Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gary


On Friday, Gary and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Gary wasn't home as he was on a 4 day canoe and portaging trip. However, at 8am, there was a loud knock at the door. I went down there and this is what I saw:
Flowers, a DVD, and a gift certificate to the spa. The DVD said `Play Me Now'. So, I played the DVD and on it, Gary said that my sister would be coming over at 2:30pm to babysit the kids so that I could go to the spa. After that, a friend would pick me up and take me to dinner! I was so excited to be surprised like that!!! Thank you Mark and Maria for picking out the bouquet and dropping it off!
At the spa, I had the `Time Out' Package which consisted of a facial, back massage and pedicure. I don't really like people touching my face so that wasn't my favourite but I'm glad I tried it. The pedicure was super tickly but I love that she massaged my toes and made them pretty. The back massage was awesome as she worked every single tight muscle. Then, my friend Leah picked me up from the spa and took me out for dinner. You know, when you can sit and eat and talk and not try to manage the kids at the same time! What a relaxing afternoon after single mom-ing it all week!
(Random picture of Gary with a basketball player/student at a reception)
Gary wasn't supposed to get me anything as our Kingfisher trip was our present to each other. Wanna know what I got him? Two of his favourite things that we never have in the house; iced tea and pistachios. Ya, he wins.)

I love Gary. A lot. I remember Gary telling me that he made the choice to love me. I didn't like that. I mean, I appreciate that he was committed to me for life but I wanted him to feel the emotional, passionate love too. Gary isn't super emotional. He doesn't really have ups and downs, he's just steady, and that's good. More than ever, I appreciate his choice to love me and his daily desire to make our marriage stronger and my life better. He makes me feel confident and beautiful. He completely respects and supports every decision I make. We are excellent team mates. Obviously it's not always wonderful but we communicate very well about everything. I really appreciate him and I am so thankful that we are together. I know I'm not the easiest to get along with all the time (I may get a little stressed sometimes:) and I can't stand noises like crunching and slurping (Gary makes a lot) but we are getting there. Gary totally gets me. I am known.

He is a very wonderful father. He is so involved with them and can take them anywhere and everywhere by himself. He makes them laugh and smile and also makes them feel safe and secure. We have a lot of fun together just being goofy and silly. The boys love their daddy. I knew Gary would be a wonderful dad and I'm just so glad that we are on the same page in regards to adding to our family through adoption.

So, if you don't know Gary, you should get to know him. It takes a while. Believe me. Happy 5th anniversary Gary Wayne Chapman. Nakupenda.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hee hee


I'll be honest, Kai may have been jealous.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Five Year Plan

Gary always jokes that he's on the 5 year plan. If he wants something (some pricey photography equipment most likely), he asks about it and then will continue to bring it up every month or so. Eventually I do say `okay' . By the way, it's not usually 5 years, it generally ends up being about 6 months. The only one that has taken more than 5 years is going on a trip to Iceland.
Two days ago I had a crazy thought. Okay, not crazy but it really came out of nowhere. I told Gary so that I could put him on the 5 year plan. I said to Gary that if everything goes relatively well with this adoption, maybe we could consider an international adoption? From Africa? We've always wanted to go to Africa as a family anyway (well, I want to go back to Kenya but we couldn't adopt from there as you have to live there for 6 months first). Who am I? 4 kids? Don't worry, one at a time...we'll see how it goes. And secretly, I kind of wouldn't mind having 4 boys:)
It's hard to know when we will be having our next child but once he/she is here, we will cut back immensely on our photography. Maybe just one shoot per month to continue to bring in some money and so that I can still work a little outside of the home. I really want to have more family filled weekends. I'm probably just feeling this way because we are in our busiest photography month ever with 5 weddings and 5 other shoots!
(I love that Kai can bike everywhere now!)
I don't know if you've noticed but I have an adoption link at the top of our blog. It has a timeline that you can check to see where we are at. In case you haven't checked, we have finished a whole lot! We are just awaiting our 3 day seminar (mid June), our 6 social worker visits and then we write our `Dear Birth mom' letter. I think that's it!

(picnic at the park, orange you wishing you were there?:))

And, Kai's funny comment of the day:
Kai (being a detective with his flashlight and trying to find treasures around the house, he finds a crumb on the ground): Mommy, a crumb is very fascinating!

