Monday, December 30, 2013

My Year In Review

I admit it;  I have been a Facebook fanatic since 2007. Apparently that says something about my personality, maybe even about my maturity and tech savvy, but I'm not too sure what that exactly is. But it's not nice, I'm sure. But I'm NOT tech savvy in any way possible, and I am not all about posting tiny statements on Twitter for the world. (as I'm sure you've surmised, I like long, drawn-out details, haha!) I like my own little "wall" where I can post photos and throw out a few "this is my day" type of posts. And I LOVE to "like" things! I can do that all day!  Really, Facebook is my own little soapbox.

Facebook has this feature that they post for you automatically in December. Your Year in Review. It's kind of neat.

I just watched a whole year of my life go by in a matter of seconds. (it really didn't take that long)

Here were "my highlights", according to Facebook:

January 10:
Naptime! Snuggling up with Elly, surrounded by her stuffys and dolls, in my lap!  



 (goodness, look at how little she looks!!!)

((apparently nothing amazing happened between Jan and April!))


April 24:
today is a good day to bask in the sunshine, take a nap and celebrate my anniversary!!! Happy 14 years, Hunny! I love you!



May 7:
My two cowboys for dress up day!  


May 12:
 Happy Mother's Day! After all my work in the backyard yesterday, I would've been happy with a massage today, but instead I got breakfast in bed and gifts from the kids, .....oh, and a brand new van!!!!

 (woohoo! since our van was sitting in our driveway dead, and every attempts at revival by my Hunny were proving fruitless, we had to go searching for a new vehicle. He drives a Jeep YJ, but it will not fit all of us, and besides, I have failed to learn how to drive a Standard. I know. Say what you will. I have tried 3x and have failed all three! It is much to my embarrassment, but I am not ready to try again. So Hunny went out to look at vans with his Mum and came home with a 2013 Dodge Caravan. I'm not happy about the monthly lease payment, but I am in love with this brand new vehicle! Woohoo! A working cd player! And a funky gear box on the dash! And a working engine, you can't beat that! Yay!)

June 11:
my favourite 2 year old!





June 20:
my favourite 5 year old!




July 5:
SO proud of Abi for her work this week babysitting the Leaders' children during VBS! So happy for her that she was recognized as well from everyone (and given a chocolate award!) So relieved her report card showed up today and we can confirm she has graduated to gr 7! .


July 18:
Ice cream!!!



July 26:
rough start to our camping trip. :(


(I was following my Hunny and two of the boys in the truck as we heading our way towards Carol Lake for a week of camping. I was already nervous about driving since last year, while as a passenger, I was freaking out over the sheer cliffs and drops as we drove the winding road along the canyon walls. We hadn't gotten very far when I heard a funny "hiss" that came out sporadically, so I radio'd to my Hunny that something was wrong and pulled over. Yep, sure enough, my tire managed to get sliced on a mountain rock. Phooey. Our poor new van, too! But we got the spare on, and made it safely to our site. We had to drive it back down the next day to get it fixed and all turned out okay in the end, but it was a *slightly* more expensive camping trip than we had anticipated for the summer.)


Aug 8:
my favourite 7 year old!


Aug 11:
thinking of my parents as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary! We love you so much! God bless your day and grant you many more years to celebrate! 


Aug 24:
 Abi is magical....she can get all the Youngers' hair washed WITHOUT tears and wails and gnashing of teeth! She makes them a deal that they can dump water on her head if she can wash their hair! I love this girl!


Sept 2:
we spent the day at the zoo with our couzie!  She took a lot of fun photos, many of them were of Bryn looking goofy! 

(they have such a great relationship. They are 14 months apart and have a lot of fun running around and being silly. They are the only two who have enough energy to keep up with eachother!) 



Water Fountain Fail!





Sept 9:
 sometimes when I back out of a parking spot, I expect applause. some of them are pretty hard to navigate, you know.

#sotrue   (I may not Twitter, but hashtags make me giggle. They can be so cute and witty sometimes!)     I get especially nervous about our school parking lot. Some of the spaces are quite tight, but it's also the fact that I know these families, if I were to hit a vehicle---or worse, a child---it would be terrible! You can't just ignore something like that or hide behind anonymity!)

Oct 4:
 I had such a great week with just the kids and myself! I am pleased with how good they were and the fun we had. I am so blessed to have this family! ...I am happy to have my Hunny back home again, though. — feeling blessed.


Oct 25:
 I love my husband. He has cleaned the house and set it up and is making dinner for 20 for my birthday! I am blessed!


Oct 26:
I love weddings. And friends. And friends at weddings. And bubbles. And going out on a date with my husband to weddings. I am happy. — feeling happy.





Nov 15:
 Coffee date with my boy! He makes me laugh. Happy 10th, Dude!



Dec 1:
 can't believe it's been 12 years....happy birthday to my beautiful firstborn. We are so blessed to have Abi in our family.
  Dec 5
Kai and his gr 5 "simple machine" project: a gumball machine made by himself and his dad!









Each day is a day that God has given us, and each moment of that day is in His hands. ~Roy Lessin

Interesting how a (very) quick review of a year can make you see things differently sometimes. These are FB's highlights, based only upon how many of my friends commented or 'liked', so they only show a very segmented view of how my life really played out. But I did see a theme of a grateful heart, and one who recognizes her blessings. I have a great family, and wonderful friends, and I am so blessed (there I go again with that word!) to have the riches that I do in them. I have struggled and in some ways am feeling relieved that this year is over, but it hasn't been all too bad. God is good. In Him we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

Monday, December 23, 2013

the Light of the World

The boys performed with their classes for the school Christmas chorus. Even Rhys sang! I was so impressed with the evening program; I am every year! There is something so beautiful and touching about children singing with their own little personalities (some singing with gusto and some not paying attention, some giggling with neighbours and some looking miserable) and their innocence about the season. The theme was Jesus is the Light, so all of their songs had to do with Him being Light, and us receiving His Light.

