Friday, 27 September 2013

The In Utero News

That's me in there! 

Thing 4 here.  Since I woke my poor mom up this morning at 5am with my early morning baby Zumba class, I figured the least I could do was write her blog post for her so she could get some rest. Yeah, I am nice like that. Oh, and what a class it was. I danced, kicked, punched and rolled for at least an hour and a half. It was a blast! Finally, mom got the hint and got up to take a shower, and, man, was I thankful for that. A baby can work up quite the sweat with all that action. While we were in the shower, dad made us some oatmeal. I have to tell you that I have the funniest dad ever. He acts all tough and stern, but he is such a softy. Like this morning, mom pleaded with him to tell me it was time to stop being so rambunctious, and both times, he came up really close to mom's belly and said in a very deep, serious voice:

Thing 4, this is dad. Mom is very tired. It is time for you to settle down now.

Then he would give me kiss . . . ha, ha! That man is putty in my hands. Of course, as soon as he kissed me, I would laugh and giggle and kick up an even bigger fuss. Gosh, I love that guy! Oh, and yes, for the record, when I was just a wee fetus, I was a little timid of him and I would immediately do as I was told, but I am so over that now. I figure the way my big sister and two brothers squeal and laugh around him that he is no one to be afraid of.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I even showed him who was boss. I was performing my usual before-bed shenanigans, and he knelt very close to mom's belly and told me it was time to go to sleep. Well, as soon as he leaned over to give me my kiss, I kicked him right in the mouth . . . it was perfect! Now, if you ask mom, she claims that I very gently, nudged his mouth as if I was giving him a knuckle bump, like all the other kids do before bed, but dad and I both know the truth; I kicked him in the kisser . . . ha, ha! 

So, I am thirty two weeks old and right now there is not much happening here  in utero other than some major weight gain, some zumba, and some hiccups. It is getting pretty tiresome, and I can't wait to get out to experience the world. I think I may have picked the best family ever. As you have probably heard, I am a very active baby and so I am going to fit in perfectly with this crazy family. They are always on the go, and they are always in the middle of some form of foolishness. I can't wait! Right now, my favourite time of day is when mom lays down in the boys' bed at night and reads us stories. I can always hear dad and Zoe off in the distance discussing some topic in great length and detail (between you and me, I think they are the brainiacs of this operation, but don't tell mom that). The series mom is reading to us right now is about four kids in Ancient Roman times, and they have just arrived in the city of Pompeii . . . oooh! I may only be 32 weeks old, but even I know this story is about to get good. As mom reads the story and Avery interrupts every two seconds to ask questions, Elliot rubs mom's belly and I bounce and bounce and bounce. We have so much fun!

As for cravings, I think you have already heard that my mom travelled far and wide to find my most favourite poutine of all time. She is such a good mom, and now that I tasted the best poutine ever, I can proudly say that I am done with this silly poutine craze. Yep, like I said, I am now 32 weeks old, and my tastes have matured. Sure, I think I will still send mom out once a week for a can of Coke because, let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy a little buzz once and awhile, but I am done with the poutine. Instead, my new craving is almond milk smoothies and dad's oatmeal covered in blueberries, strawberries and raspberries . . . . mmmmmm. Oh, and I can not forget to mention peanut butter on rice cakes. They are to die for! You see my big sister Zoe is now on this uber strict diet to help calm her colitis symptoms down and she can not have dairy, wheat/gluten, refined sugars, or eggs. You would think that this would leave her with very little to eat, but our mom always finds a way to feed her babies, and let me tell you, I have been reaping the rewards from this new diet. Last night, I even had maple glazed salmon . . . mmmmmm. Mom hates salmon, but she realized quickly that I love it,and she could not stop eating it . . . ha, ha! We all know whose calling the shots around here. 

Well,there you have it, the in utero news. I plan on making my entrance into the world in about seven weeks from now and I look forward to meeting all of you. Oh, and just so you know, my mom is one highly overprotective mama bear with her babies. She has promised to be generous and let others hold me since so many of you shared your babies with her, while she was waiting for me, but don't be surprised if she lets out a little roar or two when you first snatch me away. Oh, and fully expect her to hover very closely. She waited a long time to get her hands on me, and she is not going to stray too far away for quite some time.

