Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don't you ever grow up Part One

Working with the "update" theme I thought it was time to also fill you in on where Lancelot and Little Lady are these days. I'll update on Lancelot first.

-Lancelot is now 18 months old and continues to be our friendly monster! He was up to 32 pounds but dropped around 6 pounds while he was hospitalized. He is recovering it quickly though and is already back to 30! It sounds like a lot but he actually isn't really chubby at all, he's just tall and sturdy! He wears size 2T or 3T in clothing and size 3T-4T in hats, socks, and mittens. I think he's about 32 inches tall right now. He is in size 9 shoes! Prince Charming likes to joke that Lancelot's size comes from him but in all reality we have no idea how we landed such a giant! Prince Charming is on the smaller side for a guy and I am tall for a girl but nothing crazy. Most of our extended family is on the smaller side as well. The only exceptions are a few random people on my mom's side and then several on my dad's side so I guess that's where he gets it!

-Everything on him must be muscle because we are continuously surprised by this kids strength. At a year he could already crush a pop can with his hands! This has been a real challenge in the parenting department because of course Lancelot doesn't understand his own strength at all yet and most people do not expect a toddler to be able to out maneuver them...but he can. When he was in the hospital it took FIVE adults...using most of our strength...to hold him down whenever they needed to take blood or do procedures. He is the incredible hulk!

-He now has a large vocabulary and tries several new words almost every day. For the most part he still only uses one or two words together at a time but every once in awhile he'll pull out a complete sentence. The other day he was becoming frustrated after jabbering to me for almost a minute about something where the only words I could make out properly was "daddy" and "ball". Finally with a look of exasperation he said, "Where did Daddy put it!?".

-He is a momma's boy and loves to cuddle with me which is something I am cherishing knowing that he is my last baby. He doesn't like to cuddle much with anybody else...although his sister and a few choice friends do get hugs...but he is almost always up for a cuddle with mommy. It is one of the few times in a day where I see his quieter, more gentle side. Most of the day he is the Energizer Bunny just getting into one type of trouble after another...but now and then he'll come to me with his arms outstretched and say "Up Mommy" and I'll get a few sweet seconds of snuggles.

-Besides mommy his two favorite people in the world are his sister and his Pappa. When he was in the hospital I think one of the hardest things for him was not seeing Little Lady. He talked about her constantly and the one time she was actually able to visit he lit up like a Christmas tree and screamed with happiness!

-He still loves anything to do with a ball. Hockey, golf, football, soccer. It doesn't really matter as long as some type of ball is involved. The first thing he will go for in a play room is the balls. He is thrilled to see them on tv or video games and basically anywhere one might pop up. He has some kind of radar for them. I won't even notice there is a ball around but you can guarantee that if there is one within the boundaries he is allowed to roam...he will find it.

-His second favorite thing is cars and trucks. He loves to shout "TUCK!" every time he sees a truck when we are driving and is able to turn almost anything into a vehicle complete with sound effects. Yes he is ALL boy. I marvel at this sometimes. When Little Lady was a toddler she was the most girliest little girl you could ever meet (still is) and people would often tell me it was because she spent all her time with me and I am so girly. Well if that reasoning were true then Lancelot should be an extremely feminine little fellow since he not only spends all his time with me but now there is a second girly girl added to the equation! But no, he is all snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.

-Which brings me to his third love. Puppies. Little Lady always liked pets but really she could take them or leave them. Her attitude was, "Sure they're cute to look at but there are much more fascinating things to find". Lancelot on the other hand thinks puppies really ARE perhaps a boys best friend.

-Lancelot also loves drums and any music with a beat. He usually watches in complete awe whenever somebody is drumming. He especially likes a visual component to music...like watching music videos.

-A few other favourites: Sesame Street (specifically the Old Spice parody commercial on YouTube or anything to do with Grover or Elmo), "DuhDuh" or in other words Dora, Handy Many/working with tools/helping daddy work with tools, Hide and Seek, everything sweet, popcorn, chicken, pasta, cheese, apples, dancing, and balloons.

