Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Concerts - Part 3

Alex's Christmas Concert performance.

Christmas Concerts - Part 2

Connor's Christmas play.  He's the one in the dragon costume!!!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Concerts - part 1 - Kirstin

Kirstin's Strong Start class performs Jingle Bells!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Santa's citizenship

My children wrote letters to Santa last week.  Complete with full colour illustrations of the gifts that they would like this year.  

Alex's letter (edited several times over the course of a couple of days):

Kirstin's letter:

 Connor's letter:

I have to commend their efforts.  But I also cringed when in my mind I calculated the budget required to fulfill this years' dreams!   Two DS's and a Wii U?  Not to mention the Star Wars Lego Millenium Falcon which bears a hefty price tag of $99 for something that's likely going to be spread all over the living room by Boxing Day, and inadvertently vacuumed up over the next several months.


So I had a conversation with the children about how Santa's elves don't know how to make electronics, and Santa actually has to purchase those types of gifts.  And how if we ask for too much, then it makes us look greedy and it takes away from his budget for all of the other children in the world.  They seemed to be okay with that explanation. Alex even amended his letter to state that if given the choice, he'd prefer the Wii U over the DS.  (The more expensive Wii U --- but something the whole family can share so maybe a better bang for Santa's bucks)

Kirstin has only asked for one thing... the 2012 Holiday Collector Barbie.  Not something I would ever consider purchasing for her.  She's still at an age that she destroys the hair and undresses the barbies and loses the clothing.  The "collector" status of any barbie in our house is greatly dimished the second she gets it out of the box.  Still what are toys if they aren't meant to be played with, right?  And it's the only thing she wants for Christmas.  An ethical dilemma I'll leave to Santa to solve.

I guess we'll have to see.  I think Santa's going to pick and choose from the wishes of my children.  I doubt that he will bring them everything their hearts desire.  But maybe he'll bring them one or two things they want, enough that they'll still be excited by the magic that is Santa.

The kids kept harassing me about 'when are you going to mail our letters' and I kept procrastinating hoping I could get away with keeping them for future scrapbook potential.  But they prevailed in their nagging... so I took photos and we sent the originals away. We mailed them to:  

Santa Claus, 
The North Pole 

Canada Post must have delivered the mail rather quickly because on Wednesday, they each received a response from the big guy himself!!  Which was pretty exciting around here.  The letters were form letters so each one got the same letter. At this time of year, with the sheer volume of mail Santa must receive, it's no wonder he writes one letter and sends photocopies to everyone else.  My children thought that was very wise of him.  They even commented that it was how I do our Christmas letter, too.

The interesting thing was the return address.  The letters came from the same place we'd sent them, only with a slight addition...

Santa Claus
The North Pole


The thought had never occurred to me that the North Pole might actually be in Canadian Territory!  I just assumed that, floating in the middle of the ocean the way it is, it doesn't belong to any country.  But when you do some research, Canada and Denmark have land masses that are equal distance away and the North Pole could go either way.

How cool is that? A little seasonal geography to mull over this time of year.  We might actually share a country with all the inhabitants of the North Pole... Santa and the Mrs, the reindeer, the elves!    And if that is the case, well then that would make Santa Claus a Canadian Citizen!  He's one of us!  I love that!  I mean, we are known to be a generous, multi-cultural, overtly friendly bunch of people.  Why wouldn't Santa be a Canadian?   Makes sense.

What a fantastic claim to fame!  The most famous, loveable, generous, fun-loving man in the world is a Canuck!

I guess we've earned our bragging rights, hey fellow Canadians?

At the very least, we can stop apologizing for Celine Dion now...

Merry Christmas!  Hope Santa is good to you this year! 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Chris Baty sent me a personal message!

I love November!  It's "National Novel Writing Month".  When I stumbled across it in 2009, I didn't have any idea whether or not it was actually feasible to write a 50K word novel in a month (it's approximately 200 double spaced pages).  But I was up for the challenge.  At that time I had a 5, 2, and 1 year old.  They went to bed relatively easily, so I did all my writing after that, from about 9-11 pm every night.

Thus, "Patchwork Saturdays" was born.

In 2010, knowing I had 'won' the year before, I was confident that I could do it again.  This time I worked on a novel idea that had been percolating in my brain since 2006.  I wrote 50K words on "Undesirable".

2011, I wrote 50K words again, this time on "My Grandfather's Clock".

Seeing a pattern here?  I am.  I am excellent at starting things, absolutely horrendous at finishing them.  I now have 3 unfinished first drafts of three very different novels.  I'm pretty pleased with them.  They're rough, unpolished, and rambling... but underneath their rough exteriors, they're really quite good.  At least, they're they kind of book I would read.

So, this year... I was expecting a baby in early November!  Poor planning on my part.  November is MY month.  I shouldn't schedule anything else in November.  At all.  I really didn't have high hopes of getting much novelling done this year and was going to take 2012 off, although the thought really disappointed me.  But, I have a friend (I sucked her into Nano-ing last year) who was very motivating (she even wrote me a poem to inspire me!) and I though, what the heck, I'll give it a try.

I didn't start until November 7th.  So I was already 11,667 words behind right out of the gate.

And I didn't have any ideas for an original story.

So I cheated.  Well, technically I was a Nano Rebel (according to Nanowrimo rules).  I continued to work on my 2010 novel, Undesirable instead of starting a whole new story.