I have to say that I am just really feeling so content and happy. I really think that it has to do with the fact that I'm just feeling so much healthier. I should get my blood tested again but I think I must be close to the normal range right now.

Oh, and I should mention that I have a doctors appointment for Koen in 2 weeks from now. I have noticed (although how the heck did it take me so long to notice?!) that Koen walks with his right foot turned in. I had feet issues as a kid too, I had to wear special shoes and braces and all that jazz. It was really bad in elementary school where I didn't wear supportive shoes and it was like I was walking on my ankles. Orthotics helped with that and I'd say I'm normal now:) I'm sure that the equipment that they have to wear now is a lot more user friendly. Hopefully.

Have a wonderful evening.
Love, Louise

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lower Falls Hike

This weekend is a busy work weekend, but we had a great family day today. As we are going on holidays for two weeks this summer, camping and hiking our way to Drumheller (I lost in the vote), we want to practice doing each of those things with the kids to see what we should change/know etc. Today was hiking.

(Terribly blurry picture but I wanted a shot of me carrying Kokies in the Ergo)
We wanted to see how they would do in the carriers so that we could hike at Gary and Louise pace rather than Kai-and-Koen-explore-every-single-thing pace. We did Lower Falls at Golden Ears. It's an easy hike that they say takes an hour each way but really, it takes about 35 minutes each way (as long as the kids aren't walking). I took a beta blocker before and was so pumped that I had no problem whatsoever carrying Koen the whole way. Phew.
(Can you tell I'm restraining Koen from running straight into the water?)
(Family shot via timer)
(Look at Koen's face)
Koen was happy in there for about 20 minutes and then he really wanted to explore. We threw rocks in the water for a bit and then we kept going to the waterfall. Gary and I even switched kids and I carried Kai in the Ergo. Overall, we let Kai walk about 1.5km's as he could run ahead and keep up. Koen maybe walked .5km. Today was a day that I just wanted a bit of a work out so that's why we weren't as kid friendly:)
So, what did practicing teach me?
1. I can hike!! Not overnight hiking with a 50lb backpack right now, but maybe a 25lb one and Gary carry everything else?!
2. We'll need to hike in the morning when Koen isn't tired.
3. We'll need to hike 45 minutes, stop and have lunch/snack, and then hike again.
4. Kai can keep up with us for about 20 minutes at a fast pace.
5. They each go in both of the carriers well.
I hope that you had a fabulous weekend!!
I'm so excited to watch the LOST finale tonight!!!
Love, Louise
PS Have a great long weekend!



Friday, May 21, 2010

Mr. Enthusiastic

(Kai will the Wall-E that he made)
Yesterday Kai's preschool class went on a field trip to Sendall Gardens. Koen and I went along and it was a lot of fun. I got to lead a group as we went from station to station. We looked for various bugs on their checklist, found each colour flower, painted tiles and planted seeds. It was during Koen's nap time so I held him in the Ergo hoping he would sleep but it was just too exciting. (**side note about the ergo: feels very comfortable on but very difficult to get a child in the back carrying position by yourself unless you want to pull every muscle in your back**).

Kai was LOVING it. His teacher's were saying how he makes them smile and that he is just so enthusiastic. He really is. Example, `Kai, now we have to find some worms.' Kai: `Woohoo! I LOVE worms!! Let's go find them!!'. For everything. I can tell you where he did not get this from:) Here would be Gary's response to something....
Me: Gary, we won a million dollars!!!!!
Gary: That's awesome. (please note, no capitals, no exclamation marks).

And a couple of comments from Kai:
I checked the mailbox for a package that I'm expecting...
Kai: Mommy, was the package there?
Me: No, I wish it was!
Kai: Cheer up mommy. You just need to be patient! I have to wait every day for my birthday, it's just like that!

Kai checking out the box of sugary terribleness (Froot Loops-vomit) that Gary picked up for him because Gary is leaving on a trip and he's trying to bribe Kai to be super nice:
Kai: I LOVE these so much, they're my favourite!! I've never had them before.

