When you can’t sleep, blog…

It’s true, I can’t sleep.  It’s 4:45 am and since I was just tossing and turning (which in itself is a feat when you are 9 months pregnant) I decided it was better to not fight it and just get up and do something productive, like blog… very productive.

So we kinda thought we may have been on our way to Toronto yesterday to get induced to have little Birdy early today,  but when I called yesterday, Mt. Sinai had room for me, but Sick Kids across the street didn’t have a bed for Birdy.   Which is kinda important.  So we were granted a reprieve, and were told to call this morning after 8:00 am to see if a bed had opened.  If it has, we can finish packing and make our way down to TO, if not, we wait again.

It’s hard to wait, but yesterday after church we were prayed for, and I mean, really prayed for.  Our elders and pastors gathered, along with about 40 friends and supporters and I think the heavens trembled.  It was so powerfully amazing, one of our elders prayed and 3 of our pastors and I just wish I could remember everything that they was prayed for.    They prayed for Ava’s healing,  that surgery would go well, that Jason and I could be a testimony to God’s faithfulness, for our relationship, for our other children.   Wow, all I can say, is that if you are going through a trial and belong to a church, please please consider being prayed for like that.    And the strength and peace and that incredible spirit of power that can only come from God was so real and descended upon us… I don’t think I was the only one who was moved.

And we are going forward with all confidence now, knowing that God has a plan for us and for Birdy and we can rest in that and surrender to His will.    And as I said to Jason last night, I know God can heal her and bring her home to us, but on the other hand, I know that if He decides instead to take her home to be with Him, she will be completely and utterly healed, and how incredibly amazing that would be for her.    So incredibly hard for us, but God would help us through,  because God is good.

And man, is he ever carrying us!    I know that any strength that I have is from Him… all the strength that I have is from Him alone.  Praise God!

So yes, I am prepared to wait if that means waiting for God’s perfect timing.  In my own little world, things would happen when I want them to happen, but it’s one more thing that I have zero control over, so I need to just rest in the fact that it will all happen when it happens and try to enjoy just being here for as long as I can.

And with our four very energetic children, it’s not hard.   And because I love the Christmas season so much,  we’ve done so much Christmas stuff together already like making our traditional Christmas cookies together, and decorating the house, and going out and cutting down a Christmas tree, and listening to Christmas music and even attending a Christmas party in our neighbourhood that they held early for us,  that I feel my poor kids probably feel like Christmas should be here any day, but they have weeks still to go.  Which I think is probably good because the excitement of Christmas coming will get them through these first few weeks of us being away.  And then I’m really hoping that maybe they can all join me in Toronto at the Ronald MacDonald house for their Christmas vacation, or at least some of it and then December will be over and if I’m still away, we will worry about January later. 🙂

I’ve been so terrible at taking pictures the past few months, the distracted mother that I am.  But I did bring the camera to our Christmas tree hunting expedition, which we had never done together as a family, but proved to be quite a bit of fun.   Don’t ask me why we are all bundled and William is only wearing a sweatshirt – I guess more proof that I’m distracted, but as that kid moves 100 miles per hour is never cold, I guess it wasn’t so bad.  And he took very good care of little sister that day…

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Erik enjoying some hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting afterwards…

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Sarah, oh my Sarah, she is so close to my heart right now…

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My precious family, my gifts from God.   And as we go forward today and see what God has in store for us, I am so glad that whatever happens we have people who love us and a God that cares for us, and we are truly and utterly blessed.  Even when I can’t sleep.

Amen.

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Where things are at

Monday Jason and I spent a long day in Toronto.  It was a very long and full day,  but thankfully there wasn’t much waiting time between appointments so the day itself seem to fly by…  except for the drive home.    We hit rain and traffic and together proved a very long and frustrating combination, but we made it home safely.

We left here at 6:15 am to make it to Sick Kids for our first appointment at 9:30 and actually made it there nice and early.   I think Remembrance Day day had something to do with that as there seemed to be hardly any traffic downtown.   All those bankers and Government offices taking the day off, lucky them.    But it was nice to have the streets clear for a change.

