Thursday, September 30, 2010

Learning from the morning can get forgotten by the afternoon...

if I don't write it down.

As with so many other things in my life, if I don't write it down it doesn't get remembered. It doesn't get purchased. It doesn't get emailed. it doesn't get phoned back. it doesn't get DONE.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There are LOTS of opportunities for learning...

you just have to know where to look and how to recognize them. You can actually get lost in the looking it seems.

I guess LSNED isn't the only one that takes the opportunity to focus on learning in September. I've been amazed at the emails and blog posts that are focusing on learning this month. It would be nice to go back to some of them but I will try to be realistic. In particular I hope to get back here for some future reading material.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keeping track of every moment is VERY time consuming...

but I certainly learn a lot about my day!

And right now that seems to revolve around E - Eat; E - Elimination (Wet, Dry, Pooped, Toileted, #1, #2); A- Activity and S - Sleep. There has to be some patterns there somewhere...

Baby equipment essentials

This post got me thinking about the baby paraphenilia that we have/ have not been using with Mitchell, our third. As I've previously mentioned, there are a number of things that we are doing a little differently, but now that we are pretty much established at the 6 month mark I thought I'd compare our items to hers...

Baby Items Used

0-3 months

- Family Bassinet (2x)
- waterproof crib pad
- mini water proof pad (kushies and wipe off ones)
- bed rail
- pack and play
- receiving blankets
- light weight blankets
We decided we weren't going to go with the crib this time, primarily because we don't have a specific place to put it and secondly because we wanted to go with a more "attachment" model. When needed we will hope to use the pack and play.

- mainly separates – s/s onsies and t-shirts, some pants (primarily for EC – easily taken off)
- l/s for sun exposure
- light weight hoody
- hat
- bibs! (Velcro or snap – no ties)
- Socks in early spring
- (Warm so no shoes, heavy clothing)

- Munchkin Bums diaper service that picks up and drops off the diapers.

Mitchell tends to pee a lot and with attempting EC he is changed frequently. The diaper service does well but I often need back-ups before I get replenished.
- kushies, kooshies covers - probably about 15 (all used (.50 - $3 each)
- 3 bummies (purchased through the diaper service)
- 1 Flip expandable cover (16.95) (I like theirs the best so far) Flip also has an easy "growable" diaper that I like as well. I purchased 2 to try them out at 6.95 each.
- 6 "prefolds" from Sears that are simply white flannel receiving blankets (6/8.95).
- simple folded receiving blankets work in a pinch
- Vaseline
- Home made bum wipes from old receiving blankets
- Cloth change pads (used on bed, counter, wherever needed - I no longer use my actual change pad or dresser. The pool table has come in handy (great height) and just using a fabric change pad wherever we are works well. I thought I would use our upstairs bathroom counter but it hasn't proven practical - although it is good for using after he is bathed)
- Baby bjorn potty
- Mini squirt bottle with water for wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Olive oil
- Diaper service provided diapers, diaper bag/ pail liner and diaper pail

Feeding/ Nursing
- Reusable breast pads (twice)
- Lanolin cream (first week)
- Dr Newman’s cream (first week)
- Nursing bras, regular bras

Bathing/ Cleansing/ Hygiene
- bathroom sink
- baby washcloths
- Johnson’s baby wash
- Olive oil
- Nail clippers

- car seat system
- basic frame stroller
- 3 wheeled stroller
- lay flat stroller
- ring sling
- Little Star sling
- Kangaroo wrap
- Back pack aka diaper bag

- swing
- material archway toy – 5x?
- bouncy chair 5x?
- stuffed animals – for posing and to look at

- baby monitor


3-6 months (as above except for noted changes below)

- + bed rail x2 (for our bed)
- pack and play (started for nap and bed time at 5.5 months)

Still the same – rarely bottoms, no full sleepers
- Sunglasses

We are still using the diaper service and all previously mentioned supplies. He hasn’t had any diaper rash – have used Vaseline and oil to keep soft

Feeding/ nursing
- Nursing bras
- Nursing undershirt (made my own*)
- Nursing tank
- Nursing t-shirt
- Receiving blanket
- Started solids at 5 months 2 weeks – using homemade food
- food mill
- IKEA kids bowls, cutlery (colour system will continue to work well with our family)
- IKEA vinyl wipe-off bib
- Breast pump