-I used to say that Little Lady was high maintenance...and she is, emotionally. But I had no idea how easy I had things physically!! Lancelot is much more even keeled emotionally but in other ways he is every bit as high maintenance as his sister....maybe even more! He gets into everything. And that's not exaggerating. I mean it. Literally. Everything. You can not take your eyes off this kid for one moment. You turn your back and he's climbed inside the stove, you walk into the other room for a moment and you come back to find him in another room...eating toilet bowl cleaner! He has climbed the ladder to our tree house, mastered child proof locks in order to eat dish detergent, climbed shelving, jumped across an entire room to hang by his arms off the bathroom vanity in order to play with the soap, ...the list goes on...and on. He is so tall, strong, and determined that he just keeps going til he figures something out, opens a door, unscrews a jar. Little Lady might have tried but most of the time she would just burst into tears the moment it didn't work immediately. Lancelot on the other hand will just do it over and over until he figures it out. Prime example: He likes to climb on the dining room table to play with my centerpiece. Sometimes I will pull him off ten times in a row and block his strategy, but that won't change a thing...he'll just find a new way to get back up. He won't fuss or cry that I've taken him down, just immediately look for a new strategy. Or just yesterday, he wanted some bubbles which I said we could play with later. I put them at the back of our counter where he couldn't reach. So he went and got his stool. Still couldn't quite reach. So he went and got one of his books, climbed on the stool, lined the book up with the bubble container, "curled" the book across the counter top so that it knocked over the bubble container enough that he could reach it, then happily claimed his prize! The determination is phenomenal, it is only matched by the challenge this creates for parenting!

-He is still on the bottle for night and nap time. I know I should have him weaned. He does drink from normal cups or no-spill cups already the rest of the time. But the bottle is one of his comfort objects and with the many times he has been sick or in the hospital I just haven't had the heart to remove that comfort yet.

-He has been showing an interest in potty training for the last couple of months and has gone on the potty quite a few times already and definitely gets the concept. I don't know if I want to pursue it yet but I do let him go whenever he wants. Since he is already in size 6 diapers (Little Lady never wore anything bigger than 4!) I should probably start pushing the potty idea but I'm just not sure I want that hassle yet.

-Tonight as I write this post he is sleeping in front of our Christmas tree (it is our tradition to have a sleepover on our Christmas Eve), hopefully dreaming sweet sugar plum type dreams. He is so excited to open presents and was thrilled tonight when he got new superman pajamas and slippers to go to bed in! Of course he wanted to open all of his presents at once. Hopefully the kids won't wake us at 4 in the morning ready for Christmas to start!

It's a (Wonderful?) Life

It has been literally months since I have stepped inside this blogging box and attempted to describe to you the life we are leading. In fact, by this time I am probably talking to myself. But that's alright because I feel I should start putting my thoughts down on "paper" again, even if I am the only one who will read them. It's a way to organize the part inside my mind that sometimes feels overwhelmed trying to process all the thought patterns that scramble through on any given day....or minute. For the record, I did not intend to stop blogging but after our camping catastrophe this summer the stuff that fills our lives became so all consuming that every time I thought about blogging I couldn't even begin to see where I would start. Of course it didn't help that blogger erased my old lay out and I have found it impossible to find a new one for free that fits my desired design. Who wants to write on ugly paper? Silly I know but I'm shallow like that. If it weren't so difficult I'd pen my pent up emotions on beautiful frayed parchment with a fountain pen. But alas, this is the convenient, time efficient way to express emotions (doesn't that sound like a bit of an oxy moron?). It seems to me that after an absence of this extent I should supply some sort of update about our lives...however, a complete update would be almost as overwhelming to read as it was to live and would be way to lengthy to type. So instead I will take the easy way out and give you our last few months in sentences. And maybe I'll slip in a picture or two.

-Little Lady celebrated her fourth birthday Fancy Nancy style. Fancy Nancy is a book series for little girls that we discovered almost two years ago and Little Lady has been collecting everything Fancy Nancy ever since. In Fancy Nancy's world everything is elaborate, dramatic, and expressed with big words. We had makeovers, made tiara's, accessorized, had a fashion show, read a few Fancy Nancy stories, and finished it off with a fancy tea.
-We said "So Long" (What a strange phrase) to dear friends of ours as they moved to another province. This has been especially hard on Little Lady who misses their daughter terribly.

-Lancelot had his third surgery. It went well although the recovery has been a long long road.
-Our computer crashed and my laptop crashed, twice. I lost all of our photo albums...including all of Lancelot's birth to six month album which I create on the computer. The cost, time, and memories lost was a major blow.

-I celebrated another birthday and feel extremely old. I know, I know, 26 is not old...blah,blah, blah. It's hard to explain. Have you ever watched Jerry Maguire? At one point the female lead is having a conversation with her sister and her sister reminds her she needs to be responsible while going out for an evening. The female lead says, "Do you know how other girls my age are spending their time? They are finishing their degrees, they are dating, they are dressing up and going out all the time, (etc.). I am constantly thinking about how to pay the bills, what to do for my four year old, (etc.). (and here's the part that I really identify with..) I am the oldest 26 year old in the entire world!" When I was 18 and engaged I didn't think I was too young. When I was 21 and pregnant I didn't think I was too young. Now I am 26 with two kids, have been married almost 7 years, and have put my life, education, and career on hold 3 times in order to make my families life work. I have what everybody supposedly aims for....husband, 2 kids, owning two cars and home with a nice fenced yard...all I need is the dog (which will NOT happen) and I'd essentially have "The American Dream". Yet something in my head keeps screaming, "I am too young for this!"

