Every year I try to make a point of raking all of the leaves in our yard into a maze. When I was a teenager, I babysat for a family that did this every year with their kids and I enjoyed doing this with them and still enjoy it now! My little sister came over and after the maze was finished, we took turns changing it and then trying to get through it again.
These are my cat's glowing eyes watching us through the front door...
Then we had to make a leaf pile...
And play in it...
It was a fun day, and it's exciting for me to finally have a child to do stuff like this with!
Celia seems to think building blocks are for knocking over, not for building.
I was sitting on the floor playing with her today, building towers out of the Chinese wooden blocks she has. These are like those wooden alphabet blocks that everyone use to have - except that instead of having the English alphabet, they have Chinese characters on them. Anyway, I was building towers but before I could stack them more than more than about five high, she would knock them all down and laugh hysterically. It really was quite funny.
Brian probably taught her this...
Sometimes I feel like I'm married to a woman... Brian can be SOOO complicated :)
On Thursday night, Brian and I made a 'date' for Friday evening to do some updates on this blog. Since he is the one who built the template, and everything, any changes I want to make I have to tell him about... the plus side here is that I have unlimited options, but that's not what I was going to get at here...
Anyway, we made this date and when I was talking to a friend of mine she offered to come in and babysit Celia while we went out to do this. I hadn't really thought about the logistics of this - I figured we could take our laptops to a nearby coffee shop and make changes as we discussed and had coffee! Any excuse for coffee...
Sooo... on Friday I mentioned to Brian that my friend was going to come and watch Celia so we could go out. This is kind of how the conversation went:
Me: K* is going to come watch Celia tonight so we can go for coffee and have our blog meeting.
Brian: Oh. (sounding disappointed)
Brian: I can't really work on your blog on my laptop... my desk at home has three monitors, and I can't really work with only one... (have I mentioned he's a computer geek?)
Me: Oh. Ok.
Brian: No, it's ok - we can just go out for coffee. (Not sounding overly excited)
Me: Don't sound so excited...
Brian: I was sort of looking forward to doing this blog thing. I was geared up for it. But we can go for coffee anyway...
Anyway, I ended up texting my friend and telling her she didn't need to babysit after all because Brian just wanted to stay home. She said she would see me the next day, and that she was tired anyway. I should probably mention that this friend lives an hour and a half away, but comes often on weekends and stays at her parents home which is only about fifteen minutes away. She often comes out right after work on Fridays but doesn't get in until kind of late. So, after cancelling our babysitter, I had this conversation with Brian later in the day after he got home from work:
Me: So K* isn't coming tonight after all, so we can just stay here to do blog stuff.
Brian: Oh (sounding disappointed)
Brian: Well, I had sort of gotten used to the idea of going out for coffee with you so I was really looking forward to that...
Me: Seriously? I'm so glad you 'got used' to the idea...
Brian: I had to switch gears! But I was excited about coffee... I thought we'd find some cool place we've never been to before.
Anyway, so I (this is kind of embarrassing) texted my friend again and said something to the effect of 'So Brian was apparently now looking forward to coffee, so for future reference, we will take you up on that babysitting offer'. I realize this probably wasn't as subtle as I wanted it to be, but the point was to hint that I would really like for her to come and babysit after all, but to not ACTUALLY ask... because I felt dumb about changing our minds all the time...
K*: I'll be there in an hour.
Winner of the 2011 Most Awesome Friend Award.
And as if she wasn't awesome enough, when Brian and I got home that evening (after an awesome date during which we didn't mention blogs once), K* had cleaned up our kitchen and done our dishes.
I was so humbled, I almost cried. It's so incredible to have such great friends.
Babyproofing is a real thing that should be done - even by extremely unorganized people like myself.
Proud moment today when my 10 month old daughter picked up a toothbrush and started scrubbing her teeth... where did she find the toothbrush? In the corner of the bathroom where I keep a small tub of cleaning supplies... WHAT??? BAD MOMMY!!!
Yuck, yuck, yuck...
Not that this really makes it any better, but that particular toothbrush was used to scrub the goobers off of her toys. At least it hadn't been used on the toilet. Ew. Anyway, I guess I will learn how to babyproof one tiny step at a time...
So I've already mentioned how last month was a stressful time for my husband and I, but I didn't outline another 'thing' that was keeping things complicated because I didn't know what was going on...
A few months ago, my husband and I decided that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I became pregnant with another baby. For a number of reasons, I would like to have my babies close together, and since we had trouble getting pregnant with Celia, I thought I should allow some time to have the same struggle again.
