Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home again

Ivan had a bit of a rough day on the way home yesterday, although you can't tell it from the video at the end of this post. He entertained us with singing for about 10 or 15 minutes. It was incredible. I was glad I got some of it on tape. Unfortunately I was out of memory space when a couple of hours later, Dominique made up a song of her own. It wasn't quite as long or elaborately phrased, but she is a good little song writer in her own rite. The rough part for Ivan was the leaving. He does better if I prepare him for things, so thanksgiving day, I told him we'd be leaving Sat. Each night he made this speech:"Nana we have to leave in a couple of days. Will you miss me? I will miss you." The morning of our departure, Nana was already at work and Ivan cried that we were leaving and did his best to make us change our plans to go. During the ride he protested more and cried some. When he woke up in Abilene, I asked him where he thought we were and he said with a hint of hope: "Houston street?" He was not pleased when I said we were home in Abilene and when he recognized that we were indeed turning down our street, real tears streamed down his face. Dominique was not so drastically affected. She clambered out of the truck and was barely in the door when she asked if she could use the computer and mouse.

She can be pretty easy going and hilarious. Last night her scab fell off, (where she got her finger slammed in the door). She was so very pleased that it was pink underneath. She kept dancing, jumping and saying: "look, pink, like my favorite color!" She is still excited about it today.

I'll start back tracking now and give you some highlights.
Here we are, on our way to Houston, at our traditional picnic stopping spot just off the highway. The kids actually traveled wonderfully. Dominique dozed off a couple of times and Ivan stayed awake out of sheer excitement. He also has an impeccable memory. He remembered that last time, we stopped for milk shakes as a driving treat and started requesting one a couple of hours into the trip.

Brian gave Ivan his first ride on a bike without training wheels. They had a blast going up and down the street.

The kids wanted to show off their "pregnant" bellies with me. We have gotten lots of belly shots lately- but none quite like this one. They put a stuffed animal up their shirts and posed. Notice how Dominique arched her back to accentuate her "pregnantness"? And the nurturing big brother is cradling his belly baby just so.

About the song in the video. It was inspired by the trees that are changing colors here and were dramatic displays of orange, yellow and red (when they could be seen). Also, you can hear Dominique a little, she was trying to sing back-up which is hard to do when neither of them had a clue where the song was headed. True improvisation!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Loading up

We are heading out in the morning, so I figured I'd load you up on pictures to keep you until I get to post again.

Tighe and Olivia who gave me the sweet birthday treat of an evening dining and spa like experience.

Baby Lily (Tighe's daughter) and her brother Isaiah in the background. The kids are so excited about her and our upcoming baby.

Dominique practicing her big sister skills.

They just can't keep their hands off her- and who can blame them? Babies just demand cuddling by their pure cuteness.

Finger painting.

In case you couldn't tell.

Brian said that the kids are doctoring on the bear. They were giving it a shot with an oversized ball point pen. Moments earlier, they were trying to give shots to the dog and Brian, wisely suggested they use the bear instead. As cute as they are, I'm glad my doctor wears pants to my visits and doesn't cover me head to toe in wrappings for one little shot. This must be a real informal, (but thorough) doctor's clinic.
Dominique doing one of her favorite activities: coloring.

Cuddle time before sleep, pre-bunk bed days, which was only a couple of weekends ago, but seems like much longer.

Packing is nothing like it used to be when I was single. I even remember not taking anything for an over nighter at times. Now it seems we have half the house in bags. Oh, yeah, I just remembered I forgot to pack sippy cups. The kid's bags still have room anyways. I used to pack their stuff together in one small suitcase, but their clothes have grown along with them and now they need their own small suitcase each, but they have some room to spare.

To all you American's-- we hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving. To all you Canadians and any other nationalities who may read this blog, we hope you have a week full of things to be thankful for as well.

