Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Keeps Going...

When I was a kid I always thought that holidays were a time to relax, a break from homework... and then I became an adult and realized all the busyness and work that goes in to holidays! We have been so busy! I'm exhausted! It has been a good busy though.

After our immediate family Christmas', we had our first extended family Christmas with my Mom's family. I think it was the first year in a VERY long time nearly everyone was there... except for four cousins (including my sister). It was nice to see everyone and see how happy in made my Grandparents. My Grandpa barely made it, as his health seems to be taking severe dives from day to day. It is definitely in the back of everyone's mind that this is his last Christmas... although we could be thinking that for the next five Christmas' too!

We couldn't stay very long at the get together because Livi and I had a ferry to catch. We had to eat and run. We were headed to the Island for a new charity board meeting! I brought Livi with me to visit with her Auntie Lisa and Uncle Tony. They don't get to see her very often. Livi had a lot of fun... aside from basically crying herself to sleep. It had been a very overstimulated last few days!

By the way... taking a one year old on the ferry alone is VERY TIRING! I'll write about the meeting in another post when I have more time too.

Today, I've been at a First Aid Course all day. It is a requirement for the group home I work at. My sister and her co-worker/a friend of ours came with me, which made the eight hour day a little more bearable. The instructor was not my biggest fan... I made the mistake of mentioning that I had not done the required reading because I've taken the course at least 4 times before. She didn't think that was very acceptable and kept making comments in every section about how we should have read this already and she is doing those who hadn't pre-read a favor by going over it. Oh well... I got 100%!

Tomorrow we go to Vancouver to ring in the New Year with some dear friends of ours. Livi is going with Jon's Mom to Chehalis Lodge for an extended family reunion weekend. His Mom's family does this weekend every two years. It is a lot of fun, but a lot of family over a longer period of time! This will be the first year with the start of the next generation. Livi is the first Great Grandchild. Two years ago we announced to the family at this weekend, that we were pregnant! Now Livi gets to help us make even more memories! Jon and I will join everyone on New Years day... hopefully not hungover :)

I'm a little apprehensive to send Livi ahead though. She has been so overstimulated this past week and as a result is over tired. I've tried to be anally rigid with her schedule and meeting her needs at every possible moment to compensate. I was away from her all day today, which never happens, so I'm already feeling a bit guilty. Damn Mother Guilt! I expect her to be a little more clingy than normal tomorrow and then I have to send her with Mom! I have no concerns about Livi's safety or needs being met with Mom, but she is going in to a new surrounding, with a lot of people who are going to be very excited to see her and I won't be there to read her signs and comfort her. The idea that I won't be there if she wants me KILLS me!

I'm usually not this tense about her being with out me. She does great! She is such an easy going, independent little angel. I think my anxiety is a little higher than normal because of the holidays and busyness for myself. I'm probably a little overstimulated too! Hopefully though, with so many people to watch Livi this weekend, I'll be able to relax and catch up on my sleep :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Extravaganza!

Christmas is so much more fun with a child to remind you of the wonder of it all. It was a complete joy. Livi was beautiful, as always, and I was at peace.

Our Christmas extravaganza started on Christmas Eve. Jon worked his last day as a Behavioural Interventionist and came home just after lunch. We went for a quick visit to my Grandparent's home. My Grandpa's health continues to worsen but he was in good spirits. They enjoy seeing their Great-Granddaughter so much. From there we headed out to Langley to celebrate Christmas with Jon's family. Lisa (Jon's sister) and her husband, Tony, couldn't make it, so it was just Jon's brothers and Mom.
Even though some of the family was missing we had fun! Dad being gone was not such a fresh wound as it was last year either. We missed him. We skipped some of the traditions that he would have held, but it was okay. We'll figure it out eventually and maybe come up with some new ones. Mom tried hard not to cry at one point but Livi was a pleasant distraction to us all. She was so fascinated by the Christmas lights and the bows. She was so enthralled by the bow of her first present that it took her a little while to figure out that there was, in fact, a present beneath the wrapping. She got the hang of it pretty quickly though. Her first present, from her Uncle Jeremy, was the the most entertaining and she was not interested in the clothes that followed.
The biggest surprise of the Christmas was the gift from Jon's mom... or is it from Dad. We received a bit of money from Dad's estate. I started crying. What an unexpected blessing! Remember how I was completely stressing about our finances just a few short weeks ago? It could have come at a better time! Now, with this gift and Jon's new job we could potentially be debt free withing 6 months! (Okay, we'll still have our huge government student loans and mortgage of course, but our maxed out student line of credit will be gone!) That is, if we are VERY good. I do expect there will be a little bit of splurging in the beginning.

