Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm melting!

There is another humidex advisory for my area today. I am staying close to my air conditioner and trying to keep everyone hydrated.

My challenge is how to occupy the kids indoors when they would rather be outside running around. The budget doesn't allow for daily trips to the coffee shop with the play area or the greasy fast food restaurant that has one. I have saved up pennies to throw in the mall fountain for an outing later this week.

While my iced coffee is chilling here are some indoor ideas I have found thanks other creative and hot parents out there...

  • Flubber! Watch a cool chemical reaction and then play away. I sank small plastic animals from the dollar store into the flubber for Char to dig out and she had a ball with that.
  • From the same website that brought flubber into my house, Ice painting is next on my list to try.
  • For the youngsters: High Chair water play
  • For bigger kids, how about revisiting the bean box from winter? Fill your biggest roaster pan with dried beans and rice, add measuring cups, toy cars, small toys and you have all the fun of a sandbox indoors with less clean up!
  • In the same vein, find a big plastic bin (go to your basement and find one full of clothes--put them in a recycle bag for now....) Fill the bottom with cool water and add toys. Splash, cool off, make a clean spot on the floor! Bonus points if you have some coloured bath tablets around to put in there too.
  • Freeze yogurt tubes for cool snacks that are a bit more nutritious than frozen sugar water freezies. My grocery store also sells sugar free applesauce in tubes in the canned fruit aisle that I also freeze for snacks. I am putting those away in the back of my mind for teething time with my new baby too!!
Emmett has been having fun on the computer in the afternoons while Char and I snooze. Here are his favourite websites:
Kid's CBC
Sesame Street
PBS Kids
Veggietales Arcade
By the way....firefox is an awesome browser if only because I can put those sites on the bookmark tool bar and Emmett can find them all by himself.

While you're online, Simpsonize your family....it is a fabulous time waster!!
Stay cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nesting, room by room.

Inspired by the part of my Mommy Vacation Bible School that I really like (the how to organize your house and come out of chaos part) I sat down yesterday and wrote down room by room how I can improve our home. Please bear with me. I need this list somewhere the kids can't rip it up and colour on it!

Front Entrance:

  • Buy low shelf or shoe rack. Add baskets for each member of the family to use for belongings (colour coded)
  • Add more coat hooks
Living Room:
  • Build shelves along top of French doors and dining room doors for movies and books
  • Add another row of coat hooks at back door
  • Long term: add more cabinets, wrapping them around north and west wall.
  • Now: Cut down table to make it narrower and easier to get around. Long term: find proper island to replace table.
  • Clean off top of fridge, put up force field/electric stunning thingy so it cannot be used as a dumping area any more
Storage area at top of Basement Stairs:
  • Purge clothing and sort.
  • Move boxes of clothing to Richard's office?
  • Add more shelves
  • Sort out winter gear
  • Sort extra toys and baby gear
Char's room:
  • Repair broken chest of drawers to use for baby gear.
  • Install more shelving
Emmett's room:
  • Label toy bins
  • Gather up outgrown clothes and take out of room I gained half a closet!! bonus!!
  • Rearrange to make room for crib and extra dresser
My room:
  • Find new home for fabric and yarn stash
  • Make room for bassinette
Linen Closet:
  • Sort and purge extra sheets
  • Clean off top shelf (what the heck is up there????)I found a Laura Ashley sheet and duvet cover set!!! Score!!
  • Add more hooks for hanging towels

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vacation Bible School

The flier arrived in my mailbox last week. Vacation Bible school! Mommy Program! Free Babysitting! Just come to XYZ Church! The theme is Rescue Zone: Saved by God's Power. As a Sunday School Superintendant myself I know these things come in boxes. I looked up this curriculum and found a fun fire truck and police man theme--right up Emmett's alley. I threw caution to the wind and signed us all up. I am a whore for free babysitting and I thought that if I stayed for the mommy program I would be close by if Emmett didn't take well to being thrown into a room full of strangers.

Every day this week I pack us up and drive to the Fundamentalist Baptist Church across town and Emmett waves goodbye and trots off with his class and I drop Charlotte off in the nursery and trot off to my own class.

It turns out he is not the one I needed to worry about. As fortune would have it the teacher for his level knows basic sign language and Emmett is having a ball with the kids. He has found a cute little girl to follow around and she doesn't seem to mind too much. Char does not like being left in the nursery, but she is adjusting.

Who is the one having the trouble? Me. A (secular)homeschooling friend of mine warned me a bit about what to expect from this particular church--it turns out many of the families that go there are homeschoolers too and are deeply conservative and Fundamentalist.

I am starting to get uncomfortable in my classes. I have already been subtly told several times that my church is the *wrong* church. The life I am leading is going to send me straight to Hell and that even my favourite translation of the Bible is not the right one. In this place it is King James or nothing. Our church uses New International and I like it much, much better. Yesterday I was asked if I have been *Saved*. I am not even sure what that means. I don't like how they preach that every day I must strive to pull my family out of Satan's clutches and away from the firy doors of Hell. They told me that even though my children are gifts from God (they are) they are so full of sin they may as well be minions of Satan (ok, so that one I believe on some days...) and that I must *Save* them too. I am not used to this. We don't *Save* people in my church. I have never once heard my priest say that if you do one thing and not another you will go straight to Hell and drag your loved ones with you.