So just after we registered for our echocardiogram – our first appointment of the day – our contact there, Nathalie,   asked if I would mind having an MRI before the echocardiogram.   She had talked to me before about having one for research purposes, but the timing just hadn’t worked out.   So since there was an opening right then I said OK.

And it is a for a good cause.   They are doing research right now on baby’s with Congenital heart defects to see how these baby’s are managing their blood flow  in utero and the only way to really see that is with an MRI.    The information they will glean from it won’t help our baby specifically, but just knowing that the information might help other baby’s down the road makes it worth it.

I’ve never had an MRI before, but as I’m one tired momma I was just hoping it would be a place where I could have a nap.  Those of you who have had one just thought, “ha ha, yeah right”.   But I was hopeful and they did make me very comfortable on my side with pillows and foam until I felt quite tucked in.  But what I did not know that those crazy contraptions make the weirdest  loudest noises one has ever heard.   But I just relaxed, prayed that God would keep me still and let me sleep,  and truthfully I did drift in and out in spite of the noise, so I actually felt pretty rested when I was done.  I also felt rather tousled and sported a great bed-head for the rest of the day, but now I can say I’ve done my part for research.  And the Cardiologist who was over-seeing the MRI showed me some cool pics of the baby after, so that was a neat bonus.

Next it was the echocardiogram and that turned into a bit of an adventure too because Birdy is very comfortable in a position that is NOT helpful for getting clear pictures of her heart.  So our Cardiologist fellow (cardiologist in training) had to call in an experienced tech to help who then in turn just handed it over to Dr. Jaeggi our Cardiologist himself so he could try to get some clear pictures.

The baby’s heart hasn’t improved, but that was to be expected.  He doesn’t think her aortic arch is constricted, which is good, but they will get a better view in three weeks when she is born.  So thankfully the right side of her heart still looks good and she is still a good candidate for surgery afterwards.  Awesome.

So then we met a Dr and nurse practitioner from the newly formed ‘Single Ventricle’ team that will be caring for Birdy after she is born.  We are definitely in good hands!  But they did stress again just how serious of a heart condition she has, but I was comforted in knowing that they have no expectations and just will just track with her at her own pace, even when it comes to things like nursing.   But talking to them was a huge reality check – things are not going to be easy at all.    She is going to have a long recovery time and they basically told us we wouldn’t be home for Christmas.  I already knew that, but it’s not nice to hear it.   It all seems so daunting, but I’m so thankful for a God that keeps renewing my strength when my strength is gone.

And then it was over to the High Risk Pregnancy clinic to meet our OB and see what he had to say.  And the good news is that Birdy is now 6 lbs 7 ounces!  Woo hoo.    She is going to be a good size baby like her siblings, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was over 8 lbs even at two weeks early.  And our OB, Dr. Ryan is wonderful.  He is the man who did the intervention on Birdy’s heart back in August and is quite the miracle worker over at Mt. Sinai with unborn babies.   And since I know that when I’m induced, I’ll be seeing whatever OB is on call that day,  I mentioned to him that I might not see him again, but he said, “You’ll see me again”… and then proceeded to change our induction date to the 3rd instead of the 4th.    Jason and I think he did that so that he will be there for the birth, which would be wonderful.

So now we don’t go back to Toronto until December 2nd where we will stay the night before heading to the hospital in the morning… Lord willing.  We will call on the Sunday to make sure the induction is still a go, and if it is, that means it’s less than 3 weeks away… AUGGGG!!!

I still am having a hard time wrapping my heart around the fact that I have to leave my other kids.   But my brain (and other people)  assure that the kids will be fine.  They are resilient  they will be well cared for and loved,  and they can come and visit, and who knows, maybe even I can come home from time to time.    It’s just my heart that still cries whenever I think of leaving my precious baby’s.  Oh this is not going to be easy.

So please pray for us, we have so many hurdles to jump through, still so much to get prepared for in the next three weeks and pray that even through this time, we can still Glorify God who has a plan for us and knows exactly what He is doing.

