Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Big Changes

I am a sucky blogger.  I constantly think up things to talk about, but never take the time to sit down and do it.  I think I'll have to make it a New Year's resolution to blog once a week...

So!  It's been busy in our house.  We had Owens parent-teacher interview at the end of October and his teacher doesn't think he should stay in early french immersion.  Owen currently goes to school from 1230-1500 and is only spoken to in French.  The english gets weaned in so that by grade 6/7 it's 50% french/50% english.

Owens current teacher is now the third teacher to tell us that this may not be the ideal program for him.  When they told us last year that he was "too easily distracted" for the program, I figured he was too young for them to be excluding him from trying.  We decided to give it a go.  A lot can change in a summer....

The thing is...I think he's feeling the pressure now.  He's now behind in his english stuff, and he's not getting any play time because he doesn't always understand whats being asked of him and therefor tends to be the last one done his work.  For those of you who don't know Owen, he's a bright boy with an extensive vocabulary who has an INSANELY inquisitive mind.  He's the last of my boys I though would be having any difficulties at school.

After our October interview, we thought we'd start doing homework every night and get him a tutor.  I changed my mind pretty quickly.  Owen is 5.  He's a baby!  He shouldn't be stressing about school and work and feeling inadequate because he's not "keeping up" with his classmates.  He's 5!!!  He should be excited to go to school, and see his friends, and learn, and PLAY!

After much deliberation, we have decided to switch him to St. Elizabeth's.  We were originally nervous about this school as it is considered an "inner city" school.  We met with the principal (who is fabulous by the way) and she absolutely put our fears to rest. 

As of January, Owen will be in the full day program there.  It's primarily english, but he'll still have 1/4 of the day in French.  They have middle immersion at this school as well, so if we're still there when he goes into grade 4, he won't have to change schools.  I also no longer have to worry about getting him prepared for his sacraments through our church as it will be done at school.  Yay!  The whole thing is just too perfect!

It's taken a while, and we're sad to leave his current school, but I think we've come to terms with the decision.  Even Owen is excited after he heard about the Smart screens that are in every classroom.  He asked me this week if he could switch schools NOW!

As usual...I've spent a countless amount of time and energy worrying about something that, in the end, I'm the only one stressing about it.  It's making decisions that affect my kids future that I find to be the toughest part of being a mom.

I'll write again soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treading Water...

It's been almost a month since I posted because I've been drowning (not literally of course).  I don't know what it is, but I'm overwhelmed right now, and feeling a little paralyzed by everything in my life.  My house, my kids, my job....I feel like nothing is getting my full attention these days.

Thanks goodness for Sandra and my mom who listen to my complaints without judgment.

Today was a good day.  The kids and I got out this morning to St. Elizabeth's which has a Parenting and Literacy Centre.  We go to this catholic school in the mornings sometimes because it has a playgroup that runs from 8-12, Mon-Fri during the school year (closed during holidays and OCCSB P.A. days).  There are a few things that make it a wonderful program:

1.  You can bring kids aged 0-6 which means I can bring Owen (he's getting older now and not always welcome at other playgroups).
2.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a 20 minute gym time which totally wears my kids out.
3.  They provide a healthy snack.
4.  Alice, the lady who runs this particular program, is a saint!  She knows EVERYTHING about ANYTHING child related.  She knows about different activities/playgroups in the area.  She gives out monthly newsletters with all kinds of ideas of things to do or make with the kids.  PLUS...she always gives me a hand with my three munchkins and they love her!
5.  It's FREE!!

I'm actually kind of reluctant to talk about it because I love it so much and don't want too many people showing up suddenly (not that more than a handful of people read this blog).  Alice and the school, however, have preserved my sanity on more than one occasion and I feel I owe it to those other moms out there who need OUT!

There are a bunch of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in Ottawa.  Check out the website to find one near you :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


After months and months of anticipation, worry, anger, frustration, and general over-the-top freaking out...Emmett's surgery is done.  It took all of an hour.

I wonder if it hadn't come on the heals of his heart issues whether I'd have been such a basket case.  I really was a basket case.  We noticed the bump early, and doctors seemed to want to ignore it.  I really fought to get an actual diagnosis.  I'm glad I did, but I'm a little frustrated that I had to fight so hard for it.

