Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Christy made me

Christy says that November is some sort of national post more on your blog month and so I am supposed to update my blog. Normally, I'd be suspicious but I've never known Christy to lie.

Today's updated is on H1N1. I took my two youngest kids to get the shot because they are on the priority list, and unlike everywhere else in the country - it seems our area has some sort of sensible non-panic plan to get the shot into the arms of those who need it. I simply called a 1-800 number last week, somebody answered on the second ring, and so I gave my kids names and ages, and was booked for an appointment today.

The actual clinic was set up in the gymnasium of an elementary school and it was so well staffed and organized that had I left my children at home, I might have imagined it to be a spa day. I likely could have sat and read magazines in peace for an hour and a half. But snapping back into reality - the reason I had to be there was to bring the two youngest for their shots, so it was certainly no picnic but that wasn't the fault of the H1N1 planning people. Our appointments were booked for 4:25 and 4:35 and there was a bit of a wait, and then I had to listen to an explanation about the shot, effects, give your kid tylenol, etc. We went with Annique first because I knew Evan would cry and then Annique would know it's supposed to hurt. She sat on my lap and the nurse told her to sing a song - she sang Twinkle Twinkle little star, and by the time she was done the shot was over, without even a twitch or tears. Evan was another matter - he was pretty insulted about the whole thing but they gave him a cookie after so it was all good.

Then they make you wait around for 15 minutes to make sure you don't have a reaction to the shot, so we didn't get out of there until 5:48. I set a new land speed record getting both of my kids into the grocery store and was able to load up a cart and spend $125 on groceries AND take Annique to the bathroom before the store closed at 6:00.

So that's today's update. Tomorrow I think I will tell you about my dog.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Sept. 20, enjoying the heatwave

First weeks of October - the sub-zero temps and snow seemed to be here to stay

October 18 - and it's 20+ degrees again!

Mother nature seems to have her seasons screwed up - we are having the weirdest weather lately! Usually we get some decent weather the last week or so of August and then when school starts in September, the long-sleeved/sweater weather starts and I can pack away all the shorts because the weather turns just that fast. This year, it was so different - we had a serious heatwave mid-September and finally enjoyed the hot weather that never really happened all summer.

We were supposed to start building the cabin the last week of September, and Serge and his dad were out working on the foundation in the ridiculous heat and we were hopeful that the weather would still be nice and they'd get a good start on framing and have it all shingled and closed in before winter. But there were a number of delays and in a few short weeks we went from 'too hot' to 'snow and freezing cold' - and after two weeks of snow and below-freezing temps we didn't have much hope that we'd be able to get a long enough stretch for them to get it framed so we just tarped everything and they'll start in the spring. Disappointing, but at least we're not worrying about what the weather does anymore.
Tarping everything and waiting for spring

What's missing? Oh, just a cabin.

This weekend, for example - Annique's birthday - the whole week was snowy and cold, and while I was hoping to go to the pumpkin patch to celebrate her birthday - it had been below freezing for 2 weeks, the kids were going to school every day in snow boots and winter jackets and mittens, and it seemed winter was settling in early. I seriously doubted the place would even be open, and how much fun would it be? So we planned a little party at our house on Saturday and booked a kids' theme room at the CanadInn so they could go in the pool and on the waterslides instead of a pumpkin patch visit.

My birthday girl - 4 years old!

Loving her 'princess' room at 'the Canada'

And so Sunday arrived and the weather was just beautiful - so we decided to swing by the pumpkin patch to see if they were still open, and it was the perfect day for it! So we did that too - thank goodness it was so warm that the kids didn't need jackets or sweaters, because all we had in the van was their winter coats! It was hard to convince them after 2-3 weeks of cool/cold weather and snow that they could actually GO OUTSIDE without coats on. Leave your coats in the van. REALLY. You won't need them!

Beautiful day at Meandher Creek!

Loving the warm sunshine and blue skies

Racing ducks

This morning, the kids left for school in their winter jackets and mittens again. GAAAAAHHHH!!!! At least I didn't have to unpack their spring/fall jackets. Yet.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

GAAAAAHHH! August again!

You know I'm obsessed with sunset pictures, and so here's my top three sunset/beach pictures so far this summer:

Madeleine and Kayla on the dock
Campfire on Craig's beach
This one is actually a sunrise - thanks Evan for the wake-up call!

Where does July go? No, really - what the heck happens to July? June, I don't miss. I love finding myself at the end of June when it seems like June just started yesterday. But I hate when that happens with July. One day you're thinking "I can't believe it's July already! It's really summer! We're here!!!!" and the next day you wake up and it's - you guessed it - August.

