eat just as bananas, and we were about at that limit. The cake and muffins all turned out very well.

Tonight is Lost and American Idol, as well as Little Mosque on the Prairie. I'm not in love with that last one, but Colin Mochrie is guest starring tonight, so I may have to check it out. I was SO mad that House was a re-run last night! Last week's Lost was really good, in my opinion, so I'm looking forward to tonight. Something to keep me company with R in Montreal. Again.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quick notes from a non-functioning brain

Too tired for a real post - Sammie was sick on the weekend, Rylee slept through the night on Saturday night (like from about 8 pm Sat to 7 am Sun), Hailey has decided she wants to be a doctor when she grows up (maybe I should tell her she can't be a doctor if she doesn't PEE ON A TOILET, the kid still does not want to use a toilet, no matter what approach I use)

Took the girls to visit my grandma again on Fri - she's not doing so well. There was some discussion about when (and, I think, if) Mim's chemo should start up again. Apparently round 2 started on Sat and she's doing okay. I haven't talked to my mom since she got home so I don't have any details yet.

Okay, I'm too tired to type. When you have to retype every word, and some words more than once, you should just go to bed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hyvaa Ystavanpaiva!

That's Finn for Happy Friends Day, which is what they call Valentine's Day. I thought it was fabulous when I was there. I don't know how the holiday evolved differently in Finland than it did here, but the focus is really on friendship, and people make an effort to spend time with friends and show appreciation for them, rather than romantic partners.

So, in honour of Friends Day, I am publicly showing appreciation for my friends, most of whom probably won't even read this, but I'll feel good knowing I told anyone who stops by here what great friends I have.

Daph - my best American friend and the one who shared that bizarro year in Finland with me. After all this time, we are still close and there are still parts of me that don't get shared with anyone but you. Although our lives have gone in different directions, although we live in different time zones and different countries, you are still one of my best friends. The best thing to come out of my year away was my friendship with you. You got me through that year (well, we got each other through it, I think), and you've never stopped being there for me. "You're my best friend!"

Ismail, Darren, Monica, Shelley and Mel - the rest of the exchange student crew. You were also instrumental in helping me smile when Finland got to be too much. I'm so glad we're finally all in touch again, and would love to see you again sometime.

Sean, Kirby, Andrew, Jodi, Jess - my UW, V2 buddies. I felt so adrift when I came back from Finland. I had been part of such a close-knit group of friends, then came home and felt like I didn't fit in anywhere. Then I moved into North Quad and met all of you. We had an absolute blast over the next five years. I wish we were all still in the same city sharing the next chapter of our lives. Although we've drifted apart, you are still very important to me. You supported me through a lot of student years stupidity and shared many many good times. Hopefully some are still ahead.

Carrie, Marn, Kath - my fellow hockey widows. My mom told me that when she and my dad moved far from their families, their friends became their families. In the last six or seven years we have shared milestones like weddings, funerals, christenings and first homes, and ordinary fun stuff like camping trips, Oktoberfest, Rangers and Leafs games and ski trips. You have become my sisters. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Sarah, Christine and Jessica - my Highland buddies. I don't miss the drive to Cambridge, but I do miss working with you. I'm so glad we've kept in touch and still hang out.

Deb and Tanya - some of the best parts of the last school year were hanging out in the basement with you two, talking books and classroom management and coping strategies. I think both of you are fabulous teachers and your students are lucky to have dedicated, caring, giving professionals like you working with them. I love working with both of you (which is good, considering how closely Tanya and I have had to work!) and hope you stick around for a good long time.

Hey, maybe I should tell these people how much they mean, instead of just telling whoever happens by my blog. I think I'll go do that now.

Newsy post...sort of

Not much is new around here. Hailey's cast is off, but she still holds her arm like it's on sometimes, and she's still using her left hand to eat (she was using the right pretty consistently before she broke that arm) Rylee's sleep patterns were pretty messed up for a week or so, but she's getting back on track now. She had her four month immunizations yesterday, and was pretty darn cranky about it, but is better now. Sammie's bus was cancelled today due to weather but she still wanted to go to school, so I dropped her off and picked her up.