So about three weeks ago (right in the middle of my husband's joblessness), I started experiencing some symptoms that I thought might be indicative of pregnancy. I took a home pregnancy test that said nothing. I still thought there was something going on, though, so I waited another couple of days and took another test. My husband told me I was imagining it, but I swear that a faint (ok, REALLY faint) positive showed up on that stick. I tested every morning for the next few days until FINALLY - a pink line that my husband agreed was there!
I realize this was jumping the gun, but I got pretty excited - I started thinking of our family as though it already had two children and thinking about what to name this new baby. My husband was pretty excited too.
Two days later, I took another test that was very clearly (even to me) negative. I know that many pregnancies end in early miscarriage (what 'they' call a 'chemical pregnancy') - and that it is only because we have such sensitive tests now that we even know about these lost pregnancies. I was still pretty devastated. Even two days of thinking I had another baby was enough for me to be quite attached...
But still I waited, and continued to be late. A week later, I took another test and again - I was sure I saw another faint positive! Thoroughly confused at this point, and still no obvious signs that I WASN'T pregnant - I went online and learned about things like cancers and ectopic pregnancies that could cause low levels of HCG... ok, I'll admit - this was one time when maybe over-educating myself was not helpful. Two days later a test was negative... again...
I eventually ended up at my OBGYN's office, and she assured me that although she didn't know why I might be getting a faint positive on a pregnancy test - except for the first one - that I was not pregnant. So I'm back on Serophene! Bring on the multiples!
I am still late, and my only answer for this is because of my PCOS and the fact that I am heavier than I have ever been in the past due to the excess baby weight that I still haven't lost. PCOS (which causes weight gain, and is also made worse by weight) causes irregular periods and infertility, so I suppose I should not have been surprised.
Anyway, wish us luck! Hopefully it will be as easy this time as it was with Celia.
We don't really want multiples though, by the way...
I am probably not the best person to rant about this, because although I have PCOS which makes it much more difficult for me to lose weight and keep it off than the average person, I am lazy and I could weigh a lot less if I made it a priority to do so...
However, I have a couple of friends who have this difficulty as well - one with PCOS and one with Hypothyroidism who are overweight by all definitions, but at absolutely NO fault of their own. One of these women is actively involved in a number of different sports, works in an extremely physical job and also either bikes or walks a couple of kilometers to work each day. The other friend is a mom of two who despite her busy schedule at home, regularly goes to the gym, and is extremely careful about the kinds of food she and her family eats at home. I probably deserve to be overweight, but these women don't.
The second of these friends told me the other day about a situation where she ended up at the dentist with her three year old daughter who is starting to get cavities. I understand the dilemma of having bad dental genes, which she was telling me was also in her family, and knowing how she feeds her children I completely believe that this little girl's cavities are not caused by too much sugar!
The presumptuous dental assistant, however, made the snap judgement that obviously this overweight Mama must be feeding her children junk. She commented that my friend's daughter was eating too much sugar. When my friend protested that actually her daughter ate almost no sugar - aside from what is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, the assistant tried to educate her on the amount of sugar that is found in all kinds of other junk food like chips and fast food. This friend had just confided in me that earlier that day she had indulged in fast-food with her family, but that it had been the first time in over a year, and that they simply did not eat junk food at home. I wish I could say the same for my husband and I - I admire the habits of my friend, and would like to strive to emulate these habits at home. I doubt that even this perfect-looking dental assistant has such healthy habits.
Anyway, to everyone out there who is blessed with a speedy metabolism and no thyroid or blood-sugar related health issues - be glad that you are blessed with this, and don't take it for granted. Also, understand that although there are many people out there who work hard at looking healthy and slim - for some people, no amount of work is enough to fit into a pair of size 4 jeans. My friend voiced her frustration at constantly being judged, and wished she could wear a t-shirt that said 'I have hypothyroidism - that's why I'm so fat!' - which I thought was funny, but I understand her frustration. There are lazy people out there (like myself) who are overweight because they don't put enough effort into their physical body - but you can't tell who these people are by looking at them, because many of these lazy people are also perfectly skinny.
This past month has been undoubtedly the most stressful period of time that my husband and I have experienced to date in our five and a half year marriage.
After being led on by his past employers, his job term ended and they chose not to continue his position after all. Ack! So he was left jobless with no notice, and spent the next month job hunting with our mortgage, car payments and all of our other bills and debt payments hovering in his consciousness. I tried to be supportive, but I felt the need to give him advice and pointers on job hunting at every step of the way, and probably drove him completely crazy. Every time he took a few moments to relax, I felt the need to kick him in the butt, but (usually) I suppressed this urge.