Rhys sang this year with all 3 of the preschool classes a song called "Oh what a special night". They're always the cutest ones to watch, aren't they? They're so tiny and adorable and dressed up and they make everyone sigh "ahhhh!"  I wasn't even sure if Rhys would participate at all since when we arrived at the classroom, he even asked me, "what am I singing, Mom?" But I was so proud of him up there, not only singing but also participating! 



His class sang a song about the animals who were there for Jesus' birth. First it was the sheep who said, Baa baa baa baa, baby Jesus is born! Then the cow said, moo moo moo moo moo, baby Jesus is born! Then the donkey said  (and this was the cutest part because they had their hands up at their heads, wiggling them like little ears...so adorable!)  hee haa heee haa hee haa, baby Jesus is born!

John 9:5
 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Bryn sang and spoke for his class! He hadn't told us that he was going to do that. I was proud of him! The grade two classes sang, "Jesus is Wonderful" and during the middle of it, ten students stepped down to the microphone and said what they thought made God Wonderful.  Bryn said this:
I think Jesus is wonderful because we can sing for Jesus. Something wonderful about Jesus is He was in the Bible. I think Jesus is wonderful because He heals us.

He gave three points! My heart was ready to burst. Most of the kids only gave one thing they wanted to say, but he had three. I love that his heart is softened and ready for the Lord. He has shown in many of his writings in class, and in conversations, that his heart is set on Him, and I am so happy and excited to see how his own faith will grow and where the Lord will take him.




John 8:12
 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What surprised me was that Kai actually sang as well! He was telling me about the song they were doing, "Go light your world", but it still surprised me! My boys are not singers and they don't practice at home so you're never too sure what will happen the night of the performance!   So I was happy to see that he was up there, in the first row, attempting to sing. That is, when he wasn't sniffing and rubbing his nose! The poor boy's allergies have been bothering him so much lately. I could actually see his nostrils collapse with his deep intakes of sniffing! By the end of the evening, his nose was red. I can't figure out what is bothering him though. 





 Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


I love that my children are able to be able to attend the Christian school. It is a blessing that I do not take lightly. I know that it is not possible for many people, and I am aware that it may not always be in our ability to send them either, but for now I am so grateful for this opportunity. I love the teachers there,  the community spirit and the love that is shown throughout the school. I love that they are learning to look into the Bible and see everything as been Created by our Lord for a purpose and that they have meaning in this world; they are loved, they have been saved, they have been redeemed and they are covered by His hand.

He is the Light of the World!


Huron Carol

The Huron Carol is a Canadian Christmas carol that I grew up singing in Ontario. It was written by Jean de Brebeuf, a Jesuit missionary, in 1642. 

When my family moved to BC, things were very different at Christmastime, the first most noticeable was the lack of snow. (After more than 20 years living out west, I am still saddened by the green Christmases here, and long for snow falling on the 25th, but I am happy that we're not stranded in our houses or having to drive out in all the ice and slush.) The other noticeable difference is that we don't sing the Huron Carol out here. I guess it makes sense since the Huron First Nations are an Eastern Tribe, but it is still sad since it is a well-known Canadian Hymn. (well, I guess not really that well-known, since we don't learn it in our schools out here)

I have to listen to this song every year, and have downloaded the version by Crash Test Dummies (a group from Winnipeg that I used to listen to...who can resist the fun that is Brad Roberts' deep voice!) I can't seem to be able to post it here, so you'll have to click this link to hear it on YouTube. Below is a beautiful choir singing it. Enjoy!







I got the lyrics off of Wikipedia:

Huron

The original words of the carol in the Wyandot language (Huron).

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa 'ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa 'ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Ayoki onki hm-ashe eran yayeh raunnaun
yauntaun kanntatya hm-deh 'ndyaun sehnsatoa ronnyaun
Waria hnawakweh tond Yosehf sataunn haronnyaun
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Asheh kaunnta horraskwa deh ha tirri gwames
Tishyaun ayau ha'ndeh ta aun hwa ashya a ha trreh
aundata:kwa Tishyaun yayaun yaun n-dehta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Dau yishyeh sta atyaun errdautau 'ndi Yisus
avwa tateh dn-deh Tishyaun stanshi teya wennyau
aha yaunna torrehntehn yataun katsyaun skehnn
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Eyeh kwata tehnaunnte aheh kwashyehn ayehn
kiyeh kwanaun aukwayaun dehtsaun we 'ndeh adeh
tarrya diskwann aunkwe yishyehr eya ke naun sta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

English

The 1926 English version by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

 'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunter heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high...
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."


Friday, December 20, 2013

tis the season for sickies

I knew that it couldn't be a good thing when Abi came home from school last week and crashed into bed for the night, eyes full of tears and complains of headaches, sore throat, and body aches. The next day wasn't any better, so I kept her home from school. She spent some of the day in bed, some entertaining the Youngers for me, watching tv, and some of it complaining of pain and being overheated with a fever. It was when she started to develop a rash along her arms that I started to really get suspicious.

I don't mean to come across as paranoid or anything, but when I get notices sent home from school that there have been a few cases of illnesses going around, I start to worry about my own children getting it. Not because I'm fearful of it, but because I'm sure one of my children will!