My second daughter has it figured out that since her birthday is at the very beginning of August, and her mother thinks August sneaks up on everyone - that her birthday gets thrown together in a panic when suddenly the days in July start with 3, and that means her birthday is in a few days, and nobody bought presents or sent out invitations and they swear they'll do a better job next year. No, this year - she caught on and started warning us when July was in the teens, that her birthday was going to be SOON. And July being like it is, I said - oh, no darling! Your birthday is in August. July just started, that's a long time from now. Don't worry, you'll have an awesome birthday!

The ugliest birthday cake ever, but the kids liked it!

And sure enough, the last few days were a blind panic trying to pick a day and get people together and a cake and presents and... we had her birthday. One day late, but we managed to have a wonderful time and most of her favorite people there with her and some presents. I made a whirlwind trip to the city yesterday for a few last minute gifts and paper plates and treat bag candies and cake decorations, etc. We mini-golfed, built sand castles and played on the beach. It was a good day.

When June and July flew by, so did a pile of milestones for Evan. One day we decided to see if he could sit up, and what do you know - he could! He was a little shaky so we put pillows behind him for awhile but he was amazingly stable pretty much from the start. He still doesn't roll over but he sits like a champ.
Sitting, with pillows for protection. It was also handy having sisters to sit behind him and catch him before he toppled over.

Evan went to school for the first time at 6 months old - Madeleine brought him for show and tell. It was hard to stand at the back of the class and just watch - but both Madeleine and Evan did a wonderful job. I have video if anyone is interested in listening to show and tell in French, but otherwise, here's a photo or two.

all of the kids lining up to see our baby - it was also pyjama day in case you're wondering

Evan rocking the visitor's pass - school is serious stuff!

He also tried baby cereal and baby food for the first time - and wasn't loving either option. He went to the summer fair and watched his sisters go on all the rides, eat mini-donuts and hang out with goats in the petting zoo.

Madeleine on the giant swing

And mini-donuts, of course!

Evan had his first boat ride, and went fishing for the first time. The fishing trip was short lived, not only because it's crazy to be in a boat with three kids, one baby and four fishing rods, but because there were dark clouds gathering. Yeah, that's why we went in so soon. It was the clouds.

Getting ready to go in his 'Gone Fishin' with Dad' shirt and his fishing hat!

Loving the boat ride! (see? Clouds!)

His first tooth broke through the first week of July, and a second one followed about a day after the first. I remember this because my girls were having an incredibly rainy and awful and windy and cold week of swimming lessons and there was nothing like a bit of teething to add to the misery. Annique took lessons for the first time and freaked out about the weeds touching her feet - which is awful I admit but would be the least of my worries if I was freezing cold in the wind with massive waves splashing about my waist and somebody expected me to put my face in the water and blow bubbles. I don't tell the kids that, of course.

The first day (and only nice day) of swimming lessons

The rest of the days were more like this, and worse. Sometimes they couldn't even go in the water!

There was also a first for me in July - my dad bought a pair of jet-skis because one obviously isn't enough. So I had my first ride on a jet-ski, and also got dumped off for the first time. Apparently these particular jet-skis really are meant only for one person, so jumping on as a passenger isn't a good idea unless one or both of you weighs less than 100 pounds. And I obviously don't. The kids love the jet-skis, even though Madeleine had a scare when my dad rolled one of them with her on it and it was swamped so they had to swim to shore. She was really good about it but now has no doubt about the importance of life jackets.

The jet-ski purchase coincided with my dad's 50th birthday and we had a big party with an amazing seafood boil and fireworks on the beach. That was Evan's first experience with fireworks and he didn't freak out about it even though some of them were incredibly loud. Which is odd because now he'll freak out if I start the vacuum cleaner in the same room.

Evan had another immunization and visit with the health nurse, and weighed in at 22 pounds! I guess I don't have to worry that he has no interest in real food yet - he's obviously not starving!

Look at those legs! HUGE!

I think this summer is flying by even faster than usual because we're also up to our eyeballs in plans to get a new cabin built across the road from my parents' cabin at the lake. The lot was cleared last fall but we needed to bring in a bobcat and get all of the brush out, pull the roots and dig a big hole for the crawl space. We have our building permit and approval to go ahead! If all goes well we'll be framing it this fall.

We're making a few changes, but this plan is what we're starting with.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marriage as a word

I'm 9 years into a marriage now and wondering why there is all this argument over the rights of people to be married, rights for marriage to be recognized, etc.

