Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow!

The snow is all but gone now, but we did have 2+ feet of it before Christmas. Over Christmas and Boxing Day the rain came in sheets and we have those brown crusty bits of ice and snow left in corners and gutters, but nothing worth photographing. This is what we had before though.


Before it all melted, Xander had the time of his life in our backyard. Too bad Santa brought him the new sled for Christmas and he didn't get to use it yet!
The look on his face in this one is my favourite of all!

Monday, December 29, 2008

10 Months

I would have taken a picture of Liam today and posted it, but he caught a cold from his big brother and is currently leaving snail trails of goo wherever he goes. Not a great picture.

It seems like he was born just yesterday. Time has gone even faster for this little boy than it went with Xander. And I laugh when I think about his birthday, because I can still see the words I typed on my March Mommy's group. For anyone who doesn't know this story, Liam was due 22 days after his birthday. I am on a lovely online group with women who all had babies due in March. Three of us had also been on a group for babies due in June of 2005. Well, one of those three ladies, M, was due at the beginning of March and had been showing signs of impending labour for some time, so the second lady, J, and myself teased her that SHE would have the Leap Year baby. Which rubbed her all over in the exact wrong way. Most of you know that rubbing a pregnant woman the wrong way can get ugly. I still laugh at the conversations we had. Well, the two of us who were doing the teasing were told by J's husband on February 28th that we ought to watch out, because he thought that one of us would end up with the Leap Year baby. (You've skipped to the end of this, haven't you?) Well, J and I both laughed. We were not due until the third week in March and J had her first baby late: there was no way we would have the Leap Year baby.

And here I sit, laughing on the other side of my face. For indeed, I did have the Leap Year baby. He's a cutie too. So, tonight, I am thinking about teasing M and being the one to have the Leap Year baby. (In case you are wondering, M held out for a few more days and had a March baby after all.)

At 10 months, Liam:

1. Loves to eat. He's mad that he can't have exactly what we are eating.
2. Still had no teeth. Though they keep teasing us. I can see them right there under the gums.
3. Has mastered the power crawl, can pull up on anything (including legs), walks around the furniture, and will stand with one hand holding on...sometimes he lets go too. He can also bend down from a stand to pick something up.
4. Conquered stairs this week.
5. Thinks that his big brother is amazing. He laughs and kicks and just plain acts happy when big brother is around.
6. "Sings" loudly in the car when he is happy.
7. Is working on sleeping better.
8. Holds Mommy and Daddy's hearts in his hand!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hey, Dude, your head is growing an animal!

After buying my very last Christmas gift this year (yes I am done and bragging a little!), I was coming out of a store that shall remain nameless, because my husband frequents this blog sometimes and he will have guesses for his present if I tell what store it is, and this guy was going in. I kid you not, he had the BIGGEST, FURRIEST hat on his head that I have ever seen. It was obviously fake fur, but this made it no less disturbing. It made his head double in size! I had to wonder if he was bald under it too. The idea tickles my funny bone. But I was tempted to stop him and say, "Hey, Dude, did you know you have an animal growing on your head?" I think I may have had a couple nightmares about that thing last night.

Also, I would have had every single one of my Christmas items purchased in cash (well, using debit, but it is pretty much the same thing), except that my account was hacked yesterday! So my last gift was on my credit card. Not bad, really. Thankfully the hacking was an attempt and my bank caught it and shut down that account. I had to make a trip this morning to get a new bank card.

And the last news is that Liam may get his two front teeth for Christmas. They are so close that I can feel them right under the surface. Actual ridges!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Battle of the Bands

Here are the two songs vying for attention in my head. One is thanks to Xander, who sings his song all the time. The other is Ray trying to drive me nuts.

Here is Xander singing his song.

video

The song Ray is slowly killing my brain cells off with is here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Late with 8


The Magic 8


Lisa tagged me with the Magic 8.....