We have decided to take a little bit of the money and go on a real vacation. We never had any time to relax and heal after Dad died. Livi was born exactly one month after he died. That was a VERY rough year. We've never gone on a "real" vacation either. Our honeymoon was only three days in Whistler and other than that we've been camping-ish in the Okanagan and on the Island...usually with other people. Being raised Mennonite and by a single mother my first thought in talking about a vacation was that it was a frivolous idea and my Grandpa would definitely not approve. I'm not sure if I can say that we deserve a vacation but I do think that taking some of the money and putting it towards something that will potentially be healing, relationship building and just plain fun is a very good thing. I just have to look at it like Dad is paying for it!

Christmas day we woke up to Livi beginning to stir and brought her in to the living room to discover the presents under the tree. She was ADORABLE! She stood and stared for a few seconds then crept up and sat beside the presents pointing and babbling. She wouldn't touch them until I handed one to her.
 She remembered what she was supposed to do from the night before and dove in. She LOVES all her presents! It was so fun. She couldn't decide what she wanted to play with and decided on sitting in her chair, holding her blocks while ordering Daddy to tickle her with her puppet.
We headed out in to the beautifully, bright sun and drove to Chiliwack right away for my family's Christmas.

More food, presents, fun, and laughter were had! I tried not to think about my sister who again chose not to come to Christmas. I miss her and it is not quite the same with out her. I think I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that it is never going to be the same again... even if she does come back to us. Why is change so hard?

Well, I'm tired from a long day of Boxing Day sales and should head off to bed. My next few days are just as busy. Extended family gathering tomorrow, then catching the ferry with Livi for a meeting on Monday. I'll catch you up on that soon :) I hope you all had as fabulous a Christmas as I did!

This Christmas Extravaganza will be continued... Two more family gatherings and New Years to blog about soon!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I finally have access to my pictures again! So here are a few of those picture I promised...

Livi having tons of fun in the snow for the first time!

She had to use her forehead to help herself get up. Pretty awesome, I think!

This next picture makes me smile EVERY time I look at it... I dare you to try not too.

One of her new favorite pastimes to do with her Daddy is to watch the Muppets singing on YouTube. I'm not sure if Livi or Jon enjoy it more!

One last thing to update... I got a January 13th date for my gallbladder surgery! Yay! I had hear horror stories of people having to wait months or even a year! I think the doctor actually prioritized me because I'm having to take the pain meds every time I have an attack. I could really use some help with Livi the first few days after the surgery if anyone is available. I don't think I'll be allowed to pick her up and Jon will be at his new job... so anyone want to take my baby for a play date or come get her up in the morning for me?


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Weeks Recap

We have had a lot going on in our world this past week. Where should I start?

Let's start with Jon...
He got a new job! No more piecing together work between the two of us! This couldn't have come at a better time. I knew this month would be rough but I didn't think it would be this rough! We some how managed to pay the mortgage bill this month but the living expenses that we always put on the credit card (so I can get the Airmiles) will be paid off with the line of credit. That has NEVER happened before! I was really stressing about it. Things are looking up now though!

Jon is now a Quality Service Analyst for Community Living BC. He had to quit his part time job as a Behavioral Interventionist. Did I write about that before? He had a small 10 hour a week contract working with autistic kids at the Fraser Valley Child Development Center. He really loved it but was having a difficult time making it full time work. We are very excited about the CLBC job though. He is grossly under qualified but they loved his passion for people with special needs so much that they gave him the job anyway! It will not be working with persons with special needs as much as he would've liked but maybe we'll get to find another way to bring that into the mix soon. It is much more administrative. I think he is basically in charge of different funding and contracts and making sure the people who do have the privilege of working hands on are doing their jobs properly, safely and in the best interest of the client. He has a lot of power and his position is generally hated by caregivers because he is the one who says "yes" or "no" to funding. I really hope he loves it! He'll be in charge of contracts anywhere from Boston Bar, Hope, Chilliwack, Mission but probably mostly Langley and Abbotsford. The pay is much better than we are used to. I'm quite excited to have some breathing room in the budget to put towards paying off debt or in to savings towards a down payment for a house!

Me next...
I've been very excited and proud of my husband but I have had some major stresses this week too. My anxiety level has been steadily rising because of everything so I think I'm going to go back to my therapist in the new year. I've wanted to for a little while but haven't felt like I could afford it.

My Grandpa's health is still going down hill but I think I am okay with it. He has lived a full life and maybe he is ready to go. I just wish he would accept some help along the way. He is still talking about driving again one day and is very reluctant to accept the assistance we are so eager for him to take. It is becoming a safety issue and I'd hate for something bad to happen to necessitate us going over his head to get him in to a safer environment. He is a very proud man and his dignity would be very hurt.

