Friday, July 31, 2015

A missing child and confronting fears

I almost lost Rhys the other day and it freaked me out.

I was downstairs cleaning (I have so much to declutter) when I thought I had better check on the kids in the backyard playing. It's good to do that every now and then. Just to make sure they are where they said they'd be and that they're not killing eachother. That's when I realized that Rhys was not with the Youngers and the neighbour. I knew he wasn't in the house, since I hadn't seen him anywhere, and of course no one else knew where he was either. Which upset me. How come they didn't notice he wasn't with them anymore? The last they knew, he was in the front yard, which frustrated me further. My rule is that the kids aren't allowed to play in the front alone. We have no fence and even though our neighbourhood is a nice one some people like to drive through it fast. I have a few concerns about the Youngers out there.

As I stood in the front yard, looking at our quiet neighbourhood, I was struck with a blank mind. I didn't know what to do, where to look, where to go. And then I was filled with anxiety. Rhys wouldn't be just a missing child, but one with possible-borderline-maybe special needs. And that's hard. He has no label, nothing to go on, just my knowledge of who he is.

I know that he wouldn't wander off. But he could get distracted. He's good at chatting with older people, so he could strike up a conversation and walk with someone passing by. He could also be convinced to go with someone. And he could also be easily snatched since he has no strength or know-how to struggle or fight back. (Eden, at four, would scream bloody murder if someone were to touch her!) And these are scary realizations.

I knew that Kai was next door, so I went to see if he knew where Rhys was. But, of course, he didn't either. No one knew. No one knew when he'd not been a part of their group. No one knew where he could be. Just where he wasn't.

I wasn't panicking yet but I was starting to feel frustrated. How come these kids didn't pay attention to their own sibling? I remember always keeping an eye on my little sister! Mostly, maybe, because she kept getting hurt. (which may or may not have been my fault at times. innocently of course) Kai said that he'd look inside the neighbour's house in case Rhys was there. (I'm not going to get into how I felt when I heard him admit that he could be in the rancher home and not know if his own brother was there as well! I mean, how would you miss that? There aren't a lot of rooms to lose a sibling in!)

I stood in the front yard, looking at my house, looking down the road, looking at my neighbour's houses. Where do I start to look?  The neighbourhood was the quietest I've ever known it to be. No cars. No people walking. No kids. And no Rhys.

I felt lost.

And in those moments, I had to confront my biggest fears for Rhys ---he's not a Special Needs Child. But he is.

He can't fight back. He can't speak for himself. He doesn't recognize danger. And what do I do about that? How do I parent a child who is seven and should know even basic skills on danger and safety?

I felt lost.

Thankfully, Rhys was not lost in the end. More like misplaced. He was at our neighbour's house after all. While the older boys were on the computer, he was playing with toys, I think. He had no idea that I would want to know he went next door, and didn't understand why I was upset. The other kids didn't quite get my anxiety either -- I'm happy that they don't recognize that he's delayed, but I struggle with having to explain that he is not like his peers. I don't want to, but I also need them to understand.

While the kids went back to playing, I laid on the couch with chest pain, trying to calm down my body so I could breathe. I may have triggered a slight anxiety attack over that half hour ordeal!

I don't know what to do now. I feel inadequate in training and teaching Rhys. I know that it's normal to feel unprepared in parenting, but he is a different type of skill-level. I keep holding on, reminding myself that we'll get in at Sunny Hill and be assessed and it'll get better. But I don't know when that will be. I refuse to think of other possibilities -- that he may not come with answers -- because I need that hope to hold on to. That chance of having an answer, a name, a plan, a way to tackle his needs. I need to believe that someone out there will be able to help him and us.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Welcome back to Thankful Thursday, a feature started by Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me, where we look back over our week and remember our blessings.  It is so good to see all that has happened, especially if you have had a particularly tough week. Being grateful is good for the soul. Here are just a few things that I am thankful for...

1. birthday celebrations

My cutie nephew had a birthday and we got to celebrate! Yay for birthdays and for celebrations!

