Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Home Stretch

35 Week Bump

I am currently hiding in my room with the door locked and a can of Coke by my side. I am done. I have nothing left in me, and I am waving the proverbial white flag to announce my surrender. 

Do you hear me, God! I am done! This girl can't take anymore! Whatever lesson you want to teach me, or whatever trait you want me to develop needs to be put on hold. I am done.

With only three weeks and five days left until Thing 4 arrives, I am tired. All I want to do is to lie on the couch with my feet up, a can of Coke in hand, and a tray of bonbons by my side, while I watch endless hours of mindless daytime television. Oh, and we cannot forget the muumuu. Yes, I definitely want to be wearing a muumuu.

Unfortunately, though, this is not what the world has in store for me. Instead, this week, my husband as been working both day and night everyday. Elliot is in shutdown/Mr. Negativity mode, Avery was sick with some weird stomach/cold combination, and Zoe has made no improvement at all. In fact, I received a phone call on Monday from the IWK informing me that she needs to be admitted next Monday and that we will be staying two days in the hospital, possibly three, possibly four. Who knows! And Thing 4, who is defying all the baby books and is still managing to kick up quite the ruckus in spite of the limited space my uterus has to offer, is really hurting me. Not to mention, this 37 year old body of mine, which has just begun it's 36th week of pregnancy, is tired, oh so very tired and can barely climb the basement stairs let alone do any housecleaning . . . ugh!

Yeah, so that's my life right now. Jealous, right? You are probably wondering why I have just dumped this rant on you. Well, on Sunday, thanks to my lovely teenage daughter, everyone was laughing at me for always posting the sunny side of our days and for always trying to find the silver lining. Sure, I am guilty of this, but I write my blog to help me drown out the negative. No one can say I do not acknowledge that my life is not perfect or that my life is hard, but I find it pointless to dwell on these aspects. No ones life is perfect. Everyone is dealing with some form of hardship, and I want my blog to be a refuge from the harsh reality of the world. I want it to be uplifting for both me and my readers. I want it to be a source of comfort, a source of inspiration, and a source of laughter. I want people to keep coming back to A Ferry Crossing Away because they leave feeling a little more stronger, a little more optimistic and far less alone.

So, with that being said and the miserable, ugly week that I have been dealing with laid out before you, let's turn this around and find the silver lining.

Well, right now, within the sanctity of my room, I can hear my boys playing cheerfully with one another in the basement. They are not fighting, they are safe and they are happy. Each kick from Thing 4, although they hurt like heck, reassures me that we have a strong, healthy baby on our hands, who I will be holding in only three weeks and five days! As much of an inconvenience as it will be to be away for a few days next week in Halifax, I know that Baby Girl will be receiving the best possible care and that we will be one step closer to calming this flare-up down. Oh, and not to mention, I will not have to cook, clean or teach during those days. Perhaps I should pack my muumuu and my bonbons . . . tee hee! Seriously, though, it also humbles me beyond words to see how our families and friends are willing to step up and help us out next week. We could not do it without them! And finally, with 350 ml of refined sugar and caffeine making its way through my body as we speak, I can honestly say I am ready to unlock my door now. I am ready to face the disaster that has currently taken over my kitchen and to finish up our homeschooling day.

Bring it on; I can do this!

See, doesn't that just feel better. 

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Yesterday afternoon, I took Elliot to his soccer game up at the MCS field. He is playing soccer for the second year in a row for our local school, and he loves it! It gives him a chance to reconnect with all his school buddies and to play a game that he both adores and excels in. This year, MCS has a new gym teacher, Mr. McQuade, and Elliot is very fond of him. As I was seated in my lawn chair along the sidelines waiting for the game to start, Mr. McQuade came up to me and told me how much he enjoys having Elliot on the team.

He's a great kid, and man, can he play soccer! Has he ever gone to MCS before?

Yes, he has. We took him out at the end of grade four because . . . 

And then I told him all about Elliot's anxiety issues at school and how he was diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD). Being a teacher and having worked in a private school for children with special needs that prevented them from being successful in a public school setting, Mr. McQuade was quite familiar with our story. 

Well, he seems to be doing great!

And then he returned his attention to the team in order to get them warmed-up for the big game ahead.

As I sat there waiting for the other parents to join me, I could not help but ask myself:

Is he doing great? Have we made any progress?