And somehow despite having a newborn, I hit the 50,000 word finish line.  Two days early! :)  I just left the laptop on and typed whenever I could, sometimes one-handed with a daughter or two on my lap. I now have a 380 page, almost finished, first draft off my 6 year story in the making.  I have to say, I'm very excited.  Maybe I can finish the actual manuscript before I go back to work next October and start submitting it to publishers.

Easy Peasy...I've got a few chapters to finish typing, some plot lines to tie up, then a heavy due proofing job that goes beyond spell checker, then I need 5-10 volunteers to read and critique, then compile their suggestions, do a re-write eliminating the crap, another editing / proofing job...

Nah, it probably won't be ready to call a manuscript by next fall.  :P

Anyway, the crux of my blog post wasn't to brag about my insane annual hobby, it was actually to brag that I  got a facebook message from the founder of Nanowrimo!  He posted a slogan contest on facebook, and I was one of the 7 people who won it.  He's sending me a poster as a prize, and he sent me a personal message congratulating me!  So made my day!!!

My slogan...  "Week Four: My children have no clean underwear!"

Now that November is over, time to catch up on the laundry and embrace the Christmas Season!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A Good Baby

Brooklynn is two-and-a half weeks new, now.  My husband has used up his vacation time and returned to work.  The boys are in school and Kirstin is in preschool and dance lessons.  It was inevitable, I suppose, time to face reality.  

We ventured out in public.  Twice now!  And it's been surprisingly successful.

Yesterday Brooklynn was in and out of the car seat three times helping me play chauffeur (read "mini-van mom").  She got introduced to the other moms picking up their kids at preschool (Kirstin made sure everyone got to see her baby sister) and she hung out with the boys and I outside of Kirstin's dance class.  She was the one without the colouring book...

And, although I knew it was coming, I was still unprepared for it.  Two different people asked me that question that people ask.  The one that drives me up the wall.  The one that I cannot help but answer with a snotty reply.

"Is she a good baby?"

Why, no... no she isn't.  She poops in her pants CONSTANTLY, she burps without saying 'excuse me', she interrupts me while I'm making supper or talking on the phone... she stays up too late, she complains if we don't give her undivided attention... she NEVER cleans up after herself, and she's recently taking to spitting on me.  Every time she cries, I have to change my shirt.  Oh, and she sucks her thumb because she knows that means we'll have to fork over thousands to the orthodontist when she's older.

The little brat is driving me crazy!!!

Okay, that's not actually what I said.  What I said was, "Of course, ALL babies are good babies!"

I'm not exactly sure what other answer people expect me to give.  If you want to know if my baby cries a lot, then ask me that.  If you want to know if she's sleeping through the night (umm... she's 18 days old, are you kidding me?), then ask me that.  If you want to know if she has fit seamlessly into our lives without me having to sacrifice any of my adult indulgences... well, that's just nuts.  You don't have children expecting not to have to give up a little free time here and there.

I supposed I could just say, "Yes, she's a wonderful baby!"  But I can't.  The question makes me crazy.  People have asked it with every single one of my children.  Everyone one of my children has been very different in their personality and quirks.  And every single one of them has been a fabulous baby.  If they weren't, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have four of them now.

Babies are designed to be challenging.  

If they slept for 8 hours a night right off the bat, and then had a two hour awake period followed by a three hour nap, consistently every day, they would starve.

If they were content to lie in their cribs and quietly stare at the ceiling while I sit and scrapbook/write/crochet/watch television/facebook/blog (insert indulgent hobby here), they would get flat heads and developmental delays from being understimulated.  

If they never cried, well, they'd be under-cuddled, riddled with diaper rash, hungry, etc (insert basic needs here).

And if I could pop a soother in their mouth everytime they wanted to nurse and I didn't feel like it, they would learn to ignore their feeding cues and they would fail to thrive.

So, really... please don't ask me if she's a good baby.  I will tell you what I've told the other 200 people that have asked me that over the years...  "All babies are good babies!"

Our 'Good Baby'  --- self-soothing with her thumb, nature's pacifier! 

Incidentally, she hardly ever cries, she sleeps 20+ hours a day, she only wakes me up twice a night for a twenty minute feed and then goes right back to sleep, and she's quite content to sit in my lap while I crochet, watch tv, type, etc.  We think there's something wrong with her...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

whiny update...

After my 'feeling sorry for myself' blog post last week, I thought I should update my 7 or 8 readers that actually check this page.

At my appointment this morning baby was head down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That was confirmed by both my midwife and a hastily booked ultrasound.  Took him/her awhile to figure things out, but s/he did not disappoint, and turned right in the nick of time.

No ECV (external cephalic version) for me.

No middle of the night ambulance ride if my waters break while baby is transverse and at risk of cord prolapse.

No elective or emergency c-section (hopefully).

We are officially able to breathe easy now, and just wait and see when Mother Nature wants this baby to come.

Bring it on, baby, I'm ready and I am sooo happy that I get to meet you the most natural way possible!

(Hmmm... wonder if I should let my employer know that I am going to be around for my last 8 shifts after all, if they want me to come back in...  nah...)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Hatching, part 2...

I can't help it, here's another anecdote about  how I botched another perfect opportunity for "the talk"...

The boys were arguing about our cats.