Bathing/ cleansing
Same - still using bathroom sink
- finger toothbrush

- car seat system
- basic frame stroller
- 3 wheeled stroller – finally got air in the tires!
- Little Star sling
- Kangaroo wrap
- Back pack aka diaper bag
- Ring sling – washed and not put back together
- borrowed a backpack carrier but haven't used it yet

- swing (outgrown at 4.5 months - wriggling too much)
- archway toy with toys attached (pulling it over at 5 months)
- chewy toys
- links
- bumbo chair (retired at 5 months 1 week)
- exersaucer
- DVD Praise Baby
- soft and board books at bed time (pretty grabby)

- baby monitor x2 (upstairs and downstairs)
- soother (for car**)

I just made up a chart to go through all of his clothing to see what we have and will still need to get. We have been really blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs so far and surprisingly I have a fair number of Matt's clothes left, in particular for the 18 month stage. I hope to continue to keep that area pretty simple. So far I am mostly surprised at the number of "entertainment" items we have for him. The house seems to have turned into baby central as much as we have tried to be simple. Why is it that all things baby take up so much space?

**He hasn't really taken to the soother. He used it for a week or two and then abandoned it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

You can get a lot more done when you wake up before the kids...

It's just not that easy when they keep beating you to the punch.

I HAVE to get up with Cierra at 6am. In the past I would get up, make sure she was "moving" and then go back to bed for 8 minutes until my alarm went off again. This would repeat until she was ready to go downstairs. This year, since school has started I have been determined to get up when she gets up and have some quiet time, some reflection time, read and prepare for the day. It worked well for 2 days. Now between Matthew and Mitchell I can't seem to get up early enough. And with Mitchell still up at least once in the night... well let's just say 6 am is quite early enough. Unless I'm being told otherwise. Please no!!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maybe it would be good to read the whole book before committing to its practices.

Yeah I'm still not done reading it and while not a whole lot would be different I might have been better prepared. Or Drew would have been. Or we could have prepared the other kids better. But heh, I am pleased to say that the little guy went down very nicely this evening. I would have been very surprised if he had the stamina to last long given he didn't really have an afternoon nap or an early evening catnap but as I said, he did go down well. And we are praying it is the beginning of a new routine. Even if it is not, I am thankful. And I will read the whole book next time. First.

Oh the book I am referring to? The Baby Whisperer (shhhhh the baby is sleeping!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Listening to Smitty and worshipping...

and getting a pep talk from mom can do wonders for your soul.

To remind me that we are not alone in this world
To remind me that I am a good mom
To remind me that books are only guides and one person's opinion
To remind me that all kids have fussy periods regardless
To remind me to trust my intuition more
To remind me that we are loved
To remind me that we will survive this!

Okay more of that came from my mom then from Smitty but still he had a hand in taking me to the one who is the lone provider, the alpha, the omega, the one is and was and will be forever there for me. So to you both (well you three) thanks! I am definitely feeling better!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am learning what it means to be a prisoner in my own home...

ohh that sounds bad. Well, I'll admit that I am and have been frustrated the last few days. Today Mitchell's bedtime routine took 2 hours. 2 hours!!! We started this whole thing so that I could (we could) get our evenings back. Well they say it gets bad beore it gets better. I hope this is the case. I don't know how much worse it can get! The poor kid is so tired and you know he is ready and needing to sleep but he is so frustrated. The crying this time around is making up for all of the crying he never did in his early months (but I am with him and comforting him through it although at times I really want to walk away). Brutal.

As for the prison part? Well I am in my room with him, lights off so I can't read, he pulls at my ipod wires so I can't listen to anything either and no one else can come in. Oh and did I mention no one else can come in? I'm such a mean mommy to the other three. Thank goodness Drew is here and tolerating all this and providing the much needed other parent. He's a good guy. And we're praying this won't last long.

6 months - half a year - 24 weeks -

You name it he's there. As with all milestones it is hard to believe we are here already. So what are we up to these days?
  • weight - 19 lbs 5 oz (Oct 3)
  • length - 26,75"
  • full of laughs, giggles, chatter and the like
  • has started solids (carrots, banana, peas, cauliflour)
  • has cut his first 2 teeth (September 23)
  • just "itching" to crawl
  • has graduated from the bumbo chair (at 5 months - trying to flop out the sides) and the arch toy
  • wearing some short 3 month clothes and more 6 month clothes
  • started a semi sleep routine ( 2 weeks and still working on regular am nap, semi regular aft nap and down for early evening; still working on early am)
  • EC going strong - consistently dry for 2 hours each am; pooping regularly at this time
  • loves playing in the sand, on the floor and in the exersaucer
  • still mama's boy although he goes well to other people
  • quite a famous dude around school due to his pumpkin hat and sunglasses

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Having a younger brother can be very amusing...