So that is where things are at.

Don’t forget – Hydro Time of Use has changed!

This is my public service announcement  as I’m wasting time on the computer waiting till 11:00 so I can put in another load of laundry. 🙂

The Hydro time of use rates have changed again for the season (for our area)  and I personally didn’t think that the change has been that well advertised hence the announcement.    Here’s the new break-down…

ON-PEAK time is from 7 am – 11 am and 5 pm – 7 pm.

MID-PEAK is now from 11 am – 5 pm

OFF-PEAK is still the same, from 7 pm  – 7 am.

We still have an electric water heater, so that means very short showers if you are showering at my house after 7 am… I guess it’s time to get up a little earlier!

Have a great day.

I have energy but I don’t know where it is…

That could be my life story right now, but it wasn’t me who said it, it was Sophia.   I was remarking to her one evening that I didn’t have any energy and asked her if she did and she said she did, but didn’t know where it was.  And that’s probably the truth for her as  I would never call Sophia a rambunctious child.  Loud yes, bossy yes, but not an over-expender of energy like some other children in this house such as William.

So I’ve been asking myself a crazy question all week and it’s been this… why not sandbox?   Why isn’t sand sculpting part of the Olympics?  you see,  I’ve enjoyed watching the bits and pieces of the Olympics that I’ve managed to squeeze in.  And it seems that most of the sports are all just glorified things that we grew up doing in our backyards, such as trampoline, swimming, running etc.  But as far as I’m concerned there is a huge hole where sand sculpting should be.

I personally would love to tune in to see Canada in line for the gold in the final sculpting competition, who wouldn’t?  But I know, I know, it’s never going to happen, and I’m kinda dumb for even suggesting this,  especially when there is no real athletic ability involved in sand-sculpting.   Well except for stamina when completing an extra challenging sculpture, and then there is the strength needed to carry big pails of damp sand and then you need to be agile to reach and sculpt.   See, it could work.  And then there is the artistic element involved just like in synchronized swimming, which has is traveled leaps and bounds from girls swimming together in  a pool to costumes and lots of make-up, obviously there are stories that need to be told.

I just think I would enjoy watching it, that’s all.    And then I could say that these were my little athletes in training…

This is where they started in the morning, but by the afternoon it had progessed to this…

With a shoulder hug and everything.  Well on their way to gold in my books.    But if sand-sculpting is just another  Oylmpic dream that will never come true… a sport that will never rub shoulders with the likes of bike racing, fencing or beach volley-ball,  maybe a little friendly sidewalk chalk competition?

Well it’s a mute point in my book anyway, I’m still out looking for my energy.

Half way there…

So I am officially half way through this pregnancy!  Where is the time flying off too?   It feels like just yesterday I was taking that test and feeling shock waves through my entire body and now I’m realizing I’m half-way to meeting our new baby!

And God is very good because I’ve gone from being blown-away and perhaps slightly resentful about being pregnant again, to embracing this whole baby business and figuring out  that going back to the beginning isn’t going to be as crazy or as difficult as I always thought.

In fact, when I had my ultra-sound a week-and-a-half ago, and the technician showed me the baby on the screen –  I fell in love.

Completely and utterly.

And the technician was so kind to tell me that she figured I was at least 4 days ahead, which puts my due-date at December 15, which does seem just so much more manageable to me than December 19th, being that much further away from Christmas and all.  But this has yet to be confirmed by my midwife, but it makes sense in many ways to me.

Too bad bending over is already becoming an issue for me.  Good thing I have four little people here who have no qualms or difficulties with bending over.   And really, when I stop to think about it, most of the stuff I’m bending over to get actually belongs to one of these little people so they should be the ones picking this stuff up.   So really,  I think I just might be able to make it through the next 5 months with ease.  That is if I can continue to wear flip-flops right into December.

And when I’m pregnant I’m always drawn to Psalm 139 in the Bible, where King David talks about how God has searched us and He knows us.  And then he goes on to say…

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

God made me.  God made this baby.  God choose me to have this baby and be its mother.  It’s being knitted together by God and I’m so grateful and so happy that I’m already half-way there!