I am thankful that I have such an incredible family and friends. For the Lover of the universe giving me strength, direction and outpourings of love. For another day. For our fabulous, comfortable beds. For another little person on her way to grace our lives and fill it with more laughter and craziness and yet another bag to pack- so thankful ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

library time

I usually try to take the kids to the library once a week. We get new videos, and books (if they are due). Play wooden puzzles and go to the toddler time. There, the library facilitator reads stories, plays interactive songs and does nursery rhymes. It is a great time to get out and enjoy being with others. This time, we got to go on the same day my friend Tighe goes with her two children. You may remember Isaiah who we prayed for when he got menningitis. He now has a cochlear implant and hearing aid. The ear with the hearing aid continues to improve, astounding the doctors. Lily is his little sister. The kids love her and can't wait for our own baby. Tighe managed to get all four kids in her stroller. They thought that was so great!

Ivan is so sensitive at times and such a thinker. I read "Love you forever" by Robert Munch the other night- a story that tracks a mother and son's relationship as he grows from babyhood to adulthood. Ivan was asking why the grown son was moving out. I explained that he was now an adult and moved to his own house. Ivan said he didn't want to move. I assured him that one day, he will want his own home and family. He got very distressed by this, to the point of wiping tears from his eyes and so I promised him he could live with us forever! (Don't tell Brian- I'm sure he'll veto that one).

Ivan was also asking if we had to go up to go to Canada and asking how we can climb up there (he has a globe and figured out that Canada is up from us). He is also fascinated by the fact that some places are light when other's have it dark and has talked about that all day. I'm not sure where he learns all these things and when I ask, he says it's from me! So that is nice to know that I'm so smart ;)

We are looking forward to heading to Houston and seeing Nana and Papa for thanksgiving. Every day Dominique says: we are going to Nana's? and "she will hold me". Ivan is looking forward to getting up in the morning and going to find her to snuggle with. I'm looking forward to seeing them and getting out of town. This will be my last chance before the baby arrives. (A baby site informed me that I have 56 days left!!! That doesn't seem long). We also hope to go to the water wall (as I call it), where Brian proposed to me 10 years ago.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kool Smiles

I took the kids to their first doctor appointment today and found out that it was long past due. I had been procrastinating because I was dreading taking them. I hated going to the dentist and the doctor's has just now gotten to be a tolerable outing, plus I had helped a friend take a child to one of the few dentists approved under medicaid and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. They were hard to get a hold of, rude, impatient and insensitive. Plus our pediatrician kept telling us it wasn't necessary as long as they don't have candy all the time, plus we didn't use bottles or do lots of juice... He recommended having him checked before school, sometime when they were 4. He would look in their mouths and say they looked good. So I errantly thought they were ok. Well I guess the pediatrician is no dentist and I shouldn't have let my bad experiences dictate the day, because Dominique has the start of a cavity they are just going to watch and Ivan has 7 cavities! I was horrified to say the least. I just couldn't believe it. The good news is, that it's all baby teeth and they can fill them as soon as we get back from thanksgiving. Also, the kids were so totally awesome. The place rocks. They have tvs and video games, colorful walls and are so great with the kids. They made my apprehensive children feel more at ease and both kids cooperated wonderfully. Normally they would have sent Ivan off for dental surgery, but they said that he was so stellar there at the office that they will just fill them there. They gave me some tips we will be implementing- none of that baby gel (non-toothpaste) for babies (we used it a couple of years with Ivan). The dental technician said it has no floride and should have never been invented. They recommended using a light brushing of regular toothpaste on kids who can't spit yet. They also said that there is a 30 min. window of time after eating or drinking something sweet in which to brush their teeth to protect them. They said the best time to brush is before bed, which we already do, but now I'm going to try to brush their teeth before naps and after any sweets. I wonder if part of this is from the chocolate milk they usually drink about once a day (trying to get them to drink enough milk). Oh well, what is done is done and we know better now. It could also be genetic. We were hoping the kids have Brian's teeth strength (he only has one cavity), whereas I have tons and did as a kid too. I'm sure Ivan will do well, but what a shock!

The pictures are from a jam time at our friend's who live out of town. Ivan had a turn on his daddy's bass. The things on his fingers are called funk fingers and make the notes do a cool popping like sound (I think), plus they helped Ivan actually reach the strings with his short fingers. He loves to play with his daddy. Dominique had fun playing the drums and dancing the night away. It's always cool out there since it's out of town and they play in a covered, but open air stage with fields, forests, a meadow and a herd of deer in the background.