Our July has so many birthdays, but when  you're still a toddler, you get to have parties! :)

2. free pools!!!

After my sad post on FB about there not being a pool to buy anywhere, a friend of mine sent me a message offering me her old one! It had been in storage for a year, and may have a small tear somewhere, but if we were interested, we could have it!  We were interested! :)

Yay!  I'm so thankful for friends who offer items willingly! I'm so thankful for a way to make our summer a bit more fun! I'm mostly thankful for getting this pool just before we went into Stage Three Water Restrictions and couldn't do that anymore!

3. neighbourhood pool party

Who doesn't like a little impromptu pool party with the neighbours? 

4. Play Dates

I actually hate the term "playdate", but I am thankful for afternoons that are spent with friends!  Bryn got to go to his friend's house one day, and one day we all went to the park with another friend. Yay for summer, and sunshine, and get togethers!

 5. siblings

My brother was here for the RUSH concert, and his daughter for the One Direction concert, which meant that they got to come to our BBQ celebration!  I haven't seen my brother in a year!  I can't even recall how long it's been since the three of us siblings have been together.

I am so thankful that we got to see each other, even if it was for just a few hours. I miss us!

6.  Specialist Appointments

The Olders were seeing a Pediatrician for a few years, but every time this past year we tried to make an appointment, he  would cancel it. It was for good reasons: mostly due to being called for an emergency consult at a hospital (he worked out of SMH and BCCH along with his clinic), and once to being on a family vacation (even that I was ok with. This man works in two busy hospitals plus a clinic on the weekends and late evenings? when did he even have time for family?)  I was so pleased when he called to book a check up with us, since it had been so long! I was more pleased when it wasn't canceled!  He was an hour behind schedule, but we were patient; he's a good doctor and I know that he never rushes us through appointments.  I love doctors like that!

7.  Date Nights

Okay, so it really wasn't a "date", but Hunny and I went somewhere we don't usually go for over an hour and that was fun, so I am counting it!  We got lost walking around the Guildford Mall looking for the Apple store, despite using the interactive map! I spent a lot of my teens at that mall, but they've changed so much and added many new stores and features that it doesn't resemble my memories. It's so nice in there!

 I am so thankful that we can go out just the two of us, knowing that Abi is responsible enough to watch the kids at home for a few hours. I am so thankful that our evening, although just running around looking, was fun and that we could enjoy some time together. Our house is full and loud and snatching moments away is so good for us!

8. Soccer Camp

This past week, we were able to put Bryn back into the High Power soccer camp again, which was such a huge blessing. We weren't going to because of cost, but it worked out! He even got to go with his friend, our neighbour. And another blessing was that he even had the same team leader as last year, Sam, which is something that Bryn was hoping for. What a great week!  So many things to be thankful for!


9. Lightsabre Pool Noodle Duels**

Abi made some lightsabres out of pool noodles, so the Olders had some fun matches in the pool!

10.  Night Sliding

I feel conflicted on this one. I am so thankful that I got to be a part of this year's youth group trip to the Cultus Lake Waterpark, since I had gone before, but this also happened to be the one day of all summer that it!!! I was thankful for that as well, as we seriously needed this rain, but of all the days.... the good news is that there wasn't too many line ups and it wasn't busy! By 10:30pm, everyone was either in the hot tubs or they had left! My little group (which consisted of Abi, Kai and two of their friends) held out until it closed at midnight, then we made our journey back home. I dropped Abi off at her friends' house at  1am for a sleepover, and then took the boys to our house. It was a fun experience. But so cold! (I got neck and shoulder strain due to the cold!) But I am thankful that we got to go this year again, and that the kids were able to invite friends. This was Kai's first year going since he is now old enough to join the youth group!

So many things to be thankful for!  

What are you thankful for? 

***ok, so here is a question for you. How do you spell Lightsabre? I am Canadian, so I use the Queen's English, which means that it is spelled with an "RE". When Kai saw it, he got all worked up, telling me it's LightSABER! haha. I guess since it was created by George Lucas, and he's American, it is spelled with an "ER", but it feels weird!