I think everyone's missing out on the more meaningful words, which are 'partner' and 'partnership'. Nine years into marriage, and it's the partnership that is most important to me. I remember about a decade ago I was working one day and one of my colleagues said she had met a former classmate and her 'partner' over the weekend. That kind of set me immediately wondering if this person's 'partner' was male or female. Because surely, if it was her boyfriend, wouldn't you just say 'boyfriend'? Or, fiancee? Why use partner unless you are struggling for a way to describe something? Or maybe they're living together but not married, because then you'd say 'husband' or 'wife' - for some reason it seemed weird to describe a spouse as someone's partner. I was engaged at the time - and for some reason would not have thought to describe my this person I was planning to join my life with as my 'partner'.

It wasn't always so complicated. When I was a child in school, we were always encouraged to pick partners. We 'partnered up' - we had partners for walking down the hall, partners for homework and reading and activities in gym class. We didn't choose husbands or wives, or girlfriends - we chose partners. It didn't matter whether you chose a boy or a girl - of course most people chose a same-sex partner, because there was quite a stigma to being partnered up with someone of the opposite sex. Heaven forbid all your friends tease you for having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Today I am watching an interview with a same-sex couple and the discussion, as it always does - turns to the definition of marriage, etc. They weren't in favor of having any name other than marriage for their partnership. They said - it's like in the past where the white people and black people couldn't drink from the same fountain, sure everyone gets water but the point is not to let the black people taint the water from the fountain for the white people. And it is the same with marriage, by giving it a different name, you're separating because you fear that the word marriage will be tainted by the same sex couples using it.

I completely disagree, I don't think there is any taint to using it. I just think a better more accurate word is in order. I'm very attached to the word 'marriage' to describe my relationship with my husband, because its something I did in a Church before God, and actually according to my belief system - it means a partnership between myself, my husband and God. That is what it means to me, but of course I understand it's completely different for other people. There are plenty of marriages out there where God is not the third partner, and I don't think that 'taints' my marriage. Whatever - that's MY definition, and I don't expect everyone to use it the same way I do.

What is becoming more clear to me as the years go by is that the partnership is most important - without that, do you really have a marriage? How many married people would describe their spouse as a partner? We're worried that the definition of marriage is being tainted - what about partnership? It doesn't matter who you choose, but rather by how you behave as a partner. Building strong partnerships will strengthen the definition. What if we started to really think as partners, and to make a commitment (hopefully lifelong) to this partnership?

Maybe we need to ditch the arguments about marriage and the definition. It means different things to different people, and I don't think it's the government's business to define or change it. But it is the government's business to recognize partnerships - and to treat all people the same regardless of who they decide to partner up with. So, let's just all pick a partner. And if you would describe your partnership as a marriage because you had a wedding, then good for you, whoever you are. But if it's just this word we're all arguing about, I have to wonder if maybe what everyone really wants is a partner, and a partnership. They want their partnership to be recognized by the government and respected equally. It's just like when we were in school - choosing a partner doesn't in any way imply whether you should be picking a boy or a girl. We need to use a word like that. It seems to be more fitting than marriage, anyway.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The month of MAY

So, obviously Evan is being five months old for most of this month, and it's a busy one. We had that trip to Minot, several birthdays for Madeleine, Mother's day, Evan's baptism, and our first trips to the lake for the year. Oh, and this other little project, which is actually so big, it deserves its own post.

Madeleine seems to think that turning eight has made her into a babysitter, so she's gone from holding him on the couch, with supervision - to picking him up and carting him around with her everywhere. He doesn't seem to mind at all - he's getting sick of laying in the same place and no longer cares who picks him up as long as he is up. I'm still trying not to have a heart attack every time he's not where I left him last.

The weather's getting nicer and so we have been out with the stroller a few times, it never fails that Evan will fall asleep before we get home. I am not sure if it's the stroller or being bundled up so tight but I guess we'll find out when it warms up.

He put up with the whole baptism thing, actually sort of acted like he was interested for some parts of it. Didn't scream until we wanted to take family pictures at the end. So that didn't happen.

I do have an update on Evan's size and weight since he went for another round of immunizations and was weighed and measured by the health nurse. He was pretty friendly with her, so he must forget how these visits end. He was 18 lbs, 2 1/2 oz on May 6, 26 1/2 inches long.