We went to see my Mim in Windsor last weekend. She didn't look as bad as I was expecting, which is good news. She was just being moved from orthopedics back to oncology when we arrived. I can't figure out if that's good or not. I'm choosing to believe she was moved because the doctors think she's strong enough for the second round of chemo, in which case it's good that she was moved. While we were there, my aunt told us there was a birthday party that afternoon for my cousin's son, so we stopped by there too. Most of my aunts and uncles were there, including my uncle who lives in Florida, and a couple of my cousins were there too, so it was a great visit. None of them had seen Rylee yet, so they were thrilled that we stopped by. My cousin Ami would have kicked my butt from here to next week if she'd found out I was in Windsor and didn't call her, so it's good she was at the birthday party.

I'm keeping busy just trying to take care of the little ones and keep the house from being a complete and utter disaster. It took pretty much until yesterday to finally recover from having been away for a week and alone for a couple of weeks before that - there was so much laundry, and so much mess. I finally have most of it put away, and the rooms are tidied up, so I'm ready for round 2, or 5 or whatever we're at now. Ryan will be away for a couple of days again in the next week or so, which means I'm likely to get behind again.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

She's a trooper!

That's how the surgeon described my grandmother after her very successful surgery on her hip tonight. She was apparently awake and talking and generally doing well, and all the medical professionals are quite happy with how everything went and how she's doing now. I feel so relieved. Thanks to anyone who said prayers to whatever higher power you believe in. It worked.

On est de retour!

Our vacation in Quebec was fabulous. Colder than cold needs to be, stupid-cold, but tonnes of fun. It turns out my terrified-of-skating daughter is a natural if you strap a pair of skiis on her feet! Who knew? The kid FREAKS out when we try to get her to skate, but skiing was a whole nother story.

Before we even went Ryan mentioned something to Sam about teaching her to ski, to which she loftily replied, "I already know how to ski. I saw some people do it on TV." (so then why can't you skate, was my thought, but never mind!) So we arrive in Beaupre on Sat too early to check into our chalet, so we drive the few minutes to Mont Ste Anne to check it out. We show Sammie the bunny hill and ask if she'd like to try skiing while we're there. She ended up throwing a fit because she couldn't go skiing THAT MINUTE. She was pretty ticked that she had to wait.

On Sun we went to Quebec City for Carnaval, and there was this little wee hill set up where kids could borrow ski equipment and try skiing, even have a short lesson, all for free. We asked Sam if she wanted to try it and she said yes, so Ryan signed her up. I thought for sure she'd throw a fit when she got those bulky boots on, and then the skiis, but she took to it like the proverbial duck to water. She did a run or two with Ryan, then climbed all over a snow drift in her ski boots, then took off for her lesson. I kept waiting for her to break down, but I don't think she ever stopped smiling.

We signed her up for a group lesson at Mont Ste Anne for Thurs morning. She ended up being the only kid signed up, so she had a one-on-one lesson for two and a half hours, during which she had a blast. The instructor kept telling us she was a natural, and was amazed at how much energy she had. Two and a half hours is a long time for a four year old to be out skiing in sub-zero temperatures, but she never slowed down and never stopped smiling. The only trouble was that the instructor couldn't get her to try turning, because, "I just like going fast!" So I think the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are a little too soon, but watch for her in 2014! (Okay, she'll only be 12, maybe 2022 is more realistic)

Other than the skiing, we did some sightseeing, went to a hockey game and spent lots of time at Carnaval (huge outdoor winter festival, for Daph and any others who may not be familiar with it) The temperature never went above 0 degrees Celsius but we had warm clothes and were fine, even Rylee, who slept through most of Carnaval.

Ryan was in Montreal for work the week before we left, so we decided I should just drive there and meet him, which meant a 7 hour drive by myself with the kids. I broke it up by driving to my parents' house on Thurs. The kids were awesome on the drive, Rylee slept and the other two watched a movie (I think - it's all running together now). On Fri morning I loaded them up and drove for about 3 hours, when I stopped because Sammie and I were getting hungry (Rylee and Hailey were sleeping). After a good long stop, we got back in the van and drove to Montreal, with not a peep from the baby. It was great for me, and I heartily thank whoever created those DVD players that go in your vehicle! On Sat we drove to Quebec, and Rylee only started crying when we were leaving Quebec City, about 4 hours after her last feeding. It was awesome.