With her fluctuating fever and red cheeks, and now her red bumpy rash up her arms and her neckline (where it started to be seen), now spreading to her torso and to her legs, I can't help but think there must be a connection. The only problem was that this rash popped up at around 6:45pm and the clinics close at 7pm! Phooey! I spent the evening looking up information on Scarlet Fever and what to do if.... and it all said that you should see a doctor if you suspect it, if the child has a fever of 101 or higher, and/or has developed a rash. Oh great! What I would love to see is medical pages that contains information on 'what to do if it is late and your doctor is closed." I really just wanted to know if she was an emergency case. Could we hold out til morning? Would she get worse? Finally, my Hunny found a page that said that we could hold out seeing a doctor for up to two days, but getting antibiotics sooner is always better. Phew!

We managed to get into the clinic the next day and the doctor said that a swab would be needed to confirm if it is Scarlet Fever, and since it was the weekend it wouldn't get done for a few days, but he was willing to pass judgement on her throat, white-coated tongue and sandpaper-like rash, and he confirmed what I already suspected. Abi had her second bout of Strep Throat and Scarlet Fever!  You may recall back when she was 8 how she had Streptococcal Pharyngitis (which is still fun to say) that turned into Scarlet Fever. The poor girl! 

I learned that not everyone who gets Group A Streptococcal Bacteria will get Scarlet Fever...but that is obvious as I've had strep throat but it didn't give me a rash.  The Strep bacteria makes a toxin and some people are more sensitive to it and that toxin causes the scarlet looking rash.  There is no vaccine for Scarlet Fever but it can be treated with antibiotics. (Abi was on Biaxin, since she can't take penicillin. We found out that she was allergic to it when she had this in '09!) However, there are still complications that can arise with this infection, if it is not treated. Such as heart disease, rheumatic fever, kidney failure, pneumonia, septicemia to name a few.... which is a bit scary to read.  (even if they are rare) When I was reading up on it, I was surprised to hear how bad it was in the past. Agathe Whitehead, the first wife of Captain Georg von Trapp, caught it from their daughter Maria Franziska and died from Scarlet Fever. (Georg ended up marrying Maria von Trapp and the whole Sound of Music and the von Trapp Singers came about.).  Mary Ingalls, older sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, lost her sight to it. Johann Strauss 1, composer, died from it in 1849. (I like how on Wikipedia it says that he contracted it from one of his 'illegitimate children'. I find that a funny piece of information. Are they stating the illegitimate part to state he had many mistresses and many children were born from philandering? I'm wondering if it would be important to say it came from a 'legitimate child' if that were the case. I'm curious as to the necessity to point out how this child came to be!)  It is also thought that Helen Keller lost her hearing and sight due to Scarlet Fever.  (or possibly meningitis)  It's so humbling to think of! This infection still exists today and is still infecting people, but due to our availability of antibiotics (and perhaps more public understanding of it) it doesn't have those dire results. For that I am grateful.



can you see her rash all over her tummy and arms? she is pouting because it is itchy and painful and she is trying not to scratch!


On Monday, Abi would not be considered contagious anymore and could go to school, but she was still in pain and her rash was so itchy, so I kept her home. On Tuesday, surely she would be well enough, but again the rash gave her grief from being so itchy. I think she may have worried over nothing on that, and maybe I should've pushed her off to school, but I let her stay home one more day. We picked up her homework, and she had three days to catch up on in one night, which she didn't like much. But that's what happens when you choose to let something like an itch keep you from what you're supposed to do!

The good news is that she is healed! She can eat food again and can swallow and talk just fine and is back to her usual bouncy self. Her rash is almost gone as well. It's not as noticeable, at least, and it isn't as itchy so there's that.

The same Monday that Abi was recovering from her Scarlet Fever, Eden became sick. It started out with a runny nose and cold-like symptoms, along with a bit of a chesty cough the week earlier, but that day she started getting a high fever and her cough sounded terrible and then suddenly she was puking! We were at the school picking up Rhys from preschool when she puked out of nowhere. I cleaned her up and all was ok, other than her being hot and sleepy. Half an hour later and she's crying for me again (this time we're parked at the middle school to pick up the boys and to watch my friends' girls until she can get them after work) and I get that feeling it wasn't a good type of cry. Yep, as I pick her up she's throwing up all over me and herself! Four times! I manage to open the van door and get her to puke outside at least, but wow, the damage was done! I had it down my shirt, right down into my bra, and over my jacket and scarf. She was covered from her jacket, to her shirt, pants and her boots! I gagged a few times, but did get her cleaned up, and I was so thankful that I had wipes with me and a new outfit for her to wear, and that she didn't end up getting puke in the van. (we carried the brunt of it)  I was also grateful that she didn't puke again after that! So maybe she ate something funny, maybe it was from her fever, or maybe it was cough-induced or even from all the phlegm she was swallowing. 

That night, her cough got worse, so I spent time again researching Dr Google on different types of coughs in toddlers. I couldn't decide if hers was croup or bronchiolitis, though. She barked, but didn't have that intake sound, and she wheezed. It was scary. Plus she had a fever and rapid breathing. It's hard when your child is sick and you don't know what to do. It's harder when you've been down this road so many times before with other children that your mind doesn't think "What if we end up at the hospital" but "WHEN we go to the ER."  That's how I think now. So I mentally start to prepare. I think of what I should pack now (diapers, wipes, books and toys to keep her occupied) and wonder if I should pack much for myself (in case we end up being admitted) and I try to figure out when would be the best time to go to the ER. How long can I hold out at home? Should I go now or wait? What can I do for her now to avoid a hospital trip? I decide that even though she hasn't had any asthmatic episodes before, that her wheezing makes me nervous, so I pull out the nebulizer and the medication for it. Just in case. And I wait.

