Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday

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

1. eleven years with this dude

We celebrated Kai and his awesomness this week, which he was very excited about. The night before his birthday, he went around giving everyone hugs, that's how happy he was that it was soon his day! haha. So cute! (we all thought it was a bit strange, was still cute!)

Kai is funny. He is stubborn and oh so very steadfast...this kid doesn't back down or break easy; he can be a bit willfull! But, that also means this kid is passionate and strong, and I am excited to think of what he will do with his secret powers!  I loves him!

2. Cousin Visits

My niece was in the area for a few days while she waited for her mom to pick her up and take her back home to Powell River, so we managed to snag her and keep her at our house! The kids loved seeing their cousin again! It turned out to be a good weekend. She went out with the Olders for walks to the store, she baked yummy goodies (she is on her way to being a chef), she decorated gingerbread houses, she watched How To Train Your Dragon 2 with the kids (and even bought them a copy of the dvd) We even convinced her to stay an extra night so that we could interest her into moving here! 

Her visit was a lot of fun. On the ride back into Abbotsford, Abi, Emma and I played the Beanboozled Challenge. Have you ever heard of it? I admit to not feeing completely brave enough at first, but decided to participate for the fun of it! It's jelly beans that look alike, but have too different tastes. For instance, you could have Baby Wipes or Coconut! (I didn't mind the babywipes too much, haha) or Canned Dog Food or Mixed Berries. (canned dog food is disgusting!)  I managed to get the one and only jellybean flavored as Barf....luckily, knowing that was one of the options, I didn't pop the whole thing into my mouth but took small bites! I think I may have crashed the truck while gagging if I did it all at once; instead I tossed it out the window at the first smell and gag! 

It was disgusting....yet oddly entertaining and hilarious!

We're going to miss that girl!

3. A fixed van!

We had to bring in our van to have the back bumper and rear lights fixed, which meant that we had to get a rental van for the week. And, wow, it was a nice upgrade! This van had all of the bells and whistles that we didn't get on our van: the heated seats (so nice during our cold snap) and heated steering wheel, automatic doors that opened/closed, and the kids' favourite part, the dvd machine!  It was a bit sad giving back that van, to be honest! (smile) 

Since the van is in my husband's name, the rental was also in his name, which meant for proper insurance coverage, I wasn't able to drive it. *sigh* He got the nice heated seat van, and I got to drive the old truck! To be honest, I didn't mind it too much. But I am so thankful to have my van back with a working cd player!

4.  Surprise Starbucks

My Hunny went out to drive Emma around our little area, to show her the many options, and he came home with a Chai Tea Latte for me! So nice! I love my man!

5. Brave New Tricks

This week, Bryn and his class went into the Deep Deep End with their Instructor for swim lessons. He was a bit hesitant at first, but was feeling pretty excited and proud of himself later that night! It is the start of new adventures for him!

Eden and Rhys are getting the hang of their swim classes too, and are even able to carefully get their faces and ears wet! It's so cute to watch them during their lessons; they are having fun!

6.  Missing teeth...and that funny tooth fairy

Rhys lost his very first bottom tooth on his own! (he top two he lost after a few falls on the treehouse stairs! *sniff*)  It was very exciting stuff! He had been wiggling that tooth for a few days now, so I figured it would come out soon. It was just funny how he didn't tell me at first, and that he lost it at school but couldn't tell me how or where or when! Oh well, he was excited!

I asked him about the Tooth Fairy, but he insisted that since he had physically lost his tooth at school and no longer had it in his possession, he couldn't put anything under his pillow and the Tooth Fairy wouldn't come. He was so matter of fact about it too, so I shrugged. I don't want to push him to believe in things, but I did want him to experince the fun and joy of receiving a gift for passing a childhood milestone! The dental hygenist helped though, by giving him a plastic tooth container (that looked like a tooth). He could leave that and the Tooth Fairy would see it and know. So that's what we did.

Except, horrors, that funny Tooth Fairy didn't come!!! At least, that's what Rhys said first thing in the morning! I groaned but bought myself some time.... I suggested we look together, that maybe it fell off the bed. Thankfully it was still early morning, so the room was a bit dark and lights weren't on yet. We found a little bag of money tucked between the mattress and bed! Phew!

7.  Going Deeper

I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to do more with my Thankful Thursday list; I wanted to do more than just post quick points gleaned from my FB page. So I grabbed a book and I started to intentionally look each day for things to be thankful for.  Looking back over your week is such a blessing, and it really does put things into perspective, but going day-by-day is even more so.  I've had a bit of a rough week, but it has helped me when I sit down in the evening and think of what my day has been like.