Poor Mitchell. He will probably look back on this and think what were we doing to him? (Especially when I realized afterwards it was the WET dishcloth - yuck!) I just hope that Matt will always remember the FUN he has with his younger brother - even when they are older.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I am a lot more dependent on my microwave then I thought I was...

It is a lot more difficult and time consuming to reheat food without a microwave. But not impossible.

I'm not sure that I would have fulfilled this "Wanna Do" had the microwave not broken down but I will say that one week is definitely long enough to be without. Drew is hoping to get a new one tomorrow. I know environmentally/ health-wise and all that it is probably not in our best interest to have a microwave but it sure is convenient. When you don't have one it makes you think twice about how much food you are preparing at one time and whether that will mean leftovers (we usually prepare lots in order TO have leftovers. Not so much without a microwave though). Like reheating plain pasta or a tabelspoon of baby food? Not the greatest. But then hey - we have food, we have a stove and oven and I should really not complain. Really!
(But I will be ready to welcome our new friend).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I learned that Matthew is famous today... school at least. We found out that this picture of him was taken at recess by a teacher (note the full gear AND flip flops - only in Canada eh?) and it is now the screen saver on all of the computers at school! (Yes library, classrooms etc!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My signature style...

of gift-gving is becoming well known.

And I think I get it from my mother. Yesterday at the baby shower I gave my baby bag of favourites. Part of it was a homemade scrapbook to be used for favourite photos. I've given this a number of times and get rave reviews each time. And then my creativity gets credited to my mom, who traditionally gives a Raggedy Ann or Andy. I think they are right. My mom is quick to point out that she could not do scrapbooking and I am quick to point out that I don't have the patience to sew in the ways that she does.

But I think the two mediums are still related. She is definitely "Crafty" and I suppose that means I get my craftiness, although different, from her. She certainly exposed us kids to lots of different crafts growing up. I can remember her silk screening cards at Christmas, making banners for church, making box costumes for Halloween and play, macrame, potting, always sewing - costumes for plays at church or Halloween, clothes for us and herself, - you name it. From an early age we usually made homemade gifts for relatives, like leaf mobiles, place mats and other crafts. So yes, I think the skill and desire has been passed on. Now as a frugal adult, I also value the art of giving homemade and personal, if not clutter free gifts.

My gift yesterday included the scrapbook (20, 12x12 general pages that could house favourite photos for things like bath time, sleep, play etc); a mommy hook; and IKEA kids dishes (plates, cups and bowls). I usually include a note about the items and why they are favourites as well as a how-to for the album. It is all put together in a gender appropriate reusable shopping bag.

If money were no object, some other favourites I might include would be:
  • a digital timer with clip
  • bibs with velcro
  • a Praise Baby DVD
  • a food mill for baby food
  • an eye mask
  • large receiving blankets
Depending on the age of the baby at the time of the shower (and their living practices as I know them) I'll sometimes include info about the local OEYC, the cloth diapering service and a re-usable cover, the local consignment stores and other "tips" I have found helpful.

So far these gifts seem to have been well-received and well, I enjoy putting them together so that is half of it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One person really can make a difference...

We went to the annual Terry Fox Run today and again saw what a difference one person can really make.

We've been going with team Adidas since 2006 and this is the first year that Jan and Melissa were away. I find I am getting more and more into it as each year passes. Ever since Matt started learning about Terry Fox in school, I've seen him as a hero in the eyes of the kids. It may also be the Thunder Bay connection. We have made a point of stopping at the memoriam there for the last few years as well (except this year with Mitchell - we were on a roll) and it allowed me to learn more about him. Seeing his statue there makes it it home. I actually get a lump in my throat every time we drive by. He has become such a hero in the eyes of Canadians - and now mine as well.

The day turned out really nicely and it was great to see so many people take part. They always have an opening ceremony and then a warm-up exercise, and since this year was the 30th anniversary, they released some pigeons. One lady sang an amazing song about his life. Matt's teacher from last year is one of the organizers and that has been a big hit to see her there. We get one-of-a-kind team shirts from Adidas and Melissa has shared one with her as well - another great connection.

We caught up with a few people we haven't seen in a while

finished respectfully

and then headed to church (lots of comments on our "team shirts" - which helps when you come in late =]).