At 12:30, her coughing is terrible, and she's crying and she's wheezing. I take her from her crib, and the wheezing coming from her is starting to scare me. I want to thump on her back to get another chest-clearing cough out of her, trying to will her to get her airways cleared. So we start out nebulizer treatment together in the chair. (she didn't like it too much, but I managed to get some into her without having to put the mask on her. It's fun to play with, but not so much when it is really being used.) However, I still can hear her wheezing badly, so I start to gather our stuff to head to ER. (like our jackets from the dryer after her barfest) I put her onto my bed, her coughing and such, so I can get dressed. (I"m hoping Hunny will wake up and offer words of advice or comfort. ...Yeah, not so much though.)  She's getting tired and she starts to ask if we can lay down and go to sleep, and I start to realize that she isn't wheezing anymore! Woohoo!

By 3:30am, Rhys is in our bed too (and that is not comfy, my friends. A toddler and wiggly preschooler do not fit into a Queen sized bed along with two adults. There are way too many legs kicking around.) and he's coughing and in my very sleepy state I can remember thinking with fear that I've got two children having asthma attacks, and who do I help? (apparently they were well enough and I was sleepy enough, so I didn't 'help' either and fell asleep for another hour.)  At 4:30, she was coughing and wheezing again and I debated on going to the hospital again, but the nebulizer helped again. But it was our last nebules, so I was already thinking ahead that at this rate, we'd need to go by around 7:30am. Yay.

But that never happened. She slept and all was fine. No more wheezing! In fact, when I managed to get her into our doctor, she couldn't hear a wheeze at all! And ever though she heard her wet cough, her lungs were clear too! What? That surprised me!  She did, however, discover that her left ear is red and infected, and that her tonsils are huge with tonsilities. So that explains the fever. She's on antibiotics now too! 

I'm not too sure about her wheezing. Was it from an asthma attack? Should I have taken her into the ER? (we have a new prescription for nebulizer meds and for an inhaler, in case she'll take that easier.) Do I need to watch out for her and an eventual asthma diagnosis? How sad.

 I'm happy they are both are starting to feel better though and hopefully it will all be gone by Christmas. Blech!

Mary's Boy Child/ Oh My Lord

This has got to be one of my favourite Chirstmas songs just for it's fun-factor! Seriously, how can you not want to sing this and do a little dance? (maybe don't ask my boys, they somehow miss that spark of fun.)

\
Mary's Boy Child/ Oh My Lord ~ Boney M

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

simple machine

Kai had to do a class project and make a "simple machine". They had to decide what to make, trying to incorporate all these different types of machines they have learned about (pulley, screw, lever, inclined plane) and then build it with the help of a parent. Abi did this in grade five also and made a trebuchet that flung gumballs at scary speeds with her father. They named it the "Abinator!" (he always has fun nicknames like that for her)

Kai decided that he wanted to make a gumball machine! I'm so thankful that My Love is gifted in many areas, this one being one, and could help him figure it out. I'd be hooped if it were up to me to do! Poor Kai would hand in something ridiculous and pathetic, I'm sure! 

He got to use the hand saw, some chisels,  and he sanded, which made him feel pretty happy. Maybe we can get him interested in tools and using his creativity to build with wood. (he's really good at building with Lego! And always creates out of his own head. Mostly guns and such, but they are always accurate!)








 It took a few days to build, working an hour or two every evening after school, mostly using pieces of wood in the workshop already.  We had to buy a few dowels from Home Depot, and the gumballs, but we managed to get the gear, technically called a worm and worm reel (the screw) from Hunny's work, so it was a relatively cheaper project. Phew! (and we had our own mason jar)




 Almost done! Just need to get that handle finished. (the lever)  This "simple machine" was sure seeming like a "complex machine" to build!




The finished product:








Kai was so proud of himself!  So are we! He worked hard and it turned out great!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

c'ose your eyes


Eden tells me, "Mom, c'ose your eyes!" So I close them. (reluctantly. You never know what to expect when a toddler says that. Is she going to poke my eyes out? She would do that.) 

She giggles then says, "Amen!" 


We played that game for a while. I love this girl!!! (marker drawings on her body and all! look at that cheesy grin!)



Monday, December 16, 2013

middle school band....better than you'd expect!

Abi was assigned  the clarinet to play for her grade seven band instrument at the end of grade six. It was written in a letter that was included in her report card, so we had no input or knowledge of this prior. I was excited about her learning to play something different since I never had that opportunity. (I missed out on band by being home schooled for my teenage years, but I don't know how much I wanted to play something then, maybe I wasn't interested anyways! But I do recall wishing I could learn to play piano, cello and violin! )  My husband was not so happy. He was concerned about Abi's asthma and playing a wind instrument. (plus, he also went to public school where band wasn't mandatory. It is at our children's middle school; which bothers him. Which is odd since he actually was in band himself, playing the flute.....I know! My husband played the flute. He has the long fingers for it, but not the delicate personality that you would associate with the flute. teehee.)   

We found out that playing a wind instrument should help her lung capacity and asthma, so that was encouraging. Except that after three months, she was still struggling and finding herself needing to stop after one song or two due to being breathless. Her band teacher, Mr Alexander (I love this man's enthusiasm and encouragement in bringing out musical talent in kids, most who won't even go on to play in high school.) mentioned how he may not have chosen the clarinet for Abi, due to her asthma, but he wasn't teaching last year (he was away on a missions trip in Africa somewhere) and didn't know about it. But he was going to see how she did for the first half year. 

It wasn't until this past week that we put two and two together regarding her asthma: the reeds! Abi has a bad allergy to grass (sitting in it in the summer gave her rashes this year) and that's what reeds are made of!  Hunny did a bit of searching and managed to find some synthetic reeds though, and picked up one (because at that price, we only got one. but they're supposed to last longer)  According to the music store, they had never heard of anyone being allergic to the reeds. That's what Mr Alexander said as well. But Abi was getting an itch on the back of her mouth (not good news for someone with allergies) and her lips (which could be just from vibrations, if you want to get nit-picky) so we didn't want to play around with that.  