Monday, July 27, 2015

swtiching to a new computer

Okay, it finally happened: our computer died.

The "old computer", that is.  Our "new computer" is fine.

We bought the new computer two years ago because we knew that the old one didn't have much longer to live. I'm surprised we had two more years!  But sadly, it will not connect to the internet any more. We've tried a bunch of different ideas too.

So I'm in the process of trying to switch things over to this new computer...but it just feels so different. so wrong. so not normal! The screen is too large (this computer serves as our tv as well), the desk isn't the right height, it doesn't know my sites or passwords, I have no photos, I can't figure out how to find this is going to take a while.

Bear with me.

Friday, July 24, 2015


This is just a gentle reminder to myself, and to anyone else with chronic pain and illness.

I understand.

Some days will be rough and you'll be on the couch resting, trying to breathe, and that's ok. Don't beat yourself up. Some people will understand (hopefully you've surrounded yourself with more of those people) and some won't (hopefully you've disregarded their words and realize they are from those who just don't get it.)  

Good days will come again!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Welcome back to Thankful Thursday, a feature started by Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me, where we look back over our week and remember our blessings.  It is so good to see all that has happened, especially if you have had a particularly tough week. Being grateful is good for the soul. Here are just a few things that I am thankful for...

1.  free slurpees

Who doesn't like free slurpees on the eleventh day of the seventh month at 7-eleven?

2.  berries

We went berry picking this week as a family and came home with full buckets and full tummies!

3. no cavities

Rhys' dental cleaning and check up went well. No cavities! And he has new molars coming in!

4. castle fun  park

This week, my parents met the kids and I at Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford. It's a family amusement park that I went to a few times as a teenager too!  It's neat to be able to take my own kids to it now, even if it does make me feel old! haha.  I find that I'm having more fun now though, as there is more to do and more that I am willing to do!  This year, I tried out the bumper cars (seriously fun! I want some in my know, when we build our dream house with the huge games' room!) and the go carts!  The kids had a blast playing the arcade games and playing mini golf!  It was such a fun afternoon!

5. rain!

 I am so thankful for rain this week! It wasn't a lot, and to be honest, we needed a whole lot more, but it was something. I didn't realize this before but we hadn't had rain since sometime in May! Wow!

It's been cooler the past few days as well, so I'm hoping we have more rain coming.

6. Forest fire update

I read on the BC Forest Fire Info FB page that the Dog Mountain fire is 100% contained! So wonderful to read that!!! I don't know where that is, but it's good news!

7. water fun

With the few hot days we had here, the boys were being creative and dumping buckets of water on their heads for challenges!

8. cousins playing

I have been babysitting my nephews for several months now; everytime my Favoritest Sister gets off of night shift (she is a NICU nurse) It's been a fun time! The Younger cousins have fun playing together, and we don't get together nearly enough!

Sadly, this past week was my last shift for them.  :(  

They won't be needing me as jobs have changed and now their Daddy will be home with them in the daytime! Yay for them, but too bad for me!  When my new nephew arrives in the Fall, maybe I'll be able to sneak over for Auntie snuggles anyways!


9. Cards and gifts

We took some friends of the Olders camping with us this month, and to say 'thanks' we received a lovely card with a Starbucks gift card inside! Sweet!  How thoughtful!

10.  A good walk and some swings

I was so frustrated. angry and hurt one day this week, and I just needed to get out of the house by myself.  So once dinner was ready, I told my Hunny I was going for a walk and left. I am so thankful that I can do that, and that we have a good neighbourhood. I am thankful for the park nearby that I could walk to and for the swings that I could go on. Swinging makes me feel free to just think and pray and clear my mind. (I'm not thankful for the sore hips and legs that I had after I got off the swing that was obviously made for school-aged children, but that's neither here nor there!)

So that's my week in a nutshell. It's been so long since I've written a TT post; I've been busy lately! It's good to write one out again!  What about you? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

not a morning person

 Actually, I'll say "sort of" or "I guess"!