He's not rolling over yet, I can't remember when babies are really supposed to do that - I am sure he could if he put his mind do it, but he's just not that into it. He somehow manages to rotate himself around on the floor so his feet are where his head was ten minutes ago, but he hasn't bothered rolling. I can only assume it's because he hates being on his belly, so why would he put himself that way on purpose?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

We spent Mother's Day out of the country - we went to Minot, ND for the weekend because there's a hotel there with a waterslide park and a mall attached, and a Target in the mall, and a Wal-Mart that is open 24 hours, and that is a good combination of things for a weekend away with the kids.

Unfortunately, the hotel always makes us check out at noon on Sunday, and we weren't nearly done with the shopping and all of that - which means that we spent the afternoon hauling 4 kids around the mall with us. I sent the oldest 3 with my husband to the food court for something to eat and to play in the kids' room, and I took the baby and ran through a few stores madly grabbing things while he slept soundly. I got to the checkout in the first store with an armful of ridiculously cute and cheap baby clothes to find that I didn't have my credit card, I'd left that with my husband at the other end of the mall.

And the day just carried on like that - we ran around like crazy with the kids in tow, in and out of the van, from store to store. Evan had a blowout diaper in Wal-Mart and I had his diaper bag and a clean outfit but no wipes. And three little girls running around the public washroom with huge lengths of paper towel trying to 'help'. Just stuff like that which is only made better by people constantly saying "Happy Mother's Day" to me wherever we went because it was likely obvious that I was the mother of all these kids, because nobody in their right mind would willingly take someone else's offspring shopping all day. Despite all that, we managed to get everything on the list, and even got Madeleine's ears pierced, we fed everyone and packed the van and were out of the city by 5:00. Not bad!

Madeleine started making the cringe face before they even touched her ears -
and then suddenly, it was done!

So, we loaded up the van and headed across the border (where once again, I fumbled on the question of how many kids we have, and Serge laughed at me, again) and they don't stop us for long at all because it just seems like too much trouble, which is right - and that is good. We made it back home by 8:00 and droppped in to say Happy Mother's Day to Memere, and threw our filthy kids in the shower to clean them off for school tomorrow, and cleaned Madeleine's earrings and phoned Grandma to say Happy Mother's Day to her, too, and got everyone in bed, and that was good, too.

I wanted to just relax but a trip like that leaves a pile of laundry waiting to be done and a pile of shopping bags stacked on the kitchen table - so I started to get at that when I noticed a big juice box wrapped with duct tape and an envelope that says "Happy Mother's Day" on the outside. I had to take the chance that it was for me. And, inside...

Now, just to figure out how to work the thing! I'm so excited! I can only assume it is to block out the kids if I have another day like I had today! YESSSSSS!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

So, four months now?

An outfit that all his sisters wore at one time - they always looked like boys in it

See the little change-up in the title? I'm always thinking of new ideas like that. Just to keep things interesting. I figured 12 months of "Baby at X months" might get a little dry.

Anyway, so obviously, he's 4 months old now. And currently going aaaarrragh, arragaaahhh, raaaaaahhh!!! RAH! in his exersaucer. So hit save and come back later, I guess.
Someone who doesn't have a pukey baby might have changed his shirt

Soooo, much later, we're continuing. I have nothing to add about his dimensions, because he hasn't been weighed or measured recently. The old familiar complaint about him continuing to grow out of clothes - he seems to be long in the body, still in size 2 diapers but will probably be moving up a size soon. Everything's 3-6 months for his clothes, much of the stuff that says '3 months' probably doesn't mean 'to six months' as the wrists and pant legs are getting short. I need to go shopping for sleepers and things - the seasons are changing and I don't know what to buy for pants and shirts but I do know he can still wear sleepers in the summer so those seem like a safe bet.

He's liking his Bumbo seat and the exersaucer a lot - he must be longer than his sisters as he stared out one button up in the exersaucer, I stuck him in there on the lowest setting and his feet were flat on the bottom so he needed to go up a notch right from the start. He can move himself in a circle slowly so I wonder if he'll ever get the hang of spinning madly like Annique did? Maybe she'll show him how.

His fine motor skills are coming along very well - his arms seem to move at random, but his fingers are very precise. He has trouble getting his hands to something that he wants, but once he's touching it - he is good at grabbing and holding and moving things with his fingers. He can always grab the chain around my neck or the strings on my hoodie

Evan's still spitting up more than I think he should, because not at all would be my preferred option, of course. But it really is a lot and I am sure he must have reflux or something. I've been told that his dad spit up like that all the time when he was a baby so I guess I shouldn't complain about having only one out of the four kids inheriting that gem from him. Seems a giant waste of milk so I'm glad we're not paying for formula at this point. And also glad it doesn't stain because we'd all need a new wardrobe and possibly new carpeting, bedding and furniture if it did.

