Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

Wow, Christmas week was busy for us this year! Despite all my best efforts to be overly prepared. Kids just make it chaotic. I love Christmas though. Chaos and all. It is a beautiful time of year. I prepared early this year and tried not to be so uptight about the little things. I'm learning to let go. It is hard, but worth it. So very worth it.

In the last days of school for the girls I got to volunteer in Sofie's classroom for their Christmas party. It was a lot of fun and I think Sofie really enjoyed having me. I was in charge of the gingerbread man station so I did have the best table :) I stopped in on Livi's party when Sofie's was done and she was having a blast. I had helped in her Halloween party so I'm trying my best to keep it fair!

Our first Christmas was with Jon's immediate family. It was a delicious ham dinner and presents under the Christmas tree. It was Evelyn's first Christmas celebration which made it extra special. I had hoped she would have come out by Christmas last year but at least she was out by the new year!

Checking out the tree with Gramma.

Crazy grandkids!

Reading with Uncle Jeremy.

I think I have started a new Christmas eve tradition, via Pinterest. I put together a gift bag filled with matching pajama's, hot chocolate, popcorn and a movie that they got to open on Christmas Eve afternoon. Plans changed a bit though and the older two put on their matching pj's and we headed out to the big theatre to see Sofie's first big theatre movie. We had gone to the little theatre a few months ago but I thought she was ready for the big one this time. She did amazing by the way. about half way through she spent about 15 minutes facing me on my lap but then she was recharged and finished the film in her own seat! I was so proud of her!

After a much to late church service, Livi was very careful to leave out cookies and milk for Santa and not forget apples and carrots for the reindeer.

The girls were all so engaged and excited on Christmas morning. Sofie understood that Santa had brought some presents and Evie was happy through most of it too. 9 am is her nap time and Sofie didn't wake up until after 8 so she was pushed a little bit.

I was so proud of my big girls. They did not immediately look for and ask for their presents. They first made sure that Evie got to open her present before them. They enjoyed helping her of course. The amazing thing is that it was completely Livi's idea. We had not mentioned anything about letting other's go first. She wanted to make sure Evie opened the first gift all on her own. She makes me proud every day. 

I loved seeing Sofie so engaged in Christmas this year. 

Ready for her nap!

Adoring sister.

My matching Christmas angels. I love being that mom that gets them matching pjs!

Our final Christmas celebration was this past weekend. Every two years Jon's extended family has a big three day get together somewhere. It is a lot of family all at once but it works… usually. This year was the hardest year for us by far. Three kids between 1 and 5 years old don't make anything easy, generally. There were 43 people in two great rooms together most of the weekend. The two great rooms in the lodge where bright and echoey. It was a sensory nightmare for me, let alone Sofie. I nearly crumpled the second day watching Sofie's entire body nearly collapse from sensory overload… and no one understood or "got it". Evie had a cold. Livi was fighting it. Evie has also never slept in another bed other than at home except for once when she was 6 months old. The family was also not used to little kids running around. Cords and electronics where left in their reach numerous times and unsuitable activities were planned at times that were NOT at all kid and nap time friendly. 

Although we did leave one night early, spending time with a family like this is priceless. My extended family would never do something like this. It makes for some amazing memories and relationships that would not form otherwise. 

Us grandkids also got to be educated on some of the family business this year. We were also given the opportunity to decide where to give a large some of money for charitable donations. This was a pretty amazing experience for me. From 25 people we had about 20 suggestions of where to give them money. Lots of great recommendations, all of which had a special meaning to the person suggesting it. We each had less than a minute to let the group know about our charity and why they should get them money before we cast some votes to see which charities could be eliminated. I was one of the last to make my suggestion. Mine was a little different since no tax receipt would be included for the company. I didn't suggest a registered charity but instead a person for her adoption of a little boy with DS from Bulgaria. She is also going in to this with no kids of her own yet and no partner. 

(A little back story on this soon to be mom, Heather. She is the oldest daughter of the Keno family. The Keno's are the family that introduced Jon to people with special needs and have adopted 5 children with  special needs themselves. 4 from the Ministry, 3 with Down Syndrome, and 1 of those with DS was an international adoption from Bulgaria just before us. They prepared Jon for my world and influenced our decision and ability to adopt greatly! Now Heather is on the same journey and we get to be a part of it!)