8 T.V. Shows I watch:

1. The Big Bang Theory
2. LOST
3. Battlestar Galactica
4. Grey's Anatomy
5. Desperate Housewives
6. Brothers and Sisters
7. House
8. Private Practice

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1. Boston Pizza
2. Jack Astor's
3. The Bento Box
4. Water Street Cooker
5. The Black Forest Inn
6. Bombay Grill
7. Rodo's On The Highway (in Moose Jaw, SK)
8. The Korean Place in Mississauga (not sure the name)

8 Things that happened today:
1. Slept in a bit (Hooray for Ray!!)
2. Fed Liam
3. Cleaned
4. Laundry
5. Put The Incredibles on for Xander
6. Sent Xander out to play in the snow with his Dad
7. Put Liam down for a nap
8. Blogged

8 Things I look forward to:
1. Christmas!
2. Seeing my Mom on NYE
3. Liam's First Birthday
4. Running again
5. Vacation time with Ray over Christmas
6. Sleep (LOL! I had to put that one in.)
7. Seeing Xander's face when he opens his digital camera!
8. Spending time with our friends and family

8 Things I wish for:
1. A booming economy
2. A bigger house
3. My children's happiness
4. To write a book
5. Less debt
6. To run a 1/2 marathon again (i.e. the foot pain to go away)
7. For Liam to outgrow his milk and soy allergies
8. Health and happiness for my friends and family

8 People I tag:
Laura
Kari
Mary
The Professor and his HO
Punkin (Seriously...I dare you to post. LOL!)
Lori
Michelle
Cryssy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Busy Times

You'd think with how busy we have been, I would be blogging about it daily. Alas, I am so covered in paint, glitter, chocolate, and stamps, that there has hardly been time to look up.

Xander and I finished decorating the Christmas tree the other day. I will have to take pictures soon and post them. It is a new, pre-lit tree and I love it!

I've been cruising a site that has pre-school activities and we have done the glittery letters and the chocolate letters here: Let's Explore. It's been fun, but the glitter is everywhere. I found some in my bed this morning. As Ray says, "Of all the things to have spread all over the place, glitter is the best. It kind of makes a person happy." Actually, the glitter letters were a family affair. I painted the letters. Xander helps put the glue and glitter on (with enthusiasm). And then Ray uses a glue gut to put the ribbons on them. I am not to be trusted with a glue gun. The chocolate Xander helped with a little bit, but it was pretty messy and getting late, so I finished it up.

My Christmas cards are pretty much all out. I have a few to hand deliver and a few to go out today. I also have a couple of packages to go out. It's a work in progress.

Speaking of works in progress...Liam is beginning to cruise. He can now transfer from one piece of furniture to another (or a toy to a piece of furniture) and he's able to motor along a bit on whatever is helping him stay upright. It is halting and slow, but he's getting there. He also occassionally lets go of one or both hand. And just this morninghe leaned over from a stand to pick something up.

Sleep is better. We have the boys in the same room now and it is okay. Liam is up 1-2 times a night.

Today is Xander's last morning of preschool before the holidays. They are doing a sing-a-long for the parents at 10:30. We are excited to see that.

And last night it snowed enough to cover the lawn!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A To Do List?

Stolen from my pal Lisa at One-Hip-Mom.

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars. Last time was when camping outside of Paris, Ontario. It was about 8 of us in a blue tarp we knicknamed "the blue burrito".

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower (I've seen the Northern Lights on many occasions though and in many colours. Does this count?)

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain - a couple in Korea!

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo - as a kid

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris - Okay, here is where I feel gypped. I've been to 11 European countries and lots of places in France. Just not Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. - That would be interesting too. A better one is a lightning storm across the Prairies, from a roof. Awesome!

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning. - This is one I wish I could say I had not had.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - See #12

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb. - Almost as awesome as the lightning storm!

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a Marathon - I've done a 1/2 marathon.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run - never gonna happen.

32. Been on a cruise - I am not very found of boats, so I am not sure how to answer this one.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language - Korean and German, though just enough to get by on the streets.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. - I wasn't sure how to truly answer this one. It is more the flip side to me: having little enough debt to be satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - see #12

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China - I would love to do the Great Wall Marathon!

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen - No, but I have volunteered in a nursing home.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - we call them Girl Guides here, but same thing.