He's laughing out loud a little more lately - mostly if you tickle him around the ribs or really put in an effort, or ask him something funny like "Did you pee on your dad?" - then he'll laugh about that. Because it IS funny. He loves questions.

Mr. Popular with the girls, already. Unfortunately they're all his sisters.

He got himself into this nice habit of sleeping from about 10 until 6 or 7 am, that went on for a week so I did the stupid thing and bragged about it on Facebook, and he hasn't done it again since. He's been getting up at 1:30 and/or 4 or whenever he darn well feels like it, for the last three weeks or so. He goes back and forth between his bed and ours because I'm too tired to move him when he falls asleep back in our bed -but if he doesn't fall back asleep and his arms want to wave around and he wants to talk, then I move him to his bed. I'd really like for us to figure out some kind of routine because nights are just a blur. The only thing he seems to have figured out is that he'd like to be awake for the day at 7:15. For sure. And he doesn't seem to care that his mom and sisters and would like to sleep until eight.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Evan at 3 months

Hurry up, lady - I'm cold!

Dimensions: 14 lbs, at least. He was weighed at his first immunization about 10 days ago, and was 14 lbs. He will start wearing size 2 diapers when we run out of the 1/2 diapers in a day or so. He's out of all his newborn clothes and wearing 3 months and up, including a couple of things that say 6 months on them. And looking at his 6 month old cousin, I have to say that's just faulty labeling.

Getting to the end of the 'evil' 1-2 diapers

I think pretty soon he's going to decide he doesn't want to sleep with us anymore. He's doing the things the girls all did around 3-4 months, starting to sleep with his arms all spread out instead of tucked in, doesn't need to be swaddled quite so much anymore, and seems kind of mad that we're in his space when he wakes up in the middle of the night. One thing he's NOT doing, though - is sleeping long enough to really make the move worthwhile. He's had a good long stretch of sleep one or two nights, but he's not making a habit of it. He's got a bit of a cold and we all know how much fun it is to sleep with a cold, so maybe he's just mad about that waking him up, too.

I'm not supposed to be complaining much right now so I can't really whine about his clothes not fitting, but that's still going on, too. He's not rolling over yet - he hasn't taken it on as a project. He'll get kind of close but its just by accident. I think when he figures out he wants to roll over, he'll be able to do it pretty quick. His hands are a lot busier these days - they can find eachother so he spends lots of time holding hands with himself. And he can purposely steer his hands to his mouth, which makes him happy too because he can gnaw on them and drool all over the place. We've been calling him Monty Burns because he likes to clasp his hands together and hunch over them.

Last month I thought he was a champion burper, now he's honed that skill to become a champion puker. I wonder sometimes why he even bothers eating if he's just going to spit it all up whenever he's vertical. I'm giving up on ever having a clean shirt, or ever having him in a clean shirt, because he's now become quite skillful at throwing up on himself. His timing is impeccable, I am not exaggerating at all when I say he will spit up on a new outfit before I even have a chance to do up the last button or snap. It's like he can't stand to wear anything unless he spits up on it first. I still think he generally smells okay but I am not sure anyone else would agree.

His eyes are looking less blue. At this point I will be pretty surprised if he ends up with blue eyes. They're certainly not brown yet, but they have that muddy color that Annique had. A few weeks ago in certain light they were so blue that I couldn't believe they'd ever turn brown. But now - they're muddy no matter what he's wearing or where he is. His hair, on the other hand - looking blonder every day. He's getting some long, fine hair that I suppose has been on his head since he was born, and since that was 3 months ago - its just getting pretty long now. Then he's rubbed off a spot on the back of his head - the usual baby-bald spot. That makes me kind of sad because the back of his head was so cute with hair on it. I know it will grow back eventually.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

today's soundtrack

So, today I turn on the news and hear that Steven Page, the front man for the Barenaked Ladies, is calling it quits, and going solo or something like that. And I'm kind of sad about that because I've become a particular fan of theirs in the past 6 months or so. It all started when we went shopping for a CD in August - Serge bought Bob Dylan's greatest hits, and since there was a 2 for something sale, I picked up this one:

I've really enjoyed my kids' music up to this point. They listen to a lot of our music, and I'm careful when picking music that's for them. You won't see me throwing in Barney's greatest hits or anything like that. Heaven forbid they decide they like it. I won't buy them any music unless I'm sure I can put up with it. I used to be embarrassed to say I enjoy it - but the more I hear it, the more it reminds me of my kids, and the more I know I'll look back on the times when we drove all over everywhere with music on blast in the van, and I'll remember those songs fondly. It started out with Baby Mozart when they were little, moved on to Carmen Campagne, the Wiggles, and Fred Penner. Even after hearing some of those songs one bazillion times - I still kind of like them. I can't not love Rockabye your bear. I can't not smile when I hear Quack-quack-quack-cock-a-doodle doo. But, time marches on and the big girls are too big for the Wiggles, for sure. Yet, I'm not ready to commit to High School Musical and Hannah Montana, either. We needed a new something we can all agree on. I've always liked the Barenaked Ladies, and I can see how their style and sound could appeal to kids - so I picked it up.

That was August, and its been a lot of months from then until now, and Snack Time continues to grow on me. Pollywog in a Bog is by far our favorite, and even when I was 8 months pregnant and waking up at 3 and 5 and 6 am to go pee, and in the early morning fog, my head was singing "Ribbit, ribbit, a tadpole exhibit, its a transformation no one can inhibit" - it was still okay. I didn't tire of it. I still didn't cringe when Annique yelled for "lil' pog" for the tenth time in a row.

I'm providing this video so that you, too can have "lil'pog" playing in your head at 3 am.
Don't thank me now.

Its good stuff for kids, lots of big, interesting words, great topics, fun sounds, and they're getting smart, learning about the life cycle of a frog, and all. Who cares that there are songs about deadly and unspeakably violent ninjas? If I cared about that, I'd probably care that the band is called Barenaked ladies (giggle, giggle - I told them that) and the lead singer is up on drug charges for cocaine possession or something (yikes! I didn't tell them that!) - and I don't, because this is good stuff for my kids. We like being the Partridge family with music blaring out of the van while it rolls down the highway.

Anyway, with today's announcement - there goes all hopes that I'll get to take the kids to see them live - we've seen the Wiggles, Fred Penner and Carmen Campagne. And also, any hopes for a follow up to their brilliant Snack-time album. I am sure 20 years ago they never thought they'd be writing children's music, and doing such a damned brilliant job of it. Because if they did, they probably wouldn't have called themselves the Barenaked Ladies. I wonder what my kids will think of "If I had $1,000,000?" - I guess there are still a lot of BNL songs out there that are old to me but will be new to them. We'll cope.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

baby at 2 months

I have no idea of his height/weight size, but he wears a size 1 diaper and has grown out of all his newborn clothes, of course you know that because I already whined about it a few posts ago. He's wearing 0-3 month clothes which don't have much extra room, and starting to fit into some 3-6 month stuff quite nicely. All I have to say about that is, when he's 5-6 months old, those things still better fit him.

Already more coordinated than his mother. Excellent. He can grasp things with his hands and his hands like to go in his mouth, of course. He hangs on to my clothes when I'm carrying him around the house - I keep forgetting when I try to put him down somewhere that he may still be attached with a fistful of my shirt or something.

He's still very pushy - doesn't like to rest his head anywhere unless he's sleepy, otherwise he pushes as far back as he can to allow for the maximum view of the world around him. He still has three sisters to keep track of, and it's a lot of work.

What a smiley little guy we have - it doesn't take much to get him to smile, and he's making a few of those 'goo' noises that only little babies can make and still sound smart. That doesn't stop me from making 'goo' noises at him to see if he'll copy me - hopefully nobody's listening.

All anyone really cares about is how well he's sleeping, right? Well, at night - not so bad. He dozes off at around 9-10 pm I guess, and I lay him down on the couch because he'll freak out on any truly flat surface, like his playpen - then I'd have to pick him up and rock him again and spend another half hour getting him to sleep. So I put him on the couch and wrap him up good and tight so he thinks he's still being held, and he usually sleeps until about 1:30 - then I bring him to bed and feed him and he'll sleep until 4:30 at best, sometimes right until 6:30. Not a bad stretch. Then he gets annoying, waking up at least every hour until the girls get up at 8:00. He will always wake up between 7:24 and 7:27 every. single. morning. just to make sure he gets fed one more time before the morning rush.

Special Talents:
-Burping. He's a champ. With the girls, I would start the first month or so pounding on their backs like moms do after every feeding, and usually - nothing. Now and then they'd give up a little burp or a huge one, or spit up all over the place. Evan will always have a huge, satisfying burp, and if you have a burp cloth handy, it will probably be dry. If you don't, he'll spit up all over the place. He's especially talented at spitting up on everyone and everything but himself. In a day, he can create a huge pile of laundry - blankets, my clothes, burp cloths, towels, etc. - but he'll still be in the same outfit.