-Prince Charming graduated with his Masters in Business.

- I went through three new doctors to finally find one I trusted enough to help me try and fix my increasingly debilitating health issues. I went through weekly/biweekly appointments and a new prescription that multiplied all my issues by about a thousand and made everything a million times worse.

-Prince Charming and I went on a much needed week long vacation. It was our first trip alone together since our honeymoon and the first time we had left both kids for more than a night. We got extremely lucky in that his company needed to send somebody to Hawaii for a one day job exactly the week we were hoping to get away and they sent him! This meant that our costs for our vacation were cut in half which was a huge relief and we also got to experience a dream of ours and go to Hawaii which is something that likely wouldn't have happened for years otherwise. The downside of this trip is that during this time I was still on the previously mentioned medication which made most of the trip so much more miserable then we would have liked. The upside is that we got to sleep, soak up sun, and surf and so we still managed to capture a few much needed magical moments.- We all got sick on a nice little sickness merry-go-round. Our household has not been fully healthy since Early/Mid-November.

-Lancelot was hospitalized with a very serious illness called Kawasaki's Disease. This was a nightmare. He will be monitored by cardiologists for 3 months. Hopefully all is clear in those months and the monitoring will not have to continue.

-During the sickness merry-go-round I have not been able to work much, we had to cancel many events, two weekend trips, and numerous other things got moved around or lost in the shuffle.

-We had numerous disappointments in my job with the drop-in.

-We've had numerous small financial set backs that added with everything else feel much worse than they actually are.

-My brother got engaged to this beautiful girl and I am finally getting a sister!-I finally found a specialist who could diagnose me. Currently I have been labeled with 5 different conditions. No that's not a typo. Five. We are still in the testing phases to determine some of the severity and the correct approach. I have been told I will never be "cured" but they hope I will eventually feel "healthy". I am currently on a very restricted diet and also have to make considerable lifestyle changes. This will not change regardless of test outcomes but some medications will likely be added as well.

Well, that's a summary of our lives since I last set foot here. To sum up...we are struggling. On the up side (because I feel that I need to end this post on some sort of up side), I recently enjoyed my annual review of "It's A Wonderful Life" and despite the discouragement in our lives I was reminded of one thing...there is always a reason we are here. We may not be sure of it's existence...but somewhere...somewhere behind the darkness there is hope.

P.S. Next time I'll give you an update on the kids because despite their ride on the sickness wheel they have a lot of exciting things to share!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Camping Chronicles

You know how you can take a wild animal and train it to become domestic? You know how they always say that it doesn't work the other way around? That they can't release zoo animals back into the wild or Orca Whales from Sea World back into the ocean? That the animal will not be able to survive in the wild? Well, in the last two weeks I discovered that this is also true of humans.



A family friend was getting married a couple of provinces away and as we had never done a family vacation before my husband and I had the extremely intelligent idea to turn our trip to the wedding into a family get away. The theory of this was really very sound and would likely have worked out wonderfully...IF we had been been more wise in the way that we executed the endeavor. Our "inspired" idea was to turn it into our very first family camping trip. Naively we thought we were being brilliant. Think of the money we would save without staying in hotels! Think of the magical moments roasting marshmallows in the evenings and and playing games in the trailer on rainy days! Think of how hassle free we would have things without having to haul stuff into a hotel every night! Oh how innocent we were.



We started off on the wrong foot to begin with. We were late leaving town and immediately realized we had forgotten some very important items...like an axe. This put us even further behind schedule since we obviously had to go back to pick ours up since chopping firewood with a kitchen knife is pretty near impossible. As it turned out we needn't have bothered. Camping, it seems, has changed since I was a kid. Not a single campsite, except for the one we stayed at in the city where we attended the wedding (take note I said IN THE CITY, all the other campsites were in the country) allowed fires. Not only did they not allow them...they didn't even have fire pits! The closest we came was one campsite that had a small fire STAND! Something like a mini barbecue on top of a pole.



As for the saving money without staying in hotels thing? Again, naive. We quickly discovered that the cost of driving my dad's pick up truck (our SUV is not large enough to tow the very heavy trailer we borrowed. It's not a big trailer but it's old so it's heavy) plus pulling a trailer is about tripple what we had originally expected. We had to fill up gas a minimum of every two hours and each fill cost around 80 bucks. And if we didn't find a gas station every 100 km or so (which happened three times)....we ran out of gas. Costing us even more money as we had to either call a tow truck or walk to find fuel. In a matter of days we realized we were totally blowing our budget.