As for the rest of the days events...

Drew had to work after church so the kids and I grabbed lunch at McDonald's (didn't I say I wouldn't eat there anymore?) [note: it has been less!]. We didn't have time to get all the way home before the baby shower at church so we stopped at the skateboard park to watch while we ate. The kids have been wanting to do that for ages.

I was pleasantly surprised. The language was okay and the kids were very impressed at the various skill levels. I had some good conversations with Matt - he would love to be able to do what they do, and thought that they were quiet "smart". We discussed what that meant to him - skill wise of course. It was a good learning time to show that only about half were wearing helmets and hardly, if any were wearing wrist guards. I hope those lessons last.

We then headed to mom and dad's to drop off the kids and pick up mom. While we were getting in, Cierra accidentally let out the dog. She is a runner and immediately dashed into the street. SCREEEEECHH!! My heart was pounding! We were able to get her back safely, thanks to another dog owner who was walking his dogs. She tends to run when approached so I don't know what I would have done! One lady stopped her car while I was at the corner and yelled at me saying" that dog is going to get hit by a car!!!". Um really? Do you think I meant for this to happen? Another reminder to calm down and think before speaking. I was not impressed. After going over the "next time..." with the kids we were on our way.

We celebrated the birth of a little boy at church with a shower. About 20 ladies showed up and I got some more great ideas for gifts (homemade bibs out of hand towels, animal scrapbook, books). If only money was no object. I gave my baby bag of favourites (more on that later) and always have more then I need to add to it but sometimes some variety might be nice! Mom made a Raggedy Andy (I think she said she's done about 100??? - wow!). I do love attending these showers - such a great way to get to know people better and be a part of the larger church family. I wish more ladies realized or felt comfortable in coming out even if they don't know the individual. Mitchell and this little guy are going to grow up together so I'd like them to spend time together!

After the shower we went back for a birthday dinner in my honour. Poor Mitchell was quite over tired by this point but we managed to have a good time with good eats (beef stroganoff and chocolate cake - yum!) and family and fun (the kids do love that "secret hiding place"!) Mom and dad gave me an exercise outfit so I think I will now pass on my black hoody. We then had to return to lunches and clean up at home though so the kids were into bed lickety split and off we went to bed. Another weekend gone in a flash.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I am learning what it means to have no wants or needs...

Wow. Did I really say that? Let me explain myself. I think I am learning what it means to be content. This is the first year that when asked what I might want for my birthday, I really don't have anything to say. I don't really have a wish list. And that is big. For me anyway.

Don't get me wrong, there are certainly a few things I would use, and wouldn't turn away. I like digital scrapbooking and am building my supplies up almost as much as my paper supply =). I would love to update my laptop but the one I have right now is still doing me well. I would also love to get a zoom lens for my camera but I need to do research before I know what to get and I still don't even know how to take my camera off the automatic mode.

We could use a new microwave considering ours just broke. Neither our dishwasher or water softener are working. As for me personally? I get my books from the library. I have all the clothes I need. We have food on the table every day. Our cars work. Thankfully we are financially stable and will be able to replace the household items we do seem to need. What more do I need or want?

I did [jokingly] ask if I could get more time. Even there I know where to find it and that would involve "unplugging". Oh wait - that is what I want the time for - to catch up on my 365, to upload and tag my photos, to do Mitchell's POTD, to learn PSE. LOL! ~ such a common theme.

The point is that maybe I really am learning to simplify. Maybe I am learning to cut down. Maybe I am learning to be get by with less. Maybe I am just learning to be content. That is a lesson I am so glad to be learning.

The kids asked if we were "rich" today and we had a good discussion about how in earthly terms there are certainly many who have even more then us but in truth we really are rich by the world's standards. [Coincidentally] T Suzanne Eller from Proverbs 31 Ministries spoke on treasure today, again reminding me of how truly blessed we are. I think I am beginning to get it. I am truly thankful for this reminder.

From Suzanne's words, Dear Jesus, ...I pray I will see the vast riches around me, things others might not see as wealth, but in the end they are the most priceless. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal." Matthew 6:19 (NLT)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes unlearning is more difficult then learning...

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday me! I reflected on this day last year and today was the day that I found out that Mitchell (gender unknown) was in fact a viable baby. It was a neat day to say the least. We hadn't told anyone - and didn't plan to for a while (I think I was 12 weeks??) anyway, we had previously lost 2 so this was a bit of a surprise and it was still surreal.