I was SO humbled by what happened next. With only my short explanation of why I thought Heather should get some money, it was unanimous that she would be getting some of it! I LOVED watching all Jon's cousins cast their votes. The only question was how much. We unanimously agreed in a short 30ish minutes that Heather would be getting 50% of our donation and the other 50% was divided between 5 other charities, some very big well known ones and some smaller ones that the cousins have personally volunteered at. I had tears in my eyes. I was so honoured to have been able to let them know about this adoption and see them all jump on board whole heartedly to support something that is so dear to my heart. It was VERY cool to see and be a part of. Something I'll never forget. 

All in all this was a fabulous Christmas! I look forward to it being a little easier next year and learning to let more go in future years. It is happening and I'm loving it. I'm so much more relaxed! Merry Christmas to all and we hope you have a beautiful, joy filled, imperfect new year. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

We are in the full swing of Christmas preparations. Our halls are decked. The girls had fun decorating the tree, although Evie slept through most of it. Livi put the angel on top. All of my Christmas and White Elephant presents have been bought and everything but the ones from Santa are wrapped. I do have more cookies to bake and cards to hand out but that will get done soon.

I got the opportunity to help out with a special Santa event for kids with Sensory Processing Disorders. My friends NPO organized with the local mall Santa to have appointments with Santa before mall hours, when their aren't crowds or long waits in line ups, and with scent free staff. He also did not hand out candy canes, with sugar and red dye, but stickers and goody bags filled with sensory toys. This made it a lot easier for some kids to actually visit and get a picture with Santa! It was pretty cool. When I told Livi that I was going to help Santa she didn't believe me and demanded a picture as proof… Here you go Livi! Sorry, phone picture turned out blurry :)

We also got to enjoy the girls Kindergarten Christmas concert. They did AMAZING! I was so proud. Livi was excited and confident. She knew all her songs and action though she did miss a few cues because her eyes were wandering through the audience. Sofie brought tears too my eyes. She was bored in the first song but new all the actions and cues for the other three songs she sang. She didn't miss a beat. I was so impressed… I was a little nervous as to how she would do in front of an audience.   The girls where both so proud of themselves. They had worked so hard and it showed!

Christmas is just two weeks away! Enjoy your holidays and don't get too stressed out with all the prep! I'll try my best not too either :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

11 Months!

My baby is 11 months old! I don't know how we got here. Where did this last year go? I remember being so done with pregnancy this time last year… now I'm feeling a little nostalgic. Parts of me are very done with this baby stage. I'm not a major baby person. Another big part of me is not ready for my last baby to grow up.

Evie's had another big month. She now has 8 teeth, the top and bottom four. She always gets them in pairs which makes her teething super annoying! She is 22.5 lbs which is down from last month but I'm not sure lasts month's weigh in was completely accurate.

We've started noticing some curls in her hair when it is wet. It is not as pronounced as Livi's was by this age but it has potential. Maybe they'll both have curls!

Nov 9th Evie took her first step! Now she can take a bunch in a row without falling but still moves fastest when she crawls. She did this about 3 weeks earlier than Livi did as a baby.

This month had Evie having a really hard time with sleep again but these last few days she seems to have figured it out a bit. She is attaching to her blankie and falling asleep after being laid down in her crib awake. I hoping that this continues to improve.

She finally seems to be enjoying bath time. She still screams when we have to rinse her hair but she is enjoying the rest of it.

She still doesn't talk much, besides uh oh, dada, and all done. She can say momma but would rather just whine for me. She has the whine down pat. She is very much my clingiest child. She has made strange a few times already too. Not loving that part at all. I already feel guilty enough leaving my kids every once in a while. I hate having her cry or whine on top of it.

Evie had her first halloween this month and happily say in the stroller, watching her sisters. Not sure if that's going to cut it next year. She also was part of her first tree decorating for Christmas, but wasn't really allowed to help :) She has stayed away from the tree since yesterday when we set it up but we will see what the next month holds.