The first night she had the synthetic reed, she said she noticed a difference immediately.

That was the night before the band concert!



(oh, that is a terrible picture! ....or maybe it is just my monitor being off in colour. methinks it's time for a new computer...and a new camera!!!)



I was so impressed with the concert. I love how the teachers can take students who may have never played an instrument before (and they won't let them play the ones they already have at home either, just to make it more fun and challenging...and annoying for the parents!) and turn them into something enjoyable to listen to!

I wish my children were musically inclined! My brother is a drummer and I have a music pastor uncle and his musically inclined children, and my mom and I love to sing and used to sing in our church choir. I have to admit that I had hopes of that with my own children. But so far not so much. Out of five children, I may have hope with Eden, though. She loves to sing and dance! She's fun to watch when she doesn't think you're there....she'll start to sway and dance to music in the grocery store while I am shopping! So cute!

It was an enjoyable evening at the middle school, even if there were a few squeaks and squawks from high pitched instruments. Abi played well, I could actually hear here in the two they played. It was so neat to be able to hear the songs that she had practiced at home put together with a whole band. And I'm glad that she is doing better with the reeds.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

catching up our Ped

Rhys has an appointment with his pediatrician last week. We haven't seen her in months, but she is back from maternity leave. She's been off for a good 6 months, I think, so I expected her to have her baby in early summer or something. But I found out that her daughter was born Sept 22nd! Her baby is only two months and she's back at work? Wow. (just so you know, in Canada, new mothers are entitled to a year off on paid maternity leave, based upon their position and hours worked previously. When I worked as a retail manager of Claire's before Abi was born, I was able to take the year off with 20% of my salary. It was nice. I'm sure some positions are different. but this is standard in Canada. I love that about here.)  I was wondering if she likes working that much, but my husband pointed out that it isn't easy to find another doctor to cover as locum. Which is true. Each visit we had was with a new doctor. But she managed to get those months covered, so I"m surprised that she didn't take more time off after her birth than before. But I guess that could be the way things worked out. Still, it kind of sucks to have to head back to work so soon after your baby has been born.

The appointment went well. I let her know about Rhys being in preschool, and we updated on his last appointment and with the dietician (who closed their file on him, woohoo!). I told her that R's teacher & I filled out ASQs for him and how she tried to get Langley CDC Support for us, but they suggested Sunnyhill, so our family doctor was putting in a referral for us there. (I brought the quizzes in with us, but she didn't look at them. Just noted the results as I told her.)

Dr T is doing a follow up on his iron levels (wee...what fun that will be!...likely for the dietician)  but said there isn't anything else to go over, so we don't need to see her again for six months!!! Woohoo!!!

Six months! That is great news!

But I wonder if I should be happy with that or not. Should I feel let down that she isn't "doing more" for him? But, really, I do think things are at an end for her. She has come to the end of her abilities; he's gained weight, he's doing well, things are in place for future needs, so what else is there? So I feel good about this.

Except during his physical check up, the student doctor who was in as well said that Rhys' heart sounded "loud" and "hard" and a few other medical words. Dr T listened to his chest and asked if it was a "thrum" she heard or the ...... (insert medical term here. I did recognize the term 'murmur" though, something he had as an infant) Then she said that if the student doctor heard something, then she should order a test! So Rhys gets to have a "10 Lead ECG". I don't know what she heard and I'm wishing I had asked now, but I'm not worried. I'm curious though. He's had a few ECGs before. What could possibly be different?

Oh! And guess what? He endured a chest cold in November that didn't get worse! I was so worried! He picked up a cough that hung in his chest just over the long weekend, just like last year! But he didn't spike a fever and he didn't get worse. So he didn't end up back at LMH with pneumonia (or something like it) What a relief! His cough lasted for about 10 days then went away! Hooray! And when he was coughing a bit during the appointment, neither Dr T, nor the student doctor, mentioned hearing anything in his lungs, so that was good as well. (but I also didn't ask)



So this is the on-going saga that is Rhys. He is fun and silly and very much a four year old (except that he is five and a half) Dr T told me that she didn't think that they'd be able to tell me at SunnyHill if Rhys will ever be able to catch up with his peers. And I find that disappointing. I would hope they'd be able to determine where he sits with his delayment and could venture an educated guess to the future. (even if it turns out false, like "he'll never walk again" and two years later is running in a marathon!)

Miss Harmony told me that the gap gets bigger the older they get. In delayment, in special needs, etc.  And that makes me sad. He is such a sweet boy and I hate the idea of his heart being broken because he isn't being included.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

10 and 12

It seems so crazy to me that I now have two children over the age of ten in the house. Soon they will be teenagers. And then soon I will have three teens at once...I must be resigned to the fact that my house is always going to be loud, no matter what. That is until they all start moving out. How sad that will be!





Kai turned ten last month. He was quite excited! It's funny how your 10th feels like it should be important. Really, there is nothing amazing about it. No real change happens. But there's that slight feeling that makes it feel different. After all, you're now a whole decade old! In a new age bracket! Closer to being a teenager, and less a 'child'!