While its certainly not on the same level as his heart stuff, and in the end it was an elective surgery...I think it was the right thing to do.  It could have seriously interfered with the development of the bones in his skull.

The surgeon said it went really well.  They got it all and sent it for pathology (standard for anything they remove during surgery).  She said it looked like it was a dermoid cyst (as expected).  "What else would it be?" were her exact words.  I certainly could have given her a list of thoughts that had gone through my head as to what it could be...but I didn't want to look like a crazy person.

I think the hardest part for Emmett was the fasting.  He woke up from the surgery howling like a wild animal and wouldn't stop until he'd had two bottles of water, a popsicle, a bottle of milk, some juice, and a granola bar.  The nurses were less than impressed that he skipped ahead a few steps in the eating process (he was supposed to stay on clear fluids until this evening).  He didn't throw up though, and there really was no other way of consoling HA!

After that, he was happy as a clam.  We were home by lunchtime with a happy, though tired little man.  He has a dressing on his head which we can remove after a few days, and we return to see the surgeon at the end of October.

So that's it...I don't know what to do with myself...there are no surgeries on the horizon (knock on wood).  While parents of cardiac babies never really know what's coming next until it hits them, it's nice to have ticked off so many things on Emmetts health 'to do' list.

With any luck...that's the end of his time in the O.R. until he's a VERY old man!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Sometimes, after nights like tonight, when I arrive home over an hour late from a shift because patients were heavy on the call-bell, I was bogged down with admissions and paperwork, and I feel like I ran around all night and accomplished nothing....I need to remind myself why I love being a nurse (and I usually do).

1.  It's NEVER boring.
2.  I have the privilege of being invited into peoples lives when they are at their most vulnerable.
3.  Once in a while, I feel like I actually made an impact on someones life.
4.  I learn something new every day that I go to work.
5.  I've got the best dinnertime topics for my non-medical friends and family.
5.  Nurses ROCK!  And I get to call them my friends :)

There's more, but I'm too worn out to think about it anymore.  My next installment will be titled:  Why I hate the inventor of the call-bell.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not so crazy craziness...

It has been SUCH a crazy week!  Owen started school and piano lessons.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in town from Vancouver so we spent Monday and Tuesday at Uncle Bob and Tante Rolande's cottage..  I hosted a dinner party for seven on retrospect it doesn't sound THAT crazy...but it sure felt insane!

Yesterday we went out to Orleans to visit my parents and ended up going up to the Mer Bleue boardwalk.  I haven't been there in years!  I can't believe I hadn't thought to bring the kids there sooner.  It was really fascinating and beautiful.  It made me want to do a school project on bogs!

It's great for kids because they know they are expected to stay on the boardwalk, so they can't take off too far on you.  They had a really great time (and so did I).  I'm waiting for the pictures my dad took and will post them when/if I get them...

In some sad news...Glenda and Mike are leaving me :(  I'm not very good at pretending I'm happy they live out West.  But I do love them and wish them safe travels....

A little canoe trip that happened on Tuesday at Uncle Bob and Tante Rolande's cottage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Owen went back to school today!  Yay!  It was time.  He was getting seriously bored of me despite my best efforts.  He even told me so :(

He's in senior kindergarten this year at a public school.  I'd really wanted to send him to catholic school, but I much preferred the Early French Immersion program offered at the public board.  His lessons will be 100% french both this year and next year. The english will be fazed in by grade 6/7 when it will be a 50/50 split between french and english.

He's still doing half days (afternoons) and his school won't even be changing to full days for Felix next year.  I'm happy with half days.  I'm not ready to let him go fully...I've got another year to work on it.

So here we go with another year of buses, and books, and old friends, and new.  I really do love the school year.  I love the routine it brings with it and I know Owen does too. 

I'll have to work on some new tricks for next summer so the "boring old mom" doesn't rear her ugly head again :S

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fairwell Sissy-Poo

Today my baby sister is going away to college.

There are 12 years between Kathleen and I.  We've always been close, but I feel like, lately, we've reached a stage where we can talk...really sisters.  Now she's going away.