Connor said, "Lily is a Mommy."

Alex said, "No she's not!  She hasn't had kittens yet."

Connor asked me, "When's Lily going to have kittens?"

I replied, "Well, Lily can't have kittens.  Before we got her, she had an operation so she couldn't."

Connor asked, "What's an operation?"

I answered, "Well, sometimes the doctor has to take out a part of someone's body, or fix something inside..."

Alex responded, "Oh... so they took out her baby-maker!"

Me... "Umm, yes, something like that."

Kirstin pipes up, having followed the whole conversation with interest... "Mama, are you going to take out your baby-maker?"

Me... "Umm... no..."

Kirstin, "So, what if you have lots and lots of more babies? Where will we put them all?"

Me: "Well... umm... we're not planning to..."

Kirstin.  "Oh."  She ponders this for a minute.  "So, how many eggs you got left to hatch?"

Hahaha... still hatching this one, huh?  I have the best kids ever... now off to the library now to find a book that teaches me how to teach my kids about reproduction without scarring them permanently...

* * *
And  while we're on the topic, an update about my hatchling.   This little one is STUBBORN!  It has been weeks now and s/he has moved back and forth from breech to transverse in my stomach.  Basically head up to lying sideways across my belly.  S/he shows absolutely no desire to flip head down like instinct and nature intends.

And we're running out of time.

So, if my midwife decrees, on Tuesday, that baby is STILL transverse, then I will be seeing an Obstetrician for an External Cephalic Version.  Do yourself a favour and do not google it!  The nice description is that the OB will try to manually turn the baby by pressing on my stomach.  The not nice version (yeah, I googled it) is that it hurts like a son of a b@#$% and is risky enough that you have to have it done in a hospital with an operating room standing by in case baby needs to come out ASAP by caesarean.

ECV is successful about 60% of the time.  So, that means that, if this baby doesn't turn on its own, I have a 6/10 chance of avoiding an elective c-section by doing this.  If I don't do it, I'm not giving this baby the best possible chance for a natural childbirth. If I do do it, this baby might be born a couple of weeks earlier than we're anticipating.  But in my mind, it's not a question of whether we do it, it's a question of when.

My midwife thinks that there's enough room still for the baby,  for it to be successful, but she also cautioned me that it also means that there is enough room for baby to turn right back to his or her happy sideways state, so we might want to consider induction to have the baby before s/he turns sideways again.
Needless to say, we have some serious thinking to do in the next few days.

And just to put a little icing on the cake, while I am sitting here with a transverse baby kicking me in the gut, my midwife has also has cautioned me about the risk of cord-prolapse, should I go into labour and my water break before I reach a hospital.  Great.  I googled that one too! :P

Anyway, the complications of having a transverse baby are enough that I made a somewhat hasty decision to start my maternity leave two weeks earlier than intended.  I was supposed to work right up until the 26th, but now I've decided to give myself some breathing space between now and my looming due date.  So that we can do whatever we need to do to have a safe outcome.

Wish me luck this weekend, I'm going to be trying some of the old wives' tale strategies on turning breech babies.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Missed the boat completely...

My middle one starts Kindergarten this year.  My oldest just started Grade 3. My youngest (for now) is eagerly awaiting Kindergarten next year.  They're growing up so fast!  So when the perfect opening came up tonight at dinner, I took the opportunity to talk about safety.  It started out innocent enough.  We talked about how Connor is NOT to leave the school yard during the day.  Alex helped out by explaining the boundaries and where the school fence lies.

So then I led with talking to strangers and I reminded them that they are only to get into the car with their Daddy or I.  No one else is to pick them up from school.  Which of course led to a series of questions:

"What about Grandpa?"

Yes, okay, Grandpa can pick you up, too.

"How about Grandma?"

Yes, Grandma too.  And Aunty Lindsay.  But no one else.

"What about Aunty Victoria?  Or Brandon and Taylor (cousins)?"

Well, Aunty Victoria, yes, but not Brandon and Taylor, they are too young to drive!

"Would you ever send Lily and Sophie to pick us up?"  Uproarious laughter at the thought of our two cats driving to the school to pick the boys up.

No, NEVER get into a car if the cats are driving!

When they calmed down and stopped laughing, I asked them what they would do if someone they didn't know ever offered them candy.

Connor said he would eat it.  Alex said he would fall to the ground and do a litttle dance (huh?).  Kirstin said, "What kind of candy?"

So we chatted about NEVER taking candy from strangers (which of course goes out the window on October 31st) because it could be just a way for the stranger to lure you closer and kidnap you.

"What if it's a cat that offers you candy, then would it be kitty-napping you?"

"Can you take the candy if it's in the trunk of his car and not the seat?"

"What kind of candy?"


And what do you do if someone offers you a cigarette?

"What's a cigarette?"

Good boy!

"What's cancer?"

"Why do people smoke if you get cancer?"

"Grandma doesn't smoke, how did she get cancer?"

"Why are drugs bad?  Isn't medicine drugs?  Does that mean that doctors are evil?"

And don't even ask how our discussion about what to do if someone tries to touch your private parts went.  Let's just say that my children now have a list of people that they would tell if anyone does anything to make them uncomfortable.  It includes my husband and myself, the kids' grandparents, their teachers, the principal, our cats... and a rock.

