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!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for my daughter; for her smiles and her laughter; for her little hands and unique personality.
I'm thankful for my husband; for who he is and how he treats me; for being a good daddy and friend.
I'm thankful for my family; for my mom who loves me unconditionally, for my brother who keeps me laughing; for my sister who is my friend.
I'm thankful for hope; hope that my other sister will one day come back to us; hope for a bright and happy future for my daughter; hope for a life filled with love and authenticity.
I'm thankful for food to eat, a home to live in, a country with health care and beauty to see and capture.
I'm thankful for friends to laugh and drink wine with, good movies to watch, and music to sing and dance too.
I'm thankful for confidence, joy, contentment, openess, truth, beauty, authenticity, and love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Family Update

I thought it was about time to give a family update. There always seems to be so much going on and Livi keeps growing up so fast. I don't want to forget anything! I looked at her the other day and I swear she looked like she was ten years old! She will always be my baby but I don't think other people will look at her as a baby for much longer.

Livi's language has taken off. She seems like she is coming up with a new word every week at least! She has 13 words clearly down now... Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Kitty, Puppy, (Auntie) Sessa, Belly, Sock, Shoe, Nana (banana), Bye Bye, Hello, Okay and No. Thankfully she doesn't use "no" to terribly often. Just yesterday she began saying gina (vagina), and toe. We'll see if they are actually set in her vocabulary or just her copying our sounds.
I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to teach her sign language or not, but did end up teaching her a sign for "all done" when she was around 6 months old. I got tired of her telling me she was full by blowing raspberries filled with applesauce and carrots all over my face. Jon decided he wanted her to be able to say "more" in sign as well, so she has picked that up this week too. I love being able to communicate with my daughter.

She is running everywhere, even in big bulky shoes! I've been quite impressed by the lack of falling on her face. I have also been terrified by the new troubles she is getting herself in to. She jumps off the couch just for the adrenaline rush. I barely caught her going head first over the arm of the couch. I had to dive for her. Her head was inches from the ground and I only caught her by one foot. She has also gone head first in to the tub... trying to get the water. I think I'm going to have a few concussions in my furture.

With her new found mode of transporation she has begun exploring so much more as well. We have to keep the bathroom doors shut because she can open up the toilet seat... We learned that the hard way. We've put child locks on the garbage can and cleaning supplies cupboard but wanted to give her some safe cupboards to explore... That freedom to explore means we are finding measuring cups and juice jugs in very obscure places around the house.

Livi has her first molar too! It finally broke through today... I think there are parts of it still cutting though because tonight she was not the easy going little angel I know and love. Her last forth, top front tooth is nearly out too so that is probably adding to her issues. She has eight, nearly nine, teeth now.

Livi has officially been off formula for a few weeks now. I didn't just want to cut her off of formula suddenly at her one year mark, so I had been giving her half formula and half milk bottles. There was no issues at all with the transitions. She is eating anything and everything now too. She knows when I try to give her baby food and is not generally the happiest about it. She only wants adult food. She'll take her baby food with out a problem if I pretend to scoop it off the plate or bowl that I am eating from. I doubt that trick will work much longer but I need her to finish all the jars of baby food still in my cupboard!

I'm sure there is more to tell about her but this post is getting very rambly (is that a word).... on to Jon and I.

Jon had a job interview on Monday. It is just for a temporary 8 hour a week position but it is in the field he is really wanting to get in to and it would definitely get his foot in the door. He has a lot of experience for the position but not the education for it. Let's hope that experience wins out!

Me (Katie):
I have had a rather busy last few weeks myself. On top of caring for Livi, my Grandfather unexpectedly had to have galbladder surgery, so I've been trying to visit and help Grandma out when and where I can. Since he is 87 years old the recovery from the surgery has been pretty tough. He is going to go in to a temporary longer care rehab facility now to help get him back on his feet. I am very close to my Grandparents. They have helped raise me and my siblings, plus I live just a few blocks from their house. It is pretty hard seeing my Grandpa, who always looks so strong and proud, be so weak and let me shave him.... I got a little teary eyed doing that for him.

Anyway, I need to get to bed. I have a busy day of cooking and baking tomorrow to get ready for our four Thanksgiving meals this weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Motivations for Parenting

I asked Jon the other day what I should blog about next. He asked me... What is my goal in parenting? What motivates me to parent the way that I do? Hmmm, good question. We probably should have discussed this before we had a child.

To be honest. I think there is a lot of parenting that I do with out even thinking. A lot about parenting a newborn, and now a toddler, that is just common sense. I feed her and change her diaper to keep her happy and healthy. I say "no" when she is trying to climb on the arm of the couch only to jump off of it because I want to keep her safe and alive. These are just the bare minimums that I wouldn't think really need explaining.

Really, the main things I want for my daughter is that she be happy, healthy, and well-rounded. That is what motivates me to parent the way that I do. I believe that the values I am hopefully instilling in her through my parenting will help her to be happy and well-rounded. The healthy part is mostly out of my hands, aside from giving her a healthy diet and exercise. Becoming a parent really makes you aware of the unpredictability and power of a higher being.

I believe that some of the things that will make Livi happy are things like relationships, self-worth, compassion, understanding, knowledge, uniqueness, and authenticity. How I go about instilling these values will, I'm sure, change over the years. Right now I concentrate on making Livi feel safe and secure to explore the world around her. I play with her as much as I can, trying to teach her at the same time. I hug and kiss her as much as I can, not only because I love to but because I want her to know how loved she is. I give her boundaries, rules, and freedom all at the same time. I get her to help me with the chores... or at least be in close vicinity to where the chores are being done. I try to remember to explain things too her. I involve different kinds of safe and loving people in her life so she can grow up in a diverse, supportive, positive atmosphere and learn to trust and have compassion for others. I try to foster her talents and uniqueness, celebrating each milestone, achievement, and expression of individuality.

I'm not sure how good I am at this whole parenting thing. I know I love it with all my heart and I try my best. I know I could do some things differently or better but my motivations are pure and I hope, through the grace of God, I can properly prepare my precious baby girl for what I'm sure will be a difficult life in its own rite.

I'll leave you with just a few more pictures...
 We had stopped off to see where Maggy's new day program was. Everyone, of course, was gushing over her. Who wouldn't with those adorable pig tails?

She has developped baby asthma! Before we realized it was more than just a virus, she was so tired that she was falling asleep on the floor! Livi NEVER does this! I worked hard to teach her that her crib is for sleeping and now she only sleeps in her crib. We saw the doctor that afternoon.