Kai invited five friends over for pizza and snacks (one couldn't come) after school to celebrate. And I determined that grade five boys are just as loud as grade five girls are! (I remember Abi's sleepover with her friends in grade five and Hunny and I were thinking it was chaotic and noisy! It surprised us just a bit!)  I was impressed with the friends that he chose to invite. One was a boy that is new to the school (moving from back east) and also Autistic. That is, I think that is what he has, I do know that he receives help from a EA in the classroom. He is a fun boy, one who gets excited and loud and hard to calm! (much like Rhys!) Kai also invited a friend from church, which was nice. They've known each other for six years, and they are very much alike, and hang out together every Sunday, so it's great to see that he wants to extend that friendship outside of church. I like seeing this kid outside of the church setting too because he makes me laugh; he is the pastor's son and is loud and bold and has such a fun personality.  Maybe I expect a pastor's son to be quiet and mild-mannered (I must've met many like that) and that's why I love that this kid isn't. It was fun having him here; and I loved how that despite not knowing anyone else (since he doesn't attend the same school as we do...although he did know David, Kai's BFF, from our JRCC Summer Camp program) he fit in just perfectly with everyone! The other friend he invited was a rather last-minute invitee. As in two night's before the party! I was impressed that they were allowed to go with that notice! And I was laughing that I didn't get any comments from the parents...after all, this friend was a girl! This is the second time that Kai has invited Sarah to his party before; the first time was two years ago when he went to  a Tae kwon do club. She was the only girl, just like this night! He and Sarah have been in the same class since grade two and I admit that she's growing on me! I think she is a strong girl, and I admire how she can be girly yet hang out with the boys just as easily also.  I'm sure Kai must 'like' her, but he doesn't make it obvious; he treats her like he does his guy friends, and that makes me happy too. We shall see what happens to these two as they get older! :)  The last guest was his best friend, David, who stayed home from school the two days prior to the party just so he wouldn't be sick and have to miss out! (you've got to give props to the kids ---and the parents--- who choose party plans over school importance. hahaha.)

They ran around the house and attempted to play Manhunt, but it got too dark and the pizza was getting cold. So we convinced them to sit and eat and open gifts. Then my Hunny corralled them all into the van and took them to play a few games of Laser Tag! :)

All in all, I think he enjoyed his birthday!




For Abi's birthday, she also invited five friends, but only two were able to make it. She has surprised me; it's been an interesting year so far. In September, she was without her two good friends (her best friend moved to Korea and another was in a different homeroom class) so she was pretty lonely and miserable. By the end of October, things had changed. She met up with her old friend and made two new friends (two new girls in her class) and things were much better. But then things changed even more when a month later, the five friends she invited weren't even friends that she had hung out with any before! That is great news, but surprising. Apparently she doesn't hang out with her friends from October anymore, she now has different friends, which is okay because people change and interests change (especially at this age) and both girls moved on to different friends (who also happen to be in her class) ...wow, was that a long sentence or what? My mind is all mushy!




Abi just wanted to go swimming with her friends, so she and two girls went to the pool while I watched and wrote for two hours. Then we went back to our house, where her one friend was picked up by her father (she couldn't stay) and Hannah and Abi stayed up all night with a sleepover! Hannah is new this year, but I'm not too sure where they lived before (although her mother is from Sweden originally. She still has a slight accent, so I wonder how long she's been in Canada.) She also has asthma and allergies, so she and Abi have that connection, although she has to carry an epi-pen because of anaphylactic allergies to peanuts. That made me a bit nervous, so we hid the peanut butter so Bryn wouldn't get into it first thing in the morning (like he usually does for breakfast....that made a very long morning for him! all he could think of was that naughty and forbidden peanut butter on the top shelf that he couldn't get at.) and I scrubbed down our table,  just in case! 




It is good to see Abi so happy again, and feeling confident with her friends. She is a great girl and a sweet, giving one, and there is no reason to not like her. Not that she has no flaws, just that she is that caring and respectful.  She is going to be a good teenager. Not because Hunny and I were (we didn't sneak out or have bad friends or got into trouble) but because of her personality.  My MIL was telling me how she calls these early teen years the "Bitch Years". Now, first off, I hate the name "bitch" to describe anyone. I find it degrading and just a terrible name to call. A bitch is a female dog. Girls are not animals. Some act like out of control tantrum-y toddlers, yes, but name calling has not seemed to help 'straighten them up', has it? I try to laugh off her title, but honestly, it makes me uncomfortable. I don't think we'll have any troubles with Abi at all. As for hormones, with crying and anger and frustration, yes that is going to happen. She can't help that her body is fighting itself and growing and flowing with hormones that have never effected her before. I hope and pray that I may help her go through those moments with grace, peace and understanding.

So two kids over the age of ten. Three more to go! Time goes by fast sometimes. (just not in those early infant to toddler years. Those take forever!)

Sometimes I feel OLD.

Sometimes I LOOK older than I feel.

I don't know which is worse. But it sure is weird when it starts to sink in that you are the parent of a child almost in high school! You are now, For Sure, "the mom"!  Soon every one is going to be calling me "mom" also! I'm going to gain all of my kids' friends as adopted children. And as much as I was a mom this whole time, and as much as having a house full of  family and friends makes me happy, it's just that it suddenly hits you that you are no longer young, but an "old mom"!   I can't hide that fact now! And that takes a bit to get used to.  I mean, I remember when I was Kai's age, and my own mother was my age!  But hey, I am the Coolest Junior High Mom! There's something in that, at least!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

i celebrate the day





 I Celebrate The Day ~ Relient K

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever


And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life




Saturday, November 30, 2013

compliments to boost my week

I got the nicest compliment a week ago. It was left on my answering machine (do people still have those, or is it just me?) so I could've saved it to listen to again to boost my confidence or used it as leverage later (*snicker*) ...had I wanted to. It was from our friendly neighbourhood youth pastor (yes, he calls himself that!), mentioning how they were less a leader for Small Group that evening. His message went something like this: "Kiersten is sick and won't be able to make it tonight. So Kim and I were thinking of who was the coolest junior high mom and we thought of you!"

The Coolest Junior High Mom.

Oh yes.

That's me.

I did note that he did specify, "Junior High" and not  "all of the whole youth group moms", but that's okay. I also did note that he was asking me if I'd be willing to fill in for a position that was needed in just three hours.