Last week Tuesday he was interviewed by a man who we discovered knew a lot of our friends, so we were hopeful about the outcome. Much later that evening, as we were sitting in front of the tv, snacking, as we often do in the evening (bad habits that I suppose we should break before our daughter is old enough to realize what we're doing...), he left the room and came back with a bottle of wine. He had mentioned a couple of weeks earlier that a bottle of champagne would be his first purchase when he finally got a job and (although he decided on a Reisling afterward, since I don't actually like champagne...) here it was in front of me. My first thought was that he must have gotten it as a gift from someone, because he had been jobless so long I must not have really expected he would get a good job, but Yay! The guy who had interviewed him that morning had called later that afternoon to offer him the job, and he was to start on Thursday. This was SO EXCITING!!!
After a month of stress and nervous waiting, why do I not feel happier? I actually find myself feeling strangely subdued, and maybe even a bit depressed. I'm the sort of person who thinks - a lot- about what is going on in my head, and I wonder if I was playing the 'supportive wife' for so long that now that he has a job I feel less needed? Or maybe it is just because we have been so tense for the month that all of the emotion has built up and now I am needing to release it.
Anyway, I know I should be completely happy and overjoyed, but I don't honestly feel that way. Even Brian has been a bit testy, but maybe that is just because I'm acting hormonal and he's just responding to me. Either way, what should be a great time in our home has been less than enjoyable.
I feel like I should end this blog with a 'What I have learned from this is...', but I'm not really there yet, so I won't. Maybe I never will be.
Brian and I are blessed with having almost all of our Grandparents still living, with the exception of only one - Brian's maternal Grandpa, who passed away only a couple of years ago.
I want to preface this by saying that I love the fact that our daughter has so many people to adore her, as I had a wonderful relationship with my Great Grandmother as a child, and I love that she will also have relationships with hers.
However... being the oldest in our families with so many (relatively) young Grandparents has its frustrations when it comes to the holidays. First, I'll outline what our family looks like... Brian's paternal Grandparents had three sons, of whom only one had children - Brian and his younger brother. His maternal Grandma has a large family who rarely are able to get together for gatherings due to their number and how spread out they are. My family is slightly more complicated... when I was a baby, my biological parents split up, and I was left with my Dad whose parents had a large hand in raising me until he remarried when I was 8. So I have three sets of Grandparents - my bio-mother's parents, my step-mom's (who I will always refer to as 'Mom') parents, and my paternal Grandparents who are probably closer to me than Grandparents often are due to the fact that they were so much like parents to me when I was a child.
It has always been our tradition as I was growing up, to spend a half-day at home with my parents and younger brother, then juggle the other three Grandparent gatherings into the 24th, 25th and 26th of December. Brian's family had a similar tradition. Needless to say, trying to juggle all five Grandparents plus two parents gatherings into three days is a bit of a challenge for us.
In three of these families, Celia is the first Great Grandchild. Luckily for us, all of our maternal Grandparent families (coincidentally) are larger and have already become accustomed to the concept of spreading out the gathering or moving it to a less busy time in order to accommodate everyone. That leaves us with two sets of Grandparents, each of our parents as well as spending our own time at home with Celia. The most difficult part of this for me, is that one of these Brian's paternal Grandparents are completely unwilling to negotiate on the day and time of their gathering, and are offended when we can't attend whatever they have planned. My paternal Grandparents on the other hand, are completely understanding of our difficulty and are far from offended if we are unable to attend their gathering. This is difficult for me, since theirs is the one Grandparent gathering I would like to never miss, considering my close relationship to them - although it seems unfair to prioritize them since it isn't Brian's Grandparents fault that my mother chose to leave me (which is why our relationship is so close - my paternal Grandmother being the only mother I knew until I was 7).
Anyway, I would love to bring up our daughter to enjoy holidays and the busyness of family gatherings, but I fear that our stress of trying to accommodate and appease everyone will be too evident. Brian particularly hates these times of year - especially now that he gets to fend off all of the 'have you found a job yet?' inquiries.
I guess it comes to down to us defining our own priorities and whether they are correct or not - or make anyone else happy or not - do what we can to make these times enjoyable for us and for our children.
Brian had a frustrating experience earlier this year when his internship was about to end, and his employer gave him the distinct impression that they were going to be creating a job for him to continue working there. His direct supervisor even told him not to worry about 'cleaning up' his projects, because she was working under the assumption that he would be there indefinitely.
So, when his internship ended, he had not lined up another position and it wasn't until he had sat at home for almost two weeks - sending many emails and inquiries - that they informed him that they were not going to be opening this position up after all. Feeling incredibly stupid and a little bit taken advantage of, Brian was forced to jump back into job hunting, but weeks behind schedule and with no source of income for the upcoming month.