I am torn since in amongst the talk of eternal damnation I am enjoying the lessons on how to stream line and organize my house (the Mommy Bible School theme is Heart and Home Rescue). I am enjoying the Bible study. The pointed questions about my personal beliefs are making me uncomfortable. The subtle jabs against my own Church family makes me squirmy. I am so new to my own faith that is still growing and evolving. I feel like I am stumbling on my path to God now. I don't feel equipped to deal with the pointed questions. I can't battle verse for verse with these people when they start quoting the Old Testament to back up their arguments. My brain has melted from the heat and pregnancy. Part of me wants to run screaming, but part of me is still curious enough to want to see it through for the three days that are left.

April? Cheryl? We need to talk!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mommies, go get a cup of coffee and settle in for this one....(you might need a tissue too.)

Someone posted this at a homeschooling message board I frequent. I feel I need to share it. The words really resonated with me and I know I will have to come back and read it again.

Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author:

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I
take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two
taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books
I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their
opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I
choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to
keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the
bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by
themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber
ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible
except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now.
Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry
and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown
obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are
battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages
dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what
the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what
they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true- false test, then becomes
multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless
essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive
reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a
timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2. When my first
child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he
would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were
put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome.
To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then
soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the
research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr.
Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes
three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking
for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there
something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his
tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged?
Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college.
He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were
made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When- Mom-Did" Hall of
Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not
theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for
preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day
when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her
geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I
include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through
speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They
all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons
for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing
this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now
that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture
of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the
swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember
what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they
looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to
get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured
the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today
I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply
life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would
become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply
grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I
back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often
tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all
turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who
have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what
the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the
experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I think I am getting better.

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes and phoned me last week (yes, even Janelle, who phoned to yell at me for overexerting myself....) I am starting to feel much, much better but I wouldn't say I am at 100% health yet. Every time I say I am "All better." I seem to have another setback--like last night when I cooked delicious steak sandwiches for dinner and then looked at the plate and realized there was no way I could eat any of it. I also still get tired really easily but that could have less to do with lingering illness and more to do with the fact I am in my eighth month of pregnancy.

I am so grateful that Richard is good at putting the kids to bed and looks forward to his after work playtime with them. That meant that even though I didn't have a lot of help during the day, as soon as he walked through the door at 6:00 I could go straight to bed and not have to think about anyone after that. I am also grateful that when Charlotte napped during the day Emmett was happy to watch a movie or play a video game so I could pass out for a while myself.

I am crossing my fingers and knocking on wood that no one else in the house comes down with this now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A tale of woe.

I have not been feeling very well these past couple of days. It all started on Saturday where we had to bake under the sun on the steamiest day of Summer at a friend's outdoor wedding.

I tried to drink enough, but I guess I just couldn't replace the constant stream of sweat that was running down my body for most of the day. Sunday I was tired, but didn't think much of it, just tried to carry on with my day as best as I could.

Monday I woke up nauseous and tired, having more painful Braxton-Hicks contractions than I was used to. I shrugged it off, left the kids with our respite worker and headed out to run errands and get groceries (yes, I deserve a kick in the pants for that.....) I got home from errands and felt really, really awful. More nauseous, the baby was rolling and kicking and the contractions were getting more frequent and uncomfortable. I put Char to bed, turned on a movie for Emm and slept. Every time I moved the contractions would hit me. I tried to eat and got sick. No, I still haven't called the midwife yet (Stupid!!! Kick me again!)

I went online to check my email and IMed with a friend who finally said CALL THE MIDWIFE since I was not getting any better. Midwife said "Get your tail down to the clinic, you need an IV".

Thankfully, the friend I was messaging with was just finishing work and came over to watch the kids. Midwife decided I was not in preterm labour, but if I had gotten any more dehydrated it could have turned into that. She ran 1500 ml of IV fluid into me in just over an hour (for you non medical types, that is pretty darn fast) and the contractions finally started to slow down and space out, baby started to relax. The Midwife explained that my uterus was irritable because of the dehydration and the fact that my electrolytes were probably completely out of whack. I went home with orders to take Gravol and Gatorade and go to bed. That is what I did. I slept for 11 hours and today just feel a bit weak and shakey. No more contractions.

I need to keep reminding myself that I am in my third trimester in the thick of summer. I have to be more careful. I got food poisoning when I was late into my pregnancy with Emm, but never got this dehydrated because it was December when it happened and I wasn't sweating all the time. I can't do it all!!!

I promise I will take it easy today and not over exert myself. Girl Guide's honour. I need to bake this kiddo for a minimum of four more weeks before it will be safe for him or her to come out.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Happy Canada Day!!

To celebrate Canada Day we took the kids to our city's annual celebrations held down beside the river that runs through town. There was plenty to do--food, entertainment, face painting, but the kids wanted to run around the marsh and look for ducks.

Emm ran a long, long way.