So, do you have fillings? lots a few? how were your dentist experiences growing up or as an adult?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trying to catch up

I pulled up my blogables file and found all sorts of pictures and a couple of videos that were sitting there, aging. So I figured I'd better hurry up and pull them out for you to see.

Ivan loves to work and now he loves to build since his daddy is in the building business. I see a theme. He loved to do yard stuff and every toy became a weed eater when his daddy was working in landscaping. Now that Brian is flipping houses, Ivan is all into carpentry. A coincidence? I think not.

Brian is a really great dad and the kids love him so much. He comes home from a full day and will play with them so that I can get dinner going, which is such a relief. He takes them outside and they build, or "farm" (as the kids call picking produce from the garden). I love how they see everything on such a huge scale. They think our little crop of green peppers, jalepenos and okras make us farmers- which is pretty laughable. And a simple building project can be anything you set your mind to... as you'll see in this video.

For those of you not on facebook...
I can no longer say I, since it is quite evident in more ways than one that I am more than one. The baby is growing well, measuring right on target and so is my weight gain. She was head down Monday. Don't know if she'll stay that way through the rest of our 8 weeks, but as long as she is at birth, that would be great. The kids went with me to this doctor visit, since Brian was busy on a new house. The 1.5 hour wait was pretty excrutiating, but the kids' totally enjoyed talking to the doctor- who asked them all about their baby and loved hearing their sister's heartbeat on the doplar. Dominique said it sounded like bubbles and both of them had eyes the size of saucers and delighted wonder printed on their face. I think the doctor left it on extra long for them. Which was nice after we waited 1.5 hours for the 5 min. visit.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

starting month 8!

This week I start the 8th month of this pregnancy. Time is really speeding up as we will be celebrating American thanksgiving, saying "goodbye" to the Aim boys, gearing up for Christmas and my parent's arrival, then welcoming this baby into our home. I have a whole list of things I could be doing right now as the kids take a nap, but here I am posting pictures and telling stories ;) We took some pictures of my growing belly, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Today I took the kids to get their flu shots. I wish all their doctor's visits could be so fast and easy (although they screamed like crazy and I had to wrestle Ivan on the table). They are sleeping now. I got my shot a couple of days ago and haven't gotten sick from it, so I was thankful for that. I'm a minimalist, so I figured we wouldn't get it, but my OBGYN recommended it and when I went online it said that it helps keep the baby protected some after her birth, plus that it would be really bad if I got sick while pregnant. Not to mention that we all got the flu last year and it was absolutely horrible. Maybe this will help us not get it again. I can't imagine going through that again with a newborn!

Last night I got totally spoiled by a couple of dear friends. It was their birthday gift to me, but we weren't able to schedule it until now. They cooked up a delicious exotic meal, gave me a pedicure, braided my hair, gave me a massage, desert, coffee and wonderful conversation with no toddler interruptions! It was so wonderful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Amidst all the mayhem of being pregnant, having two toddlers and keeping two others three days a week, there are so many moments of beauty. It's a time of reflection around here as we rearrange the house for the baby's arrival, think about welcoming her, baby books, painting her clock, how much our two have grown in such a short time, the way they've changed our lives and changed us... Plus we are soon going to be saying goodbye in a sense to Micah and Caleb (the boys I keep). I have one more day with them this week, two regular weeks and two mondays left with them. I am already on every two week doctor visits that will become weekly before I know it. Life is changing for us again and it is good.

I know I already said how much we love our new beds, and I'm trying not to be too attached to them or materialistic, but they are so awesome! Normally at this point in the pregnancy, sleep is an elusive dream. And while I do still feel like a rotisserie chicken on a spit fire, the way I have to keep shifting and rolling over from one side to the other all night long, our bed is just so comfortable! And what a joy to snuggle with the kids in it. On sleep in days, they get up before us and join us in our bed. This used to be pure mayhem, ending in no one being comfortable and one of us adults finally giving up with two little children following close behind to go have breakfast. This last week, they came to bed and we all fit and snuggled and slept some extra. It was quite comical when the dog and cat managed to push the door open and joined in the circus, but this time the cacophony was met with a sense of joy that our lives are so full, instead of frustration at being so inhospitably woken.