Jump forward to today and I spent most of the day re-working Mitchell's routine. We (or should I say I) decided that as much as I like the sound of Attachment Parenting and all that it entails, co-sleeping with a rolling 6 almost 6 month old wasn't working out that well. That and the nursing to sleep every time.

As I have discussed before, the books I had read each have had their merits but we decided (yes after prayer) on the Baby Whisperer method. As she explains, she is middle ground. Without getting into all of the details (maybe later), I will say that it went well. We did go through some crying and that was tough. But I was with him and I feel good about that. Each time he went to sleep it was in fact easier and acheived more quickly. I did pray at this time A LOT. Mitchell last went down at 8pm within 5 minutes. It was really nice. I anticipate (according to the book) that he will wake up soon and I will have to intervene but we are on our way. And who would have thought I'd be here a year ago. So much change - and now here we are unlearning our bad habits and [hopefully] learning better, more improved habits. We will see.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I want to do so much more then I have time for...

and I am learning that knowing me this will most likely always be the case. I know that again I am in a different season of my life and it too will change. I am really embracing it, believe me, but I still see things and read about new things and then am also trying to finish up things that I know I will just not get to. Ahh life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Learning can be confusing and contradictory...

I think it started with the desire to EC. That led to a book on attachment parenting which led to the desire to co-sleep, baby wear etc. Which has been fine until just recently. Mitchell has been "up" a few more times then necessary the last few nights - and using me more as a soother then actually being hungry. It has made me think that I am going about it a bit backwards. I am no longer getting the best sleep with co-sleeping and am realizing that nursing him to sleep is not the best plan - especially when looking at our goals in the future and having a good sleeper. So I thought I should do some more reading. Some more learning. So I am now on my third parenting book in the last week to see if they have any suggestions. And of course they do! It is only that they are all completely different from each other. And each time I read one I think it might be the one. How did I become so wishy washy? They each have their merits. But bottom line is, I am going to have to learn to make a decision, and make it fast. We are getting deeper and deeper into our [poor] habits and it "ain't lookin good!"

I think I am leaning more towards the Baby Whisperer style from where I am. After reading about one woman's success I started reading Baby Wise - TOTALLY against attachment parenting (almost funny actually) but I am still not into letting him cry it out. And so now I am reading about the baby whisperer who is in between. She has a few pages which (embarrassingly) describe me and how I have come from the two extremes. Yikes. But I will know more after I continue reading. And learning. In the meantime, I remain a little confused.

Hey - look what timely post I just got in my email! Oh and the big point that lept out? Uhhh - pray about it! Why did I need a reminder?

Monday, September 13, 2010

I like my Monday's to catch up...

...from a busy weekend.

Now that the kids are in school, I am working on creating a new routine for myself and Mitchell. I think I am leaning towards Monday being a catch-up day at home. Yes, we usually need groceries to some degree but I find there are so many little odds and ends to complete here at home. It helps me get grounded and prepare for the upcoming week. Yes, I like my Mondays to catch up...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm learning to trust that God knows how to work things out

I'm enjoying having passed on the torch... more then I thought I would.

Today we had our fall kick off at church. It was a very different experience for me. I was not involved in any of the planning, the implementation or the evaluation. What a feeling.

I had to spend most of the church service in the hall as Mitchell had fallen asleep and I didn't want to take him upstairs or into the service for fear of waking him. So I listened in the hall instead. When I went to pick up the kids from Sunday School I noticed all the work my replacement has been doing in the storage hallway and I was just struck dumbfounded. It was beautiful. The hallway is organized and labelled. The nursery has been painted and is being purged. The Sunday School is running smoothly. It makes me so happy! It has made the transition a lot easier then I anticipated as a lot of her thoughts and future goals are very similar to mine! Today was the icing on the cake. I gave her a big hug and just thanked her. It was so nice to be a part of something but not - to step back and let someone else take control and I really enjoyed just being with my family.

I know that as a position there are still lots to be sorted out and I don't know the future in this area but God does have a way of working things out.... and I am learning to trust that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sometimes honesty surprises people...