Lately, it feels like my world has been revolving around getting Zoe back on her feet and preparing for Thing 4's imminent arrival (4 weeks and 5 days to be exact, but whose counting?). The boys and I have hit our stride with homeschooling this year, and I really feel that I have created a program that is helping Elliot develop intellectually. Also, with his involvement in our church's Young Men's group, his invitation to play on the sport teams at MCS and thanks to our new homeschool group, which has provided us with field trips to attend every two weeks and starting next Tuesday a weekly gym class with the students at Valley Christian Academy (how awesome is that!), I really feel that all of his physical and his social needs are being addressed as well; however, it has been awhile since I really looked at how well Elliot is doing emotionally and with an appointment with Dr. Murphy, the Developmental Pediatrician who diagnosed him a year and a half ago, coming up next week, I can't help but ask myself:

How is Elliot really doing?

In all honesty, I don't know. Sure, I see definite improvements in his ability to sleep at  night, to cope with the start of a new day, and to handle new situations, but I don't know if I have done enough, or anything for that matter, to address his anxiety caused by being unable to process the highly nonverbal world we live in.

Take this week for example. On Monday, he had a soccer game in Sussex. My friend drove him because Zoe was starting a new treatment that day and I did not want to be too far away. Also, I had to get groceries and attend a homeschool meeting that evening. As it turned out, I did not get home until almost ten o'clock that night. The next day, I had a doctor's appointment and a couple of errands to run. The boys and I finished up school in the morning and then I left them with Zoe for the afternoon. That night I could tell something was bothering Elliot. 

What's up, Bud? Why are you so anxious?

I don't know . . .

and then he went on to list a lengthy series of non-related issues.

My legs hurt. My bed is scratchy. How can I possibly sleep knowing Avery is in the room too (even though this is nothing new). I need my own room. What am I going to get for Christmas? Why is Zoe still up? When is dad coming home . . . 

and so on and so on.

Finally, after I had sent him back to his bed for the hundredth time, he crept out one last time, curled up beside me and asked:

Do you have anywhere to go tomorrow, mom?

Ahhhhh . . . and so the source of his anxiety revealed itself. Life had been too hectic lately and me, a constant in his life and probably a source of comfort and assurance (I really hope), had been missing from it.

Yes, Love. I will be home tomorrow.

And then he went to sleep.

Unfortunately, yesterday was a yet another hectic day for Elliot with school in the morning, another soccer game, and then Young Men's, where they played ultimate frisbee, but I was present and that seemed to make a difference. Even though he was definitely riled up when we got home and there were a few tears shed from being overstimulated, he quickly fell asleep after he asked:

Do we have to go anywhere tomorrow?

No where at all.

So, is Elliot doing great? I think he is doing well intellectually, physically, and socially. He is making giant leaps in reading and writing, he is healthy and active, he has plenty of opportunities to be with kids his own age and he is doing well to fit in with these kids, but emotionally, I don't feel we are where he needs to be yet to live a happy, fulfilling life. Negativity and anxiety still plague him, and in spite of all the books I have read on the issue, none have given me any concrete solutions, which really should not be surprising since mental health is probably the least understood area of the human experience and ironically, it is probably the most important.

For now, I guess, I just have to keep doing what I have been doing: creating a secure and loving home environment, trying to maintain a healthy balance between activities outside of the home and days spent quietly going about our daily routine within the home, praying for guidance each and every day (sometimes multiple times a day), and showing unconditional acceptance, patience and love to each member of our household. Hopefully, with all this and through seeking the assistance of professionals like Dr. Murphy, we will be able to equip Elliot with the tools he needs to face each day with optimism, courage, a sense of purpose and most importantly, a smile on his face . . . 

which to me is far more precious and worth far more than the entire world's weight in gold.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The In Utero New - Issue 3

Thing 4 at 34 weeks!

Thing 4 here. Yesterday, mom and I went to another doctor's appointment, and it was a really good one. Not only did we learn that we do indeed only have five weeks until we get to see one another, but we also learned that we gained four pounds. This made my mama very happy because she is all concerned that something is wrong since she is not as big with this pregnancy as she was with the other three wee Websters. Both the doctor and I, through all my ridiculous acrobatics, assure her that everything is great and that I just may be a smaller (but much more mightier) baby than the others. Nonetheless, she was thrilled when she saw the scale's numbers make a four pound leap and immediately texted dad to share the good news. Dad, who is always so sensitive to mom's  neurosis, replied exactly as he should have and made mom's morning even better:

Ha, ha! From what I understand, husbands should never tell their wives they are getting big, but I guess this case is what you would call an exception and it scored big points for my dad. If I am a guy, I plan on paying close attention to how my dad treats my mom. He seems to know exactly what he is doing.