Neat Notes

I really thought that I would be blogging more again this summer, what with all the time that I have at home just hanging out with the kids.   It turns out that days in the summer just fly by whether you want them too or not and it’s hard to believe there’s only one more week in July!    And here’s proof we are getting close to August,  local sweet corn!  And the kids are all helping shuck it,  and more than the corn itself, kids helping always is my favourite. 🙂

But we’ve been keeping busy and having fun and even today was kinda exciting because we woke up to this…

Our Monarch chrysalis was black!  That mean that today would be the day a butterfly emerged and so I moved it outdoors so it could warm up and not long after that we saw this…

A brand new butterfly!   It just never gets old.  And ever since we made our Butterfly Garden, every year we raise at least a few butterflies, although I’m really started to suspect that I get more joy out of this process than the kids.  Although Sophia is completely enthralled with them this year and calls me over to look at the caterpillars multiple times a day.

It’s just so amazing to watch a tiny little caterpillar like this one (he just hatched yesterday and that’s Sarah’s finger not mine)

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go from that small to this big in a just a few weeks.

Almost 2 inches long and pooping like a champ.

We have quite the caterpillar nursery going here right now with eggs and babies and caterpillars.  Call me crazy but it’s just my summer hobby…  so there !!

And I’m enjoying everything all a little bit more this summer because my house has miraculously been staying tidy.  Even more tidy then when the kids were in school and that is a small miracle in itself.  But I have to say I really think what is helping is my ‘neat notes’.  Let me explain.

I’m a very scattered person.  When I am doing one thing I am thinking about a million others and even some simple multi-tasking like baking and talking and the phone doesn’t work so well for me.   (Anyone for muffins without flour? )

So a typical mess making scenario happens something like this.  I walk into the kitchen to make dinner and I’m thinking of a millon crazy things as well as probably talking with the kids.  So I start to cook without being really focused, and then before I know it, whoops, the kitchen is a disaster zone!    I can be very very messy and it takes ages to clean up after supper.    And I got so tired of it that a few weeks ago in a fit of frustration with myself and my careless ways, I printed off some notes for myself and taped them up all over the house… example…

And believe it or not, they’ve been working!  For this oh-so-scattered-girl, they really work!  I come into the kitchen thinking of those million things things, but then read the note and think, “oh, I can do that” and then I do!  It’s cut down on my kitchen clean-up time after dinner by 60%, it’s wonderful.

And another example…

Again, the notes just tend to bring me in the present, make me focus for a minute and bingo,  I’m not leaving a trail of destruction after me, which is at least a start.    Once I get myself straightened up I can start in on the kids. 🙂

These notes kinda make me laugh at myself and my mom says that they are like I’m nagging myself, but I just know that they force me to focus,  and that it works.  And I’m finding that in my pregnant – and let’s be honest… irritable state –  a neat house is one less stress in my life.

And a less stressed mom is a happier mom who can spend more time watching caterpillars and butterflies and playing with her kids.  Isn’t summer wonderful?

So lately….

I’ve made these energy bites from a recipe my sister-in-law sent me that I also saw on Pinterest

Source: gimmesomeoven.com via Lisa on Pinterest

 Made leggings for the girls from this pattern.  Pretty easy and fun too and didn’t take that long.

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Source: makeit-loveit.com via Lisa on Pinterest

And after years of having this flower in my garden and not know what it was, I found the picture on Pinterest and now I do, fireweed or Rosebay Willowherb…


Source: flickr.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Then I made this play-dough for the girls.   I’ve been making homemade play dough for the kids for years and years, but making it in smaller batches is the key as I realized from here and then you can dye it the nice bright colours..