The other day I relayed that I felt I was a better mom sometimes when I was watching other people's children. They were taken aback by my honesty. And yet it is true. I play more. I watch the way I talk to the kids more. I am nicer. Don't get me wrong. I think in the scheme of things I am a pretty good mom. But I tend to yell. I tend to get impatient. I get sidetracked easily. And I've been finding that having other kids around I am more attentive. Sad but true. So what do I take from this? I do have what it takes to do both. I can take the time to meet my own kids needs when it needs to be done. My stuff will still wait. And if talking rather then yelling works with my kids when there are others around well, it should work when they aren't. Sometimes it seems like it doesn't - but is that them or is it me? I am learning that I need to at least make the effort to find out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

tying shoes + sling = difficult

You would think I'd have learned by now... that it is much easier to put on your shoes WITHOUT the baby in the sling.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Time keeps on ticking..ticking...ticking...into the future

Isn't that a song?

I never fail to be amazed at how easily time can be flittered away...

It is astounding how quickly time between naps goes. Mind boggling.

Didn't he just go to sleep?

So far my days off have failed to produce much creative output on my part. It seems that the kitchen, the floor, the errands, the snack prep, the dinner prep, the phone, the emails, the blog, oh and the baby seem to be getting in the way. But we are making some serious progress on my to-do list during these blessed 1 1/2-2 1/2 hour stretches!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

At this moment ...10-9-8...

Right now

10th year
9th month
8th day
7th hour
6th minute
5 people
4 shots
3-2-1 GO!
Our life
right now
at this moment in time.

Sometimes the park is worth it despite the pursuing rain clouds

We decided to still go to the park after school today. We switched plans and went closer to the house but nevertheless... The baby slept and a great game of chase ensued between Matt, John and Marlee and I. Up and down the slide and over the jungle gym. It was exhausting. I think Matt was quite surprised that I can still play a mean game (that ends with tickles at each catch)! Regardless, it was a lot of fun. I'm glad we took the chance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Intuition is an amazing thing...

Mitchell just woke up from his nap with a whimper moving into a cry. I went up to him and noted to myself that he shouldn't be crying - he had a good nap (2 hours)! Hmm - did he have to go pee? He resisted for a second, then relaxed, and then peed. And the best part? He completely changed and was ALL SMILES! Intuition. Amazing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer comes to a close

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new school year. It seems odd but the weather has changed just in the last few days - maybe just to get us all in the mood for change. I don't know. I think it helps. It is always hard to go back when the weather is beautiful and warm. I know that we will get some more nice weather but it seems to make it easier to go back when the air is more crisp and cool.

The lunches are made, the outfits are out, the bags are ready at the door. The morning expectations have been discussed. We will see what tomorrow brings.

It will certainly mean changes. Marlee goes every day all day. She keeps saying she is not looking forward to it but we will see. I know that she will be separated from her best friend, who is in JK and will continue part time until next year. I wonder what it will mean for her. There were 4 grade one teachers last year, any of which will be good for Marlee - all quite different from each other but each with a strength that could work for Marlee. I've left it in God's hands as to who will be best for her. She is my homebody and if I were to consider home schooling it would be because of her. I'm praying she will find her niche and that she will soon enjoy school and learning and all that it can bring.

Matthew is excited to get back. he has missed his main friend for most of the summer. They were only able to get together for one play date over the summer and he even missed his birthday party because of family obligations. I do not know any of the grade three teachers so again, we are praying for a good match. I am also praying that he will be molded into the positive leader that I know he can be. He has been having some challenges at home lately with listening, with temper and with hands on. I am feeling the need to be firmer and more strict with him in order to curb this before it gets out of hand. I hope that he has a teacher that is clear with his/her expectations.

Cierra goes with the flow. She seems to be excited to go back but then she is always ready for the next thing to begin. She is already talking about camp next year (did she stop talking about it actually?). This will be her final year at highschool so talk of transition and what that means next year will be forefront. Her family is sure to be much more involved this year as well so that could mean more changes too. Time will tell.

So where did the summer go? Let's see. We checked quite a few things off our list. So I guess that is where. We visited quite a few new parks. We met with friends. We had a sleepover. We attended camp. We went up north. Cierra visited mom. Before you know it it went. Just like that.


While it is sometimes hard to get out the door, visiting with friends is always worth it.

We lead busy lives. Anyone who knows us knows that. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it but other times whoa! When does the train stop? We often have to make dates well in advance but lately it seems that we have been able to be a bit more spontaneous with doing things with only a few days notice. We were invited out for the afternoon and yes I was lookin gforward to it. Today comes along, the weather was bleak, the kids were still away and as often happens, I found myself dragging my heels. There is always stuff to do here. It's not always my comfort zone. I'm feeling lazy. But we went. We picked up the kids and we had a great time. Good company, good conversation, good times. And we always do.