I am thankful that I have so much to be thankful for!

8. Chilly Walks

With having an older teenager in the house, we felt a bit more relaxed about leaving earlier for a church meeting this past weekend, and so Hunny and I spent some time walking together through a few antique stores in Fort Langley. It was chilly, so I was bundled up in a scarf and mittens, but it was nice to just walk around and enjoy the quiet of each other's company!

9.  Productive Evening

I was feeling pretty crummy and annoyances were just starting to add up and my to-do-list was so long and I just wanted to curl up in bed and wait for the morning to arrive. Instead, I had to clean out the boys' room and move the new dresser into it, which wasn't a tough task, but it was one that creates more jobs. The cleaning of the room, the moving of items, the cleaning and reorganizing of the dressers and clothes and toys and such. But I got it done!  And I found that accomplishing that task made me feel pretty good. The room looks great, it fits in perfectly, the boys are happy, and the hallway looks so much more wide without furniture in it!

I am thankful for stubborness, for boys that were eager to help, for energy and for a completed job!

10.  Good music....and Abi who understands

Music is very important to me. I have many songs and cds that mean a lot to me, and I am not often without listening to something. (the only time I give in and don't have it playing is in the living room if the family is around. I will let them watch their tv shows, or play their games; it's all about respect and giving others a chance to do what they like too. But I will play music if it's just time for 'quiet' or if I'm working on something, or I need to motivate those kids to do chores!)

I am so thankful for my cd player in the van, and I am so thankful that my kids know me well.  We were listening to Gungor after I picked up Abi from Youth Group and had to stop at the grocery store for a few quick things, but my favourite song was still on. Abi knows not to open the vehicle door (which stops the music!)...instead she sat and sang along with me!  It made me smile and meant a lot to me!

So there's my condensed list. I have so much more that I am thankful for, but these are just a glimpse at my week. How about you? What are you thankful for?  If you make a list, I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day! Especially for Rhys!

Not only was it Hot Lunch (what Mom doesn't like that?!) but it was a dress up day (our school always schedules hot lunch with a fun day of some sort). All of the kids had to come to school with a Moustache, to support and celebrate those participating in Movember! Rhys has always loved to pretend to have a moustache, so we knew this would be a fun day for him.

I was going to make moustaches out of felt, but my Hunny had a much cooler idea: he found a bunch of fur used in his fly-tying, and picked up some eyelash glue!  What resulted was the cutest Movember entry!

But not only was it hot lunch and moustache day, but Rhys was also the Special Helper in class, which meant that he got to be the lead of all line ups, and he got to sit in the chair (instead of on the floor) and he got to share something with the class. (He brought along a dress up Duck Dynasty beard that he got for his birthday in the summer, haha; he loves it!)

And, to top it all off.....

Rhys lost his very first tooth on his own!!!

It was funny, he didn't tell me until we had been home for two hours! He mentioned how he had a loose tooth (he'd been telling everyone that!) and that he lost his tooth, so I was confused at first, until I saw that gap!  Apparently, it came out at school, but he couldn't tell me how or where or when; he seemed to forget those parts.  He sure was exicted though!

The day after was his dental appointment, where the dentist claimed him to have no cavities and his 6 year molars were coming in.

Big steps!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Young Reader

I was in the school library the other day, chatting with a friend while the kids played on the computers or hung out with their friends after classes.  When it was time to go and I was gathering up the kids to leave, I suddenly realized just how quiet it was in the library. And, yes, I know, they are supposed to be quiet, but well, this is after school for one, and for two, I was referring to the silence of a missing toddler! (can I still refer to her as a toddler?)  Eden is not quiet!  Except for when she is being naughty...or missing.

So we started a search. I couldn't see her out in the open, or obvious places. Did she leave the library? She can't open the doors, but she could slip out if it were opened by another person. And she's plucky enough to go wandering too.

Thankfully, just before the panic could set in, I see her behind a partition of books. She's just sitting on the floor, with a stack beside her, looking through a book quietly!

It reminded me of the stories my Mom would tell of how I would run ahead of them in the local K-Mart but they always knew to find me in the book section!  *smile* I love the simplicity of it. The routine, the surety of my actions, and the innocence of a child running out of sight in a large department store and not causing fear in a parent like today.