And, so that I do not forget: Kai rode his bike (with training wheels) to the mailbox and back. He suddenly decided that he could do it and that he loved it. Love it!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! We have two weddings and I'm so excited that the weather is going to behave.
Love, Louise

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It Is Well

It seems like everyone is slowly announcing pregnancies again. You know, people who have kids my age and are either trying or are pregnant. I was worried about how I would feel about this. Part of me is like, `Let's just try to have a biological child!'. While paying all this money, filling out all these forms, wondering if anyone will choose our family because we have two of our own kids already, this comes to mind. But then, I know that it would be really hard on my body and that I would be passing on my mass amounts of thyroid hormones to my little fetus. I would be risking a premature birth or even a miscarriage. I would need to see specialists. I would be constantly monitoring my thyroid hormones. My heart rate would be much higher. I would risk having it get even worse after the baby was born. I know that adoption is right for us (and I am very excited about it!), I just feel a little bit jealous of those who are pregnant. Is that okay? I think that if we didn't have any kids yet, we would try and just leave all the risks up to God. I think.

I have to say that I have never heard God before. You know, like in words. I've felt peace in my life and I know that He is with me. However, throughout this adoption journey, I often start questioning things in my mind like `What if the baby doesn't love me? What if no one chooses us? What if our biological boys get super jealous? What if the mother decides to parent the child she has given us?' etc AND THEN I hear God saying `Trust me'. And I do. I guess I shouldn't say I hear him out loud. I hear him in my head, like as if I'm talking to myself but it's not me. Does that make sense? I see the words in my head too. Trust me. I totally do trust Him. Me, the control freak. I'm really letting go. I do have to say that the hardest thing right now is not knowing the timeline. It could be this fall, it could be the fall of 2011. I guess it could even be never.

Oh baby, we can't wait to meet you. I can't wait to just hold you until you fall asleep on me. I can't wait to put you in the bjorn and walk to the park with your big brothers. They are really great boys, you will have so much fun with them! I don't know if you're even in your birth momma's belly yet, but we are praying for you and hoping that you are well!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Kai Bear

My sister pointed out that there have been a lot of Koen pictures lately. It's true. Well, today I needed to just test out the lights downstairs so Kai offered to help out:) He is a good little helper. I will tell you two of the wonderful things he did today:
1. He read a story to Koen while he was eating breakfast. Kokies wasn't really loving it because Kai didn't show him the pictures which is really why Koen loves it. It's an `Opposites' book with doggies on every page. It was really nice gesture. Sweet.
(Excuse his hair...a mix of hat head and sweat. We might need to work on his smile:)
2. Today when we walked to the mailbox, they held hands. Wow. They have been holding hands a lot more. When we drive, Kai will reach out and tickle Koen. I'll be honest, for every hand holding there are about 30 headlocks, but I'll take what I can get.

My dad babysat the kids, for 5 hours, all by himself. The danger of this is that Opi tells stories that are not quite the truth. Kai came back and told me the following:
Kai: Mommy, when Opi was little, he didn't have a house and they had to look for rats.
Me: Why did they have to look for rats?
Kai: To eat them!
Me: Kai, I think Opi wasn't telling the truth, he was being silly.
Kai: No mommy, it is the truth! Now Opi has a house and he is happy every day.

Okay, I better head to bed. How did it get so late?! I usually like to get to bed before Gary because he snores terribly....he went to bed half an hour ago so it will be full out snoring by the time I get there. Great. Bon nuit!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh Kai

Kai jumped up into the air and landed, purposely, on his knees. On the cement.
Me (cleaning up his very bloody knees): Kai, why did you jump on the cement like that?
Kai: I think we need a real trampoline.

What Not To Say

The other day, Gary and I took the kids for a walk. We each had a kid on our back, seeing what it would be like to hike with them. In a tres cheesy moment, Gary and I held hands and then Kai and Koen held hands too. I said that although I don't care that much what people think, it was kind of embarrassing. Gary said, `If I cared what people thought, I wouldn't have married you.' He had a smile on his face but still...you can imagine my reply. Well, maybe you couldn't but it was a lot of, `Are you kidding me? If anything it would be the other way around!'. Gary knows how to bug me and he definitely never tried to woo me. What you see is what you get with him. Oh Gary. On a positive note, hiking with the kids will work well. Oh and Gary got me a nifty heart rate monitor so now I don't need to worry about having a heart attack while I run.