So why the resistance sometimes? That I'd like to know.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Routines sometimes take time to develop...

This is a lesson already learned and needing to be reminded. We are in a transition time with Mitchell's sleeping and probably will be for a little while. I need to remember that I have to keep on trying and that he will get used to our expectations as they become more familiar to him.

This evening actually went fairly well. I started with a bath (even though he usually has one in the morning I will try to sponge him down in the evening) and then a snuggle with a book. He wasn't overly interested in the book but I stayed in the chair to nurse him. When he was pretty much asleep I moved to the bed, continued nursing him and then left. I had to return only a few times and then he did stay in bed all night (this was all after 9pm). I think it may be a first. I hope to add the teeth brushing in there (first I have to find the tooth brush I bought - oops!). Again, the goal is to create a bed time where he is in bed from 7 or 8ish on.

This also means that I have to be more prepared for bed myself - earlier. Some nights I may find myself falling asleep while putting him to bed so I am getting changed and ready for bed earlier then usual. Downstairs needs to be ready. Teeth need to be brushed. This may actually be a good thing for my diet! I am also using my ipod again and using this time to catch up on all of the podcasts I've downloaded. I was watching tv but he seems to get more stimulated with the tv so another lesson learned... quietness and less disruptions are better. Now I just have to teach this to the kids. I really hope that this catches on quickly as it is harder on the other kids. I'm so glad that Drew is here and does the bedtime routine anyway with them but I like to be around for that too.

Back to the routines... I am so glad this worked out today! It allowed us to watch Date Night and The Last Song together with few disruptions (the younger kids were at the farm). Both were quite entertaining.

Sleep is a wonderful thing...

Today I learned (or relearned) that sleep is a wonderful thing. I am a much happier person when I get at least 6 hours (not 4.5 like I did last night). I am a much more tolerant person when I have more sleep. I am a much nicer person (I think) when I have more sleep. AND Mitchell would be a lot happier (I think) if he could learn this lesson in the wee hours of the evening.

That is another story but let's put it this way, we both need to work on our evening sleep routine OR LACK THEREOF. Period.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

These feet were made for walking...

Since it was the last day of summer holidays I decided to be adventurous and get out of the house not only once but twice today. Actually it was more because the kids had had a sleepover and were all starting to get on each other's nerves by 9:30. So when Mitchell was between naps we packed up quickly (I was very impressed!) and headed out the door to a "new to us park". We only stayed for an hour but it was well worth it.
Matt is getting so much more comfortable with the monkey bars - he even skipped four rings!
Marlee was content to hang out with Colter in the sand.
Note the pajama day AGAIN!
Mitchell fell asleep quickly at home and slept for 2 1/2 hours. It was awesome. I was able to play some hockey with the boys, tidy up, make lunch and then he was up again.
Later on when he wouldn't go down again, we decided to try a different park - even if it was only for a 1/2 hour. Again, well worth it. Mitchell was happy in the fresh air, the kids had more sand, more monkey barswe had the the place to ourselves and I got to play tag with the kids.
And I learned that my feet don't quite have what it takes to keep up with the kids at tag. At least not in flip flops and sand. Let's just say I was "frozen" a lot. But it was fun. And it was great to be spontaneous and just "do something".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A little science anyone?

We had an interesting day yesterday... (warning - potential grossness factor!)

All in the name of science and learning I thought I'd share two incidents that happened. The first occurred as I went to take out the garbage and recycling to the curb. Oops, in the garage I found the reusable bag that we had stored all of the trash and recycling from the car ride home. We like to bring home anything that can be recycled as we know that the restaurants won't. I usually have a bag for trash, for the green bin and for recycling in the car that we then easily dispose of once we get home. Well, dinner had been Swiss Chalet. And that had been Sunday and it was now Thursday morning. And it had been hot. Very hot over the last few days. So yep - I shrieked. There was a lot of white moving going on let me tell you! So once I had collected myself, I (much more calmly) called the kids to come and take a look. After showing them and explaining what it was I then cleaned out the containers and bag - very quickly and carefully. The wet bucket I dumped down the sewer. I can't believe how many there were. YUCK!

Onto science incident number 2. I've been really disturbed over the last month or so that there have been what appeared to be mouse droppings on our table in the back yard. One of those things that gives you the heeby geebies thinking you have the little critters running over your things. Especially where you eat. There have been no signs of them in the house but still. And it is a nuisance - always disinfecting the table, keeping the kids clear, making sure you aren't dropping the droppings on the deck. You know.