He laughed when I talked to him and said, "I could just be saying that or I could be telling the truth! After all, you were the only mom out there night sliding with the youth!"

I grinned. That's true. I did. This past summer, for the second year in a row, I bravely donned a bathing suit and put myself in front of many peers and hundreds of teenagers as we went to Cultus Lake Waterpark for their Youth Night Sliding Event. I decided that I wasn't going to think about my overweight body that looked almost-middle-aged, and just go and have fun and feel young again! And I had a blast! Just our youth pastor and I went out with our youth on the slides; the others parent-leaders sat together and chatted. (sliding seemed more fun to me, since I was paying the entrance fee anyways. Besides I suck at small talk with people I don't know well.)

The Coolest Junior High Mom.

It's a silly title and doesn't really mean anything, and maybe I shouldn't take it to heart or take great happiness from it, but I do. God knew I needed to hear it and it made my week.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Meh

My kids had their Parent Teacher Interviews this month. I approach these with some apprehension. I know my children have struggles in some areas, but you never really know what to expect. Will they be struggling more than you knew? What if it's a bad interview? I have a bit of fear, but that could be from my past school history: I struggled in grade five (we just moved to the west coast so there was a lot of isolation, loneliness and exclusion that I was dealing with, plus a lot of homesickness.) and I failed grade six and so I worry about my children going through those very bleak years as well. But God keeps reminding me that their stories are not a repeat of mine. They will have their own troubles, yes, but also their own triumphs, that are unique to them. And that's an encouraging thing!

We always go to the Interviews anticipating what will be said, but my Hunny likes to cut to the chase and will mention the things we think the teachers will say. Such as; yes, we know that Kai doesn't like to do his work, and yes, Bryn can not sit still even at home and he talks and talks and talks, and yes, Abi needs to speak up more. (I think he likes to throw them off!) Sometimes it's nice to be completely surprised!

Our visits with each teacher went better than expected! Our children are in great classrooms with women who really care about them. Other than his messy writing, B is doing great. He even sits still and listens well! (something we are working on at home.) Abi is doing much better too, and participates well and just seems like a different person than the one who first started grade seven in September. (I had to come in to see Mrs. C in Sept to talk over the struggles that we saw in A, and it looks like we have found some great results!) We are so pleased that her teacher sees the change like we do!

I think that Kai's teacher interview went the best, though. He's always had supportive teachers who have encouraged us in helping him reach goals (which, of course, are school goals, not his, so they are often met with resistance!) and I have loved them. But this teacher surprised me! I wasn't too sure how he would be this year, with missing his best friend and with the school work struggles last year (something that seems to be building), but he is doing well. He is doing his work and meeting expectations (although he needs to work on his multiplication table memorization) and she said that he is doing much better than he did at the beginning of the year, which is such a relief to hear. She even named things that are positive and strengths in him --- like his passions and his good nature. And that makes a mom's heart feel good! Instead of saying what he's not good at and needs to work on (well, some of that was said as well), she pictured him as a boy full of character and energy and creativity to us. I am so grateful to her for that. Sometimes it's easy for us to see the list of things we need to work on (like attitude or selfishness or self control) that we don't see the good in the "bad behaviour".

One thing we've always struggled with is finding a punishment that works for him. We've taken away his Lego, his DS, his computer privileges (all very important to him), and he'll be upset and angry for the first 20 minutes, but then he gets past it and isn't bothered anymore. We've held out for a week, all the while realizing that he's doing fine without these things. He's not bothered that he's without his possessions! We can see that as frustrating (and it is!) and stubborn, and it leaves us with wondering how to effectively parent. But when we told his teacher, she laughed and said it was because he's creative and can find some other way to occupy himself.

Creative? H'mmm...hadn't thought of that. Yes, that is a positive thing!  Him not giving in and being stubborn can be so difficult for us to work with ....but it's that type of personality that doesn't give in to peer pressure and leads in confidence.

We are pleased with our children so far in school, and are very thankful for their teachers. (their report cards come home in two weeks...we'll see how we feel then, though. hahaha.)

I had to laugh at this one common theme with all of my children, though. Apparently they all have this "Meh attitude". Bryn has it when it comes to writing and any art project. He just scribbles messily as if saying, "meh, this looks fine!" Kai is the same way when it comes to most school work and had even gone up to Mrs B and said, "I didn't do my homework last night!" She'll respond, "oh really? why not?" He'll shrug, "I don't know!" Meh.  ((good to see his confidence. This made me laugh out loud. When I didn't do my homework, I avoided the teacher and if I had to admit it wasn't done, I usually made up an excuse!)) Abi will do the minimum amount of work needed on a paper, as if thinking, "Meh, this is good enough," her teacher told us. So she says, "Meh, not so much," and hands the paper back! hahaha!

Meh.

It made me laugh.  All of them with this condition.

I know where they get it from. Oh yes. *cough*cough* From me. I have a big "meh" attitude! I will put off things. I don't get bothered by small things. I even love the word! (I want to get this t-shirt from Zazzle!)

I guess sometimes having an easy going personality can come out as lazy and uncooperative. Oops. My bad.  I'll need to work on that.

Meh.

Maybe.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

new referrals

So that's what it feels like to advocate for your child.

I feel weary. And emotional. But that could be unrelated; after all, my thyroid is all wonky and I have a sinus cold.

A few weeks ago, one of Rhys' preschool teachers suggested doing an updated ASQ. She did two of them during class time, and I filled out the ASQ-SE for 60 Month/5 Year. Filling those out feel make me feel so sad. It's hard to see the limitations that your child has right in front of you. But I was surprised, and also relieved, to see that Ms. Harmony had a few different results than I did. When I filled out The Ages & Stages Questionnaire: Social Emotional, my results (I found out that the scoring guidelines were written on the back on the questionnaire) showed him "at risk". Actually, the recommendations on the back were to "refer the child for a mental health evaluation." Which sounds much scarier than 'seek a second opinion' or 'refer to doctor'. Thankfully, the result in class were just fine! What a relief! He is totally on par with his peers on a social/emotional level. So either he only "acts out" at home, or his behavior is actually considered 'normal'. Needless to say, I've been paying more attention to it at home now. 