After our weigh-in, mom was called into an examining room where the nurse asked her to lie down so she could listen to my heart beat . . . Ugh! This is my least favourite part of the entire visit because the nurse pushes down on my tender, little body with a big, metal knob. In the past I have tried to push it away, but that never seems to stop her; so yesterday, I devised a new plan to get back at her. As she was quietly taking notes of how quickly my heart was pumping, I whispered to myself:

1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 

And then I did one of my Olympic rolls to the other side of mom's uterus. I scared the life out of the nurse and she screamed:

Oh my!  You really do have an active one there . . .

To which mom laughed and rolled her eyes . . .

Yes, and a show off too.

According to the nurse, baby's my age (34 weeks) tend to slow down, but that is craziness. Who can slow down when they know that in just five short weeks they will be joining the biggest party on earth - Shenanigans Inc! Come on, seriously?

Okay, so perhaps scaring the nurse was not very nice, but man it was funny, and in all honesty, it is far less cruel than what my siblings have in store for me. Oh yeah! They are definitely not the nicest or the brightest! Yesterday, they revealed to mom all of their nasty plans, and they were so proud of themselves. Little do they know, though, that I heard every word they said and I have five entire weeks with very little to do but to plot my revenge . . . muhahahaha!

It all began Monday evening when dad came home with a very large box. It turns out my dear Nanny Webster bought a car seat for me to ride in. How sweet is that! Mom had picked it out a couple of weeks ago and nanny ordered it. Well, when it came into the house, everyone got excited, particularly Zoe. She unpacked that seat, read the instructions, and had it fully figured out in no time. She and mom then took one of mom's old baby dolls, wrapped her up in my new blanket and placed her in the car seat . . . awwww!  Then, yesterday morning, Zoe installed it in the car, and mom drove around all day with it . . . ha, ha! These girls make me laugh. 

Anyhoo . . .

So what were the boys up to while mom and Zoe were busy getting my car seat ready? Well, they were playing with the box:

And during his time in the Box of Shame, Avery came up with the great idea that they should keep the Box of Shame for when they are babysitting me, and then they can use it to put ME, adorable, innocent, little me, in the box. They laughed so hard when one of those fools suggested they even turn the window away from the television to prevent me from seeing what is going on. How cruel is that? Then, like all great ideas, this one quickly snowballed until, finally, the Box of Shame evolved into a trap. Yes, that is correct, my adoring siblings devised a trap for me when I begin to crawl, and the bait was a cat food bowl filled with a drinking box, a granola bar and mom's keys. According to them, these items are all very enticing to babies, and as soon as I crawl over to the dish, one of them, who will be holding the string attached to the light saber, will pull the string and the box will close on me. They even tried the trap out on each other and it worked. Oh, and in case you doubt how maniacal all of their little minds work, I have proof. Check it out!

They think they are pretty funny, but I vow to have the last laugh. Oh yes, they are all getting pooped on; I just have to figure out which one gets it first. Hmmmmmm . . . . .

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

It is Indeed a Privilege . . .

Lately, I have been thinking about the importance of family and what a privilege it is being the wife and mother to this crew. I recently read an article in a magazine, where a woman was attending a conference with her husband at Harvard University, and everyone in the room was asked to stand up and introduce themselves. As person after person stood up and listed off their professional accomplishments, this woman began to shrink in her seat. She thought of ways she could escape the room in order to avoid standing amidst all these highly accomplished strangers,when she was only just now working on her first bachelor degree. Rather than run away, though, she said a quick prayer to boost her confidence, and when the microphone was handed to her husband, she quickly took it from him, stood up and introduced herself:

I am the mother of 8 children and the grandmother of 18.

Much to her shock, everyone in the room applauded, and then her husband stood up and simply said:

And I am her husband.