The other major stressor is my sister (who is still not talking to us) got engaged a few days ago. I'm not really sure how exactly I am feeling about this yet. I go from feeling extremely positive and gracious about it, hoping a wedding could be common ground that brings her back to us, to thinking she can go fuck herself and I am done. Not very congruent emotions hey? I really do wish I could be authentically gracious, forgiving and accepting of the situation, but I'm not. I'm too reactionary and worrisome. I'm not sure how much hope I have for our relationship and if I don't have hope what is the point in trying? That is a very depressed statement but it is coming from a very real, hurt place. I think seeing my therapist will be good for me.

Gallstones are a BITCH! I've been getting attacks about twice a week! There doesn't seem to be any definitive triggers... well, except for food in general! I'll eat crazy healthy one day and get an attack, then eat really yummy Christmas goodies another day and be fine! I've done some research on the internet about what I should and shouldn't be eating but it really doesn't seem to matter. I mentioned this to my doctor and he is running some blood tests thinking it has something to do with my gallstones blocking the tube that empties from my pancreas. If that is the case that would only mean an extra procedure during the surgery I think. No long term effects thankfully. I don't have a surgery date yet. I am seeing the surgeon on December 23rd. I'm really hoping for a quick surgery date, but I have heard horror stories about the wait list. Let's all pray for a January 4th date!

Last, but definitely not least... Livi!
She is a very busy little girl. If we've been cooped up a little too much she'll end up running circles in our home between the kitchen and living room. She loves going out and socializing. She has no fear... except for maybe jumping off high places. She will run in to any situation eager to experience as much as she can. I like that she is such a little independant daredevil. She still needs her Mommy though :) At the end of a busy day she fills are home with illegible babble telling us everything that has happened and giving us lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles.

Her vocabulary has completely taken off. She repeats EVERYTHING we say. We have been getting way better at watching what words come out of our mouths :)  I've completely lost track of the number of words she has said. I think she is well in to the 50's. Livi has started building towers too. Those Megablocks that I bought at a garage sale last summer are finally getting used for other than sucking toys!
She is becoming such a big helper! She will systematically pass me all the dishes out of the lower rack of the dishwasher for me to put away. She puts things back in to the fridge when asked and can follow verbal prompts to pass me things. She cleans up her toys, when the clean up song is sung, and she LOVES closing doors and drawers for me.

I got to take Livi out to play in the snow for the first time the other day! She looked like a marshmellow. Her snowsuit was a size too big but it kept her dry! She was fascinated by the snow... but did not enjoy having to use her forehead to get up or the snow that fell in to her mitten. She had a lot of fun running around in it though. I loved how it completely wore her out. After we came inside and I had given her a bath, she went and got her fuzzy and soother from her crib (which she only ever uses for sleeping) and sat on the couch resting her head on the arm. It was ADORABLE. I didn't want to put her down for a nap quite yet because it was an hour early and she hadn't had her lunch yet. I got a three hour nap out of her though!

**I have pictures to post but Jon still hasn't fixed the desktop! I'll be sure to post lots as soon as I can.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Circle of Life

I love my grandparents. I don't think everyone can say that, either because they have passed away or they have not taken the time to really get to know them. I have been blessed to have been raised with a very close relationship with both my Grandma and Grandpa. Because my mother was on her own she relied heavily on her parents. They have always been there for her and for us. Although my Grandfather has taken a bit more of an old school approach to how he grandparents, he has been the only constant male figure in my life. He actually walked me down the aisle at my wedding. I am thankful for the role that he has played in my life. He has showed me how to be generous, forgiving, and strong... I think some of my stubbornness comes from him too though!

My Grandmother is one of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out. She is compassionate, authentic, humble, forgiving, hilarious (in a cute, naive, grandma-talking-about-sex kind of way), very loving and caring. Through all my struggles with religion and a relationship with God, I knew God was real, in part, because of her relationship with Him. When she prays, God listens. I'm not sure that I typically believe in a theology where God "answers" prayers. I think it can too easily lead to a belief that "good" Christians get a "yes" answer and "bad" Christians who don't pray hard enough get "no" answers. But, Grandma gets results every time and I'm not exaggerating.

I have been noticing for some time that they are getting older. Obviously, as time passes this happens but with recent events I am now coming to the realization that they may not be with us much longer. My Grandpa's health, especially, is deteriorating quicker than I was ready for. I took him to an appointment today and ended up breaking down and crying as I was driving away. It is hard to see such a strong, proud man lose his independence. I think it is harder for him to go threw the process though. My grandma worries about him so much too and her worry is starting to take a toll on her own health. It is fortunate that I live within about 8 blocks away from them. I've been able to help out with driving them to appointments, going on errands for them and helping to get their groceries. It is hard for them to ask for help though. They don't call me as often as they could. I try to stop in a few times a week and make sure I am available for them both. It is an honor I never really understood, until now, to be able to help care for two people that have cared for and helped raise me.