62. Gone whale watching

63. Gotten flowers for no reason - Ray gets points for this one. He brought them last week too.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - Sadly, several. It's an experience you'd never forget.

67. Bounced a check - Not in a very long time!

68. Flown in a helicopter - I've been in a Herc though, which is something else.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt - I suck large at sewing. We'll leave it at that.

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London

77. Broken a bone - Um, yeah. Two. And it was nasty.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House - When we went it was almost impossible to get a tour. Bleach.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Um, I have done the preparing part, though not the killing.

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby - Two!

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee - No desire, thanks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

He's sleeping. In fact, both of the boys are sleeping. It might be a Christmas miracle!

This is Liam's second nap of the day. Both of them he just went down and went to sleep. I've been placing him in his crib awake and he goes to sleep. Sometimes there is a little crying and sometimes just some complaints. But nothing earth shattering.

I won't say we are there, but I am trying to count any victories and remember that it is a process.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Several Steps Forward and Backward

I've been asked about Liam's sleep a few times, so I thought I would update. I want to say it is better. And it is, overall. We successfully night weaned from 5-8 times a night for 5 minutes each time, down to 2.5 minutes. As the time got less, the number of feedings got to be fewer.

Then he got a cold, so we halted progress on the night weaning. And still he continued to drop feedings. We were down to 1 feeding a night for several nights. I actually had 3 or 4 nights of what I would now consider good sleep.

However, last night was terrible. He was up to nurse about 4 times, plus at the 4 am time, he refused to go back to sleep. He just could not settle. And we were basically up and down like jackrabbits. No fun. I am going to have to start the process of night weaning again.

The other problem is settling. The book I have says to have them completely night weaned and be weaned for over a week before starting the process to teach them to self-soothe. That's fine and good, but he is up for 2-3 hours each evening and not napping during the day. Nothing we say or do gets him to nap or fall asleep. Ray and I are beside ourselves (this is the "but" to the answer we give about sleep improvements), physically and mentally.

We are starting with naps and hoping that it gets better from there. It's funny, because we've already gone through the bulk of the steps in the chapter on self-soothing on our own. So now we are trudging forward.

Still tired and crabby. Still anxious. Still hoping.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wisdom in the Snow

Last night we had enough snow to shovel. Ray is wonderful in so many ways, but outdoor work is not high on his list of priorities. Xander loves to go outside and use his shovel, so I put Liam down for a nap and the two of us went at the snow. Along the way, Xander had a handful of comments:

"We shovel the snow so that the squirrels can't pee on it."

"I'm shoveling the snow into the tree. The tree needs more snow." (He really was doing just that!)

"Mommy, does dirt hurt to eat?"

"Here Mom...you need more snow on your side." (As he dumps more snow right in front of me.)

These tidbits made me laugh, but I also had moments of pondering what really goes on in the head of a 3.5 year old.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Day Off

I need a day off. We've had a busy week or so, but even busier over the last weekend. Thursday, we did a play date with my cousin and her kids. Friday, Xander and I had a date. Saturday, I worked the morning and then we had friends over for dinner. Sunday, we went to my cousin's place and she and I went to this toy warehouse sale, then for lunch and a sprint through the mall. Afterward we joined the kids and our husbands and ended up staying there and having dinner. The shopping was successful, the play date with the older two was not as much.

This morning I raced to clean up around here and get us ready for lunch and a play date with a young man from preschool. Xander and Carter had a fantastic time, and Ray and I like Carter's mom too! Then I raced off to do a one-off yoga session with Liam (it's supposed to help them sleep and I am in for trying anything). I was late and I couldn't find it, so we ended up driving around and then coming home. Finally, tonight I have spin class.

Phew!

Plus the laundry fairy didn't end up visiting this weekend. She is sooooo fired!

I'm wiped. I just want to have a nice, long nap. Perhaps tomorrow? In any case, I think we will try to take it easier tomorrow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Xander's First Date and Other Musings

Last night Xander had his very first official date...with his Mom. We went to Boston Pizza, so he could have bugs and cheese (think mac and cheese, but the mac is in the shape of bugs). He was a perfect gentleman and we had a lovely time, just the two of us. Definitely worth going again. We also went shopping afterward, so we could say hello to Katherine, who was his daycare provide until recently. We bought a present for Daddy for Christmas and so far, so good: the surprise is still intact! No easy feat when you are 3.5 years old.