I have the neatest children who may be hopelessly unprepared for the world.  But that's okay since I'm not so sure the world is ready for them yet, either!  Come to think of it, I'm not so sure that I even am... :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

So that's how they get out of there...

I wrote a post a while back about conversations I've had with my children about the somewhat delicate topic of baby-making and baby-birthing.  And how I am apt to change the subject when one of my inquisitive angels wants too many details.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure we've come up with a new theory about how Mama is going to get this baby out of her stomach.  

But pardon my digression for a moment, as here I have to stop to make a confession... 

I have stretch marks!  

Big, pink, glaring stretch marks.  I've had them since I was pregnant with my first eight years ago.  I probably have more now, I just can't see anything south of my navel so I can't completely verify that.  They stretch all the way from one hip to another, tattooing my abdomen with blazing pride... shouting to the world, "I carried a 10-pound baby for the better part of a year!"

They don't go away, either.  They only hibernate, turning a funny shade of silver as my stomach shrinks back to it's deflated shape.   And I use the word deflated kindly.  Because it hasn't fully deflated since giving birth to my first.  It reminds me of what it's like to blow up a balloon and then suddenly let all the air out of it.  You don't get your original balloon shape back, do you?  Nope... you get my stomach! 

So, here's what we're dealing with.  This is my 31-week belly photo. Please be kind, I'm running out of clothes that flatter and/or fit.  By this time next month I'm pretty sure that I'll be wearing my bathrobe to work.  So, at 31 weeks, that means I still have 9 more weeks (give or take) for this stomach to continue to stretch...  and stretch... and stretch..
Which leads me to the point of my post. 

How this baby is getting the heck out of here...

See, I have this problem of late.  My shirts ride up.  I can't help it.  I pull them down to cover my waist when I get dressed in the morning and by mid-day they seem to have shrunk considerably, exposing my patterned abdomen and my belly button (which has officially become an outie again... a sure sign that this baby is almost fully cooked).

So, I'm lying on my back on my bed next to my daughter the other day.  My shirt has ridden up to somewhere just below my bra.  And my little girl sits up and exclaims in fascination and horror, "Mama! Your stomach is cracking open!"

I had to reassure her that it was not.  

But it did lead to a rather funny, somewhat poignant, image and subsequent conversation about how my babies are NOT born.  

Come to think of it, maybe I should have stuck to the theory that she hatched...

It's easier on the imagination!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Middle Ages

Today my darling husband told me, "We are in the 'maintenance phase' of our lives". He was referring to the plethora of health related prescribed aids we have been so recently acquiring.


I turned 36 three days ago.  That certainly doesn't sound like it should be time for 'maintenance', does it?  I mean, really, I'm still well this side of middle-aged, relatively grey-hair free, fertile... and married to a much older man.  He celebrated his 36th two weeks ago, thank you very much!

So, speak for yourself, buddy!  Maintenance phase my ass!  (My taut, slim, wrinkle-free ass...)

Alright, so today was a bit of a reality check, but that doesn't mean I'm over-the-hill, or even half-way up the slope.  I had a dentist appointment, that's all.  I was fitted for a new mouth guard.  No big deal, I've had one since I was 24, and you certainly can't call THAT maintenance.  So I'm a nocturnal teeth grinder.  Big deal.  You would be too if you were married to someone who had the audacity to infer that you were middle-aged!  Of course, last month at my regular check-up, it was a little daunting to hear, "Oh, you really have to stop grinding your teeth, four of your bottom ones are loose now."   Oops!

So yeah, I've got a brand new mouth guard.  Apparently more effective than the old one that I admit I have gotten out of the habit of wearing of late.  The old one provides a barrier between my top and bottom teeth, on which I can, and did, continuously grind away.  This new on prevents me from closing my mouth together whatsoever, hopefully retraining my jaw to behave itself as I sleep. And it's an ugly sucker!

So that's all he was referring to, really.  Well, that and maybe the tiny fact that (again this is according to my darling husband and no other eyewitnesses whatsoever so you can decide for yourself the validity of the claim) that I have started snoring.  And waking up gasping for air at night.  Like certain people who've had sleep apnea for years.  So I talked to my midwife about this today.  Told her that I have never been more tired in my life and I can sleep for hours and not feel rested. And my husband mistakenly believes that it is I who is snoring.  So, the other thing that I grudgingly picked up in the city today was "Breathe Right Nasal Strips".  Merely as a precaution, because I certainly have not developed a pregnancy induced apnea.  Nope.  Not me! Snoring?  Hah!

There, that's it.  Hardly anything worth worrying about.  Right?

Well, of course, there's also the teeniest little tiny detail that I may have, inadvertently, failed my 1-hour glucose tolerance test.  The blood test done in the second trimester that rules out gestational diabetes. I've never failed it before, so I was a bit surprised to learn that I hadn't aced it this time, either.  So, tomorrow I am off to the lab to have three blood tests spaced at 60-minute intervals after drinking something akin to McDonald's orange drink, to test my body's response to the sugar surge. But, hey, according to Google, two-thirds of women that fail the 1-hour test pass the 2-hour and do not have diabetes.  So the odds are most definitely in my favour.  Most definitely!  :P

But that's it, I swear! I am no where near middle aged (or 'the maintenance phase' which really doesn't sound all that more appealing).  My body is not falling apart on me.  It is healthy, shapely (round is a shape), feminine and nurturing, teeming with life (a very active one with very pointy limbs that keep getting jammed in my side) and, might I repeat, NOT FALLING APART ON ME!  :)

There, that's it, rant over.  On to more pleasing topics... PHOTOS!!!