Source: musingsfromasahm.com via Holly on Pinterest

And then served the children their drinks during pizza and movie night in jam jars inspired by this…

Source: hisforhandmade.blogspot.com via Clair on Pinterest

Pinterest is so much fun!  And it’s especially cool to log on and see all the cool things your friends have found.   And I have always liked learning from other people… probably because deep in my heart I believe that everybody else has all the good ideas.   🙂

Which is all well and good until I start feeling crummy because I’m not doing all the cool things other moms are clearly doing and my house and children must be suffering because of it… haha.   So when my friend Christa found this blog entry and linked to it I knew I would have to link to it too…

Your Children Want You!!!  (by April Perry)

Here’s a little excerpt…

“Can we remind each other that it is our uniqueness and love that our children long for? It is our voices. Our smiles. Our jiggly tummies. Of course we want to learn, improve, exercise, cook better, make our homes lovelier, and provide beautiful experiences for our children, but at the end of the day, our children don’t want a discouraged, stressed-out mom who is wishing she were someone else.

If you ever find yourself looking in the mirror at a woman who feels badly that she hasn’t yet made flower-shaped soap, please offer her this helpful reminder: “Your children want you!””

Thanks April!   Because that, my friends, kinda puts the whole Pinterest thing into perspective.

It’s just stuff…

Well we had a bit of excitement this week.  On Wednesday night Jason went to the mall just 5 minutes away from here to pick out a new cell phone for me, and then around 8:20 I get a call from him letting me know that he is standing out in the parking lot and our Suburban is gone.   As in….  not there…  vanished… without a trace.   It was shocking to say the least.     He had parked it under a light, about 3 spaces in, but that didn’t stop whoever took it… it was very very gone.

When I got the news I was stunned and rather upset, but when I turned and saw 4 little faces staring at me I had to change my tune pretty quick.   I told them it was gone, but for them not to get too upset because it’s just stuff!!   And it’s true, a vehicle is just stuff… except this one had some rather nice rims on it… 22 inch ones to be exact…

Just a nice little grocery getter with very shiny tires.  So shiny that we were pretty darn sure they took it just for the rims and crazily enough when it was found Thursday, it was found abandoned, sans wheels.   How cruel.     A car without its tires must be utter humiliation.

But it’s funny how attached we get to our things – and how we can miss them when they are gone.  But when I looked at the facts I realized that no one was hurt, we have insurance, and that Suburban is the biggest gas guzzler on the planet with its big engine and all-wheel drive.  Just what I need for running around the city… so maybe it’s a good wake-up call for us to rethink this whole thing anyway.

The verse I read to the kids the next morning was this… Matt 6:19-21

19  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Basically telling us our real investments should be on things that are going to last for eternity, and to not get our hearts all caught up on Suburbans with nice rims.   These earthy things just don’t last, they break, they fall apart, they get stolen, and Matthew Henry says in his commentary, ” It is folly to make that our treasure which we may so easily be robbed of.”  Instead,  our treasure should be things of God…. the riches and glory and pleasure that we have in our relationship with God.   These are the things to be sought after – and they can never fade or be taken from us.

So the kids have recovered sufficiently and since the Suburban was found we at least have our car-seats back and the other junk we left inside.   And this whole experience has been a good reminder that it’s just stuff and stuff comes and goes and shouldn’t take our heart with it when it does.

Four things I would recommend….

1.   If you like reading blogs, I would recommend my friend Christa’s blog over at Sodemanland.    She is a mom and a deep thinker (definitely deeper than I!) and her blog is thought provoking and honest.   She posts a wide variety of things to keep it interesting and it certainly keeps you coming back for more.

2.  If you own a central vac and have a sock on your hose –  I would recommend that you take that sock off the hose and wash it more than once every 6 years.  If you do happen to leave the sock on for 6 years and then decide to wash it, it will  be so dirty that the rinse water will practically turn to mud and you will marvel at the fact that every time you were trying to clean your floors by vacuuming them you weren’t helping the cause by dragging this horridly dirty object all over them.  ( I wouldn’t have any experience in this area… none whatsoever.)