The drive home SUCKED!!!!!!! It was probably the worst weather I've ever driven through, not that I was driving, and just when the weather got better, Hailey decided she'd had enough (we'd been on the road about 9 hours at this point) and just started wigging out. She was crying and turning away M&M's and 12 Dancing Princesses, and telling me she loved me and saying she wanted Daddy, who was right in front of her. I got pretty scared, but I think it was just too much driving and not enough sleep. She slept soundly that night and has been fine ever since.

So that was our holiday. The night we got home a watermain broke and we were supposed to be boiling our water as a precaution, only we didn't know, but we're all okay. I found out when I got home from Sammie's gymnastics class on Mon morning and there was a message from someone who works with my neighbour at Rogers Television, asking if he could talk to me on camera about my experience with it. He talked me into it, so I was on local TV last night (with Rylee).

Now for the downer (assuming anyone is still reading at this point) grandmother has very advanced non-Hodgkins lymphoma - stage 4 I believe. She has started chemo and didn't get too sick, but she fell and broke her hip in an ill-fated attempt to prove she could get around on her own so she could go home. She also has blood clots in her leg, so she had surgery this afternoon to put in a filter so the clots can't get to her heart. She should be in surgery this minute to put a pin in her hip. My mom is supposed to call as soon as she hears how the surgery went. We don't really have a prognosis at this point, but it doesn't look good. I will likely post again after I hear from my mom.

And how was YOUR week?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We're off to Timbuktu...

...where we've apparently been many times!

Cute Hailey story #1: Hailey asks me to play with her. I tell her I can't. She asks why not. I say, "Because I'm getting some things ready for when we go away." She asks where we're going. She's been climbing the walls since Sunday about going to Grandpa's house, and I've told her about 800000000 times where we're going, so in frustration I say, "Timbuktu!" She drops her hands to her sides and with a long-suffering look says, "A-GAIN?"

Cute Hailey story #2: I was discussing this second child phenomenon with a neighbour (I'll call her C) on Mon - how her oldest is absolutely devastated if she gets in trouble, but the second child isn't fazed in the least, and in the middle of C yelling at her daughter (who is Sammie's age) she looks at her and says, "Mommy, you're more beautiful when you smile." I told her about how Hailey will constantly say, "Mommy? Mommy?" and then say nothing or ask something like where are we going when she's been told 80000000 times, so when she says, "Mommy?" for the tenth time I say, "WHAT?" in a very exasperated tone, whereupon she says, "I love you," and I feel like the worst mother in the world. So Mon after Sammie gets home I take all three kids out to do some errands, and we end up at the mall because we need groceries, and Hailey needs mittens and we need to eat. The two who are independently mobile took full advantage of the fact and ran off more than once. By the time we left I was absolutely at the end of my rope. As we're walking down the hall toward the doors, out of nowhere Hailey says, "Mommy, you're beautiful."

My dad called today to say he finally talked to my mom. My grandmother starts chemo tomorrow, and will be going home 7-10 days later. Earlier reports had suggested she would be in a hospital or nursing home or something for quite some time, so I'm surprised by this news. Hopefully it means she's not as sick as originally thought. However, my sister called Mim today, then called me in shock and said, "She sounds terrible." Considering this is coming from not only a devoted granddaughter but a trained and practicing nurse, that can't be good.

So, we're not actually off to Timbuktu, but we are going on vacation.! I'm SO looking forward to it. This year has been rather stressful already, and we're not even a month into it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Two steps forward, one step back

Hailey is doing really well with this cast on her arm. It's barely even slowing her down anymore. The only time it seems to be a problem is when bathing her or when she's trying to find a comfortable position to sleep - but even that's getting easier. She just grabs the cast with her left hand and throws it wherever she wants it to go. It's cute to watch. It's also difficult to put on mittens, and some long sleeved shirts, which may prove to be a problem when we go to Carnaval, but we think we'll manage.