She also had her first visit with Santa! I wasn't sure how she'd do but I think her sister's helped. No smile but she looks happy :)

I'm excited for her 1 year pictures because I got the cutest little outfit for her, but I'm not loving the idea of her turning one. I'm not sure I'm ready for her to grow up yet!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I wish I had the ability to blog at least once a week. That isn't going to happen right now. This season in my life is busy. I am stretched thin. Especially last week. I feel like there isn't any of myself leftover to actually take care of myself. I'm sure every mom has days, weeks, months or even years like this. I'm hoping it's not months… or even weeks. I'm hoping things reorganize themselves this weekend. It doesn't look promising though since our dryer just broke and I have 6 loads of laundry to wash.

This is going to be an update post. Another one. I make this blog in to a blog book for my kids to maybe read when they are grown, so I always feel like I need to document everything, even if it was two weeks ago now…

This halloween made be cry tears of happiness. I stood behind Sofie at yet another door that she had eagerly ran up too, excited to trick-or-treat. This is her third halloween with us. The first two she just managed to do a house or two then spent the rest of the night in the stroller. This year was different. She did nearly as many houses as Livi. She was excited to! She ran up the drive ways! She said "treat" to the home owners, for 'trick-or-treat'. She said and signed "thank-you" and "bye". She asked for "more" from some of the home owners who she thought weren't giving her enough :) My princess made me smile. This was a big accomplishment for her.

Evie was my little red riding hood and all bundled up happily in the stroller watching her sisters and other kids run around. Livi was Rapunzel. She, of course, was so excited for trick-or-treating. She was in her glory. I also got to volunteer in her class party that morning. So fun! The week before I got to help chaperone the girls first field trip! They did SO good on the bus which they were so excited about!  We went to the pumpkin patch! It was great meeting some of their friends and getting to know some of the parents a bit better!

This week, we have noticed a little bit of regression in Sofie. (There was a poop smearing incident, which hasn't happened in over a year.) There's been some upsets to her routine…

Last week we had her IEP. It went great. I felt like we were all on the same page. I had been nervous but my mind was eased. This week, with out notice, her main EA left. I found out at the end of the EA's last day, when I was picking her up. Her teacher also informed me her last day would be the next day. What?! Why was there absolutely no notice given? Ridiculous. While we are in full favour of teachers and EA's being free to leave and take other positions, this hiring, postings and seniority bumping process in the school system is insane. It is not in any of the children's best interest AT ALL. I intend to write to the school board to make my concerns for this process known.

The teacher that always covers sick days in Sofie's class will be covering until the posting is filled. She has a brand new EA, until her post is filled as well. So frustrating. I haven't met the new EA, but she is brand-spankin'-new. While I'm trying to have an open mind about the situation and hope for the best, some things already happened on the first day which I am not thrilled about. I'm trying to tell myself to relax. It was only day one.

Livi needed a mental health day on Thursday. I'm in favour of kids taking mental health days every once in a while. They need a break too. I did want to understand why she was needing it though. After some cuddles and conversation I discovered that she was upset that she had done some of her letters backwards. She thought she was the only one. The teacher had her correct them which took her too much time and she didn't get to play. Taking a long time to complete her work has been noticeably ongoing since the start of school. At home, when things seem to difficult for her or don't go the way she wants, she gets upset or quits. I wasn't sure how worried I should be since the teacher didn't think it was a big deal. Now that she is wanting to miss school because of it, I'm worried. We will get a hold of this perfectionism and performance anxiety that she has.

She comes by it naturally. She is the first child of two oldest children who are perfectionist in our own rites. We are working on ourselves but now we need to jump it in to high gear to help our daughter. I don't want this to follow her. I don't want her to think her self-worth is tied to perfection. I don't want this perfectionism to jump to her physical body where things could turn deadly with eating disorders or cutting. I used to cut. I know. It may seem like I am jumping to extremes here, but I feel in my gut that this is big. We need to help her through this now. I'm researching articles and looking for books with strategies to help her and us. I think I've come up with a few things already. Pray for her and us in this.

Evie has a stubborn side. I think it is funny how I see it so clearly already. She hits and throws things very purposefully! Gah! She is so sweet though. Livi was crying one day and Evie crawled up behind her and lay her head on her back, as if to give a hug.