 My husband and I on his birthday... Alex took the photo.  He was supposed to capture my enormous 26-week baby belly, but a different baby got in the way as he was snapping the photo! 
Alex giving his Dad the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book he'd spent most of July secretly writing and illustrating.  It's awesome!  I'm very proud of him.  

My sweet baby boy's eighth birthday!  How did he get to be eight already, when I've barely aged a day? 

We just helped my husband's grandmother celebrate her 90th birthday. She's the one in the middle, between her daughter and her grand-daughter.  Three generations of Coccia girls! His other grandma will be turning 94 this year.  Kind of puts this aging thing in perspective, huh?  
My baby girl... four... who lovingly wished her parents a Happy Birthday and guessed their ages to be 65.  Don't worry, we set her straight pretty quickly! :)

 And my birthday, with my oh-so-ugly and impulsive haircut. Why oh why do I do that to myself??? And hmmm... come to think of it, with four birthday celebrations in 12 days, maybe there's a reason my blood sugar levels are through the roof...

My FOUR children... three on the outside, one on the in! And that is the ONLY time you will ever see a photo of me in a bathing suit on the internet!

Now, to get in a bit of reading before I retire for the night in my new, sexy, mouth guard and nasal strips.

So where did I put those bifocals?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What's in a name?

Everything!  A name is very important.  At least it feels that way.  We're the kind of family that takes four days to come up with a name for a cat, so it's a good thing that a pregnancy is 280 days long.

We have an Alexander James, a Connor Nicholas, and a Kirstin Elizabeth Freeman.  All perfect names that suit our children fabulously.  Well, we think so, anyway.

So we've hit a bit of a standstill.  Neither of us can agree on just one more (well, two more, gotta have one for each potential sex, right?) perfect name.  I think that the problem might just be "Freeman".  Try coming up with a good name for Freeman.  It's not as easy as it sounds.

Here's some names that haven't made the cut:

Morgan (Morgan Freeman, with our colouring?)

Abigail (I love it, Cory says "Abby, yuck!")

Elijah - Vetoed by my husband.  Why?  Apparently it's too biblical.

Isaac - Vetoed.  Apparently "The Binding of Isaac" is a popular online game right now.

Avery - Vetoed.  Really, what the heck is wrong with Avery?  I think Cory was just on a veto roll when I suggested that one.

Bethany (I was sold on this with baby number 1 and it would have been Alex's "it's a girl" name, until Cory admitted that the he loves the name so much he names all his Dungeons and Dragons characters Bethany).  BIG FAT VETO from me now!

Fiona - Kirstin vetoed this one.  "That's Shrek's wife's name!"  She then promptly suggested a viable alternative, "Rapunzel!"  Veto.

Linda - another one of Kirstin's suggestions.  Umm... no thanks, the baby's not coming out fifty years old.

Tobias - Not bad, but Toby gives me images of a short, round, pimply faced little boy with greasy hair.  Or a turtle. Apologies to any Toby's that might stumble across this blog.

Anthony - Kirstin vetoed... "That's a Wiggle name!"  Which effectively let's out Greg, Jeff, Sam, and Murray too.  Plus, turns out Cory has a couple of Tonys from his past that he would rather forget.

Richard.  Really, do I need to explain this one?

Justin - A very respectable name... but try saying it three times fast with our last name.  Not to easy on the ears.

Bronwyn - Cory vetoed this.  What's wrong with this one, it's beautiful!  Oh, yeah... the whole Freeman thing...

Then there's the popular names we've scratched out.  Like Emma (still holding strong on that #1 name spot), Olivia (Cory vetoed), Lily and Sophie (umm... our four-day decision resulted in us naming our cats Lily and Sophie --- so VETO)

Martin - maybe... I do have a bit of a soft spot for Martin --- but it would take some getting used to, as it also sounds lousy with Freeman.

Fred - umm... Cory, did you suggest that just to piss me off?  Vetoed!  Baby Fred.  Can't picture it at all.

Ethan... nope.  Lousy with Freeman.

Candace --- Big fat veto from Cory.  "Do you want people to call her Candy?  That's a stripper name!"  Which effectively leaves out Barbie, Trixie, Lola...   Fine, fair enough!  No stripper names.

Anyway, it's fair to say that we still need the remaining 137 days of the pregnancy to come up with a name that the five of us (well, Cory and I hold more of the vote percentage) agree on.  And from how it's looking (I suggest a new name every other day, Cory shoots it down) we'll need every last day! And then comes the battle over middle names.

Fun times.  Fun times indeed.

Maybe we need to think outside the box... Apple anyone?  
Our beautiful 20-weeks down, 20 to go, nameless miracle!  

Thursday, 14 June 2012

My little girl's ears aren't pierced.

My little girl's ears aren't pierced.  Mine are.  But I'm okay with that.  She hasn't asked me why our ears look different.  Why mine have been unnaturally altered and hers haven't.  It doesn't bother her and it doesn't bother me.  It's just not that important.

Which is why I suppose that I reacted somewhat less than favourably the other day when a co-worker explained why a certain procedure was SO IMPORTANT to him.

