Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I was sitting in the office, trying to work. In comes Kai and sits in the `Time Out' chair.
Me: Kai, why are you sitting there?
Kai: I'm starting my time out!
Me: Why are you in time out?
Kai: Koen and I made a surprise for you!
Me: Kai, why didn't you stop him?
Kai: Well, Koen just encourages me to do naughty things so I help him because it's so fun!

Koen is wildly tearing our house apart every day now. I don't like it for several reasons. I'm a neat and organized person so it's so time consuming (Koen obviously would be useless at helping me put everything neatly back in the closet). More seriously, he has had several big head injuries in the past two days for pulling huge objects over onto himself (now anchored to the wall). He is a non stop monkey. He'll run full speed onto the road. I'm trying to remember that this is just a phase, but man, he's a workout and a half.

As Kai would say, `See you later, excavator!'

Saturday, August 28, 2010


So blessed with these beautiful boys.
Kai has a matching outfit to Koen. Yes, I spent money on brand new clothes. Matching ones. Must take pictures one day.
Koen always reminds us to `Pay' (pray). SO CUTE. Instead of `Amen', he says, `Uppie!'. Koen is testing us with his monkeyness. Destroying the whole house on purpose and saying either `Ha ha!' or announcing `Ta da!'.

Kai cut his own hair. I was kind of surprised because he isn't mischievous like that. Kai has been testing us with his words lately. Telling us that we are naughty, need to go time out etc. I think it's a combo of trying to be an adult and getting over his virus.

I am so blessed with these beautiful boys. And my husband. He's pretty awesome. He donates blood and loves me with uber patience.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Out In The Real World!

Today we ventured out as a family...into the real world! The boys are no longer infectious and I am sooooo relieved to be normal. We went to the PNE. I bought tickets online before hand and saved a few bucks. We also found free parking which saved us $25.00. The kids were free to get in but we splurged and got Kai the junior ride pass ($30). I don't know how you would possibly do that with 2 or 3 or more kids. Wow.
(I think that this is the last year that Kai would go on the boring rides that just go round and round....)
Kai's highlight was the `wooden train' (kids roller coaster). Gary's highlight was `Superdogs' (just because Koen was enthralled by the lights and kept clapping). My highlight was the `On the Edge' show with quads and trucks. Yes, that was my favourite. Who am I? Oh ya, mini donuts were obviously wonderful!
Kai did go on a bunch of rides. Parents can accompany them for free but wow, I barely fit my butt into the car ride so I only went on one or two with him.
(Koen wanting OUT and onto the rides. I'm not really that mean leaving him in the stroller, this is a fake cry that turns into a laugh in a second.)

It's tough because it doesn't open until 11am so we got there right when it opened and managed to keep Koen happy enough until 2pm (2 hours past his nap time). Good job Kokies!!
They had a cool interactive kids area in the barn with all the animals. They had to collect honey and other items at all the stations and then at the end they made a dollar for all of their hard work. They could purchase a chocolate milk with their paper dollar:)
We stayed just long enough to watch the quad racing and the trucks trying to run each other off of the platform. Looking at this picture, I can't believe I went out in public like this. Sweats. Old tank top. Greasy unwashed hair. Oh boy. I have had a headache for the past 4 days so I think I was just trying to be as comfortable as possible. Fortunately my headache left about 1 hour ago. Phew. I seem to get these long lasting headaches once or twice a month. Not sure if it's Graves related or working too much. Oh well, gone for now! Talking about working too much...I've been working full time since May (40 hours a week). I have just 6 more weeks of this and then I'll be down to about 10 hours/week. AWESOME. That is the perfect amount for me to be a good wife, momma, sister and friend.

I've been working this much (and Gary has been too) because I wanted to save enough for the adoption and finishing our basement. I don't like debt and it's really weird not bringing in an income anymore through teaching. I am so incredibly thankful that the photography door has opened and that it is so flexible. It is so amazingly perfect for our lifestyle!

And, no good segue here, I just need to share the highlight of my every day life with each of the boys in my life:

1. Walking hand in hand with Kai to the mailbox. Although, every other day we bike which is fun too. I love that he wants to hold my hand.
2. Reading a book to Koen at night while he's in his super cute pj's and drinking back his milk. HE IS SO PRECIOUS.
3. Laying in bed at the end of the day and just laughing with Gary about the things that the kids did throughout the day.