 I love that they have the opportunity to know their great-granddaughter. Grandma's face, literally, lights up at the mere mention of Livi. I don't know if Livi will remember them very well but I hope she knows what an impact they have had and continue to have on my life.

Four generations of Schmidt women. I am so blessed to be a part of this family.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Clause is Coming To Town!

Last Friday, we set up the Christmas Tree. As soon as Halloween is over, I get the itch to start decorating for Christmas! Jon had to reign me in and give the stipulation of December 1st or the first weekend of advent, which ever comes first. With the destruction that Livi has caused to my beautiful Christmas tree this year I think I'll be holding off on decorating a bit next year. We haven't had any major catastrophes but the bottom two feet of the tree is very sparsely decorated now.

I was so excited to get the tree up and have a fabulous family evening. It really was all that I had hoped for... except that the dinner and dessert I made REALLY didn't turn out at all :( Oh Well, it'll make for some good memories though! We ate, drank and were Merry! Livi had so much fun. She was a little over stimulated but did really well. I think her favorite thing was the soft Nativity set that my mom has given us. She LOVES it and plays with it every day. She moves it from the bookshelf, where it should be, to the coffee table, to the floor and back to the bookshelf. It is quite cute. Once she went to bed Jon and I cuddled up on the couch and watched a movie. I love date nights :)

Yesterday we took Livi to see Santa Clause! The line up took much longer than anticipated and we where there for an hour! Livi tried to be patient but didn't completely succeed. We got a pretty great picture though! Hat was not quite on right but she smiled, which is more than I was expecting!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Listen To Your Kids

Sunday night at church, one of our teaching pastors interviewed a Christian gay musician, who grew up in the Abbotsford Christian community. He shared his story through hating who he was and beliefs that God and his family would not love him if they knew, in to a musician with a debut album that chronicles his journey. He is hoping that his music can help gay teens who are having similar experiences that he did and help bridge the gap between homosexuals and Christians.

His story was authentic and eye-opening but his music just mediocre. The amazing part of the evening for me was not his journey but his parent's. His whole family had joined us at our church that evening. With them sitting there, he gave some insight in to how they handled his "coming out". He didn't go in to detail but from the little that was said it sounded like he approached it in steps for them and it was received with a whole array of emotions. The parents raised their kids in a conservative Christian home with the traditional belief that homosexuality was a sin. 

All of this is just back story for the really fabulous part of the evening. The floor was opened up to questions and comments, which is when his father spoke up. I think the parent's emotions were still raw over everything. His father spoke to his son with such emotion, filling their relationship with restoration and love. For the seven of the 13 years that his son struggled struggled with his sexuality, the family had no idea. They assumed it was just teenage angst. While the father spoke he broke down crying, pleading with parents to listen to their kids. I can imagine there must be a lot of feelings of guilt on the parents side. He went up to the front, embraced his son and through tears, told him that he loved him. You can't get more organic or beautiful than that.

The father's words really made me think. Do I have ideas for my daughter's future? Yes, I do. Is it wrong of me to think or hope that she is going to be hetero sexual and have a family? (Not to say that homosexuals can't have a family.) Why do I have a preconceived idea for her? I think it must be my own upbringing and environment. How would I handle her being bi-sexual or homosexual? Will I create an open and accepting environment for her to feel comfortable enough to talk to me about anything? I really hope so! As the artist's father said "listen to your kids". That listening starts now. I want to be her friend as well as her mother. I want her to feel and know that I will love her no matter what. 

As far as my personal views go regarding sexuality, I'm fairly accepting. I believe as long as people are coming from a place of health and respect for themselves and their sexual partner/s, any relationship can be beautiful, no matter what that relationship looks like. I believe there is a kind of scale people are on in regards to homo or hetero sexuality. Some people tend towards the more hetero side of the scale, some are in the middle and bisexual, and some are more on the homo side of the scale. We joke about this "scale" at parties and often refer to it as a "sliding scale", dependent upon how many drinks you've had :)  Some people may think that I am living in a desensitized culture and opening my views up to much. That may be true in some instances, but wouldn't it be better to error on the side of love and acceptance than on the side that breeds judgment and seclusion? As a song that was covered on Sunday night says "You're frozen when your heart's not open."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

RR Video

I can't wait to bring home my child one day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moments to Cherish

Some of my most favorite child hood memories (the few I do have) are of baking buns with my Grandma and making pumpkin muffins with my mom. One thing my mom was always very good at was including us in baking and cooking. We learned at very young ages how to measure ingredients, roll cookie dough, peel potatoes, and use a knife. She was patient with us and taught us well. All three of her daughters are very proficient cooks and bakers. I'm not sure how much my brother bakes but he can definitely cook and does numerous times a week for himself and Maggy.