We're going to go again soon, and plans are in the works for a "boys' night of wings or burgers" with Daddy.

Xander has been a load of fun and a font of funny little comments. The other night someone called for donations from Children's Wish. Normally I would do this in a heartbeat. Heck, if they called and said "we'll be there in 30 minutes" I would donate. But to keep track of when they are coming and have something ready for some point in the future? I know my limitations. Keep track of my kids, my own schedule, and Ray's schedule is more than enough for me. When I got off the phone and Ray asked who it was and I explained, I finished with "I can hardly remember my own name these days." To which Xander injected in a puzzled voice: "It's MOMMY!"

How do you not adore that?

And this afternoon we were digging around in the crawl space. Xander loved going in and out of there with his own flashlight. Well, he is in and out after I was out. To fill you in a bit, for Xander's first Christmas my brother gave him a drum set. Yes, that's right: a DRUM SET. It is a mini version of the real deal. Also, the age on it is 3+. My brother thought he was getting one over on me, but since it was so obviously inappropriate for a 6 month old, I put it in the recesses of our crawl space. Sure enough, he comes out of there this afternoon with a grin from ear to ear..."Mommy, I saw Kids Play the Drums in there!!!" Of course, he now wants to play with it.

Thank you Uncle Kyle. I guess it was bound to come out eventually.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Teeth or Walking First?















I had other things to talk about, but about 30 minutes ago this just blew us away! Ray and I looked over and saw Liam do pull himself up. Then he let go and stood for a moment with one hand. Ray and I were giggling. 5 minutes after he let go of the entertainment unit, he pulled up on the china cabinet.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

3 Hours IS An Improvement

I have long bemoaned Liam's sleep habits. I am not 100% sure how we got here. Part of it was my desire to feed him on demand. Part was his desire to eat All The Time. And I am sure there is some part that is linked to his food allergies and tummy troubles, which made him cry a lot and in response Ray and Xander both hounded me with choruses of "Liam's hungry. When did you feed him?" (I would get mad, tell them I had just fed him and offer more to prove it...of course Liam would eat every time, making a liar out of me.)

As time went on, we were all up with Liam. Over and over again all night long. Ray and I have reached the point where we are sleeping in 45 to 90 minute stretches. Xander is afraid to sleep in the same room, because Liam wakes up and cries so much, and he is now on the floor on his mattress in our room. We tried co-sleeping, crib sleeping, him in our room and in the nursery, and countless methods of sleep training. We've failed all of them. Don't get me wrong, they would work, for 7-10 days, and then fall flat.

By now we have reached further than "sleep deprivation". Much further. I have done nothing to harm my children, but I can say that I understand how and why people do. In this haze, we are sharp and we yell more. There is no patience left. No courtesies. As a tiny person, Liam escapes this, but Xander is an active 3 year old and he has noticed that Mom and Dad are falling apart.

My latest attempt is a little different. Desperate too. I need this to work. We all need this to work. My cousin recommended a book by a neurologist at Sick Kid's Hospital in Toronto. She said it was researched and done up differently. Well, most of the basic info in there is the same as what I have read before, but it is presented a little differently. What is more important is that instead of presenting a blanket approach, she narrows down sleep issues into different problems and different solutions...and then gives step by step answers on how to deal with it.

Liam has two problems: he eats all night and he cannot settle on his own. All the other approaches worked on his settling. Although I knew eating alll night was an issue, I had no idea what to do with it. Especially with breastfeeding. This author explains in detail that babies frequently have these problems and that you cannot teach them to settle until you wean them from their night feedings.

Talk about having a light go on!

So I began the process of night weaning. Only instead of cutting feedings, you knock them back literally 30 seconds per feed. Each night I have been wary. Would he accept this? Would he refuse? But each night he feeds and I take him off at the appointed time and he is fine. He goes back to sleep. But it was the same pattern.