He has a 12-day old baby boy.  He's in every way the proud papa, showing off photos on his Iphone, racing home at lunch to his wife (who also works in our office), and grinning like the chesire cat whenever anyone asks about the baby.  Yesterday,  I innocently said, "How's the baby?" as he came back from an extended lunch hour.  And grinning, he replied, "Great!  He just had his 'procedure' and he handled it like a champ."

I groaned and said, "Oh, you didn't!"

"Yes," he explained, "It's very important to me."

Surprised, and thinking maybe he was Jewish (Okay, I know he's not Jewish, but what other possible reason could there be in this day and age for committing an act of cosmetic surgery on an unconsenting infant") I asked him, "Why's it so important to you?"

He looked bemused and said, with patience and seriousness, "Because I'm done so it's important that my son is circumcised, too."

I told him that I was very glad his son was doing alright and had no apparent complications but that I couldn't ethically congratulate him on the milestone.  And we parted on good terms, him probably never giving it a second thought, and me feeling heartbroken for the wee baby.

So it's important for you because you were done???  That's it?  No health reason?  No covenant with an Old Testament God (who probably only told Abraham to chop off his foreskin as a joke, to see if he was dumb enough to follow through with it)? No nothing... just so that he looks like you???

I am shocked that so many people still blindly believe that routine infant circumcision is still a valuable practice.  Yes, a generation ago it was recommended as a routine procedure so most of the men in my generation are 'done', but over the past couple of decades medical studies have debunked the evidence that there is any benefit to it either way.  Now it is considered merely a cosmetic surgery.  The fact that there are only two doctors in our neighbouring city actually still willing to perform a circumcision, and only one doctor in our town who will, suggests to me that it should be on it's way out, and will be when those old-school doctors retire.

Especially if your reason for doing it is merely so that your son looks like his father.

What a crock!

Which is why I'd better weigh the pros and cons of having my 4 year old daughter's ears pierced.  Soon... so that she doesn't develop feelings of inadequacy when she realizes she's only half a woman for it.  Or, maybe I should go get glasses for my perfectly sighted boys, because their father wears them.  Or, perhaps I should tattoo my boys' backs so they resemble their Uncle that they so admire, because I'd hate for them to grow up thinking they're not as manly as he is.  Oh my poor kids who don't take after us in every conceivable manner!

Seriously... leave your kids' genitalia alone.  They may not look exactly like you, but are they actually comparing?   Really?  Cause then you have another problem on your hands...


Laura (a proud Mama of two completely intact boys, as beautiful as nature intended, who are going to grow up just fine... and will leave my grandsons' penises alone because we left theirs alone)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Conversations with my children

When our fourth miracle arrives there will be a significant age span between my two youngest.  I will have an 8 year-old, a 5 year-old and 4 year-old.  Which is a far cry from four years ago when I had all three children  in less than four years.  I hope that it's not too big of an age gap, because I really want this new one to fit in to the sibling group without a hitch.  Maybe we waited to long to try for number four.  Maybe we didn't.  Only time will tell if they will include this baby or not.

Having said that, the children's attitudes and interest in the pregnancy are definitely different this time around.  More advanced and more intuitive.  My children are asking very intelligent questions and I'm finding myself treading dangerously in areas I'm not completely sure how to navigate.

For instance... a couple of months ago, my daughter asked me, "How did that baby get in your tummy?"  So I told her that Daddy put it there (yikes!).  She asked, "How?"   Okay and you'll have to forgive me, I wimped out on this one... but she was only three and didn't want to traumatize her too much...

"Well, Mama and Daddy decided we wanted to have another baby, and since we love each other, we made one."

Gulp.  I waited for the inevitable.

She said, "Oh... you're Grandma's baby aren't you?"

"Yes, I am."

"Oh... so how did Grandpa put you in Grandma's tummy?"

AAAAACCCKKKK!  I changed the subject.  Kirstin, my dear, that is a question I do not want to know myself!

Then, just the other day, my 5 year-old came up to me while I was hanging out with my husband chatting.  He said, "So, how are you going to get that baby out of your tummy, anyway?"


"Well, that's a very good question," I stalled.  I looked at my husband.  "Cory, want to take this one?"

He shook his head and gave me what can only be considered an evil grin.

"Well," I stammered, "I have to push it out.  Kind of from where I pee."   Oh my god, I can't believe I said that to my son.  He's going to be sooooo messed up now!

"Really? And the doctor helps you do that?"


"Doesn't that hurt?"

"Well, a little bit.  But it's a good kind of hurt."

"How do you know when it's time to push the baby out?"

"Well, I kind of get a stomachache."

"Oh...."  He ponders this for a moment and I wonder where he's going to go next.  "But wouldn't that rip your body open?"

"No, Connor, no it doesn't. Mama is perfectly safe."

Can't tell him all the gory details now, can I... I do want him to sleep well without dreaming of visuals best left to fans of Alien.

Anyway, not sure I handled these questions all that well.  I'm sure there will be more coming over the next few months, so maybe I'll get a chance to redeem myself or at least answer them without stammering.In the meantime, I can take pride in the fact that my children are inquisitive little persons who aren't going to take things at face value.  They are thoughtful and insightful and for that I can be proud --- not mortified.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Jelly Beans...