I had a similar experience later as I vacuumed the big kid's room. This otherworldly feeling came over me with the distinct knowledge that I am a very blessed person. I don't just have children, I had to get a bunk bed to fit them all and that means the Lord has given me many children. I know this is not something to be taken lightly, it is one of life's most precious gifts, right up there with a loving partner and fulfilling existence.

People often ask what one's favorite season is. In Canada, I always said summer, but I've discovered it may not be the season I love, but the temperature! Summers here are not very fun. It's like Canada's winter- long, intense, never wanting to end. But right now, it feels like summer in Canada and is soooo nice! We could wear shorts or pants. The sun shines warm, not blistering. The comfortableness of the outdoors allows us to really appreciate the little breeze, leaves cascading down like a light rain or the flocks of butterflies that flitter around us. Last week Dominique actually petted a butterfly! I told her not to touch it, but she didn't listen and to my surprise, it didn't try to escape. She was very gentle and got to touch it several times. It was one of those beautiful moments I hope I will always remember. Butterflies are special too because they remind me of Gordon- my nephew who would have been 2 this year. His birthday would have been this month and here we are surrounded by butterflies. They remind me of the magic, the delight, the beauty and unknown of the other side. While it may seem far, it pierces into our lives at unexpected times reminding us that there is so much more than what we see with our eyes, if we but engage our hearts and souls, we can see so much more. And give thanks for it.

Speaking of butterflies, here is a butterfly catching game Ivan got for his birthday. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Where we've been

I'm sure some of you in the blogworld have wondered if we've fallen off the face of the planet for the silence from this here blog, and in a way we have. We've been caught in a whirlwind of activity I guess some may call nesting. Our plan was to get a bunk bed for the kids, with a twin on the bottom and a full on top, using a mattress from our day bed and our bed and getting us a queen bed after thanksgiving. We even thought of shopping in Houston the day after thanksgiving to find some good deals- but after checking around town, we discovered the best deals were most likely under our noses. So we bit the bullet and got great beds! We are all so thrilled with it. Of course, it is especially nice to fall into nice comfy beds after the days we've been having. Brian had scoped out our finds weeks previously and I went to take a look Thurs. He ended up picking up both beds that day and we got them set up for our first delicious sleep in them. Seriously, I didn't know a bed could feel so nice. I worked all the next day to go through the kids' closets, all their clothes, get all the right sizes out and condense all their stuff in half to make it fit in the two closets that are in what is now the big kids' room. When Brian got home from work, he had the privilege of helping in the mayhem. Who would have known that two beds would make us redo half the house! Brian moved a total of 7 beds as we also got it set up for mom and dad's arrival in Dec. We went through 5 closets, a file cabinet was also gone through and moved. Brian rearranged his side of our room, hung shelves and pictures, decorations...

Sat. we still had tons to do and we were by this time quite exhausted and snappy. I'm afraid the kids weren't too well cared for that day as we kept telling them to go play and let us work. While they napped and some after, I painted this picture for under Ivan's top bunk. The only negative about the bunk is that it's so close to the lower bed and we had to put in a sheet of plywood, which made it a bit clausterphobic under there, so I painted a sort of mural on a sheet with which to cover the plywood and keep the roughness and blandness far from Dominique's bed. I really should have taken pictures after all their pictures were hung and shelves were up, because the pics with just them and the bed look bland, but it was exciting to us all.

So, we've been a bit out of the loop, rearranging the entire house and I haven't even gotten to the actual baby stuff yet or condensing toys, but this was all the first steps in preparing for baby's arrival and we're a month ahead of the game ;) I'm glad we didn't wait until next month now as I didn't know how draining all this would be. Of course if we had waited, we wouldn't have had to do it all in a weekend. We had to do it all now so that we could get the tools all back out of the house and have a safe and nice environment for the boys when I have them on Monday. If it had been like it was a couple of days ago, someone would have ended up hurt or frustrated or crying and overwhelmed and it may have been me!