-Thing 4

Smoothie time!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Day Four

Another one bites the dust . . . .

As of this morning, the number of infected individuals in our household has gone up to 4. Zoe thinks we need to wrap the outside of our house in yellow, police tape and give Mr. Level-Headed, the last man standing, a hazmat suit . . . tee hee!Avery, who only had the sniffles and some sneezing up to this point, has now entered the achy body stage, and he is not impressed. Avery, the fighter of our household, figures being sick undermines his masculinity and so he has had to ramp up his testosterone-fueled tough guy image. Beware: He is in your face, he is intense, and he is looking for a fight. 

 As for Elliot, this illness has consumed him, and he spends his entire day discussing his symptoms at length, asking about everyone else's symptoms, and moaning and groaning. Thankfully, we have all learned the skill of zoning him out (did I just admit that publicly? Eeek . . . I mean we love him dearly) because if not, we would all break out into a fit of hysteria since according to him, every second of the day, this cold is no ordinary cold. Nope, according to Elliot, this cold is most definitely a sign of the apocalypse and will single-handedly bring on the demise of all of humanity . . . tee hee! What a kid!

So, it looks like we will be spending yet another day in bed drinking smoothies and honey lemon tea, while reading about Ancient China and trying to diffuse Elliot's overwhelming obsession with the end of the world. Yay, me!

Oh, and in case you do have the misfortune of coming down with this apocalyptic cold, do not try to freeze your boogies by standing in front a fan because according to both of my boys, who I just found out tried this last night before bed, it does not work. Ya' know, just in case it crossed your mind . . . tee hee! They may not be bright, or healthy at this moment, but they sure are cute. 

Happy Thursday

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Counting my Blessings

Eeeeek! It has been almost two weeks since I last wrote a blog post. Sorry about that, but as you may have guessed my life has gotten a tad bit crazy. Unfortunately, it is not all the good kind of crazy that we here at Shenanigans Inc. thrive on, and I am sad to say that Baby Girl's colitis has reared its ugly head once again and is giving her fifteen year old life a major whomping . . . again. Grrrrrrr! I probably should not share this, but the other day, after I had to pick her up from school for the third time that week because she was too weak to carry on, I texted Mr. Level-Headed the following message:

I really wish colitis was a person rather than a disease because then I could kick its  f*%$#^@   a%6!

Sorry for my profanity, and yes I did have a good long chat with Heavenly Father about my terrible lack of self restraint when it comes my use of the f-word when I am angry, and He assured me (perhaps not in the spoken word) that although He was disappointed, He completely understood. I really love that Guy!

Anyhoo . . .

So, since last week, we pulled Zoe out of school, ramped up her medications according to her doctor's orders, visited a Naturopath for the first time, started her on a dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free diet (which surprisingly has not been very difficult to institute), and have watched a whole lot of the Voice and America's Top Model on the computer. 

Then because colitis is not enough of a trial for our family anymore (I said I was sorry for saying the F-word, Heavenly Father. Really I am!), we all came down with a nasty head cold on Monday. On top of her other unpleasant symptoms, this cold has absolutely sucked the life right of poor Baby Girl and has left me bed-ridden for a couple of days. So, while I was laying in bed on Monday with the laundry and dirty dishes quickly piling up around me, listening to my already-very-sick-Baby Girl cough and sniffle, tallying up the additional costs of Baby Girl's medicines and Naturpath appointments to our already-very-tight-budget,and knowing that my boys had already exceeded an entire year's worth of screen time in just one day, I became discouraged, and I began to cry.

Really, how much more can we take?

Even writing this, I am embarrassed because in the grand scheme of things and compared to the trials of those I love and care about, my trials are small potatoes. I should be ashamed that I allowed myself to get down, but I did. We all have a breaking point and Monday was mine. Then after one awesomely refreshing ugly cry and a warm bath, I put my big girl panties back on . . . quite literally . . . tee hee! I didn't even see that one coming . . . awesome! And I started counting my blessings. Sure the past two weeks have been challenging and at times utterly frustrating, but there has been a whole lot of good going on right now too, and so I am going to share with you my blessings list.