She took a few years off after high school and many people thought that was it.  She'd never go back.  But I knew.  I always knew she would.  My sister is a smart cookie.

So I'm both sad and excited for her today as she takes off on a new adventure.  I'll miss her.  But I'm also really, really proud of her.  I can't wait to see what big things she does with her life.

I love you Kathleen!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We're the Lucky Ones

Emmett had a visit with his cardiologist today.  His blood pressure is where she wants it and though he needs to stay on his meds, she thinks he'll outgrow his need for them in the next few months.

For those of you who don't know....Emmett was born with a congenital defect.  An aortic coarctation to be exact.  His aorta was so narrow that he went into heart failure at 10 days old (we hadn't known about his problem before then).  He had heart surgery at 13 days old, and has since needed a balloon cath to fix it again when he was 6 months old.  He's doing really well.  Super well!!  I know we're the lucky ones.

The thing is...I want to talk about it.  A lot.  While I don't want his heart issues to define him, I'm still living with the fear.  I probably always will.  He'll be followed for life with yearly echoes.  Before every visit I'll be holding my breath.  Every little sniffle, every little cold, every scrape I'll likely be wondering (at the back of my mind) if its somehow related to his heart.  Silly.  I know. 

I was looking at pictures the other day of his first week with us.  It made me sad to think that it was the only real baby time we got with him.  I barely remember it.  I only got 8 days of breastfeeding difficulties, 8 days of being frustrated at having to wake up with a crying baby, 8 days of poop-watching (you know what I mean moms).  At the time, I was exhausted and I wish I could do it all over again.  I didn't get enough time before we were hit with surgeries, and IV's, and caths.

I'd call Sandra nightly from the hospital in tears saying: "He had such a good day, why am I crying?!?!".  Every night I'd be surprised by the response "Because you had a baby 2 weeks ago!".  I'd honestly forget.

Anyhow...I don't plan on making this blog about Emmett or his heart.  In the grand scheme of family life, it only takes up a moderate fraction of my daily thoughts.  But its there...always.  So remember to cherish those frustrating moments with your babies.  We never know when we could be wishing for the sleepless nights...
The calm before the storm.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I camp.

I camp.  I don't feel I have the right to call myself a "camper" just yet...maybe never.  I didn't grow up camping.  We were more of a cottaging family.  But I knew when I married my husband that I would someday get roped into it.  Let me tell you...I resisted as long as I could!  The truth is...I really like it and I wish I'd done it sooner!  (No I-told-you-so's please Glenda) 

This summer, we've made a few forays into the wilderness.  OK...that's a stretch...I'm a very pampered camper.  We have a two room tent, a queen-sized blow-up mattress, etc., etc.  But still...this is more than I thought I'd be able to do with three young children.  Money (or lack of) has definitely been a deciding factor in our accommodation choices.

Our first "outing" was a one night affair to ease me in.  I will NEVER do that again.  It's too much work doing all the set up and take down for what turns into, essentially, a few hours of actual fun-time.  I almost gave up on the notion of camping after that one.  Luckily we stuck with it and headed out east for some adventures.  We camped in the Bay of Fundy (SO much fun!), and PEI (SO buggy!).  It was fun, but I think this past weekend was the most fun so far.  It probably had a little to do with the company and the extra hands and eyes they brought with them to keep the kiddos in line.

We went up to Murphy's Point with Sandra and Eric and their clan (Fred - 4, and Annabelle - 1 1/2) and Ryan. Tristan and Mikaela joined us on Saturday night.  It was lovely for the kids to have friends there, and even more wonderful for Dave and I to have our friends there.  Hiking, swimming, campfire cooking, and dirty little boys (and one girl) dominated the weekend. 

I think that was our last trip for the year, but I can't wait to do it all over again next year!

Our campsite.  Notice that massive orange tent.  That's ours.  Ryan's is hiding behind it...

Owen hiking with his buddy Fred.
More hiking...
Felix in a hole.
Emmett loving the water!
Kids at the beach.
Felix is not too sure what to do with his new little friend.  I think the frog is experiencing some serious shock at this point.
Loving...Annabelle style :P
Goodbye until next year camping....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Out with the with the Mac!!!