So yesterday I have all the kids (7 of them) ready to go swimming and of course it is warm and there is no shade there. So I go to put up the umbrella. and there are droppings. So I clean it up. Then I open up the umbrella and there are about 3 wasps under the umbrella. I quickly grab the spray and (gasp I know - sorry Sarah) but I sprayed them. I hate them around the kids (and to be honest, me). Anyway, I then notice this dark blob that is not moving. Upon further investigation and then some jumping up and down in spine tingling heeby jeebiness, I realize I have just sprayed a BAT.

About a month ago when I went to open the umbrella a small bat had been hanging in amongst the folds and I obviously disturbed it and although it scared me, I thought oh well and away it flew. I don't really have anything against bats. They are just a little freaky and startling. Usually more scared of us then we are of them. So then I realized that the droppings were from the bat and I had probably just killed it with the spray. By this time the kids were wondering what I was up to and came to investigate. Once I realized it was actually living and was in fact still sleeping (and Drew convinced me to just let it be???) I did just that. But there is something about eating your lunch under a sleeping bat that just didn't sit right so we didn't. And if it continues to make its home there, well... Let's just say I won't be eating there a whole lot. The kids continued to check on it over the course of the day and it was still there until we checked after dinner. There wasn't any sign of it there today.

So there you have it. A few lessons for the kids. A few lessons for me. I tend to startle easily but once I get over it I really do find the animal kingdom rather fascinating. All a part of the circle of life. Shall we sing?

I like clean floors

Today I learned that I really like a clean matter how long it lasts (and around here that is not long).

It was a bit of a frustrating day around here. I think it all started when Mitchell stirred around 7:30 am. Lately he's been doing that but then I nurse him a bit and he has been staying alseep until 9ish. This morning I was thinking that he might be needing to pee and also wondering how this timing is going to work once school starts next week. So I peed him - and then he was up. And then when he was showing signs of tiredness around 9 am he only fell back asleep for about 1/2 hour. Not nearly long enough. I tried several times over the course of the day but basically,between interruptions and not really getting upstairs when he needed me to, he didn't end up getting a good nap until 3:30. Then he slept for an 2 hours. Pheww. He AND I needed that. I think he got a total of 20 minutes in there around noon.

Let's just say it made me a little crusty. And the kids paid for it, well Drew too but we're not going there. I had promised the kids that they could swim when he went down (he had been miserable while I made lunch so once it was made and served we high tailed it upstairs). The kids then all got ready to swim and then he woke up. Ahh! Well long story short we made it through and I was glad when he finally went down and stayed down. Funnily (is that a word?) the kids asked for some "quiet time" where they could watch some tv while I took him to bed. Are they in tune or what (nudge nudge wink wink!)

So where is this all going? When he finally went down to sleep my precious time was used doing the dishes and loading the dishwasher, putting all of the swim clothing away, sweeping the floor and quickly washing it, serving more snack, sweeping the floor again, saying goodbye to the kids and talking with the diaper lady and then, then, since he was still sleeping !!!! I went to work on the downstairs computer - where I got literally 14 minutes before he woke up. Amazing. But you know what? The floor did it. I know it got dirty only 10 minutes afterwards but it brought such satisfaction that it was actually cleaned.

I know. Sometimes it is just the small things. Now if I can get the little guy to sleep with all the hub bub around here!

A few new favourites...

I think these may be my two new favourites...(photos that is).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August 2010 Recap

Another month has come to a close. Here is my recap!

Exercise: I actually got out and ran once this month!

Movies/ Tv/ Shows watched: The Railway Children; The Spiderwick Chronicles; A Bear Named Winne; The Secret Lives of Bees; Coach Carter; Undercover Angel; Evan Almighty; Shutter Island; Tara Road; Across the Universe; Highschool Musical 2; Valkyrie; 19 Kids and Counting

Books/ Magazines read: The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan); The Last Promise (Richard Paul Evans);

Special events:
- visited with cousins from New York at the farm (1st)
- Mitchell's first "horse ride" (1st)
- memorial service for Aunt Elsie (14th)
- Marlee's 6th birthday (26th)
- our 13th anniversary (29th)

Thunder Bay - (parents July 13-August 15th) us August 12-29th

Health/ Development:
- Mitchell 4 month appointment 17lbs 7oz (9th)
- Mitchell 5 month weigh in -18 lbs14oz (31st)
- Marlee dental appointment with sealant (31st)


Household changes:
- kitchen backsplash