Busytown

We're a bit busy 'round here so that's why I haven't blogged. Nothing new. Kai and Koen both sick with colds AGAIN. This caused Kai to act out terribly this week which tested Gary and I over and over. Koen got his first time out for pulling flowers out of the garden. He looked shocked to be sitting in `Kai's' time out chair. Kai was loving that someone else was finally in that chair. I know he's a bit too young but when I say `No!' and he giggles and does it again, I'm sorry, but it's time to learn! Gary and I are super busy these days but it's all good stuff. This weekend; football, attend a wedding, and photograph a wedding. Good times! Gary will be gone a lot in the next few weeks for hiking trips etc. Should make for some LONG days here!



Have a great weekend in the summery sun!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Beach

I had a fantastic day today. The highlight was our trip to White Rock beach this morning. I love living 20 minutes away from it and I can't believe that we don't go more often. Koen was SO excited. I have never seen him happier. He just ran straight into the water, no fear. He picked up wet sand and squished it in his hands. He chased after birdies. It was beautiful just watching him. Kai was pumped to find as many shells as he could. We jumped over waves together and he learned all about sea lettuce. We found crab exoskeletons and pretended to pinch eachother. It just made me so happy to see them having so much fun. It reminded me of myself as a kid. Good, good times.
I am so thankful for my boys. When Kai found out it was Mother's Day, he asked, `When is it Little Boys Day?'.




(Wow, I look dorky. Kai is shouting `Sea Lettuce!' and waving some around. I thought twice about teaching him the scientific name for it....Ulva:)

I love being a mother. I've always wanted to be one. I'm so thankful that I am one. My favourite moment with the kids this week was when we played ball hockey in the alley as a family. It was so, so, so awesome. Do you know how much I love ball hockey? Do you know how much I love it when Kai says, `Mommy, let's go play hockey!'. Kai asked Gary to be the announcer but apparently he didn't do a very good job at it (he was being `too silly').

I am so blessed.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

YUM

A really great Apple Crisp. This one was made with pears (Kai ate all of our apples!) and I added nutmeg and some walnuts. You can probably reduce the sugar by about 50%...Gary would say leave it all in:)
My little baking buddy...
Such a goofball.
The Magic Peanut Butter Middles. Next time I would double the chocolate dough and reduce the size of the peanut butter balls in the middle.
Have a great weekend. Gary and I are off to an outdoor wedding and the kiddos are pumped to go to auntie Lynette's chicken farm!
Love, Louise


Friday, May 07, 2010

Dear Mom

(my momma and me...my mom was seriously always smiling)
Mom, it's 4 years today. I miss you. I'm sad that you've missed out on so much. You've missed meeting Jan, Jackie and Trish's husbands. You missed out on the birth of 4 of your grandkids. Two of those are your first grandsons; my boys. One that acts like me and another that looks just like me. You would love them. So much. If I could just have one minute, I would just want to see you with the grandkids. I would take a million pictures (did you know that Gary and I have a photography business?!). I'd even take just 10 seconds. The boys are so beautiful and hilarious. Whenever I bake with Kai, I think of you. I want them to know their oma, it's so hard to explain it at this age.

Being a mom, I know you more. I wish I could've talked to you about motherhood. I'm sorry I was a pain in the butt when I was a teenager. Thank you for sticking with me and showing so much grace and patience. Thank you for showing me what it really means to be beautiful. Thank you for your unconditional love and support. Thank you for teaching us a love of baking, cooking and even cleaning the house:) Thank you for teaching us what it looks like to be a good wife and mother.

Don't worry about us, we're all doing well. I know you were most worried about dad. He's doing very well and Joanne is taking good care of him:) I guess you never knew that he had cancer...he just had a recent check up and all is well. He also got his fancy sports car for his retirement gift to himself. He has some other fun toys up at Green Lake. Kai and Koen got to ride on the new quad, it was awesome. You would've loved it. He takes Kai out for coffee which Kai loves. The boys love their Opi. Dad wouldn't let us call him Opa so we call him Opi, do you like it?

Did you know that I have Graves' Disease? It's an autoimmune disease. I was really sick for 6 weeks and you should have seen how Gary responded. He was a wonderful, understanding and supportive husband. I got a good one mom. It's pretty much under control right now, I just can't get my heart rate down to a normal resting rate. I would think that you may have had it because you were so skinny but you always had a perfect heart rate and blood pressure. I'm nervous as my sisters and I get older because that's a whole lot of women to worry about in regards to breast cancer...hoping that detection tests and treatment get better and better.