Making these memories with my daughter is one of the reasons I became a mom. They are up there with getting that first scrunchy smile in the morning from Livi or the last sleepy eye droop before she goes to sleep. Up there with catching Livi in my arms as she runs to greet me when I come in the door or hearing her giggle with glee or pride at discovering or accomplishing something new. I love my baby girl so much and watching her develop in to the beautiful, happy girl that she is becoming fills me with so much pride and joy. I didn't know I could be this happy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Angel Tree

Reece's Rainbow has been a charity very close to my heart for nearly 4 years now. I discovered it one night when I was thinking and dreaming about the future.

Reece's Rainbow is a non-profit, volunteer run organization that promotes international adoption of children with Down Syndrome. It helps to raise money for adoption grants, to make it financially easier for adoptive families to bring a waiting child with Down Syndrome home. The miserable existence these children frequently lead in overseas orphanages and mental institutions generally end in an early death. Cultural views towards people with disabilities in the countries that many of these children are born in keep them locked away and hidden from society and treated, in many cases, like animals.

Since the organization started they have helped get 225 children with Down Syndrome and other special needs home to their forever families and disbursed more than $350,000 in adoption grants to those families. The average cost of an international adoption is $20,000. Right now, Reece's Rainbow is running their Christmas Angel Tree Project fundraiser. This fundraiser brings in the majority of their funds each year. Their goal this year is to raise $1000 for each waiting angel.

This year, Reece's Rainbow is trying to expand in to Canada. My family and I have become a Christmas Warrior for a little guy named Yegor. We are praying and advocating for this little guy and hoping he gets to spend next Christmas with his forever family! This is where you come in....

Please join us in donating to Yegor's adoption fund!

Donations are tax deductible and with each donation of $35 (USfunds) or
more you will receive an ornament to hang on your tree with Yegor's picture on it.
(If you want the ornament in time for this Christmas I suggest making your donations this week!)

Here are some of the links that you'll want to check out!

To make a donation go to the Angel Tree
please click here --> The Angel Tree
Click on the "Donate" tab above the pictures of all the children. When you have finished entering your information and got to the Review Donation page please click on the "Add Special Instructions To The Seller" tab and tell them you'd like your donation to go to Yegor's fund.
To view the fundraiser's information page
please click here --> Angel Tree Fundraiser
Or, if you'd just like to check out this website
please click here --> Reece's Rainbow


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Figuring Out Depression

I'm feeling rather depressed right now and I can't quite put my finger on it. I hate feeling like this. I know it happens to everyone every once in a while but I get so emotional when I'm like this that anything can get me crying... and I don't like to cry, especially around others. I know... so many issues :)

It probably isn't one thing at all, but a whole bunch of things just poking at me and I'm obviously not dealing with them properly... or maybe at all :) Some things are out of my control... like the weather. I was too sick to get out and enjoy the sun last week and now the forecast is all rain. I've been cooped up in the house for two weeks because I was so sick and now I can't go out because it is pouring rain and cold. I can't even really get to friends houses this week because Jon will be working and we only have one car. I am pretty proud of the fact that we have managed with one car and no cell phone our entire married life but it sure would be nice every once in a while to have my own wheels and a phone!

My energy level still isn't back to normal after having the flu so badly. Consequently, goals I've had for November are not getting done and my house is quite dirty. I've heard it could take several weeks to get your energy back up after H1N1. I've still been sleeping more than usual and sitting on my butt too much. No energy means no exercise, which just feeds in to depression! Maybe I'll go to the pool with Livi on Monday or Tuesday. Anyone want to take us? I do have access to my Grandpa's car when I need it. They only live a few blocks away and since his surgery a few weeks ago, he hasn't been driving it. I help them out where I can with driving and shopping too. It is really nice to have them living so close. I hope Livi has some good memories of her Great Grandparents. I don't really remember mine at all.

Wow... that was a really random paragraph. Okay, this next one will be more fluid.

I think the two biggest things weighing on me right now are our financial future and Tuesday. Our financial future does not look as grim as it once did. Jon has started a really fabulous job that he is absolutely loving. He comes home tired but beaming with stories to tell me. I love it. I'm so glad that he is finally doing something that he is challenged at but enjoys. Because he is just starting out, still casual and the hours are a little hard to work another job around, this is a rough month in terms of money. I know we always pull through some how... I don't really know how we do it but we do! When I tell people how much we live off of people are always shocked.