This story makes me smile every time I hear it. Our world today does not value motherhood and it values marriage even less, but like all of these highly educated professionals recognised, raising a family and creating a healthy, loving marriage that endures, are major accomplishments. In fact, I would have to argue that they are two of the hardest and most rewarding pursuits an individual could undertake. Sure they are difficult. Sure there are far more heart wrenching moments than I would like to admit. Sure I spend most mornings kneeling in prayer, with tears in my eyes, begging God to help me be the woman my family needs that day, to be a source of praise rather than scorn and a source of comfort and love rather than neglect and pain. It is hard. I am one woman and it seems right now that my family has many needs: from supporting my husband who works round the clock with work and school, to encouraging Elliot to face everyday challenges with confidence and optimism, to creating opportunities daily for Avery to release his boundless athletic and artistic energy, to loving and comforting Baby Girl through her battle with Ulcerative Colitis, and finally to growing and protecting Thing 4. When I think about it this way, my head begins to spin and I ask myself: 

How can one woman do all this? 

How do I face each day with a smile on my face? 

Why haven't I run away, yet?

Well, to be honest, it is pretty easy. From the outside my life looks overwhelming to many, but from the inside, it is pretty spectacular. I have a loving husband, who is quick to notice when I need a break and surprises me with gifts of books and date nights out to the movies,who is always quick to clean up or make a meal, and who always ends the night by telling me I am beautiful and giving me a kiss. I have four adorable children, who albeit are very demanding, are also a constant source of laughter and love. There is no better feeling than having your teenager hand you a Coke and a chocolate bar and say: Thanks for being my mom, or when I bend over to kiss Avery good night and he wraps his arms enthusiastically around my neck and squeals: you're the best mom ever, or when Elliot randomly comes up to me throughout the day and leans his body into mine, almost as if he is fusing his spirit to mine for the briefest of moments and I can feel him say: thank you, mom, for being here. I love being a wife and mother. I love each of the people God has blessed me to care for, and I believe with all of my heart that there is nothing more important than the work I do within this home for my family.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


One of my greatest fears in life was that one of my babies would be sick. I am not talking flus, or colds or ear infections; I am talking about sick, real sick. I would hear about families and parents raising sick children and think:

How do they do it? Where do they get the strength . . . the courage?

Now, I know. It is a choice you make. You choose to be strong in spite of how much you want to break down and cry. You choose to be courageous in spite of all the uncertainty before you. You choose to never, ever give up hope in spite of all the disappointments that litter your path, and you do this for your kids. You make these choices because this is how your sick kid faces each and every day. In your heart, you know that they are the ones who are truly suffering, and if they can make the most of a rotten situation then you can to. You owe it to them.

Yesterday, I dropped by Baby Girl's high school to pick up her homework. I was frustrated to see that only two teachers had arranged packets for her. I understand that the teachers do not want to burden her with school work while she is dealing with this flare-up, but she has to go back at some point. The real world does not just disappear when you are sick. It keeps going, and with each passing day, she is falling further and further behind.  As much as I wanted to throw a tantrum right there in the office, I kept my cool. I thanked the secretary and walked out.

As I walked out of the office, I found myself in a sea of young girls, all dressed up, who judging from the amount of hand flapping, giggles, and squeals, were very excited to be together. As I scanned their faces, I realised that many of these girls were Zoe's friends. In fact, they were her soccer teammates, and after speaking with a few of them, I learned that they were leaving school early to attend a game at Fundy High School. I wished them luck, and as I stood outside the school's entry way watching all of them climb into the bus, a wave of anger flooded my body, but this only lasted for a second because quickly following behind it was a wave of despair, which washed away any strength I had remaining and left me crying on the stairs of the high school. 

She should be with them.

WHY does she have to endure this?


Luckily, I had my sunglasses on and I quickly pulled myself together. 

Girl, you can't fall apart now.

With tears streaming down my face, I walked over to my car, where both Avery and Elliot were waiting for me to drive them to Sussex for Elliot's school soccer game. As I was about to open my car door, I realized I had a choice to make. I could either allow my frustration and my pain to take over and debilitate me, or I could continue to enjoy this beautiful afternoon with my boys. And it had been a beautiful afternoon. We had gone apple picking, the weather had been and was still absolutely perfect, and now we were going to spend the remainder of the afternoon with friends cheering Elliot and the MCS soccer team on. Really, it had been a wonderful day; therefore, I pushed aside the should's, the what if's, and the this-is-not-fair's, and I embraced what was in front of me - a beautiful, but imperfect life.

Life is filled with disappointment. It is filled with injustice, pain and heartache, and the way I see it is we each have a choice to make. We can either choose to allow these things to overcome us and to stifle our spirits, or we can choose to look past them and see what else life has to offer because life is also filled with beauty, with peace, with love, with laughter, with hope, and with tremendous examples of strength and courage:

With her in my life, it is an easy choice to make.