Yesterday it changed: he added feedings an hour apart near the beginning of my night. 10, 11, 12 pm. Yesterday it meant an added feeding and still being up every 30 to 90 minutes. I rolled my eyes and kept going. Last night he did this again, but with one amazing difference...

He slept from midnight until 3 am, fed, then slept from 3 am until 6 am!!!

Now I am curious to see what tonight will bring.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

You know you are sleep deprived when... (PT II)

  • Your husband finds a tin of iced tea crystals in the freezer, and you know it was you who put them there, but you cannot clearly remember putting them there.
  • You throw diaper poop into the the trash and are just about to put the diaper in the toilet.
  • You rinse the carrots, put them in a pot, put them on to boil, but forget to put water in with them.
  • You start mixing up the names of your kids, cats, and husband.
  • You are covered in bruises from walking into walls and furniture (my sense of space goes when I am tired).
  • You find it takes you all day write a blog.
  • You post the first version of this blog with only a title.
My original intent was to post some pics and do some catch up today, but I can't get the pics in properly and have been trying to have more than 2 minutes to myself all day.

You know you are sleep deprived when...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November comes to an end

So we are at the end of November. Christmas is coming.

I've been absent for a bit. All chaos. My parents, who live in Manitoba, were here for a visit. That was chaos, but fun chaos. At the end my brother had a hissy fit. We've had those before and survived. It's such a long story that I won't bore you. But basically he ruined the end of the visit. Luckily we had a good time on the last few days without him.

Ray went to Rochester for training from a Sunday to the Tuesday. Xander had the flu in there. I had it yesterday and still have it today. Yuck!

Busy.

And in the middle of this Liam has truly learned to crawl. He's everywhere and into everything. We need to re-babyproof this house. He's making laps of the main floor. Cute. He's also working hard on pulling up and gets up to his knees.

I think I might be on to something for the sleep issues, but I dare not write that yet. I'll let you all know if it works. It might be a bit of a process, but this might solve things. Might.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still Nothing

Despite Liam acting like an insomniac with PMS, we still have no teeth. At his worst, he won't even accept the soother and just screams at us. Mostly in the middle of the night. Thankfully a little baby Advil helps this, for a while anyway. But he is just grumpy and hard to please in general.

On one hand, I don't want teeth. He can chomp pretty good with his gums, and I swear he's bitten me with them. Ouch! On the other hand, I am ready to have a really good night's sleep and stop this insanity. Plus, he is almost 9 months old, so I guess it is time.

I could swear that Xander was not this bad with his first teeth, but I brought that idea up to my Mom this morning and she said he was pretty bad himself. (And that I was terrible before my first two teeth popped through.) Which I will just file under Mother's Amnesia. Even I have it.

Let's hope before long Liam's fussing and fretting is over, we have a few teeth, and I am on my way to storing this time away under Mother's Amnesia.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday is Murphy's Day

I figure a day is not starting well, when it begins this way:

Xander: It's morning time!!!
Ray: Oh shit, it is too. ...It's quarter to eight!

Xander and I had to be at preschool for 8:30. The day was packed full of stuff, and it would have been nice to have had at least another half hour to work with. But then again, what's a Monday morning without a little Murphy's Law thrown in.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Running

I have a few interests. My family and friends. Of course, my kids. I love to travel, though with kids and limited income, that is not much of an option these days. I'm a reader. Ray is too. You should see our living room: 7 six foot bookshelves packed full. And that is only a portion of our books. We read.

About 7 years I started running. I love running. It makes me feel human and helps me keep life in perspective.

I am not a fast runner, but I can do the distance and just keep going. Most of the time. And I have had the patience and perseverance to come back from injury and two pregnancies.

But right now I am debating. Over the summer I joined a great running group. I really like them and I like running with them. But Liam was just born in February and that brings a few new challenges. Lack of sleep does not make for a better runner. It makes running a bigger effort. My joints are not back to normal, and they may not be until I finish breastfeeding.