There's something very reassuring and magical about seeing the baby for the first time.  Even if it does look like a wiggly blob of a jelly bean!  This one is thriving and we were very happy to hear the strong, fast heartbeat while watching him/her squirm.  May I introduce to you, "Jelly Bean Freeman".

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Farewell, fare penny!

Well, here's some weirdness... the Feds have just announced their budget and their newest cost-saving measure. The elimination of the penny. Soon. Like this fall!

Basically, the Royal Canadian Mint is going to stop 'minting' pennies. Apparently it costs 1.6 cents to make a penny. And apparently we're hoarders and all these pennies are getting lost in the sock drawers and jars in Canadian households. So they issue more pennies per year than are being used.

So the penny is going the way of the dodo.

And we're supposed to believe that this is going to save billions of dollars for the government and have no impact on us, whatsoever. Apparently, businesses won't even have to replace their cash registers. It's all been well-thought out. Nice and tidy.

Costs will be rounded down or rounded up at the cash register. Prices of individuals items will stay the same. Ending in .97 or .99 or .49 or .29 --- or whatever arbitrary price is associated with the item you want to purchase. Rounding will be done at the end of the transaction, not for each individual item. The cashier will still total up all your costs the exact same way and then apply it overly generous 12% HST (yeah, that's going nowhere yet) and come up with a total that very likely does not end in .05 or .10. Then, the TOTAL of your purchase will be rounded to the nearest nickel. If your purchase ends in .01, .02, .06, or .07, you save some cash. If it ends in .03, .04, .08, or .09, you'll have to put out a bit more.

Here's the kicker, say for example, I go to 7-eleven and buy my family 5 slurpees at $1.49 each. I then pay my 12% tax on them, and my total comes to $8.34. So I get up to the counter and pay with cash... $8.35 --- Alright, that only costs me an extra penny. That's not too bad. But, if I pay with debit, I'll get the slurpees for $8.34.

Hmmm... maybe I'll stop using cash altogether. Because really, we make a lot of purchases... and if I pay a penny or two extra for every purchase I make for a year, I'm looking at a decent chunk of change. Enough to take my family our for slurpees several times a year!

Purchasing with debit... a cashless society. Win win!

I don't know... is it just me or does this sound like another way to gouge the average Canadian family? Do you really think that the businesses are going to happily round down their purchases? It sounds fair, odds are half the purchases will be rounded down and half rounded up. But I'm sceptical. Are these businesses REALLY going to be content to never have tills that balance at the end of the day because they've been shorting themselves, or over-charging the consumers? Or do you think, perhaps, that they'll just increase their prices to numbers that conveniently allow them to always round up?

And once that happens, how long are we going to wait until the tax is increased to 15% to make calculations easier? Cause really, are the Feds going to reduce our taxes to 10% to make for the easiest possible calculations? I think not.

Call me cynical, but I think this is a very bad move for the average Canadian consumer. A very bad move indeed!
RIP Penny
1858 - 2012

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

9 weeks today

Baby is about the size of a grape now. Very tiny. Hard to imagine. So why are my jeans already so dang uncomfortable. If my maternity clothing wasn't buried so deep in the abyss of our disorganized storage room, I'd already be gratefully donning them. But alas, locating them will be a job for this upcoming extra-long Easter weekend.

So far, this pregnancy has been easier than my last one. I've only had one bout of vomiting and it was blissfully brief. Apparently this bambino does not like salad. Which I kind of predicted having been carefully avoiding salad for weeks now. The thought of it makes me want to gag. Probably because once you've seen salad in reverse, it loses it's appeal if you're feeling the least bit green. But this weekend I gave it a shot... and it returned on me. Making April 1st officially "baby's first barf!"

I have pretty much been riding the nausea waves consistently for the past month now. There is very little that appeals to me and the thought of cooking makes me want to curl up on the couch and groan. And yet... everything is staying down! Including those gigantic, gag-inducing prenatal vitamins. Maybe after three pregnancies my body has finally learned to suppress my desire to purge. Not sure if it's an improvement or not. I know it's better for the baby if I keep the nutrients IN my body rather than in the toilet, however I also know the blessed relief of throwing up and suddenly feeling amazingly well.... which isn't happening. Instead, I just feel constantly icky.

But, as this little one seems to be stubbornly hanging on to everything I manage to gag down, I'm going to have to declare this first trimester journey an unmitigated success. At this point in my previous pregnancy I'd already lost 12 pounds and had at least 8 gall bladder attacks. (Why the hell did I want to get pregnant again?)

So, yay me! I've got it down pat!

Bring on the nausea, I can deal with it!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Four --- it's the new three!

2012-03-26 ---- 7 weeks, 6 days... and counting! :)

I haven't blogged in a long time. I can't. It seems that I can't keep my eyes open past nine on the best of nights. It's all I can do not to crawl into bed with the kids while we're doing bedtime stories and not fall asleep there.

Tomorrow I will be eight weeks pregnant. With number four. Wow! Hard to imagine that in my twenties we tried for three years to get pregnant before we were blessed with our Alexander James... now gap-toothed and pushing eight! Then Connor came along, a nine-month project in the making. And I was thrilled that he took 9 months. Felt pretty womanly after that! :) Kirstin joined our family in the blink of an eye, 16 months after Connor's debut. And here we are... in my mid-thirties with a 7, 5, and 3 year old... doing it all over again. I seemed to have kicked my infertility's proverbial a$$! I am thirty-five and medically speaking, considered a 'geriatric pregnancy'.