3.  If you like to read, I would highly recommend reading the book “Lies Women Believe and then Turth that sets them free“.  An amazing book by  Nancy Leigh DeMoss.     The basic premise is that Satan who is the father of all lies, first started testing his wares on Eve in the garden of Eden and look what he accomplished.   He’s still lying to us now and telling us things like ‘I need a husband to be happy’ or that ‘If my circumstances were different I would be different’ and a biggie… ‘I can’t control my emotions’.    She points out that these are lies… all LIES!!!!   It’s time to combat those lies with the truth –  the truth that’s found in the Bible – God’s word.  It’s a very freeing book.

4.  My last recommendation for today…. if you have a sore throat that goes on for a week – and you go to the doctor after 6 days and she doesn’t think it’s strep because even though your throat is fire-engine red she doesn’t see any pus (yuk!).   I would recommend going home and mixing 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water, then gargling a tablespoon or so of this liquid once every hour for a full day (swallowing a bit at the end – oh don’t give me that – you’ll survive).   And if you are oh-so-fortunate like myself,  that annoyingly very sore throat might completely disappear!!

So there you go… I think I like this recommending things, it might just become a regular feature. 🙂

So that was that

So one of the things that I had challenged myself to do this year didn’t end up seeing fruition.    I started January 2nd on a 21 day Kickstart vegan challenge and I choked around day 10… too bad.    I started it not because I wanted to become a vegan and eschew meat or milk permanently, but my mom was doing it and I thought it would be fun and a good way to stop eating the junk that I was starting to eat with abandon over the Christmas holidays.    I had also hoped it would train my body to start craving carrots over cookies.   But I failed miserably.  I made it 9 days fairly easily and did enjoy eating my rice and beans even while my family was chowing down on home-made mac and cheese   But on the  10th day I started feeling discouraged probably because  I didn’t really see any instant changes – I didn’t lose 5 lbs and my lingering cough was still lingering (I had hoped all the fruits and veggies would cure me) and somewhere in those previous 9 days the joy of making two meals every night diminished.

Now maybe someday if Jason would agree to do a vegan challenge with me (hahahahahahaha) it would be easier, but since he’s not there yet and I was doing it alone (my kids are great eaters but I didn’t want to throw them for a loop) I’ll just have to be content with what I did manage and go on from there.

But I certainly don’t count my 9 plant-based eating days all as loss…  I learned a lot and will be making some changes to my diet and it’s nice to know that although I like meat I really could live without it.   Actually if it was just me and I had all the time in the world, I would love to explore all the different and wonderful foods you can eat when you are only eating things that grew and didn’t moo.

And  one interesting things I think I’ll share…  contrary to popular belief you can get enough protein on a plant-based diet!!  Yes you can!   Think about it… lots of the world’s largest mammals just eat plants and some of these include  elephants, zebras, giraffes… moose… they survive very well and are large and healthy all without eating meat or dairy.  And you might point out that we all get hungry quicker without our major protein foods like meat and cheese, but then so what… eat some more vegetables and whole grains and you are set.  It is very difficult to eat too many calories just eating vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes.   Unless you are like me and snacked on  nuts… alot… which is probably why I didn’t lose my 5 lbs.   That and I learned how to make ‘vegan’ cookies and they were very very good – probably too good.  Kinda like obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit… I think refined sugar is just as big of no-no.     But just so you believe me on the protein thing,  I just entered a days worth of plant based food in trusty Calorie Count and I easily reached my target protein amount without meat or dairy… cool huh?   It can be done.

In other news here we are plugging along with the first week of school under our belts.  Going back was a bit of a transition for the kids but we all made it, especially since we snunk in a day off – the kids all had dentist appointments Wednesday at the University and since it takes a bit longer there and I couldn’t get them back in time after lunch we just all stayed home.  Plus poor Sarah wasn’t very comfortable recovering from her filling… it’s sad that she has my teeth and she’s not even 5 and has 3 cavaites already… sorry about your genes Sarah!

And I’m thankful to not have a case of the January blahs yet,  probably because most of this month has actually seemed like March and now that there is snow it’s kinda nice.   There is lots going on and lots to look forward too which also means lots to blog about so I guess I’m just looking forward in anticipation with what is coming next – even if that doesn’t include a vegan diet.  🙂