As my maternity leave was coming to an end, and I was deliberating over whether or not to return to the work force - after I had lost my spot at the daycare my daughter was going to be attending, but that's another story - I had decided to risk the loss in income and not return to work. I had been teaching piano at home for four years, and decided to advertise a bit more and increase my student load to try to make up the difference. So far God seems to have blessed this decision, because after having 10 students on average each year, I had 15 registered by September, and have had a few more added since and a number of interested emails floating in also.
As my husband's joblessness continues, however, I have begun to second guess my decision to stay home and wonder if I should, in fact, be job hunting myself.
I have to trust that God has a plan for us, and maybe there is an even better job waiting for Brian than the one he left over a month ago. I remember a time when I left a job that I loved for no other reason than because I was certain God was asking me to - I know, it sound's crazy, huh? - but there it is. I loved my boss, the job was challenging and I was getting raises by leaps and bounds based on the work I was doing. I had a number of great friends in my department, and I was over all, probably as satisfied as I've ever been in a job. And then I quit. I took a job that I hated and ended up dropping shortly afterward also, and eventually landed in a job that was completely not challenging and paid dismally. I found myself frustratingly asking God 'Why?', until I found out what had happened in the job I left. My boss ended up leaving, and after a significant amount of unrest, there were firings and layoffs and a lot of management shifts that evidently made the department an extremely stressful place to be. I could not have known this - but God did.
The one downside of my old job - the job I loved - was that the management was extremely strict about productivity to the point where they didn't really care about your personal life. As in, leaving the office for a family emergency might just get you fired. Another thing God knew that I didn't was that I was going to be getting pregnant. And my Dad was going to be experiencing a number of brain bleeds that would have him in and out of the hospital for months. My new and dismally paying job was absolutely beautiful to me in this respect. They were totally wonderful and understanding - they gave me all kinds of paid family time off to be with my Dad in the hospital, and there was no question of letting me go when I was calling in sick from pregnancy issues on more days than I was actually coming in to work. So although some aspects of this job were less than I would have wanted - it was exactly what I needed.
Now when I casually look at job ads, I still get the distinct impression that God wants me to stay home with my daughter, and I give up the search. As He has before, I need to trust that God will take care of us, and that He has a plan that is much greater than we could have planned for ourselves.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:22-26
I have a friend who is always doing things with her kids that look incredibly fun - and typically way younger than I would have thought of doing them. Like when she had her 18 month old decorating cookies at Christmas time... I can't wait for that!
Anyway, I asked her if she had any ideas for Celia at 9 months, and she suggested finger painting with dyed yogurt. So here we are! At first we plopped three different colours in front of her on her high chair tray, and she poked a finger into one but it took her a little while to really get into it. After a few minutes, however, my crazy little monster started shrieking and going at it like a regular Jackson Pollock.
We were just hanging out in the kitchen otherwise, and my poor husband got so stressed by the mess she made. He kept commenting on how he would never have done anything like this with her - and it's a good thing he wasn't a single Dad, because she would never be able to do something like this! It really was a mess - there was yogurt all over the floor and splattered on the wall behind her.
I promised him I would clean everything up - and I did, except for the odd splatter that I missed and found days later. Celia was in only a diaper, so no clothing needed to be cleaned, and the high chair was completely washable - the fabric cover was washed overnight and ready the next morning.
We've done this once since (it really is quite a bit of work when house cleaning is a near-impossible task anyway), and although she still enjoyed it, we might not do it again until she understands the concept. At 10 months old, she knew that yogurt was food and seemed to be more frustrated with how difficult it was to eat than she was interested in playing with it.
Grab My Button
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.pinkbears.ca" title="On Pink Bears and Pacifiers"><img src="http://www.pinkbears.ca/images/grab-my-button.png" alt="On Pink Bears and Pacifiers" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
- Making annual vacations a priority! Written by Jessica on Sunday, 14 October 2012 21:17 Daddy-Daughter and Mommy-Daughter "Date" Days
- Why did they give you an episiotomy and use a… Written by Jessica on Sunday, 14 October 2012 21:14 Clara's Birth Story
- That looks like a tonne of work! Written by Jessica on Sunday, 14 October 2012 21:12 Pregnancy Update - 38 Weeks...
- I know! I had 'cramps' with Clara, and they didn't… Written by Samantha on Friday, 12 October 2012 23:12 Pregnancy Journal
- I know the doctors tell you that you will sometimes… Written by Caylie on Friday, 12 October 2012 15:41 Pregnancy Journal
Popular Blog Posts
Making a Rainbow Cake
Planning the Week Ahead Thursday
30 Months Old!