Blessed. Super blessed.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Today we signed off on our home study, paid our active fee and dropped off our adoption portfolio. After 8 months of a lot of work and emotional ups and downs, we are officially active!!!!! I was super nervous about it last week as the day approached but as soon as we got the home study in our mail today, we signed it and drove straight to Abbotsford:) I think they were a little surprised to see us so quickly. Now, the waiting really begins. Excited.
**Added: I feel like how I felt when I said `Yes' to Gary's proposal. It was what I wanted, I was excited, and I was nervous about the `hugeness' of the life altering decision.**

Documenting Excitement

Yesterday we watched the boys `One Year Video' which is a compilation of their first year. It makes me cry every time. This time watching, I thought of our baby who is yet to join our family. It is so hard to document `pregnancy' during an adoption so we will celebrate each and every step that we can. It's also hard because we don't know if we are actually `pregnant' (aka anywhere near adopting a baby) and if it's ever going to happen:( I do a first year baby book for each kid and start when I'm pregnant so this time it's a bit tricky. I have bought a scrapbook and our certificate for completing our 3 day seminar is the only thing in it. Hopefully one day, if we are so fortunate to bring a baby into our home, we can use this booklet to put in our baby book!
This is our `Dear Birth Parent' letter/picture package. The guidelines are very loose which I don't do well with. Tell me exactly how many pages, pictures, format etc and I'm good to go! All I know is it has to be regular 8.5X11" paper and has to be hole punched to go in a binder. There should be a letter from Gary and I and ample pictures to share about our lives and reason for adopting etc. It shouldn't be too long. Or too short.
It took a lot of time. Not the layout, just choosing the right words and pictures to put throughout. They warn you not to sound too perfect. They want you to use natural `action' type pictures. Oh my goodness. I don't want it to look too perfectionist-ish but I want them to know that we put time into it because we are so wanting a baby. It was so hard taking details out of my life because what if that one thing was the thing that would've been the connection? I can't look at it any more because you could spend forever trying to make it just right. This will have to do. (*NOTE: I reread the printed copy and there are at least 7 mistakes...where two words were combined together. Grrrr...oh well). There is my letter and Gary's, with words and pictures. Then, there is one page per person (Kai and Koen too) of a digital scrapbook picture page showing our interests etc. I hope that when they (adoption agency) see it they don't say that we did it wrong!!! As a side note, I have realized that my hair is in a pony tail in almost every single picture from the past 4 years.

And, because he's cute. Sunday's solitary outdoor activity; Blackberry picking (and eating).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Get Me Out Of Here!!!!

When you can't leave your house, except to go for a walk to nowhere, it's not fun.
We are so sick and tired of being stuck at home. Watching Kai's buddies run around playing outside. Missing church. Driving past the park. Not being able to even go grocery shopping as a family. The other day we walked to Extra Foods and Gary stayed outside with the kids while I went in.
I'm thinking that they have had it for one week so the kids should be done with their contagiousness soon, especially Kai. Gary on the other hand has a few more days to go. Kai is so social and having to just play with us is getting so boring for him. Unfortunately, I was really good at playing dinosaurs which means I've had to play a lot of dinosaurs.

(Koen is looking much better! The blisters are all on the inside of his arm so you can't see them here. Kai got Koen a tortilla as a snack. That's Kai's favourite snack right now. Just plain. He can't eat much else due to his mouth blisters.)

I will say that the timing of this is really good as Gary has almost two weeks off between weddings so he doesn't have to worry about infecting anyone. Well, guess it's back to the family hike in the woods this afternoon. Oh ya, Kai is adamant that if we bring a baby girl into our home, her name needs to be Rose Petal. Yes, Rose Petal.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

If You Don't Let Me...

Kai is funny to me. If I don't let him do something, this is what he might say:
1. Mommy, you're boring. (He's not allowed to say this anymore).
2. If you don't let me ______, then I'm going to take all of my clothes off. (and then he does).

Health update: Kai is able to eat less and less. Koen is getting better and better (so scabby..yuck). Gary is feeling a bit better but still has a long ways to go. I'm good!!

Adoption update: We are really slow getting our adoption portfolio together (okay, in the grand scheme, we're moving through uber fast) but we should have our booklet made this week. My letter had to be cut in half as it was jut too long. In half. Yes. I just got to read/edit Gary's letter. I wish I could share it. He did such a good job sharing his feelings. He even used one exclamation mark and I've never seen him use one. Good job, Gary!

House update: We decided that instead of moving we would finish our basement (one bedroom, one bathroom, and one giant playroom/studio) and make the rest of our house more organized and de-cluttered. We have finished the main floor (I should have taken before and after pictures!) and I've been working on our bedrooms. Today I tackled our closet. You know, the place where everything goes when you don't want to see it:) This has been a very expensive month for us with two major (unexpected) photography purchases (laptop and flash both broke) so suddenly spending money on getting more organized was a bit stressful but we're okay. So thankful for our photography income!!!

Okay, I better head to bed to keep my immune system up and running smoothly!!! Have an excellent weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Better Than 2 Sick Kids?

How about throw in a sick husband! Yes, although adults don't tend to get it, it looks like my lovely husband is well on his way. Kai was excited, he said, `Does this mean daddy will know exactly how I feel?'.