Not only was Eden content and quiet, looking at books in a library, but she was reading French books at that! She is obviously a very clever girl!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

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

1.hug pile

Abi convinced all of the siblings to climb onto the couch for a "hug pile"! I love that even though these kids can irritate each other and be so argumentative, they really do love each other and enjoy being together. 

I really am blessed with this crazy, loud bunch!

2. surviving immunizations

Kai had to do his Grade Six Immunizations this past week, except that he missed them since he was at SMH for his Annual Cardiology Appointment. Not that he minded missing them at all! Boy, was he surprised when he had them done this week with the volleyball teams (who were away at games when they were done for the rest of the classes) I wasn't expecting them either, so I couldn't warn him. 

After school, Kai informed me of the torture he went through, but let me know the silver lining was that he got to have some hot chocolate afterwards, and missed half of the next block! I asked him if it was because he freaked out? He bowed his head and said, "yeah..." sheepishly.  Silly boy!

3. clean teeth

I made it six months to my bi-annual dental appointment! If you know me, you know that I would avoid seeing my dentist if I could, but then I met Natasha and I decided that maybe I could do this again! She was the first ever hygienist that I've ever felt completely at ease with; after my appointment in the spring, I wanted to go out with her for a coffee and shopping date! haha. It was just as relaxing this time too! 

I am super thankful for Natasha and for clean teeth!

4. ride sharing

It has been a rather busy few weeks here, and we aren't normally a busy people, but almost every single night had some sort of event going on for two weeks straight. It was crazy and we were starting to feel it! I am so thankful for friends and family who stepped in and helped out. I had my mother in law pick up the kids from school for me while I had my dental appt, and then she took Abi to youth group, and I had my friend pick up Abi afterwards and take her home for me; it is so good to know that you can get help when you need it!  We are blessed to have those around us.

5. brother giggles 

I had to laugh as I listened to Bryn and Rhys giggle the other night. They had taken a toy store catalogue to their bedroom to go through and circle and dream, but after a good fifteen minutes of conspiring, Rhys came running out to tell Kai that they had circled "girl things" in the book for him! Hahaha. They were quite proud of their silliness! Kai was offended at first, but then I reminded him that it wasn't a big deal, and then we laughed over how he would be surprised on Christmas morning with his gifts!

I am thankful for silliness and giggles coming from brothers. They don't always play well or get along together, but the times they do are so good.

6. toque and sweater weather

We're having an Arctic Chill this week, so it's been so cold in the mornings that I've had to pull out tuques and mittens for the kids to take to school. Brr!  I am thankful for sunshine that warms up our afternoons so that we can take off our jackets and mittens and go out and play in the leaves!

7. antibiotics

I don't think I'd ever thought I would be thankful that one of my children is sick, but I am so thankful that after three trips to the clinic, Abi finally has something that the doctors can treat!  She has a double ear infection, plus chest congestion with lots of wheezing. Yuck! But now she can start antibiotics and hopefully start to feel better soon!

8. evening out with a good friend

When Rhys was in preschool, I connected with a few of the moms, but one reached out after that year ended and that really means a lot. I think we are so stuck in our own ways, doing our own things, in our own little houses, that we forget to make an effort and we get into a routine where we aren't deepening relationships. That may not be true for some, some people still do have social lives, but for the most of us (especially if you have many children) it is a lot of work to actually plan and do things with others. So it was so wonderful to actually do that with my friend Nat.

We went to an Open House Fashion Reveal party at Milner Village Garden Centre and then went for coffee at lelem, an arts and cultural cafe in Fort Langley. It's a new company that just opened this year and is beautiful with a lot of First Nations decor and art, and plenty of room for a large group of friends (like the group of 15 girls that came in as we were leaving) or a simple lunch date with a girlfriend.  I would go back there!

It was nice to get together and chat with a friend, and I really need to do this more often. It was encouraging and supportive, and we need more of that in our lives.

9. Star Of The Week

Bryn was the Star of the Week in his grade three class, which meant that we had to bring in photos (I remembered that the night before, so I had to go digging through my stacks downstairs after I tucked him into bed! That was fun!) that he got to show off to the class. He brought in his favourite book (Amulet  by Kazu Kibuishi, a graphic novel series.) and talked about it, and brought in three of his favourite items. On the last day, a parent was supposed to write a letter to tell the class about the child. Of course, I forgot all about that until the night before! Oops. I was a bit stressed over it and didn't even know what I'd say, but then Hunny surprised me and wrote something. I sent it in, but also came at the start of the day to read it to the class.