Jon and I have also been talking about our future plans and finances play a big role in that. Livi is growing up and we'd like her to be a big sister eventually :) Eventually to us means some time in the later half of 2011. We'd like to start trying to get pregnant again next Christmas. With another child means we'll need a bigger home. If Jon can get a full time position in the next few months, I think a house might just be feasible. It will take some strategic planning but I think we could do it. Ideally, we'd like to buy the home that we settle down and raise our family in. That might take a little extra strategizing. I can dream though :) Let's all hope and pray that Jon gets a permanent full time position very soon though, okay! That would take a lot of this stress away.

Tuesday is probably the thing that has set of my episode the most. I am going to go to a family counseling session and will see my estranged sister for the first time in a over year. I don't know how to prepare myself for this. I am so hurt and angry at what she has put her family through but I know that I have to keep myself in check to make it an environment that she is willing to come back in to. Even the fact that I have to make or do anything for her just adds to my anger and frustration. Part of me figures she is the one who took off and made her choices, she has to live with the consequences. Another part of me knows that she is the one who is lost and messed up and needs grace and pure, loving forgiveness. I want my sister back but it is very hard to over look how she has handled herself and her relationships... especially for a blunt, overly authentic, stubborn Irish Mennonite! I never thought it would come to this. I could really use some extra love sent my way on Tuesday night.

I actually think I feel better now. I needed to get my thoughts out and organized. I love my husband dearly, but he is no help when it comes to emotions and empathy. I tried telling him that I was feeling depressed last night and he says, and I quote, "Well, maybe try taking some vitamin D."

Yes, dear. I'm sure that will fix everything!! Why don't I throw some Valium in to me too and chase it with Scotch!

I know vitamin D can help. I do have some in my multi vitamin and calcium pills, but I don't think it is the answer your wife is looking for at 10 o'clock at night when your wife is cuddled up with you trying to have a conversation about how she is feeling! Why are men such dumb-asses sometimes? But again, I want to re-iterate... I love him dearly :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

H1N1, Oh My!

Like most mothers I know, I also agonized over all the conflicting information over the H1N1 vaccine. Has it been tested enough? What about side effects? What's all the talk about the thermasil or mercury in the vaccine? And so on. I am all for most vaccinations in general (check out my post on the topic) but the amount of different information and extreme cases that I was hearing connected with this H1N1 vaccine, from numerous different sources, scared me. I did not want to make a decision based on fear or false information. After much research and deliberation I decided that I was okay with, and wanted, Livi to get the un-adjuvanted vaccine. The version of the vaccine that is recommended for pregnant women.

I was not willing gamble with my daughters health based on vague, unknown possibilities. We have substantiated data that healthy, young people are dying from H1N1 and only fears of side effects from the vaccine itself. I will admit that my resolve to get Livi the un-adjuvanted vaccine instead of the adjuvanted version was based on fear of the less tested immune booster.

I was told that the un-adjuvanted version would be available this week so we went to the doctors this morning to get vaccinated. He checked me over first since I have been sick for about five days now. I may or may not have H1N1. I got sick hours after picking up a prescription for my Grandpa. The guy in front of me at the pharmacy was picking up Tamiflu for his daughter, that he had with him, who was sick with H1N1. I was the next customer up to the counter that he was touching. It is that easy people! The doctor concluded that I do have a flu... whether it is THE flu or not could only be determined by a blood test. Since I am already five days in to it, the treatment would be the same either way. He gave me some asthma medicine to help alleviate some of my chest discomfort and sent me on my way. 

Amazingly Livi and Jon are not sick. They got vaccinated today. Unfortunately, my doctors office had not received the un-adjuvanted version yet. I felt pressured in to making a quick decision and pressured to give her the adjuvanted one. I had not considered the possibility of giving her the adjuvanted version and felt slightly blind sided. I did a lot of research and weighed the pros and cons for giving her the plain vaccine or possibly getting H1N1, but I did not feel like I did enough research on the immune booster.

Jon didn't care which version we gave to Livi as long as she got the vaccine sooner than later. In the end I decided that it was the best thing for her to get this vaccine now. With the shortage there was no guarantee when the un-adjuvanted version would be available. I am confident with our decision and truly believe it was the right thing to do. I didn't like how I had to come to that decision but I know it is the best thing for Livi.

Livi takes shots so well! She barely flinched and didn't cry! How tough is she?! She just gave the doctor a look and rubbed her arm a little bit. It was actually pretty cute.