Our friend Chris is also doing well. I'm not sure why I post updates about Chris since anyone reading this is probably getting updates from the same sources I am, but what the heck. Apparently he was allowed to leave the hospital for a meal on the weekend. Ryan went to visit him Sat morning and said he seemed well. He really wants to get out of the hospital and who can blame him? His vision must be clearing up too because he's watching TV and has now been given the PSP that some of his friends and teammates chipped in for.

So those are the two steps forward. Now for the one step back.

My grandmother has an appointment today to get the results of her biopsy. My mom went to down on Sat to be with her and take her to the appointment today. However, my sister called yesterday to wish them luck, and learned that Mom had taken Mim back to the hospital as she had more fluid in her lungs. Today my dad called to say that the ER doctor told them the cancer she has is very aggressive. They will be meeting with an oncologist today or tomorrow to get more details, but for now, it doesn't look like she's going back to her apartment anytime soon. Apparently once they talk to the oncologist they will have to decide whether to go ahead with treatment or now. Dad thinks that if they decide not to treat it, we're looking at a matter of months. I don't know what the prognosis is if they go for the chemo and everything. My guess is, if it's not going to give her significantly more time, they'll decide the side effects aren't worth it.

That's all for now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

On health and well-being

Took Hailey to the hospital this morning. The doctor said he'd looked at her x-rays and she does NOT need surgery (insert sigh of relief here), just a cast for 3 weeks. So that's on there now, from above her elbow to her wrist, and she's doing marvellously well with it. She can even lift her arm over her head now, which makes dressing and undressing her much easier. Not a tear was shed, she's still being a real little trooper. When the staff at the hospital asked her how it happened, she still said, "I don't bemember," (that's not a typo, just a transcription of the way she talks), although she has said more than once that she hurt it on her toys.

My dad was here for a couple of days, since taking care of the three of them on my own with Hailey's broken arm was just a bit more than I could take. Since retiring from a bank, Dad has worked for himself and was able to take a couple of days to come help me out, which I appreciate more than I can say (I don't know if my parents or sister read this blog but if you do, tell Dad again how much that meant to me).

I spoke with my grandmother tonight. Mom's been telling me how much better she sounds but tonight she was coughing a lot again. She says she feels much better other than the cough, so I suppose that's an improvement. She will get the results of her biopsy on Monday, so Mom is going to visit and take her to the appointment, which is necessary since my grandmother doesn't drive. (I told Hailey today that Mimi never learned how to drive, and she said, "You can show her." Sweet little clueless thing)

I could fill a paragraph or two with details of Rylee's sleep patterns lately, but even I'm getting sick of reading about that. Suffice to say I have learned to avoid caffeine, and when I do, she sleeps quite well.

I was reading a friend's blog and a particular post about weight loss. It got me thinking - why DO I want to lose 10 more pounds? Is it for health? to look better? to look a particular way? because I think I'm not attractive if I don't? because I think my husband won't find me attractive? I haven't really come up with an answer yet. Mostly I felt good about how I looked before I got pregnant with Rylee, and would like to have that feeling again. But do I really need to lose 10 pounds to feel that way? I'm not sure. Women who are comfortable with and confident in their bodies can be attractive no matter what their size. Maybe I just need to accept the way I look and start telling myself how fabulous I am.

I think a big part of why I want to lose the weight is I hate looking pregnant when I'm not. When I was pregnant, I was happy to advertise the fact to the world, and felt really good about how I looked. But now, when I'm not pregnant, it's different. And I do still look pregnant because most of what I'm carrying around is around my middle. This is partly not excess weight, but untoned abdominal muscles, thanks to having them sliced open for the third time since mid-2002 (3, count 'em, 3 c-sections)

I don't know if I'm unhealthy - I don't think so. As I said, the way I look is as much loss of muscle tone as it is extra weight. And I'm still nursing Rylee, so there's some extra weight there that won't go away until I stop nursing. As it is, the amount of extra weight I have is not excessive, so I doubt I'm running any serious health risks at this point.

As I said, I don't have an answer yet. It's interesting to think about, though.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not so happy news

My mom called last night to say it looks like my grandma has lymphoma - cancer in the lymph nodes under her arms and in her stomach (I didn't even know there were lymph nodes there!) She was having a biopsy done today to confirm the diagnosis but it sounds like the doctor is already pretty sure that's what it is. We'll know more next week.