Gandalf said it first..
"Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

cardiology update

After being late for my Cardiology appointment last month (I thought for sure that it was at 1:30, but when I arrived just before that time I learned that it was actually at 1 and I was considered a No Show. Oops. My bad.), I finally saw my cardiologist this morning. (that is, after he was an hour late. I thought he was getting me back or just forgot about me, but it turns out he has a 3rd year student doctor with him today and she didn't appear to be too bright)  He said that my latest ECHO shows a "normal" heart. The percentage was 65, which is perfect ("like an Olympic athlete.", were his words!)....not that I know what that means when I relay it back to someone, but it made sense in the office! 

My Mitral Valve Prolapse is still considered "mild" and my regurgitation (where the blood falls back out past the valve) is "Mild to Moderate." He still can't hear the "click" when he listens to my heart, which is also good. (MVP is usually diagnosed by an Echocardiogram, as in my case, or by hearing it on a stethoscope. Your heart will sound like this: I thought that sounded musical!) 

As for the fatigue, chest pain, lightheadedness, numb or tingly fingers or toes, or flip/floppy heart palps and breathlessness that I occasionally get, he just said that it is hard for me being a mom to 5 kids. Which is the excuse my own doctor gives me as well. Argh! It's so frustrating hearing that! Funny, how I never use that excuse!

 My BP is a bit high, so he is putting me on a med called Coversyl (the box say it's Perindopril Erbumine if anyone knows what that means) and is going to get me a free BP machine. I see him in 6 months to see if there is any change!

So that was that!  I ended up leaving feeling good, despite not getting any real answers on my other symptoms (which he asked me if I had). I am going to rest on the fact that this specialist says that my heart is doing well, is considered normal, that I had this since birth (it's in the family; my Opa has this as well) and that I will continue to have this. According to his tests and reports, I am doing well. So I guess that means I continue to keep my anxiety down with breathing exercises and Bible memory and prayer, which seems to help so far.

this is why I suck at small talk

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

cool in the pool

It's not the lake, and it's not big, but it's just perfect in this heat!

 We are thankful that Grandma Lynn bought a pool for her yard that the kids can jump around in!

We tried to look into picking up one ourselves (Hunny has actually been looking since May for ideas. Apparently having a pool is something he is serious about. We used to own one a few years ago, but we got rid of it for some reason that I can't recall.) however, there is not a pool in our price range to be found in the Lower Mainland anymore!  He found one online at Canadian Tire, but when he looked again an hour later, it was sold!

And with our water restrictions going on, filling one will become difficult anyways.  We'll have to find other ideas. (Hunny nixxed my idea of resurrecting the Boat Pool; said it wasn't good for the boat. Phooey.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Missing Mountains

We used to have mountains in BC. We used to be able to see them from our deck and on our drives around town. But now they are missing, and it's so sad.

Currently, BC is battling over 60 forest fires. 

Chris Hadfield, our Famous (and awesome) Cdn Astronaut, posted this on Twitter today:

To put it into perspective, here is a comparison shot of Vancouver normally in summer (bottom), and Vancouver covered in a smokey haze. Wow.

{photo by Cheryl Smith}

Currently, two communities have issues States of Emergency due to wild fires: Port Hardy and Squamish Lillooet Regional District. Scary thought!

Metro Vancouver is also in a Stage 2 Water Restrictions, which means only watering once a week. A part of me thinks it seems counterintuitive; if it is so dry out there that fires are starting from absentminded people, then doesn't getting things wet make sense? But I also understand that we need to be consientious on our water useage due to it being so dry.  What a summer this is starting out to be!

When we were traveling up for our camping trip at the end of June, we drove past the fires near Lytton. We could actually see some of the orange flames at the top fires! It was fascinating, yet also worrying and sad.  I understand that wild fires can actually be good for us in the long run, but it's sad when you think of the forests being destroyed, the animals being displaced, the firefighters who put their lives at risk, and the air quality making it hard for others.