While I was running over the summer, I got plantar fasciitis. Despite rest, ice, and lots of painful massage, it persisted. It has died down now, but my knees and hips are aching now. Especially my knees. In an effort to stop the ache, I got new shoes. They are fantastic and the aching is much less. But I am finding that my knees are still not right. Most likely because of the crazy hormones from having a baby and breastfeeding.

A new clinic is about to start on November 25th. I would love to go. I really want to spin too with the group. But then I wonder if I ought to put my efforts elsewhere this winter. It makes me sad, but I've never ached this long before. But I still struggle with the choice: to run or not to run.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bookworms



I was checking my email this morning and looked back at Liam to discover he'd done this in the 20 seconds I was not paying attention. He's really getting into his books.

Xander loves books so much that he is mad he can't read yet.

I guess that Liam is our kid too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mother's Amnesia

I have long argued that mother's amnesia covers much more than labour and delivery.

Despite the fact that almost everyone I know in my generation has battled with some kind of sleep issues with their children, the generation before us insists "We had no problems with our kids sleeping." (Insert "what's your problem" at the end of that sentence, because it is the unspoken ending we all hear.) How is it possible that none of us had sleep issues and yet a good portion of our kids do? Statistically, this makes me go....hmmmmm?!?

My mother-in-law, aunt, and Mom all said this. Although, to give my Mom credit, she did say my brother screamed 12 hours a day for the first 6 months of his life, so "thank God the little bugger slept at night". I crack up every time I hear that. And it was Mom who ratted out her generation. I revealed my theory to her one day and she said, "Lorna said that none of her kids had sleep problems?" in the most surprised voice I have heard in a while. When I confirmed it, she told me that my one cousin cried up to 45 minutes each and every time she was put down for a sleep until she was 2 years old.

Aha! I told you: mother's amnesia.

When Mom came to visit last time, she also said, "You are right: Liam really does not sleep!"

Ummm, Mom, did you think I was lying?

So far we have tried The No Cry Sleep Solution, The Baby Whisperer, The Sleep Lady, and variants of CIO. All to some degree of success and some degree of failure. Right now Liam will go down fairly readily for his morning nap, screams blue murder about an afternoon nap (and often we get nothing from him), and goes to bed easily in the evening, but often wakes up after 6 hours for a snack and then is up and down and up and down from 2-6 am. Causing chaos with Xander and exhaustion for his parents.

Although part of me wants to retain this so I have sympathy for my kids when their children come along, part of me really can't wait for mother's amnesia too.

And it is a heck of a good method of birth control!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tidbits

Xander is finished with daycare next week. He's been going to preschool since September and he loves it! As Ray said this morning, his attitude when he gets there is very much "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." He gets so much stimulation there and I can almost see the little cogs turning in his brain. We love our home daycare situation, but between the fact that he is getting excellent outside stimulation from preschool and the fact that my business is not rolling in the money these days (who can do much writing with an 8 month old underfoot) it no longer balances out. Besides, with him going both places, I no longer have much time with him and I miss him.

Liam is more and more mobile each day. He's trying his hand at pulling up on furniture, people, toys, and walls. Some are more successful than others. Occasionally he gets brave and lets go...then falls. Ooops! He's also getting teeth, I think. I can see little bulges under the gums. I will count no chickens, um...make that teeth before they hatch. Oh yeah, and he definitely has some of my mother's genes: no matter what food I make him, he leaves a spoonful behind. Does not matter how little or how much, there is always something left behind. This is my Mom. If you find a coffee cup with a half inch of cold coffee lying around your house, I bet my Mom was there! Liam does this too. Let me tell you, it is no less annoying because he is tiny.

And when does this sharing a room get easier? Seriously. It has been at least a month now, maybe a bit more, and these two are still driving me insane. Liam wakes up and cries. I have heard legends of siblings who learn to ignore this. Who are these strange children? Can they come give lessons to Xander? Xander wakes up and starts yelling "It's too loud Liam. TOO LOUD!" Which makes Liam cry more/harder. You can see where this is going, right. So we end up comforting Liam and putting him back to bed, and Xander goes to sleep on his air mattress in our room for a bit until Liam is sound asleep again. Repeat each night at some point. Sometimes a couple times a night. No wonder I am tired. If this is still like this when January rolls around, Ray and I are going to have to have a serious conversation about putting Xander in the 3rd bedroom, on the main floor; the room that is Ray's home office. There is a human limit to how long we can deal with this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Remember

I remember that my maternal Great-Grandmother took my Grandmother and Great Uncles to England just before WWI and got stuck there for a good part of the war.