HUH? Speak up, dearie, I didn't catch that!

And this 'geriatric' pregnancy is throwing me for a loop. I don't remember being this tired last time. Or the time before. Or eight years ago when I was expecting our first. Of course, then I had the luxury of sleeping whenever.... still caught the odd 10am Saturday wake-up back in the day.

So, I thought I'd take a few minutes, before I attempt to tuck my kids into bed and and not get drowsy, to jot down a little update. I've suspected that we're expecting for about 4 weeks now, and I've known for sure for about three. Besides not being able to keep my eyes open, I also can't stand eating. Every thing tastes disgusting and makes me want to gag. But I haven't vomited yet, so that in itself is a huge improvement over my last three pregnancies.

I'm not whining, either. I knew the nausea was a probability. I seemed to have blocked the memory of it though, because I don't remember feeling quite this blah!... But I'm very happy to be expecting number four. Very, very happy. And the children seem relatively cool with the idea, too.

We met our midwives today. I can't go with Karin Gerlach again, because apparently she's on sabbatical in October and November, when baby is due. So I'm attending a new midwifery clinic, "New Beginnings". My midwives are Sarah and Sarah - British Sarah and Canadian Sarah. They seem nice enough. And very respectful of my "seasoned" status. We were in and out of the appointment quite quickly.

Our families know now, as do our children, but I'm trying to keep it to myself as long as possible at work. As long as I can avoid the vomiting, then I should be able to fake my way through the days for a few more weeks. Until I run out of clothing that fits, that it. I've already had to set aside one pair of jeans because I can't close them without wanting to cry. Which is why I won't be publishing the post right away.... pretty sure no colleagues read my blog, but not positive. I do mention it at the end of all my Christmas letters.

So, all in all, at the eight week point, this pregnancy is blissfully uneventful.

Just wish I could stumble on the perfect, gag-less food.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

23.5 hours a day

Well worth the watch! Please share the message. It's one we all know, but never really talk about.

Thanks, Tanya, for sharing this with me!

Friday, 13 January 2012

I stand corrected...

Wow... well my rant yesterday may have been premature. As were countless other rants that graced cyberspace.

Apparently, after the news leaked about the couple seeking divorce who learned that their Canadian marriage was not legally recognized, due to their being residents of locales that don't recognized marriage rights for all... (I'm adding three dots here to distract you from the fact that I'm about to write a really long run-on sentence)... the government (or more correctly, whoever is the media spokesperson for the government) came out as publicly stating that the marriage laws have to be re-written so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. Or something along those lines.

Basically... Yes, so your country (or state) doesn't recognize a Canadian marriage as legal because it's not legal where you live... but here in Canada it is STILL going to be considered legal. Yay! That is a good stance for our right-wing leadership party to be taking. And really, the only stance to take.

Let's all exhale a litttle bit, shall we! :)

It'll be interesting to see how this continues to unfold!

Thank you Eric (my little bro!) for the link that you shared via "comments" on my yesterday post. It was a very interesting read.

P.S. I'm still never voting Conservative!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A step backwards...

Same-sex marriage was legalized in my province in 2003, second only to Ontario. It followed rapidly through the remainder of the provinces and territories and was legalized nationwide by 2005. So, of course, thousands of couples have flooded into our country to have their marriage-like relationships legally recognized.

And we can be proud of that. Sure, it was a long time in coming. But it came. So let's embrace it and be proud of it. Let's hold it up as a shining example to our neighbours that still struggle to fight their own systemic prejudiced policies.



Apparently, our conservative government has suggested that Canada's stance on human rights only applies if you're Canadian.

And apparently, according to an article in the Globe and Mail, a lesbian couple married in our country in 2005, are now embroiled in a court case because they've been told that they cannot legally get divorced... because they are not legally married. The government appears to be taking the position that if the couple cannot legally be married in their home country (or home state), then they cannot legally be married in Canada.


And this is just coming up now? Wouldn't it have been nicer to tell them their marriages are fakes before they paid for their fake marriage licenses?

If I was one of the thousands that had been married here under false pretences, I'd be pissed! Thankfully, I was lucky to be born heterosexual.

At least, I'm pretty sure I am. Maybe I just haven't met the right woman yet?

Regardless, right now, no backwards politicians are threatening the legality of my marriage. No one is even questioning it.

But for my gay and lesbian counterparts who also pledged their love to their chosen partners on Canadian soil... well, now they're suddenly finding their marriage bonds threatened. Because by telling people that their marriages are not legal because they happen to live in a country that hasn't embraced the concept of human rights for all yet, we're also telling people that DO live in Canada, "You're next... we're coming after you next!"

Way to go Ottawa!

And I guess what that also suggests is that we're setting a precedent. A very dangerous one. A precedent that threatens to squash the very thing that makes me proud to be Canadian. Our liberal-minded, national policies. Because now, it looks like if something is illegal in your country, maybe it's illegal here, too. But just for you. Because you're not Canadian. So screw your rights... they're null.

So if you're coming to our country to escape oppressive, sexist or racist policies... you'd better don your burquas and make sure you're not showing us any skin, cause that's not going to fly here.


Not in Canada!