1. Thing 4 . . . duh! Seriously, the fact that I have been blessed with a Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, and now a Thing 4 plus a handsome stud-muffin of a husband, with whom I get to make all these adorable Things with, is one ginormous blessing, and in all honesty, surpasses any and all nastiness that life can throw my way. 

Oh, and here is where I should post an adorable picture of my 32 week baby bump, but due to the fact that I have not gotten out of pyjamas in a couple of days, you will have to wait for it.

2. The boys and I are having the best homeschooling year ever. Until Monday, we went for four weeks straight without missing a day or even a lesson, and even though we are sick, the boys and I have curled up in bed to read our history lessons and do some fun art projects to go along with them. Today we read about the Terracotta Army in Ancient China. The cool thing is that we have seen a replica of this archaeological treasure at Disney's Epcot, and the boys are fascinated by it. 

3. The boys and I have joined another homeschooling group, which means we have not one but two awesome groups of families to share this homeschooling experience with. Last week, we went on a fun photography scavenger hunt at the zoo with our new group and the boys were thrilled to learn that there are a ton of boys their age in this group. Also, we recently found out that friends of ours, who belong to the same group, attended the field trip with us and who live right here on the Peninsula, are also homeschooling this year. Seriously, I think we are going to have one phenomenal year! 
Next week, we are going on a field trip just five minutes from our house where the kids are going to trek through the woods with a guide and learn how to identify the different types of trees, leaves, and animal tracks. Then, they are going to learn how to build a fire (Really, Krista? Perhaps I should think this one through . . . tee hee!) and roast hotdogs and marshmallows on the fires they start. How cool is that? My boys are in boy heaven right now just thinking about it!

Avery mimicking one of the Great Auk statues at the Zoo (a scavenger hunt requirement)

4. And finally, I have done it. I have achieved my goal for 2013 and have found the ultimate poutine, but first, a back story: 

On Friday afternoon, my friend BJ and I drove four girls from our church to PEI to participate in what we Mormons like to call Super Saturday. These are monthly activities set up for our youth, typically from ages 14-18, and they involve long drives . . . tee hee!, a much anticipated and always enjoyed dance for the youth, followed up the next day with Sunday-school-like-lessons, and then a big culminating activity. This month, the kids put on their yellow Mormon Helping Hands pinnies and went on a food drive for a food bank in Montague, PEI. Thankfully, Baby Girl was feeling up to going and she had a blast dancing with all the cute Mormon boys (Mormons make some handsome boys . . . just look at the three I have in my life). Seriously, though, they are a great group of kids, and it touched this mama's heart to watch a group of about twenty of them (there were probably 60 in total for the whole weekend) playing frisbee on the front lawn of the chapel, laughing and enjoying themselves. Baby Girl was feeling pretty worn out by this time, but a couple of her friends sat with her and they were all laughing together in the sunshine. It took all of my will power to walk away and to not stand  hovering over soaking up this moment. Most of them know about her struggles with this disease and they are always so supportive of her. I wish all teenagers had more Super Saturday-like experiences in their lives. Then when it was time to depart, the youth were all hugging, snapping photos and carrying on as if they would never see each other again and as if that they wouldn't be texting one another within minutes of getting into their cars . . . tee hee!

Anyhoo . . .

Yikes! I totally went off on a tangent there. Poutine . . . so the winner of my 2013 Atlantic Canada poutine challenge is the BOOM BURGER in Charlottetown, PEI. You have to check it out! The food is made from all local products and the poutine is to die for. Thankfully, they mixed up my order and gave me a large rather than a regular like I had asked for because I didn't want to stop eating it. In fact, I was so full that each bite was starting to hurt, but I couldn't stop. My mouth waters just thinking about it, and the best thing about their poutine is you can order it with grilled mushrooms, my other, less talked about, pregnancy craving. I was in heaven!

Look at this sucker! It is huge!

Mmmmm . . . and the cheese curds are made by Cows Ice Cream . . .  yummy!

Yep, life has been ridiculous around here, and there have been a few tears shed and a few curse words said, but all in all, it's still been pretty fantabulous and I really have nothing to complain about.

Happy Wednesday!