So, with the suspision of me having H1N1, I am under quarantine for another few days. They say at least 7 days. I'm on day 5. I think I'll lay low atleast until I'm symptom free though. I'm getting a little bit of cabin fever. Since I'm starting to feel ever so slightly better, I'm starting to want to get out, but I expend any little amount of energy I do have very quickly. I hope I get better soon! This flu is NOT fun and has wiped me out of commission completely. I have done a lot of research, weighed all the pros and cons and would advise anyone to get the vaccine!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Halloween!

*Sorry this is late I forgot that I hadn't posted it yet!*

My little girl made the most pretty Little Red Riding Hood I've ever seen! We had fun taking her trick-or-treating at the mall with every other kid in Abbotsford! It was so busy. Livi was excited at first but she got over stimulated quite quickly. I think we only made it through one wing of the mall before she started getting stranger anxiety. She had fun though :)

 Auntie Sessa came too! She was dressed as Christmas Cheer. For Halloween she decorates her house for Christmas and hands out candy canes. Some of the kids get quite confused :)

On a side note Livi said her first... and second swear words! She was copying me both times! Oops. I guess I'll have to start seriously watching my language. I would just like to note that I do not swear more than Jon... Livi just happened to copy me both times.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Life As I Know It

I am really enjoying my life right now :) Things are on the up. I figure it's about time! I don't mean to be a downer all the time but I'm still processing and dealing with a lot of the after math of my last year. Okay, back to my awesome, up-turning life.

I love my little girl. I know... I say that all the time. It gets a little repetitive but she is incredible! She amazes and delights me every day, every hour! Time is moving by so quickly and Livi is growing up way to fast! She is not a baby anymore. I try to play a "you're my baby" game but she just giggles at me. She walks, runs, dances, and talks. She has begun saying two words together this week too! I guess that officially means she is saying sentences. She says "good girl" and "nice kitty."

Livi has become very proficient at testing her boundaries. After being told not to hit the television screen, she will hit the plastic beside the screen. After telling her "no" again, she moves to the side of the television, then the speaker beside the TV... and so on. Because I know my daughter to be very wilful and at the same time very smart, we are slowly begining to institute time-outs. I know many of you mother are probably thinking I'm crazy and wasting my energy... but it seems to be working :) The hitting is already starting to subside. We have been very careful with how we institute the time-outs and when. They only come in to effect when she is being overtly obstinate and hitting me repeatedly after she has been told not too. For the time out, we pick her up and move her to sit by the door, where we stand right beside her but turn around and count to 20. She will sometimes sit and cry but generally she sees something else that grabs her focus and tries to run to it. We do our best to keep her in the corner, than we pick her up say "no more hitting so-and-so" and give her kisses, hugs, and tell her we love her.

I know she is probably not understanding what the time-out is. It is more to give me an outlet for how to handle the situation but I think it is a good stepping stone for Livi too. I hope it will get her used to the idea and have it be more effective earlier.
I love this picture below. It is quite representative of her little tamtrums. I told her not to touch the pictures. She didn't like being told "no", so she cried and KEPT her hand there!

I love that Jon has got a new job! He is now officially and finally a Behavioural Interventionist working mostly with Autistic kids. He has been wanting to get in to this field for quite some time now. It is completely different from anything he has been doing in these past few years, but he does have experience with people with varying abilities and I think he is going to be awesome at it! It will be challenging but ptentially very rewarding... which is something I know he has been looking for. The position is a very small 8 hours a week but now that he has his foot in the door, he can apply for internal postings and there is some room for advancement! I'm really praying this works out and Jon can come home pumped and excited about his job instead of grumpy and tired like most days now.
Jon was on the computer and Livi was getting in the way apparently!
I love that life is starting to make some very good turns towards the positive. With Jon's knew job, I think he will be feeling more confident and happy. Jon and I are continueing to communicate better, have more fun together and spend more family time together. We are talking about our future more and starting to make plans again and figure things out. I am delighting in Livi as much as I can and really enjoying being at home with her. I'm starting to slowly return to church and solidify and understand my theology more securely. I'm also begining to pursue some of the goals I have for myself. I like feeling hopeful :)
Livi was wearing a housecoat the other day.... 
we thought she just needed a pipe to complete the ensemble!

The Pumpkin Patch

About a week ago we went to the pumpkin patch at Willow View Farms. It was great. They had a bit of a petting zoo as well as a kids area filled with tons of kid slides, swings and plastic forts. It was fabulous family fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Survived!

Today, I babysat! I'll be honest, I was a little terrified. I don't know why I was so scared. Being left alone with five special needs adults, with varying degrees of abilities, would be no problem. Being left alone with two one year old's sent my anxiety through the roof! I don't think my fear was very reassuring for the parents who were leaving their precious child in my "capable" hands.