And my other monkeys help too . . .

Thing 4 collected some apples too.

It truly is a beautiful life!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

You Might Be a Boy Mom If . . . .

You might be a boy mom if . . . 

you are taking a much-needed nap on the couch and you are woken up by a bouncing nine year old, requesting you to make a bow IMMEDIATELY. You groggily ask:

and this is more important than me getting some sleep why?

Well, duh! There are bad guys out there!


. . . tee hee!

Boys may not always be the most considerate little beings to raise, but gosh darn it, they sure are fun to have around.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The In Utero News - Issue 2

Thing 4 here, again. My mama is really tired lately. I think it may have something to do with me, but I am not entirely sure. I am getting stronger and more active everyday so you think that she would be too, but I am just a fetus, and really, I don't know how your world works yet. Anyhoo . . . (yes, I stole that one from my mama. It's one of her favourite words. That and another one that starts with F, but I have been given strict instructions, as have my siblings, to never say that word. I am guessing that my family operates on the old adage do as I say and not as I do . . . ha, ha!)

So, today marks my 33rd week birthday. Woohoo!  Mom had been expecting me to make my grand entrance into the world in six weeks from  now, but after talking with dad last night and discovering that our doctor's OR day may be on a Monday and since the Monday six weeks from now is Remembrance Day, mama is thinking that we will probably have to wait the full seven weeks. I have to admit that if this is the case we are both a little bummed out because we are getting uber excited to see one another. Sure she yells sometimes and sure I kick a little too hard sometimes, but we have already come to terms with the fact that neither one of us is perfect and we will love each no matter what. I really hope she sticks with this bargain because if she knew what I have in store for her over my lifetime . . . yikes! Let's just say it is not always going to be pretty . . . ha, ha!

There I am at 33 weeks!

You all know that my big sister Zoe had a pretty lousy week last week. She was really sick with her colitis and a cold. She has not been to school in two weeks and has not left the house for anything except doctor's appointments . . . blech! So, on Saturday, dad woke up and told her that as soon as he was done showing some houses, he was going to take her out and do whatever she wanted. I guess they call these daddy/daughter dates, and I really hope I get to have them too, but since I am not allowed to tell anyone if I am a daughter or a son yet, I guess we will all have to wait and see. I am sure if I am boy that I will also get to do some really cool stuff with my dad, but to tell you the truth, from the way it sounds to me on the inside, I think the girls of this family get special treatment . . . just saying. Anyhoo . . . Zoe spent Saturday morning trying to figure out what to do. Eventually, she came up with something and texted her idea immediately to dad, but she would not let mom in on their plans. This would normally drive my mama crazy, but she was pretty busy editing her latest blog book and so she did not think much about it. Zoe then spent the afternoon getting all done up. I have to say of all the people in this household, Zoe is definitely the most fashionable! Finally, dad came home and they went out. When they came home, mom was still working on the book and didn't even get up to greet them, but much to her surprise, Zoe came bounding in her room with a bag of goodies. First, she gave mom a can of Coke and some Peanut Butter Cups for being such a great mama . . . awwwwww, and then much to my shock, she gave me a present. Me . . . little old me! My big sister chose to spend her day of pampering shopping for me! How lucky am I? Truly, I think I have the bestest big sister in the world. Mom and I were giddy over all my presents. First, she pulled out some baby socks. Then, she pulled out the softest baby blanket imaginable! Mom squealed when she saw the blanket, and assured me that even if I was a girl I would most definitely be wrapped up in this blue, green and brown blanket. According to mama, Zoe had two blue blankets when she was a baby and since she has turned out to be them most amazing girl the world has ever seen, it only makes since that I too, if I am a girl, have a blue blanket. I love how my mama thinks! By this time, mom thought my spoiling was done, but Zoe had one more surprise up her sleeve: an adorable baby nightie (and yes, even if I am a boy I will be wearing this. Come on! This should not shock you by now.) with matching socks, hat and bib. Mom nearly died and declared that this will be the outfit I wear home from the hospital. Check out my loot!

Awwww . . . Every night, when mom lays down to read her book before bed, she takes my soft blanket and covers her belly with it so I can appreciate my new gift. Gosh, I love my mom and I, especially, love my big sister! I am really starting to think I am the luckiest fetus in the world!

Happy 33rd Birthday to me!