I remember that my paternal Grandfather, who was Polish, was on "the wrong side of the war" because he was forced by the Nazi invaders. He had 3 tanks blown out from under him by the Allies, but survived it all, then was captured and held as a POW in Scotland for the remainder of the war. I know all this from my Dad, since my Grandfather never did speak to us about it before he passed away. He was extremely grateful to be Canadian.

I remember that my paternal Grandmother was taken from her family in Poland when she was 14 years old. She was send to a work camp by the Nazis and her own father never saw her again, though she told me that her sisters wrote to tell her that when he was very ill later in life, he kept "Waiting for my daughter to come home to me". After the war she was offered passage to Canada and she took it. I do know a little about this time; about a decade ago, she shared some of her experiences with me.

I remember being in Europe and going to see concentration camps (I was 8-12 years old then and it was in the mid 1980s). Even in the summer, there is a chill. Legend has it that the birds changed their flight patterns around Dachau and Auschwitz. I believe it. There is a quiet around them that confirms there are still no birds there. I will always remember. You cannot see that kind of thing and forget.

I remember going to The Eagle's Nest. It was beautiful there, but all I can think about is the horror carried out by the people who created this retreat. Even at 11 years old, I knew that.

I remember that we were in Europe because my Dad was military, and knowing that at any time, my Dad could be called to fight and to die. I grew up with that knowledge in my heart. I will always remember that.

I remember speaking to our family friend, Henry, who could never tell us his real last name. His wife Cic did not even know it. He had been in the Polish underground and was injured a total of 7 times during WWII. He told me that each time, he would dream of his mother the night before and she would tell him what was going to happen. I always smile at the memory of his face telling me this and then saying that he would respond with, "Mama, Mama....not again!"

I remember that friends of my parents are in Afghanistan.

I remember. And I will teach my children to remember too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Funnies by Xander

This morning I was driving Xander to preschool and we had a conversation that left me laughing. We started off goofing around (he has a think about using the word walnut as "bombutt" and then being silly with it). He told me I was silly.

Me: But I am not that silly. If I were silly, I wouldn't have married your Daddy. (There's a fallacy argument in here somewhere, I am sure that Ray will point it out to me later.)
Xander: You're not married to Daddy.
Me: Yes, I am.
Xander: You didn't wait for me? (And he started crying at the thought of being left out of something!)
Me (trying not to crack up at this point): Well honey, that's how it is done. (Never mind, we'll talk about the details there much later.)
Xander: I really wish you hadn't done that!

I lost it at that point.

Later on I was filling in birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar.
Me (to Ray): And Xander is 2005.
Xander: NO, I am 3!

Xander running around the kitchen: I am getting the ants out of my pants.

There's other stuff, but D is singing the D song in the background via the ABC thing the Leapfrog makes, so it's hard to think of them all. Conversations with a 3 year old is an interesting way to spend your day.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Preconceived Notions

I've been pondering this in bits and pieces for a while, but more so since yesterday. One of the clients in the office I work in a couple times a week was in and we were talking about how he has been researching community viability and is convinced that our towns and cities are not set up right. I know what he is talking about, because I've lived in Europe and Asia and towns and cities there are walkable. You can go down the street and get everything you need. No need for a car. We were talking about how it is healthier to have that kind of lifestyle. In North America a car is required for banking, groceries, and sometimes even just to go to see a neighbour, depending on where you live. We could refashion our lifestyles to make them healthier just by taking on a community model that incorporates our whole lives, rather than compartmentalizing work, entertainment, and the place where we sleep and store our stuff.

All of this is interesting stuff, but what he said that made me ponder into other directions was that there are a number of people who have a preconceived notion that he is a "communist" because he is researching and considering the consequences of this kind of community.