Evie is my not the easiest baby in the world. She is very inconsistent which I find frustrating. Some nights she is up four times to nurse and others she sleeps through. Some days she is a whiny clingy mess and others she is content to play by herself and nap perfectly through out the day. She is at a disadvantage as far as a schedule goes though. She has to tag along to pick up her sisters from school, run errands, or go to appointments. Her naps and sleep cycles are frequently interrupted. Curse of the third child, I suppose.

My daughters are such good sisters to each other. I love it. Watching them together is priceless. They are going to be such wonderful friends.

Livi, these days, has me especially awe struck. She is such a caring, responsible and empathetic big sister. If Evie cries she races to find a toy for her and redirect her attention. She watches out for Sofie, constantly. She plays with both her sisters, running and chasing. She lets them both climb on her. She is so patient with both littles. She shares with them. She uses her words with Sofie and takes the time to teach her. I've said before that if Livi got paid for the amount therapy she does with Sofie she'd have her college and down payment for a house in the bank already! Her love warms my heart.

Sofie has been better than I had ever hoped with her baby sister. I was so scared of the back lash of behaviours I'd get from Sofie and afraid that Sofie would hurt the baby. She does push her every once in a while but otherwise she is pretty amazing with her. She pets her hair, squishes her cheeks and asks to hold her.

Evie will come into her own place as the baby sister. I don't know, yet, what place she will hold. From her coy and beautiful smile, I see her bringing a quiet, peaceful joy. She is more laid back, in some ways. I think her big sisters will seek her out for those quiet moments of needed peace. She reminds me of my mom, who reminds me of my Grandma. Both are strong, courageous women who have quietly overcome a lot in their lives. They are the pillars of their family, who graciously put up with a lot, but bring so much needed peace.

I don't always write about Jon, unless it pertains to me. He is a much more private person than I am and I try to respect that. He has also had a hard week, for his own reasons which are his to tell. His hard weeks add to mine. I want to listen and give him what he needs but after weeks like this, I feel to stretched to be the wife he deserves. I know he understands and, usually, doesn't hold it against me. He really is a very understanding man, a good husband and an incredible father.

This next week I am going to try and take some more time for myself. I'm going to go shopping, even though it is for the kids I will enjoy it. I'm going to eat sushi… (Update - it's Sunday now…I ate it last night and really enjoyed it!). I'm going to watch a romantic movie… or at least a romantic TV episode of some kind. I'm going to have a clean house (even though that may add more work, I feel much more relaxed when it is in order). I'm also going to start reading a Brene Brown book, which will help give me a little perspective in my current season of life. Christmas is coming and Caramel Brule lattes are at Starbucks again, both make me very happy. This next week will be better :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10 Months

Evie is 10 months old. It's been a big month for her! She has developed so much.

She is finally sleeping better. No more feeding her every 2-3 hours through the night! I probably should have tried to put her back to sleep with out nursing her but it was easier to just feed her back to sleep. I was probably just perpetuating the cycle and over compensating for not being able to nurse Livi as long as I wanted. She seemed to have grown out of it, mostly by herself. I've been getting 5-6 hour stretches of sleep from her and she only woke up once last night! Hopefully this lasts.

Evie had her first Thanksgiving. It was mostly uneventful for her. She was still in her terrible sleeping pattern then. But, despite my sleep deprivation, I was still and always will be thankful for my baby!

Evie learned how to drink from a straw this month, stand from the ground up with out holding on to anything and climb stairs! She is also starting to say a few words a little more often. I've heard Mama a handful of times. She tries to say All Done and Up a lot.

Evie has got quite the personality. While she is pretty easy going, she has got some serious temper going on! She screams bloody murder when you take something away from her. If I tell her No for something she thinks the world is ending and breaks in to big tears. I hadn't started with the "no's" yet because she is a baby. I didn't really think she understood. Livi was talking at this age so I knew she understood. I forgot that non-verbal DOES NOT mean not-understanding!

As far as stats go, she is thinning out and growing taller. 23.5 lbs now! Taller though. Her chubby thighs are disappearing. I'm going to miss them. She is still in 12-18 month clothes but filling out the length much better.

We all adore our baby and I can see how easy it is to spoil the youngest. We are all just so enamoured with her. Sisters and parents alike! Wishing she could stay little but excited to see what her future will bring!