Oh, and please keep Baby Girl in your prayers. We could really use them. :)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Week 30 Check-In

This week is flying by! I nearly died when I woke up this  morning and realized it was already Thursday. Our week has been filled with appointments, homeschooling, meetings, and some really fun outings. In fact, tonight is the first night all week that I get to stay home, and I envision curling up in my bed with my comfy, cozy jammies on and reading "The Maze Runner" . . . heaven!  On Tuesday night, I went out with a bunch of my girlfriends to see The Immortal Cup. There is nothing better than being surrounded by a bunch of friends, munching on some popcorn, drinking copious amounts of carbonated, caffeinated beverages, while being frightened by werewolves, demons, and vampires and drooling over "creepy hot guys", who, honestly, are young enough to be one of my own kids. Yep, I have officially become a dirty, old woman . . . tee hee!

In spite of how busy I have been with keeping on top of the household chores, teaching the boys and being a mom, my mind is currently preoccupied with Thing 4. I open his or her drawers at least three times a day to take a peek at the jammies. I daydream about the moment the doctor lifts him or her from my belly and announces: "It's a  . . . .!", and I imagine going about my hectic life with him or her strapped to my chest, while I periodically pause to kiss the top of his or her head and stroke all that black hair I imagine Thing 4 to have. This week marks my 30th week, which means in 9 short weeks, I will finally get to meet my little darling, and  I can't wait! 

This week I also visited my doctor and everything went great! I have been a little worried lately because everyone who sees my belly comments on how small it is. I was at the bank the other day and the teller exclaimed: "Where are you storing that baby!". I understand that I should be regarding these comments as compliments, but they frazzle me. I have always had a ginormous baby belly, but for some reason, this time around, it is much more compact. I also think that losing two babies prior to this one has also made me super sensitive and in all honesty, I will not be able to relax until I have Thing 4 cradled in my arms and I am smothering him or her in kisses. Anyhoo . . . according to my doctor, everything is absolutely perfect, and she even jokingly told my sister, whose appointment was only fifteen minutes after mine (how funny is that!), that she wants to clone the two of us because our bodies just seem equipped for this whole baby-building business. So, with her assurance that everything is going great, I am going to try to relax. Seriously. I can do this. I hope. 

Speaking of Thing 4, he or she did the CUTEST thing ever the other day! On Sundays I spend the afternoon teaching our primary group, which is comprised of children from ages four to eleven. We have quite a large group and they can get quite loud and rambunctious at times. While the kids were waiting for their parents to pick them up from the classroom, a bunch of the kids were circled around me, touching my belly, and squealing: 'Come on baby, move!". Poor Thing 4 must have been terrified because he or she was being super quiet. Then, out of the blue, Avery showed up, placed his hand on my belly and said: "Thing 4, it's Avery. You need to move for the kids!". As soon as Avery spoke, Thing 4 jumped and started acting foolish. I was shocked that amongst all those voices and all that chaos, Thing 4 was able to distinguish Avery's voice and was clearly excited to hear him. What a cutie!

Thing 4 continues to go quiet when Mr. Level-Headed talks to him or her at night, and this is starting to worry Mr. Level-Headed. He doesn't want the baby to be fearful of him so this week he has started kissing Thing 4 goodnight and assuring him or her that he really isn't that scary. The good news is that this seems to be working, and last night, as Mr. Level-Headed was whispering to my belly, Thing 4 began moving closer to his voice. Again, how cute is that? 

But not so cute, is how strong Thing 4 is becoming. In fact, on Sunday night, Thing 4 kicked me so hard I screamed and doubled over in pain. Then, because once is never enough, he or she did it again. I scared everyone in the house, but thankfully, my future rugby player settled down and since then, I have stopped asking Heavenly Father, in my prayers, to make Thing 4 strong. Instead, I simply ask for Him to ensure Thing 4 is healthy and safe . . . tee hee!

Yep, that pretty much sums up my week and if you are a regular visitor of my blog then you know that now comes the slew of crappy Iphone pictures I have taken to document all of our shenanigans. Enjoy!

The boys modelling their Ancient Chinese peasant hats. They were a little on the small side, but the boys had fun making them.

The imposter is finally gone, and Elliot has returned. Even though Monday was a rough day for him, he still managed to pull it together and get all of his work done. 

This dog is so spoiled!

Thing 4's new sandbox! Exactly what every baby needs when they are 30 weeks old in utero.