I think the anxiety started about ten months ago. I started trading babysitting with a friend for short periods of time when Livi was just 3 months old. I was not ready to be babysitting another child yet. I was still feeling out how to care for my own child. I did okay but I was always so stressed out when one child was upset, or when I couldn't be everything to both children. Being three months apart the two babies were at such different stages developmentally and had very different temperaments. I would be exhausted after only a few hours of watching both babies. Babysitting trading only lasted for about four or five months because my friend started needing more regular care and for longer periods of time. I was reluctant to commit to anything because I was not handling it very well. Don't worry, both children were very well cared for when I had them... it was just me that was having the problems.

Well, I tried a hand at babysitting again today. Not just for a few hours either. Jude came over for the whole day! I had to do a lot of self-talk last night, trying to convince myself that I could do it with out being stressed. I kept having to tell myself that they where both so much older now and developmentally very close. Jude and Livi are still three months apart but the developmental gap has decreased drastically. They played so well together, aside from Livi hitting Jude's head a few times trying to get my attention (I think there was some jealousy happening) and Jude pulling Livi's hair in frustration.

My day consisted of me sitting on the floor supervising while Jude and Livi played with each other and climbed over me periodically. It was a lot of fun! There were no major melt downs. Just a few crocodile tears here and there. It went better than I hoped for! They even had an hour nap at the same time which meant I got to nap! How great is that?! Now that I know I can do it, even have fun babysitting, I will be a lot more confident to say yes to babysitting in the future... maybe even go out in to public with two kids?!

Sorry, no pictures. I did think of it but I didn't want to push my luck by moving my focus on to anything but them :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Family Pictures

We got official family picture taken over Thanksgiving Weekend. I'd been wanting to get them since Livi turned a year old and we finally arranged to have them done! My beautifully pregnant friend Jenn was kind enough to share her talent with us and they turned out great! It was a very crisp, (if you asked Jon he would whine about it being very cold,) sunny, Fall day. Perfect for a walk in the park...

I can't decide which ones to blow up and put in my house. There are too many wonderful shots!

Daddy's Girl!

The happy couple?

Our precious baby girl. She has blessed us more than I could have ever hoped for.

I love this one of us. The expression I have on my face is identical to every picture of my mom when she was a young mother.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend 2009

My Thanksgiving weekend started with baking some pumpkin pies of course :) I love the apple pie that I make! Thanks for the recipe Michelle!

Then I went with Livi and my mom to visit my Grandpa. He is doing so much better! What a relief! I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the man who helped raise me. He has been moved to a temporary rehab facility where he does physio and gets the help he needs to get back on his feet. It was so good to see him dressed, talking, smiling and laughing. We visited Grandma at her house, briefly, then went home to finish making our delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Jon's best friend, Geoff, came to join us. Livi was in bed so it wasn't quite the family dinner I had envisioned. There are many more years to make those memories though! I can't wait.

Saturday was a quiet day. Jon went to work for two hours and we spent the rest of the day napping and playing with Livi. I think she was teething some more so she was a little bit of a hellion. Once we got to Jon's Aunt and Uncle's home for a Thanksgiving wiener roast, she turned in to the angel that I know her to be. Although it was quite cold, she had so much fun running around the yard and exploring with her Grandma, Auntie Lisa and Uncle Tony. She even tried to play with the big boys. They had a remote flying helicopter that she was completely enthralled in.

 Sunday afternoon we went to Jon's Mom's house in Langley for another dinner! Before dinner Lisa, Tony and I took Livi to the park to hopefully get some energy out. Unfortunately, I think kids have reserves some where. She just kept going and going! At the park she was completely enthralled by the gravel on the ground. It was better than any slide or bouncy see saw. She did enjoy the swing as usual, though. At Livi's Grandma's house her favorite toy is fast becoming the keyboard. Her and Lisa got some quality keyboard time. I was astounded by how much food Livi ate that day! She ate an entire small plate full of food and then roamed from plate to plate to whoever would give her bites of their pie! What a little piggy! Where did she put it all? She drank her entire bottle when we got home too!

Monday had yet another dinner at my family home in Chilliwack. Surprisingly, with all these dinners I didn't get any Turkey! Everyone served ham. That is fine by me. I think I slightly prefer ham to turkey anyway :) That preference might change with my mood though! Before the final delicious dinner my mom was getting ready for us, we went to have some family photographs done by my friend Jenn. I'm so excited to share them but you'll have to wait for another post. They are already on Facebook :) The rest of the day was filled with scrumptious food, the boys playing Xbox and me kicking the girls butts in Scrabble. All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. I am so thankful for that!