Ivan took this picture of me and the painting, the fastest and largest piece I've ever done! The flowers at the bottom were based on some my sister drew with the kids on one of their visits. At the top it says: "sweet sleep" and if I'd known that Dominique's favorite part would be to spell out the words over and over, I would have put more words and letters in the picture. If you really want to see the details, you can click on it for a bigger view.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trick or treat?

If you are on facebook, you may have already seen these pictures. Since Brian has joined the facebook mania, he has pretty much taken over posting our family pics. there. So sorry for the repeats. However what you do get here is my biased, in-depth stories behind the shutter action. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you can have 5030 words through the Brian's facebook or 5200 words here through this here blog ;) Not that we're trying to one up each other. I really didn't enjoy the time it took to upload to facebook, but Brian doesn't mind it AND I really enjoy telling you all the intriguing (to some) details of the kid's lives, so we make a good team I guess.

Ivan was so totally excited about Halloween, he was buzzing with energy all week long. Friday morning he woke up and the first words out of his mouth were: "Is it Halloween?" I had tried the kid's costumes on them the night before and that afternoon we carved the pumpkins (I wait until the last minute since I cook up our pumpkins and we eat them). We barely had any kids come this year- I guess in part because it was Friday, but also, very few of our neighbors around us give out candy, so the kids have to come a long way, just for our house and I think they may just skip our end of the street for greener pastures. That's what the kids and I did. Normally I just take them down our street and meet/greet our neighbors, but I thought that'd be a downer with only a half dozen houses participating, so we made a loop and included the street behind us. It had more, 1/3 to 1/2 their neighbors were lit up. But what is it with adults wanting to scare kids now-a-days? I thought trick or treat used to mean "give us a treat or we'll do a trick on you" (which is not so cool really), but there were several scary houses with dressed up adults wanting to jump out at kids.

At every house the kids asked me two questions: "Are they good guys here?" "Are they dressed up?" We did have a good discussion about people looking different and that it's not how we look on the outside, but how we act that counts. They saw that "ugly" looking people were generous, kind and giving too. Despite the lack of participating houses, the kids got a ton of candy. Before we had even gotten to our first house, we ran into a band of kids we knew and they started to pull handfulls of loot from their bags so that Ivan and Dominique had something. Then the houses were often very generous. I think everyone had a low turnout, so they were giving it out by the handfulls. It's funny to think that we had all sorts of candy bought and then they came home with a bunch too. It's like we all just shared.

The next day, I felt like Mrs Pioneer herself, eating toasty pumpkin seeds (I used the microwave and highly recommend it) and cooking up the pumpkins. I felt a little less pioneerish when I realized I was using running water, an electric stove, a microwave, food processor and freezer simultaneously for my winter food storing purposes. I felt downright exhausted by the time I had a dozen or so containers lined up filled with cooked, pureed pumpkin for the freezer and not so pioneer at all when I realized we had not actually grown our pumpkin and all my work would have not been much fodder for a family of 4 going on 5 to survive through a winter. Ah, well. That's why I live now, have a car and about 20 stores I can go to all year with food from all over the world ;) But we will also have yummy fresh pumpkin for waffles, pies, empanadas, soups, baby food, muffins... I get a maniacal satisfaction when I've gotten the kids to eat a vegetable at breakfast. Maybe it makes up for all the other days when I can't get them to put an ounce of green to their lips.

If you didn't figure out our costumes, Ivan was Franklin (a popular kid's character from videos and books- he's a turtle, but most people thought he was one of the ninja turtles). Dominique was "momma's little helper" (but some called her little miss muffet or holly hobby) and thanks to Jenn's friend Pella who posted pics on facebook pre-halloween, I was a pumpkin. I just thought she was too cute and this is the only halloween that my costume would have worked. With Ivan I delivered before halloween and with Dominique I didn't even know I was pregnant yet, much less showing enough to be a pumpkin. So thanks Pella!

Hope your halloween weekend was good. Did you do anything special?