Fall soccer started and EVERYONE needed new cleats. Thank heavens for 50% off clearance sales!

The boys excavated some rocks and minerals,

and made some very yummy moon cakes (a Chinese tradition).

And here is my 30 week, kind of tiny but very uncomfortable, baby bump:

Awwwwww . . . .

Friday, 6 September 2013

Some Thoughts and Pictures on the First Week of September

I love September! I love the sunny afternoons and the cool evening breeze. I love the return to routine and the spark for change that this season calls for. I started the week out by rearranging my bedroom. It looks fabulous and we have so much more room in there for Thing 4 to join us in just ten weeks . . . eeeek! And before I go on, I would just like to give Mr. Level-Headed yet another shout out for being the best hubby in the world. When I texted him and told him that I was rearranging the room with Zoe's help, he was less than enthused because he was scared that I had moved our bed, which currently looks out our huge picture window sporting a spectacular view of the Kennebecasis River. I assured him that this was not the case and that all I needed him to do was to take the closet doors off for me when he got home. This did not elicit a response from him, but as soon as he came home, he went straight to work at taking the doors off for me. Truly ladies, I have the best husband around . . . sorry. Oh, and in case you are wondering why the closet doors had to come off, it was to create more space for my large antique mirror that now had to go in the corner of the room with the closet. Anyhoo . . . our room looks great, there is lots more room, and the change of scenery has boosted my spirits. Does anyone get that way when they change their furniture around? It is the best cure for boredom!

Another big change that happened this week was that my Baby Girl went and grew up on me . . . again! She was all done up for her first day of grade ten and my heart stopped. She looked like a woman! Then, I became even more freaked out when I realized that she is the exact same age I was when I met Mr. Level-Headed. Now, I think marrying your high school sweetheart is a fantabulous idea because you get to spend the rest of your life with your best friend, someone who grew up with you (in a sense) and stuck by you even when you were going through that awkward teenage angst stage of life, (and not to mention you make the most adorable babies together), but to think that my Baby Girl is actually old enough to meet the man she could marry blows my mind. How did my baby get to be this old? How did I get to be this old? Oh, and for the record, I am not encouraging Zoe to go out and find the man of her dreams just yet. She has big educational aspirations to accomplish first, but I am just saying that if it happens, it happens. It worked for me!

Even though the boys and I were already into our second week of school, we attended a Back-to-Homeschool party with our homeschooling group, the Charlotte County Homeschoolers. The boys had a blast! In total there were thirty-nine kids and the sun broke through the fog just in time for all of those kids to hop into the pool. 

Avery's "class" (Grade 4)

Elliot's "class" (Grade 7)

It is interesting to note that Elliot hangs out with all the kids in the grade 5 "class" and even asked to join them when we start up our science lab classes at the Huntsman Aquarium in November. If you look at this picture, he even looks like a grade 5 kid not one of those grade 7's, which really makes me wish our world was not set up the way it is. It drives me crazy that we assign children to grades according to their age and not their capabilities. Some kids mature very quickly and others take a little more time. In fact, I had a paediatrician tell me this once after she examined Elliot. She said he is simply younger than his age: physically, intellectually, and emotionally. I wish I could white out his birth certificate and change the year of his birth to 2003 rather than 2001. As a ten year old, he would rock the world! Unfortunately, this is not an option, but thankfully, I do homeschool him and this offers me a little more freedom in choosing curriculum that are better suited to where he is in his intellectual development. Ooooh! Profound thought: I wonder how many of these "disabilities", "syndromes" and "deficits" we could actually eliminate if we simply taught and treated children at their own level rather than the one we expect them to be at!!!! 

Anyhoo . . . sorry about that tangent. It is just something I have been thinking about lately.

While the boys ran wild with all of their friends, I spent the afternoon talking about homeschooling high school kids with a woman I just met, who also happens to be the breastfeeding mentor at the hospital, and so I also drove her crazy with all my "what if I forget how to do it" questions . . . tee hee! She assured me that breastfeeding is like riding bike and that I will have no problem, but I am still unsure and informed her that she better be working when I go in to have Thing 4. Oh, and to make my afternoon even more spectacular, I got to hold the cutest three month old baby girl. She was adorable! She had lots of brown hair (oh, how I love babies with hair!) and slate blue eyes like all of my  babies did. It felt so good to be holding a baby again, but let me tell you, Thing 4 was not impressed. He or she kicked up a storm and kicked that poor baby something terrible. Elliot suggested that perhaps Thing 4 was simply happy to have a friend so close by, but call it mama's intuition, I think Thing 4 was put out.