Bryn is such a sweetheart. He's quiet and gentle and caring, but also so very energetic and tells silly jokes. He is also the ultimate middle child, who is steadfast and reliable but can sometimes get lost in our big family since he's not demanding or loud or needing as much attention as some of the others.  And that personality can be such a blessing too. We definitely appreciate his fun and strong nature.

10. new kicks

Bryn is active and loves to run all over and jump around so much that he will wear out his shoes in two months! Literally, the brand new shoes we bought at the beginning of the school year have fallen off the soles! (I should've taken a photo! next time I will!)  So that meant shoe shopping.

Since this happens consistently, we decided to go with a more expensive pair of runners. We went to Sport Check, but they didn't have his size, and then tried out Foot Locker, where the staff member was super helpful. He's the one who looked at Bryn's shoes and immediately asked if he liked to climb on things! Of course! Lightbulb! That would be why the front of his shoes fall apart to the point of the soles separating!  He found a nice pair with more flexibility for Bryn, and we left with a happy boy and happy parents. (and now I'm going to fill out a survey for the store to let them know how helpful their sales rep was...and see if I can win a gift card!) Hopefully these will last longer into the new year!

So there's my condensed list. I have so much more that I am thankful for, but these are just a glimpse at my week. How about you? What are you thankful for?  If you make a list, I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (Cold Outside)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Annual Cardiology Check Up

Kai had to go in for his annual Cardiology check up again, which we have been doing for eight years now, traveling in to BC Children's Hospital and seeing Dr Hosking (great doctor). It's not a big deal. It's just one day out of the whole year, so we really don't have anything to complain about. But the drive is a frustrating one; it sometimes makes me nervous, and it does take up our whole day between the driving and waiting for our appointment to come up, so Hunny has to take time off of work to get the kids from school typically. Sometimes it isn't very convenient.

This year, we were called and told that our appointment was booked at the Surrey Memorial Hospital. They have a temporary lab set up that is open once a week for those on this side of the River, which is such a wonderful option. But it also felt so strange. We were going to a different hospital, and seeing a different doctor. It felt odd.

Despite the differences, there was much to be thankful for. Such as, no line ups! At BCCH, even if you have a scheduled appointment, you need to be prepared to wait for your name to be called for the tests, and then you wait even longer for the doctor. At SMH, there was hardly any wait at all! There was one child ahead of us, and we only waited for maybe five minutes before we got in. In fact, it was so empty in that buiding it felt very eerie. You often wondered if you were in the right place, there just wasn't that many bodies walking around and doing busy things!  But that also meant that our appointment went by fast.

Kai still gets the giggles during the exams! The stickers for the EKG lines tickle him and make him squirm. Thankfully the test really only takes 2 minutes, it's the setting up that takes longer; sitting still isn't easy for him!

The Echocardiogram wasn't too bad either, but he squirms because of all of "the goo" they use to get the pictures. He really is a funny boy!

We saw a different cardiologist, after a student doctor checked him out first, but I'm not too sure how I felt about him. I guess he was good for a quick check up doctor, but I was hoping for more information. Instead, he told me that Kai's heart was "normal" and that we could wait another year for our next appointment. Which is great news, but also strange. Normal? How normal? Normal for Kai, I guess. So not worse, then? His medication stays the same. Before we go back next year, he wants us to do a lot of repeat tests that we did at the beginning, since it's been eight years. Like his 24 Hour Holter, which he did at 18 months old while we stayed overnight at BCCH and got his medications sorted out. The doctor would also like to do an exercise test, since Kai doesn't have much stamina for running and such.  

I had a few concerns when we arrived, one being his tiring out easier than others. The other was that he is always so cold, often doubling up his socks and he won't wear short-sleeved shirts. I was worried it was heart related, but that doesn't seem to be the case, which is a huge relief for me to hear! I dread the day we hear that his heart is getting worse and that he is in Congestive Heart Failure and needs surgery. But maybe it's his asthma that holds him back, and maybe he does have a thyroid issue, which is in the family. Hopefully it's just those things. Although having a dysfunctional thyroid would really suck (I would know), it seems better than having heart failure.  After our appointment, we went over to the lab for some blood work. Our family doctor had written out a req to do a complete blood count and a TSH check in the summer, and Kai had managed to avoid getting this done, but I finally put my foot down and gave him no choice. (he shrieked and put up a huge fuss at the lab, I am sure the whole building heard him! oh my!) So we'll see what the results are.