So...our computer has been out of commission for the past week or so.  It seems that (at least) monthly we are attacked by a virus of one form or another that shuts us down for days at a time.  I never had these sorts of problems with my Mac...never!!!  I'm totally ready to switch back.  I think Dave is on board too.  The question is when and where will we find the money?? 

I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who are much more computer-savvy than I (an easy feat) who will have valid arguments as to why I should stick with PC's.  I warn you...I will not be swayed!  I have faith in my Mac experiences!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yet another trip to CHEO....

So we finally have an O.R. date for Emmett's cyst removal.  For those of you who don't know, he has a dermoid cyst in the middle of his face, between his eyebrows.  Most people say they don't even notice it until I've pointed it out.  It's's not that noticeable...but the doctor wants to remove it. 

She says it could grow and become a bigger problem when he's older.  It could even affect the growth of the bone behind it.  The problem is that these are a lot of "ifs", and "could's".  Do I really want them cutting into my baby (again) when there are so many question marks involved?  (And when all this info comes from a plastic surgeon).

It was almost easier when it was his heart because the choices were literally do...or die. 

I really don't care about how it looks.  Emmett is perfect to me no matter what...I really mean that.  It's the complications that could arise by not removing it that are concerning.  But has it's obvious risks as well.  You'd think my nursing background would be an asset in this situation, but it's really not.  My nursing knowledge goes right out the window where my kids are concerned.  The stuff I do manage to remember is usually the crazy bad things that could (but rarely do) happen.

I know I need to relax.  This is a common day-surgery.  CHEO has never let us down where Emmett is concerned.  I really believe he's received first class care there.

It's just SO hard to watch them walk away with him down the hall...his chubby little cherub face beaming because he has no idea what's about to happen....It breaks my heart that he has to deal with this on top of everything else!
I tried to find a pic where you could see the cyst...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In the beginning....

So this is my first blog...I'm new to the land of blogging.  I'm hoping not to breach any blogging etiquette, but I figure someone will let me know if I go too far astray.

People seem to have themes for their blogs, but I figure mine will just be about my family, my life, my weight loss quest and my attempt to balance it all.  They always tell you how tough it will be, but until you're there you have NO idea!  At least I didn't....

I guess I'll introduce the main cast of character:  Owen, Felix, Emmett, and Dave.  I have a HUGE supporting cast of family and friends (the best in the business), but I figure they'll be introduced along the way.

Owen is my oldest.  He's 5 years old, and I always say that he started it all.  He's a really imaginative, well-spoken little man who loves stories and make believe.  He also loves the retro-teletoon channel (Spiderman, Scooby-Doo, Inspector Gadget).  It's a constant battle trying to wean him off of TV.  He'll be starting senior kindergarten this year...I can't believe how fast time flies!!!

Felix is 3 and a little fireball!  He has absolutely no fear....which scares the dickens out of his mom :S  He's crazy active and its hard to slow him down.  He's also my cuddliest boy.  He's a little behind in his speech, so he's in speech therapy.  I kind of don't want him to start speaking properly because its SO cute when he says things like:  I hee a hee-hee (translation:  I see a fishy!).

Emmett is our baby.  He's 1 and just started walking.  It's cute to see his little personality showing already.  He's super stubborn, and thinks he should be able to do all the things his older brothers do.  He's a little nut, and has the hair to prove it.  He's given us quite a run for our money in his first year of life as he was born with a congenital heart defect (an aortic coarctation) which was surgically repaired at 13 days old.  His aorta subsequently narrowed again and has since been corrected with a balloon angio.  His heart is looking good these days, but he's still on blood pressure meds.  You'd never know he's a cardiac kid to look at him though....

Through all of this, Dave is my rock.  I'm so lucky to have a husband who is so involved with me and with the kids.  I count my blessing everyday that I met him and that he puts up with me on a daily basis :)

Anyhow...that's a little preview of my life.  I hope I haven't been to cheesy.  Bear with me as I figure out how to do this.  I used to be a descent writer before nursing made me shorten all my narratives.  I figure it'll come back pretty quickly....