Interestingly enough, I answered "most of the time" to the question on whether he could settle himself down after periods of exciting activity. Ms. Harmony checked off "rarely or never".  (I can see that now if I really look at it. Yes, he does take some time to unwind when he gets excited and giddy.)  To the question "does your child cry, scream, or have tantrums for long periods of time", I responded "most of the time", and again, she said "rarely or never". (oh, this boy can be very determined when he is upset and wants something. But in some cases, yes, I guess he can be distracted to something else. Sometimes.) In class, he moves from activities just fine, and loves to explore new places, which are two things I had never noticed at home.  So my concerns are not a reality in preschool right now, and what a wonderful thing to realize!

Ms. Harmony also did a regular ASQ on him, which is for a child 57 Months through 66 Months (good grief, I'd be happy if they stopped using weeks and months after 6 weeks and just went to years in stages! It's too much counting and figuring out for my little math-challenged head!) ----he was 64 Months when this test was done (end of October)  His last ASQ through IDP was done at 10 months old, when he scored above the at-risk level for everything except gross motor, where he was not rolling over or crawling or pulling to stand yet. I do have a Gessell Developmental Assessment report done at 17 Months old, but I am thinking of emailing our former IDP Consultant for the results of the one done at 3 years old, since I can't seem to find it. It would be nice to see how things compare now to then. Has he gained or lost? Did we not have any concerns then?

In the 60 Month ASQ, he scored low for Communication (not surprising, since he was in ST...and I am frustrated that he was phased out and forgotten by SESLP.), Gross Motor (not surprising, considering he always has), Problem Solving (which is sad, since he was in range at 17 Months old)  He is on par for his peers for his Fine Motor (actually, his teacher was impressed with his drawing and cutting skills. Oh yeah! *brag*brag*) and his Personal Social. (just like his earlier SE said!)  The results suggest that "further assessment with a professional may be needed."  (that sounds much nicer than saying he needs a mental health eval!)

His teacher said that she could put a referral in for us to the Langley Child Development Centre (you may remember our conversation here), and so I got a phone call from a supervisor there. That was frustrating! I had to explain to her all the things that were a concern about Rhys, but how do I explain it? It's not obvious. He acts, behaves and talks differently, but how do I put small incidents into words so that it doesn't look like an over-reacting mother? I want to say "don't you see this? that isn't typical, is it? what is going on?'

I thought the SCD would be able to help me---and in a way, they have. But not in the way I expected. I had hoped that they'd have Rhys come in and they'd assess him and they'd get me the resources I needed. But since he doesn't need any support in the classroom (which is a good thing), they aren't going to open a case for him.

*sigh*

I understand. And I am happy his needs aren't glaring. And I do appreciate that they aren't going to waste my time and raise my hopes, but I also feel deflated. I guess my hopes were already raised by my own doing.

The Supervisor did give me a few suggestions though. The first was to get our pediatrician to refer us to Sunny Hill, in Vancouver. But seeing as this hasn't been the top of Dr T's list, I'm going to skip her and get our Family Doctor to do it. (she has offered to look into Rhys already, to see if she can come up with anything)   The wait list there is likely a year long as well, but it's a start.  I had never heard of Sunny Hill when she mentioned it, but I recognize it now from the fundraising they do. It is a centre at the Children's Hospital that deals with disabilities in children and youth, for rehabilitation and development. They will do full assessments and have a have full staff to cover everything. So it may be a good place to check out.

The other suggestion was to speak to our principal at the children's school (and where R will attend K next year). I'm not too sure what to talk to her about thought. I have nothing to bring in to her, other than ASQs say that he is delayed. I don't know what kind of support he will need or what options they have available. So I am putting this off until the new year.

 She did also suggest that maybe we'd like to have a developmental assessment done on him privately (she gave me two names to check out), but she warned me that could cost anywhere from $1000 to $2500. Eek! Yeah, no. Thanks though, but we don't have that kind of money to use on something like this. (my friend just told me last week that she and her husband were looking into that for their daughter, who has ADHD and maybe some other issues, and it was going to cost them $5000! Yikes!) So I'm praying that our assessment can be done at the Children's Hospital, where it won't cost us anything.

Sometimes I look at Rhys and see that things are okay. He's playing well with other kids. He does regular things. And I let myself see that maybe it's all in my head. But then I am reminded that this has always been there, in the back, and we've always kept it there, but his delayment has been there in various forms since birth. And I am frustrated that I can't pin it down and I don't know what to do.


Last week, on our drive to the school to pick up the Olders, I was going over colours with the Youngers again. I do that every now and then. I'll tell them at each stop light that "green means go and red means stop" and then I get them to tell me which colour is showing. It's fun when they get it and can tell me when to go! For a while, in the summer, it seemed as though Rhys was starting to get it, but I can see how it's all been forgotten now. At each and every stop (which happened to be red for each one), which aren't that far apart, just a few blocks, I would ask again, and at each stop he would not remember. I can understand needing to remind him, but he should've been able to guess or start to recall by the second or third stop. And he couldn't. It was tough. Even he could tell! He said to me, "I don't know why I can't 'member!", with a shake of his head. I just tried to smile and encouragingly said, "that's ok, you'll get it soon!" 

Eden is starting to get it. She has Pink and Orange and Green figured out a good 90% of the time! *smile*

But he'll get it soon. I hope.
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