Hey! I am the only baby she is supposed to coo and fuss over.

Later that night, as Thing 4 was performing his or her happy dance for me just as I was about to fall asleep, I had a stern talking to with him or her. 

Thing 4, you are number 4. That means you have to share me. I am sorry, but that is just the way it has to be. 

To which, Thing 4 gave me one more giant boot to the rib cage, in what I can only imagine to be his or her first temper tantrum, and then went to sleep . . . tee hee!

Sadly, I really am this crazy.

And here are this week's bump pictures. Can you spot Avery? CREEPY! For the record, do not take your kids into Value Village right now if you don't want them to become Halloween obsessed like my two monkeys currently are. 

Oh, but do go into Value Village right now if you are desperately looking for some maternity jeans that fit just right and that fit into the budget even better. Seven dollars and they fit like a glove!  

And there you have it; all my thoughts and pictures from the first week of September. Fascinating, right? 

tee hee!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

More Nesting Neurotics

Last night I had a terrible dream. I dreamt I was showing off my big, baby bump to my sister, Emily, when I noticed there was a small hole in my stomach. I could peek through the hole and see Thing 4 bouncing around and much to my delight, I discovered that he or she had a head full of black hair. I was ecstatic! Then things went bad. Thing 4 decided it was time to make his or her grand entrance, even though I kept screaming: 

No, not yet. You still have another ten weeks to go.

Like the rest of my children, Thing 4 did not listen to my counsel and as a result, was born ten weeks early. All I remember is calling Mr. Level-Headed and telling him the baby was born, but he or she was too small to live. I was crushed. I spent the remainder of the evening dreaming that I was visiting my friends, who all seemed to have brand new babies in their arms. It was a terribly depressing dream! 

When I awoke, I felt sad, but I knew it was just a dream and so I brushed it aside and started our day. As the boys were working on their math, I went into my room and began cleaning it up. As I peeked into the crib and saw all the sleepers I bought a few weeks ago, I had the most wonderful idea. I decided in order to really shake off that horrible dream I needed to wash all the baby's clothes and make room for them in my dresser drawers. (Thing 4 will be sharing a room with Mr. Level-Headed and I for the first two years of his or her life like all the other wee Websters did. It's how we roll!) I love doing laundry on regular days, but when my basket is full of adorable, tiny, baby paraphernalia, then I REALLY love doing it. I love smelling it. I love holding it up and imagining my baby wearing it. I love rubbing the animal faces on the bum of the jammies. I love folding it, and I love seeing all the clothes neatly piled along side one another in my drawers. It was a very therapeutic exercise for this neurotic, nesting mama.

Thing 4's basket of baby books on my bedside table. I may or may not have already began reading them to him or her . . . I know CRAZY!

My AppleCheeks stash all neatly tucked away.

A onesie I found hanging in my closet that I had bought four years ago, right after my surgery, as a baby shower gift, but could not bring myself to part with it and so I had to buy another gift . . . tee hee! Can't you see Harriet in it? 

The Patriot jersey all of our kids wore when they were babies during football season, and although it will be a tad bit too big for Thing 4 this year, I am sure he or she will still be wearing it. I am so glad I never parted with this jersey!

My laundry basket full of baby goodies!

All that adorableness neatly tucked away in my dresser drawers. I hate to admit it, but I have opened this drawer about a hundred times already today. I can't help myself!

I have a feeling that these next ten weeks are going to  be the longest ten weeks of my life (and probably the cleanest ten weeks my house has ever seen!)

Oh, and it is not just me who is super excited around here. The three kids started calling dibbs on who gets to hold the baby first. In the end, they have decided to pull names out of a hat the night before Thing 4 arrives . . . tee hee! Thing 4, we may not have a whole lot of room for you here at Shenanigans Inc., but I can promise you there will be no shortage of love.