Which made me think about other preconceived notions.

I breastfeed my kids and make their baby food from scratch (well, most of it). We are also about 90% chemical free in our house. And there is a huge misconception that this makes me "crunchy". I do these things because it works for us. But I am almost the antithesis of crunchy in my own mind: I vaccinate my kids and believe in vaccinating very strongly, we use disposable diapers, and although I love the premise of AP parenting, I just cannot do it long term, so we are more middle-of-the-road with our parenting. I like to pick and choose from among parenting trends for what works for us.

Another one that gets me is "religious". We do not attend church regularly. It is pointless with Xander, because we end up chasing him around the building. That worked okay when we went to a small church, but that church closed and the one we belong to is huge. I am not a big prayer person. I believe in God, but prayer feels a little fake to me. I find communication with God by singing. This has been true my whole life. There's a story of me being about Xander's age and we lived in a remote community. My Mom is Anglican and my Dad Catholic. I was baptised Catholic. The church in that community was one building with rooms on opposite sides: one for the Catholic service and the other for the Protestants. The priest and minister would stand in the room between to greet the people as they came in. Every week Mom and Dad which side I wanted to attend. (They say that this caused quite some interest between the priest and minister.) Every week the answer was the same: "I want to go to the singing side." But because we don't go to church right now, there is an assumption that we are not religious. Certainly you would not know that if you listened to conversations that we have with Xander though. It's another preconceived notion.

My favourite one though is the notion of being an athlete. I was never good at sports in school. I am not good at anything requiring a stick and ball of any kind, which leaves out anything team related. And in school athlete = team sports. When I was a kid I biked like crazy, swam really well, and skied like a demon. But I was not an athlete; I didn't do team sports. As I have gotten older this has turned around. I discovered running a number of years ago. Now a lot of people consider me athletic. This also cracks me up. I suppose I am, but by running standards, I am a slug. lol!

Still, these are all just notions. Preconceived or not. We are much more colourful than that!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Liam sits

Liam has been able to sit if you put him there for several months now. Lately he's been throwing himself on the floor and making movements towards crawling. He can spin himself around on his belly with his hands. For a while he would get up on his hands and then not know what else to do, then put his face to the floor and arms down and scream, while sticking his butt in the air and knees under him. We thought that stage was annoying (the screaming part), but also hysterical to watch. Plus we felt bad for him that he just could not get it together. These days he is getting it together, but has yet to add a forward or backwards movement to it. He's up, but it's like watching a car stall. No one is getting anywhere at this rate! And he has been ticked off about not getting anywhere. He has the idea that there are places to GO, dammit.

And today I watched in open-mouthed fascination. He was sitting. Then he flung himself forward on all fours. Then down on the floor and did the spinning thing. Apparently he was done with that, because quick as you can say "sit up boy" he tucked his legs under himself, pulled his body back, and was sitting there again...grinning at me! We were both laughing in a second.

This kid is going places. Soon.

I guess the bigger question is: are we ready for it?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back in the saddle again

I'd pretty much forgotten about blogging. Life can do that sometimes. And life has changed around here. Instead of one beautiful, funny boy to steer our lives, we now have two. Liam joined our family on February 29th, 2008. Yes, that is the leap year. And NO he will never lack for a birthday. I promise! Liam is 8 months and Xander is quickly heading towards 3.5 years old. How that happened is anyone's guess.

One of my sweet online friends, Lisa, has a pretty impressive blog. I follow it and laugh with her regularly. It's in my links on the sidebar. Go check it out! Over the past few months, I have found myself thinking "I need a blog". And I remembered that I have one. I just never use it. Sometimes I tell myself that I need to be writing for work. That's true too. Other times I think that life gets so busy with these kids and I am tired, but then that does not fly far as Lisa has 4 kids and manages this. How? I have no clue. But she is Wonder Mom. I'm just trying to keep up and hoping that writing begets more writing.

Also, there are so many times when the kids or Ray do or say things that crack me up, and I wish that I had a place to put it.

So here I am. Back in the saddle again.