Things look okay for his Dialated Cardiomyopathy, and we are clear for another year (unless symptoms pop up) and I am thankful. I just wish that the doctor could've been more clear for me. He said that things looked good on the ECHO, but it is just a portable one for the clinic and so it isn't the most detailed, which doesn't give me a lot of confidence. But from what they saw on the not-so-detailed scan, things look "normal".

Flanders Fields

In school, we had to learn In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. It was written on May 3, 1915 after the battle of Ypres, Belgium. Sadly, I don't remember much of the poem, but on Remembrance Day I always think of it. Maybe I need to relearn it again.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields! 

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Thank-you, to all of our soldiers, past and present, who sacrificed so much for us.


Monday, November 10, 2014

what I've been up to lately

I've been gone a bit, haven't I? Or maybe you hadn't noticed. No big deal.

Funny story...

I have a huge storage container full of scrapbooking/cardmaking supplies that I just do not need anymore. A lot of it from Stampin' Up: retired stamp sets, brand new sets, tools, paper. you name it! I pulled it out of my collection with the hopes of selling it off to make some money. Except that it just hasn't seemed to work well yet. I wasn't able to sell much at all at our yard sale in the summer, and I haven't gotten around to posting it on those swap sites, and when I posted some to the auction sites on FB, they didn't sell. To say I've been frustrated would explain it well!

I came across a post on one of the craft swap pages on FB that was looking for interest in a craft fair for people to barter their items and I was all for it! Maybe this was the way to get rid of my huge stash and make some money for the holidays! The price on the table was good, so I was interested.  However, I began to realize this wasn't going to be one of those types of swap fairs, but an actual craft fair with handmade items and artisans and such. Which posed a question: what would I offer? I have scads of cards laying around, and still plenty of ideas in my head, so that was a route I could take.  Or I could make something entirely new.

Without even knowing for sure, I jumped in and paid for a table!

I was giddy. I was full of enthusiasm.  And I roped my Dad into it as well!  We decided to work on items and do this fair together. Oh, and just to make it more exciting, we only had one month to figure this out!!!

Apparently, I like to live in that eleventh hour....

You can read part two HERE.

Swimming Lessons

The Youngers started their swimming lessons last week, and that was exciting.

The kids receive money from Grandma T (who is my husband's 96 year-old grandmother actually) every year for their birthday and for Christmas. Usually I will use it to buy them something they need or I will  put it away for savings (I know, sometimes I'm UN-fun!), but this year I thought I'd do something different and ...well, fun! We used the money to pay for swimming lessons for them. (the Olders didn't want to do lessons)

Our classes run every Monday and Wednesday at the Walnut Grove Pool after school. Now that we've gone through our first week, I have to admit that next time I will either pick a time not so soon after school, or at a location closer to the school.  On our first lesson, I picked up Rhys from his Kindergarten class and then went to the front of the school to meet Bryn, except that he wasn't there and we were waiting for a bit. It turns out that he went back to pick up RhysQ! And, as we were trying to leave the school parking lot, another van parked behind me so that they could jump start the van beside mine. They reminded me that it would "only take a second", after I moaned not-under-my-breath-as-much-as-I-thought, 'don't block me in!". Of course, they were right: it only takes one minute to jump start a vehicle. But I was feeling a bit anxious, so this was a test of my patience. It didn't take long, and soon I was on my way. When I made it to the middle school for the Olders, I got a text from Abi saying that they decided to walk to the elementary school to meet us! So I had to turn around and pick them up. 

Between all of that, we didn't make it to the pool and into the water until 3:45. Did I mention that the lessons were from 3:30 until 4pm? Oh, my stress level was pretty high! The kids only had 15 minutes in the pool with their instructor and I felt rushed and not calm, and embarrassed, and frustrated, and it was just not a very good first day.

The second lesson went slightly better. I decided to pick up the Youngers from school a bit early, and then meet the Olders, and that wasn't too bad. We made it to the pool with five minutes to spare. But in the time it took to get inside and changed, they were still five minutes late.  But that's still better than fifteen though!

This week, we didn't have school, so we were at the pool half an hour early! That was a much more relaxed lesson!

 I'm not too sure what I'm going to do come Wednesday, but I'm thinking I'll get them from school a bit earlier again!  It's a good thing this is just for the month of November!  It's still worth it though. The kids are having fun, and learning about water safety is very important.
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