That's all for now because it's very hard to type with the baby sleeping on my chest.

Monday, January 15, 2007

On today's episode of ER...

Well, according to the research I've done, there's good news and bad news about Hailey's broken wing. The good news is that it's a very common fracture in children, usually caused by the child stretching out a hand to break a fall. This supports our theory that she fell off the bed when she was supposed to be napping. (We think she was playing instead of sleeping and that's why she won't tell us what happened.) If the bone is only broken in two, and the bone fragments didn't move from where they're supposed to be, all that's required is a splint for about 3 weeks and she should be fine.

The bad news is that this kind of fracture can be very serious. If the bone fragments move, she will need surgery. The surgeon will put in a pin to hold the bones in place while they heal. The more fragments there are, the more serious the fracture. And in moving, the fragments can rupture the brachial artery, leading to permanent disformity of the hand and forearm.

Right now I don't think there's anything we can do other than make sure she doesn't make it worse. We'll be taking it easy this week, lots of quiet games and movie watching, and then go see the specialist on Friday. He will decide then whether she needs surgery or not, and she'll get a cast at that time.

It looked like it was going to be a long night last night. Rylee wouldn't settle down and poor little Hailey couldn't. Hailey and I switched beds last night, and I think it was a while before Ryan actually got to sleep because Hailey kept waking up crying every time she tried to move. She finally fell asleep and the rest of us did too, and we all slept pretty well after that, until about 5 am, when Rylee would not go back to sleep and I just couldn't hold her anymore, so I brought her into bed with Sammie and me. I did not sleep well after that.

She seems to be doing well now - she's walking around, playing on the computer and even trying to play Barbies with Sammie. She hasn't had Tylenol for about 4 hrs and isn't complaining, so that's a good sign. That's about all there is to tell now - hopefully it'll be an uneventful week as far as her arm goes and there won't be anything to tell until we go to the fracture clinic on Friday.

In other medical news, our friend with the head injury is recovering much faster than the doctors expected, which is good news. He's been moved to a different hospital to start rehab and is making great strides. My grandmother is still in hospital but is getting better. She's had a lot of fluid drained from her lungs and is having a CAT scan today. If it's all good, she'll go home today.

Continued good wishes for Chris, Hailey and my grandma would be appreciated.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Poor little bird with a broken wing

Well, I had planned to do a post with the title Nine Dancing Princesses all about Hailey's princess birthday party yesterday, with six of her little friends. We had a total of nine little girls here, from Rylee at 3 mos to Sarah, who will be 5 in March. It was great, Oma and Opa came, and much fun was had.

Today after Mass, Ryan's parents were just getting ready to leave when his mom said Hailey was crying. I had thought I heard her earlier but figured she was just mad because she had to go for a nap and no one was staying with her. Ryan came back down with her in his arms and said, "I think she broke her arm." He bundled her up and took her to the hospital, while I picked Sammie up from her friend's house and took her to her first skating lesson. They got home just after we did and her arm is indeed broken - she has a supracondylar fracture of her right arm. That means her humerus is broken just above the elbow joint, a clean break. She has to see a specialist on Friday and may need surgery - this is apparently a very bad break for a little kid. She barely cried when it happened - Ryan's mom only heard her cry when she was at the bottom of the stairs - and Ryan said she barely cried at the hospital either. She's watching a movie right now and seems okay. Ryan tried to take her to Tim Horton's for a treat after they left the hospital, but she didn't want anything. Sammie wanted to go see Hailey at the hospital as soon as I told her, and is being extra nice to her little sister now. Poor little trooper.

All else is well. Rylee is going to bed earlier now, and still sleeping for long stretches at night. I have even started putting her down for naps while she's still awake, and she drifts off on her own - some of the time. Sammie is now doing soccer, gymnastics and skating lessons. Soccer and gymnastics are going well, the jury's still out on the skating. Today was the first lesson and it didn't go so well, but I think it'll get better as she gains confidence and gets more comfortable with her instructors.

My grandmother was hospitalized this weekend with fluid in her lungs. My mom went to spend the weekend with her (which is why Grandma and Grandpa weren't at Hailey's party) and I haven't heard an update yet.

Please send happy thoughts to Hailey and my Mimi!