Last night, the smoke started to become more noticeable in our own neighbourhood. We could see it and smell it when we went out to visit family; it was disturbing. But it was also so hot out, that at bedtime we had to make a tough decision. Do we close the windows and heat up the house further to keep the smoke out? (it was starting to bother my breathing) Or do we bear with the smoke and keep the cool air coming in along with it?  In the end, we closed the windows. Man, it was hot and hard to sleep!

It's so easy for me to get anxious and worried over things that may or may not happen. My mind starts to think "Worst Case Scenario Thoughts", such as what if the air gets so bad that we have trouble breathing and it triggers asthma attacks in the kids? what if the heat doesn't cool down and we are overcome by heat exhaustion? what if we need to evacuate? Thoughts that I don't need to worry about, things that aren't likely to occur, but thoughts that enter my mind anyways.  (for some reason, I think of Pompeii and I wonder what it must have been like for them to see their skies cover in ash and smoke. I know wafting smoke from fires several thousand kilometres away and an erupting volcano above your town are different, but my mind doesn't always make sense!) I've been trying to focus my thinking by  praying for His Peace and meditating on His Word.

I was reminded of these two verses last night:

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  ~Psalm 56:3

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you. ~Isaiah 43:2-4

I am so thankful that we have firefighters bravely fighting to contain the many fires raging right now (and am praying for the families involved of the tree feller who died while working on one of the fires last night. It is a hard and dangerous job.), and I am thankful that God is in control of all of this and I can find strength in Him when I feel weak or worried. When I look to Him, I find that the stress does fall away.

Please join me in praying for the safety of the firefighters and volunteers and those involved in keeping our province safe, and in praying for health for those who are vulnerable (the elderly, young children and those with heart disease and diabetes and asthma were told to keep indoors in Metro Vancouver). 

Pray also for rain! (with no lightening)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Welcome back to Thankful Thursday, a feature started by Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me, where we look back over our week and remember our blessings.  It is so good to see all that has happened, especially if you have had a particularly tough week. Being grateful is good for the soul. Here are just a few things that I am thankful for...

1. trees to climb

2. dinner with friends

 I am so thankful for the friends that we have and that we could go out and enjoy an evening together, and that our kids play well and that it is just like being among family. sunglasses

 {I'm Batman}

4.  swings that make you fly

4. texts that give you hope again

 I received a message from a friend that I hadn't heard from in such a long time that I had just about given up on our relationship; she just wasn't responding to me and it hurt.  I don't know what will happen in the end, but I am thankful that she sent something. 

I am thankful that even though friendships change, He is always faithful.

5. sparklers

 {yay. sparklers.}

{that's better. that's the spirit!}

6. music that makes us move

This is currently Rhys' favourite song:  Build Your Kingdom by Rend Collective.  (he also loves their song "Lighthouse")  He will play it over and over and sing and dance, and it is so wonderful to see!  I love his spirit!  (and, seriously, how FUN is Rend Collective???)

7.  front yard visits with neighbours

We live in a really good neighbourhood and have been blessed that the people who live on either side of us are great people. We have known eachother for 12 years and our kids have grown up together and we have shared in each others' lives!  It's nice to be able to sit in our yards and just visit!  I am thankful for the women I live by!

8. water to splash in

9.  rest

I am so thankful that after several busy days, when my body is fatigued and I feel overwhelmed, that He gives me rest.  I am given a day of quiet, where I can rest on the couch without the kids needing much. My body needs this every so often!

10.  laughs at the dinner table

My Hunny was teasing Abi about something and told her to "suck it up, Princess!" Eden stood up on her chair and pointed her finger at Abi, hotly telling her father, "She's not a Princess!  I'm a Princess!"

What a funny girl!  Apparently there can not be two princesses!

So that's my week in a nutshell. How has your week been?  I'd love to celebrate your Thankful list with you: share it in the comments!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy birthday, Canada!  Just 148 years young!!

I am so proud to be a Canadian! (heck, I'm so proud, it's in my user name!) It is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country. I love it here and couldn't think of any more perfect place to live!

Have fun celebrating! And be safe!!!  We'll be by the lake with sparklers and hopefully s'mores!

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