-He's also quite good at throwing up into his ears.

-He has an altitude sensor, knows without opening an eye if he's being put down.

-Being cute. He's pretty good at that, too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

games parents play

When I was pregnant, I thought I missed drinking. Not that I've been much of a party animal these past few years - okay, for about a decade - but whatever. When you can't drink for 9 months, you kind of look forward to cutting loose again.

In the past few weeks I've said a number of times that I'd like to sit down with a bottle of wine or a case of beer and just get drunk - and so far nobody has taken me up on the offer. Did they think I was joking? Or, maybe I was just fooling myself because with Christmas and kids at home for the holidays and a new baby and all of that - there wasn't really a good opportunity. But goodness knows with these -40 temperatures being trapped in the house with four kids for days and weeks on end could drive anyone to drink.

But this week - an opportunity. A good solid excuse to have a drink or twelve. My sister-in-law turned 30. Right in the middle of the week - my husband is home because he works the next day, the kids are all in bed by 8, why the heck not put on my snow boots and my winter coat and pack a bottle of wine in the diaper bag and my baby in the Snugli and walk right across the backyard to her house, and have a few drinks? Why NOT? So, I did.

It was a successful night of drinking - I drank some beer and a whole bottle of wine and didn't get home until four in the morning. The baby is usually up around 4 so it didn't seem to disrupt his schedule at all, but I can tell you I wasn't feeling fine when the alarm went off at 8. I managed to get the kids up and off to school and a pot of coffee made to avoid a hangover.

So the weekend rolls around and we decide that since nobody was hung over, maybe that was just a warm-up, and we should try to have a proper birthday celebration. One where the adults significantly outnumber the babies, maybe. So yesterday afternoon we remembered how to make Jell-o shooters and bought a case of beer and a bottle of wine, and dusted off the old game of Pass-Out. We invited my sister and brother in law over to our house, and attempted to play.

FINALLY, a game that FORBIDS me to play with my children!!
NOT intended for use with alcoholic beverages? How fun would that be?

When I was in University, I had the most awesome roommate. She arrived on a train from Ontario in the middle of the night, with a giant blue trunk full of clothes and a game of Pass-Out. On any given weekend night - and maybe sometimes on weekdays, we'd bring out the game and get a case of beer or and by the time we'd traveled around the board a time or two - we were feeling pretty darned good. Of course, that was usually just to get primed up to go out to a party or bar somewhere and have an actual good time. But when you're over 30 with kids and minimal opportunities to drink, let alone leave the house - the game IS the good time.

a few cans of beer and a mighty stack of empty jello shooters

Anyway - we finished off the Jello shooters, made a few trips around the board, finished the beer, moved on to the wine - laughed, cried, massacred tongue-twisters, started forgetting whose turn it was, or what direction we were playing in - and then realized morning was going to come to early for all of us, and the sitter needed to get home, so we shut it down just after midnight. It was fun, we'll have to do it again sometime - but its just soooo much work to have that much fun. So tired.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The sad truth about baby clothes

So I'm doing laundry again (still?) today and of course, I have to put some more of the baby's newborn clothes away because he's grown out of them. That is the tragedy of newborn baby clothes, they make them so cute but they have such a short life cycle, rarely surviving for three wearings. It goes something like this:

Wearing 1 - the outfit doesn't quite fit, though it looks about the right size, when you put it on and the baby kicks, his legs get lost and jammed up in the pant legs somehow and you're forever straightening them so the feet stay in the feet-parts.

Wearing 2 - the outfit fits perfectly! WOOOO HOOO! Within three seconds, the baby will spit up all over the outfit, and you'll have to change him and put it back in the wash.

Wearing 3 - the outfit appears to fit perfectly, until the baby stretches his legs and you notice he can't straighten them completely because it tightens up around the neck and his toes are absolutely crammed into the feet. And you think, he's a baby, how often is he stretched out anyway? He can keep his knees bent! But after three different people say "oh, looks like this outfit is getting a little small!" you realize you're just fooling yourself.

With that, I'm packing away some of my favorite little baby boy clothes, and it's breaking my heart. The only consolation is bringing out some of the equally cute 3-6 month stuff that is starting to fit him, even though he's just barely a month and a half old by my count. Hopefully he gets a few more wearings out of those ones.