Then there was the hassle thing. We travel a lot and so honestly we are pretty excellent packers. The hassle of hauling stuff into a hotel every night and then out again the next day ended up being WAY less than setting up and taking down a campsite daily. Add to that the fact that when camping you are still washing your own dishes, cooking your own food, cleaning up your own area....and we quickly deduced that this was NOT vacation. This was simply taking your life on the road, cramming it into closer quarters, and doing it while sleeping closer to your neighbour than if they actually lived in your own backyard.



By the time we reached our first official stop we were SO ready for a break. We spent two days in a mall, at a water park, and on amusement park rides. That part was all a welcome relief and the kids LOVED every minute. However, while there my cell phone, containing my entire brain as well as access to all my information, was stolen. So we ended up spending our first full evening and a good part of the second day working on trying to resolve that issue.



When we finally reached the wedding city we had decided we were now MORE stressed than before we left home and were DONE with this camping idea. We were tired of being dirty. Tired of tiny camp showers and trying to cook our meals on a teeny tiny stove. We were tired of driving and tired of campsites. We were done with constant disappointment and ready for REAL relaxation. I.E. A hotel. So we decided that after the wedding we would simply head straight home rather than extending our stay for the initially planned second week. We decided that even staying in a fairly nice hotel and paying for our food would still end up SAVING us money compared to what we were spending on camping.



We spent a wonderful few days attending the wedding and seeing friends and family in the wedding city. That part of our trip was 100% worth it. Honestly I wish that had been our whole trip. Next time we will probably just fly there and stay with family or at a hotel. It was SO incredible to see all our friends and family. Made me very homesick for them and for that city!

The day after the wedding we began our trip home and it was a good thing! Just a few hours into the trip Lancelot got a wicked high fever and was very sick. We stopped at a hospital where they said he had a throat infection and put him on antibiotics. The next day Little Lady had it. By the time we got home we were all sick and everyone but PC was on antibiotics! Not much of a vacation!

However, determined to still salvage our vacation we packed up and headed for a hotel in the city. Thankfully we had an amazing time there! We swam a LOT, shopped a little, ate out or ordered in and played with the kids. The perfect vacation! And we are totally ok with being domestic animals!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reunion

Last night my grad class had a little mini-reunion. It's been 8 years since grad and even though some of us live in the same town...and our grad class was only 25ish people...I honestly hadn't seen some of these people since our graduation day! It's strange how even the people we are closest to in high school can become people we never see. For instance one of my best friends in high school I hadn't seen since I was pregnant with Little Lady four years ago! Even my maid of honour and I hadn't connected more than a handful of times in the past 6 years.

While it was slightly awkward to be the ONLY girl who has kids and therefore the ONLY one who doesn't have a gorgeous, toned, identical-to-the-one-she-had-8-years-ago body...it was actually amazing to reconnect. Initially I was worried it would be awkward and I was super nervous about heading out for the evening....but I quickly realized that while we have all made our way down different paths, we are still the same people at the core.

Which brings me to my point! This morning I am feeling so lucky. Lucky to have my kids and my husband. Lucky to have good new friends. And Lucky to have amazing old friends. I always knew that I was pretty lucky to go to school with the people I did but I realized it even more last night. For one, they have all become amazing, successful adults but what struck me even more is that even after all this time and distance and differences they genuinely still care about and look out for each other. This probably won't make sense to many of you without all the context...but I just had to write about it because I was so blown away by it.

To elaborate a little more..I had two very different high school experiences, one in a private Christian school and one in a public school where there were very few Christians (this is where I graduated). In the Christian school I always felt extremely judged, ostracized, and out of place. It was not a good experience for me at all. In the public school I had tons of friends who fully accepted me...regardless of the fact that I had some different beliefs...and who ALWAYS ALWAYS looked out for me and protected me and were there for me. It always made me think. What is so attractive about Christianity if a Christian feels SAFER with non-Christians?

People often ask us where we will send our kids to school. Our answer is always a resounding "Public School" because for BOTH of us our experiences were better in a public setting. Some people don't understand why we wouldn't send our kids to the Christian school for the "Christian environment" and to be honest? It's because to us the public school has the more Christ like environment even if it isn't "Christian".

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Gandhi

Over the past few days I have been thinking a lot about that quote. And yesterday just brought it into even sharper focus. As I am the director of a "Youth for Christ" drop in for teenagers I have to consider "How do I make the last part of Gandhi's statement different for these teenagers?" When they graduate will they say "I felt safer and more accepted with my non-Christian friends than with the Christians"? I find it so sad that that has been...and often still continues to be... my experience. How will we change this for the future?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Now I lay me

Little Lady's prayer tonight after accidentally seeing one of her birthday presents...

"Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEEEAASSE tell me when it's my birthday and our camping trip so I can get those books. (Long Pause). There's not really anything else to say. "
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