The other girls are all fine. Don't worry, we're all getting along well. Jani still tells us ridiculous stories that you would love. The other day, she said that Sami was pretty much crawling already (she's 6 weeks old), you would've laughed so loudly! Maria is pregnant with your 6th grandchild. Jackie is doing her Masters in Nursing and Trish is now working in Chilliwack. They tore down your house and now there are 6 more in it's place. They kept a couple of the trees that you like. I'm growing my hair out, I know you always liked it longer. I miss you. I'm thankful that you were my mom. I'd take a super awesome mom for a shorter amount of time any day. Happy Mother's Day mom.

Love, Louise (your favourite oldest daughter!)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Heart

(Maternity picture I took a month ago of this beautiful family)
This morning I heard that a friend/colleague of mine had to rush her 10 day old baby to the hospital last night. Baby Fredrik is in ICU at Children's with a serious heart defect that they had no idea about. He will need surgery in the next couple of days and is in serious but stable condition. My heart and prayers go out to Stephanie, Ryan and big brother Ollie.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Koen and the Chiropractor

I took Koen to a very local chiropractor yesterday (walking distance!) that several people have recommended to me. The reason I took him is because I would like to prevent future ear infections and also, try to get rid of this one that isn't quite gone. My thoughts? It was really wonderful. The first session does cost $50.00 (we have some coverage) but the follow ups are just $25-$30 for kids. He probably just needs one more session. He was very gentle with Koen and could do a lot while I was holding him. He had him lay on his back and also shot that little gun thing (what the heck is it?) into his neck. He could tell that the blockage was all on the right side (I didn't tell him, just seeing if he really knew what was going on:)

He said that Koen has an incredible range of motion which I pretty much knew already, he's such a monkey. He said that after the session, Koen would probably have a wonderful sleep that night. Wow, was he right!! Koen had his first 2 hour nap in months AND we put him down at 6:30pm and it is now 9am and he is still sleeping!

The chiro also gave me exercises that I can do at home next time he has a cold. Basically it's just rubbing from his ear down to the base of his neck to help drain all the lymph fluid. So nice that I will be able to do something next time.

In conclusion, I would completely recommend seeing a chiropractor for your little one! I do have to say that the second we got home, Kai gave him a headlock. Thanks, Kai, for trying to mess his neck up again.

Love, Louise

Monday, May 03, 2010

16 Months Old

My baby is 16 months old! Here are some things about him....
LOVES:
-being outside doing anything (going to the mailbox, digging in dirt, going down the slide)
-being held by me. He will be fine if I'm not around and then once he sees me he just whines beneath me saying `Me! Me! Me! Up! Up! Up!'
-his big brother Kai. He is starting to purposely bug Kai by taking his things and running away as fast as he can with a huge grin on his face. Kind of funny:)
(LOVES cont'd)
-as Kai put it, `Koen is encouraging me to have naughty behaviour'. Koen loves to touch things he's not supposed to and Kai will just copy him.
-bananas and brownies...the only 2 things he would eat when he was really sick.
-doggies (from afar) and birdies
-Blue
-bottles of milk. Yes, I still give him his milk in a bottle. He starts choking when he drinks with the various sippy cups I've tried out. May be related to his reflux issues?
-bath time
-brushing his teeth
-dancing (so cute!!!)
(bad picture but I love the expression on his face)
DISLIKES:
-being put to bed in the same room as us (tried it at Green Lake)...he just wants to come into bed with us and jump all over us (and in that case, vomit on us).
-puffs
-teething (he has 8 teeth now)
(These pictures were all taken while he was looking for birdies outside)
Kokies, Kokinator, Ko-enie (that's what Kai calls him), we love you so much!! You are such a mischievous little monkey and you entertain us non stop. I'm so happy that you are feeling much better, although, I know your ear is still hurting you.
Thank you for sleeping through the night for the last month or so, daddy and I really appreciate it! Thank you for your big squishy hugs and your big beautiful grins. I love you so much, you have just made my heart so full.
Love you Bubbs.
Love, mommy