It's undeniable, he's growing. But the trade off is he's smiling, and paying attention to things around him, and he's learning to bat at his toys and grab things to shove in his mouth, he's making interesting noises and attempting to mirror our facial expressions. I just love to see him learning to do stuff like that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby at one month old

I can't believe he's a month old - well, almost 5 weeks by now I guess. Seems like only yesterday we brought him home from the hospital, and right away it felt like he's always been here - you'd think the girls always had a baby brother.

First days
Bringing home baby - he slept for the 2 hour drive

the girls couldn't wait to meet him

When you're sure you're going to keep something,
you can cut the tags off - so we did!

hanging out with Cecily

People often ask if its different having a boy - after three girls, I would haved guessed it is. Parts of him are different, that is for sure. But he hasn't peed on me or at me even once yet, which was the difference that concerned me most going into this. I've noticed he likes to be dirty and stinky more than the girls ever did. He'll often drift off to sleep happily 2 seconds after filling a diaper and would happily stay that way forever if I'd let him. Otherwise, he's quite a bit like any other of my babies - he just has a different wardrobe.

People see him and say he's getting so big and he's changed so much. That kind of makes me sad because he just got here and he's already growing up too fast. I don't notice as much because I am with him all the time - and when you're literally watching someone grow, you don't see it happening. I just know whenever I get another load of laundry out of the wash that some of his little clothes won't fit him by the next load of wash. I hate that because he has cute clothes and it seems like such a waste to put them away already.

Seems like he's getting so big, until you put him beside his cousin
who is only two months older - they grow SO fast.

I know for sure that at 2 weeks old (Christmas Eve) he was already over 9 pounds, which is pretty good for a little guy who was less than eight pounds when we left the hospital. He's so alert, and curious about everything - when he's awake he's always looking around. He's getting used to having his sisters in his face all the time, and having his head constantly patted and kissed. He doesn't always break their hearts anymore by crying as soon as they try to hold him - he's getting used to that feeling like he could be dropped at any second and will actually let the bigger girls hold him for quite awhile and I can get a few things done.

heartbreakingly sad baby

Since the day he was born he's known how to make his bottom lip shiver so that he looks completely heartbroken. He started doing that whenever we got near him with a cold, wet wipe at a diaper change (and who can blame him?) and it was everything I could to do keep from running out and buying a wipes-warmer for him. The only thing holding me back was the knowledge that he's a winter baby, in Manitoba - and at some point for sure I'm going to have to use wipes that are practically frozen after being left in the van. And I think that could probably kill a child who is used to a pre-warmed wipe on his most sensitive parts. I used soft washcloths and warm water for the first week or two of his life, until he gradually got used to the shock of the wet wipes. Poor little guy.

He's so strong already, from the beginning he was pushing against us when we held him and it wasn't too long - maybe two weeks, before he was able to get his head back far enough to look up and around.

hi Dad!

Christmas day - 2 weeks old

By Christmas he was holding his head up really well when he was on his tummy, and now he can't stand having his head tucked in at all unless he wants to sleep - he pushes his whole back away so he can look around at everything around him. With three older sisters around, I think he's going to snap his neck trying to keep track of all of them. Annique especially has a habit of being up in his face and then disappearing in the blink of an eye, and he will twist his neck around trying to see where she went.

Where'd she go??

smiling at his sisters

Also thrilling for his sisters, he's starting to smile at them a little bit. Annique is constantly reporting on his status when they're hanging out - Baby happy, baby smiling, baby CRYING, mom baby NOT HAPPY!! MOOOOMMM!! BABY CRYING! Yes, I know. I can hear him. But she just wants me to know. Sometimes I can't get to him right away and sometimes I don't get there on purpose because I love seeing how she handles the situation - if he's in the bouncer, she bounces him gently. Sometimes she pats his head or back, or sings to him softly or tries to shove a pacifier in his mouth. Sometimes it works, and she announces "BABY HAPPY NOW MOM!"

Annique loves being the big sister when she's always been the little sister - she likes that her big sisters are gone at school all day, and now she figures she's the one in charge. When they get home, she meets them at the door to remind them to be quiet when he's sleeping. I had some worries about her being jealous but she's just been thrilled with him right from the start. It seems the older girls are actually having a bit more trouble - they remind me now and then that I am always holding the baby and anything that doesn't get done is blamed on him. Like, I didn't cut their toenails, because I am *always* holding the baby. Fortunately with Christmas holidays and a few bad weather days - they've been able to spend a lot of time at home and I can spend more of my time with them that way. And cut their toenails, of course. And put nail polish on them for good measure.