Kai is doing the best of the bunch with just the blister in his mouth making it painful to eat.

Koen is super clingy and I can understand, his skin is terrible. I won't even describe the yuckiness of it. He still enjoys the bath though so I'm glad he gets some relief in there. I'm just nervous about any infection that could start with all of those open wounds. At night he cries for me `Mommy! Mommy!' over and over and when I go in, he grabs me with all his might and won't let go. We `slept' in the toddler bed in his room last night together, for a bit, because I didn't want to bring him into our bed as Gary is sick.

This is definitely a rough week around here. I'm so thankful that so far, I'm feeling totally fine. I went out and bought a ton of new soaps and hand sanitizers last night. I'm going to be crazy germ freak mom because I don't want my kids to get sick like this again and preschool is right around the corner.

In the meantime, we'll just keep going for walks (poor kids saw the park yesterday but we had to go right by it) and hanging out at the house. Boring.

Oh ya, I bought Kai a $6.00 T-rex shirt and I am now the best mom in the world! He's been asking for a dinosaur shirt for a while (why didn't he want one at Drumheller where there were a billion?!) and I found one yesterday. I'll be honest, it feels pretty awesome to be the best mom in the world (according to Kai).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kai vs Koen vs Spots

I wonder if it's because Koen has such sensitive skin but man, he has it (Hand Foot Mouth Disease) way worse than Kai. Kai has maybe 30 blisters total on his feet hands and torso. Koen has at least 200 spots (that become blisters) on each foot and they are all over his entire body. He has masses of open blisters all over his arms and legs. Under his diaper, he is covered everywhere. My poor little Bubba. It makes me teary eyed looking at him! He is doing pretty well considering, just grumpy and not sleeping. His skin is so sensitive so this is really doing a number on him.
(back of his leg)

Thank goodness we had him vaccinated for chicken pox because I can only imagine what that would've done to him. We went to the beach today and just went way out where no one else was. The boys are so bored. Kai had to watch the neighbour boys on their new slip and slide yesterday and couldn't play with them:(
So I bet everyone wants to come over for a playdate now hey?! If you are reading my blog for the first time, I`m sorry you started with this post:)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Latest

Sorry to be brief here but:
1. Had four weddings in one week (photographing 3 of those) and I'm utterly exhausted. I feel like I just need to curl up in a ball for a week. Yesterday's was an outdoor one in Abbotsford...if you know about the heat around here, you know it was a sweat fest.
(Holding my littlest niece at my cousins wedding on Saturday..photos courtesy of Jaclyn Curll:))

2. Kai has hand, foot and mouth disease.
Not cool. Makes it sound like he's a cow or something. I'm upset because he's so contagious so we can't go anywhere and this is the one time this month we have five whole days free. I'm just waiting for Koen to get it so we can get it over with although hoping he doesn't. Kai is handling it very well and knows the stages etc. Every morning he comes to our room, shoves his feet in my face and says, `Any blisters yet?'.
(In case you are wondering, these are the symptoms; fever, fatigue and nausea (vomiting) for day one. Day two he was fine. Day three brought the lovely blisters to his feet.)

3. On Saturday I turned 32. That's the day Kai got sick...although we didn't realize it until it was too late. Awesome! We had gone to the Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream and Kai refused to eat anything. That is where he decided that his tummy had enough and he threw up. So embarrassing. I had no idea he was that sick or we never would've left the house. Bad, bad mommy.

Have a great week.
Love, Louise

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

Mass of Emotions

We had our last social worker visit this morning. Wow. All that's left to do is look over, edit and sign off on what she wrote up about us, hand in our `Dear Birth Parent' letters and our picture portfolio (not done the picture portfolio yet as I was awaiting specifications), and pay our active fee (I hate talking about money and adoption in the same post).

A few days ago, it hit me. A minor freak out. I want a baby so badly. I'm surrounded by babies and pregnant bellies. My baby is a full out little boy now. I am scared that it will take so long. Like, pretty freaked out. I won't say the exact stats but they pretty much have more adoptive parents waiting than ever and very, very few possible birth moms. Our social worker kept asking, `Are you sure you want to do local?' because there are other options which could be faster.

The reason I feel like a bit stressed about the time it might take (and I hope this doesn't sound ridiculous) is that I love having our kids within about 2-3 years of each other. I don't want to feel `in limbo' for years and years. We have a closet full of baby stuff ready to go!
Maybe I just need to babysit a really colicky baby and have a sleepless night and THEN I won't feel so impatient. I even asked Gary about revisiting the idea of trying to having a biological child.

This is how I talk in my head: `God, I trust you. I trust your timing. But um, I would really like to bring our baby home sometime before 2012. So, can that be your timing? Now that I've asked that, are you going to make me wait 3 years to teach me patience? Sorry for thinking that! Oh I just want our baby to come home. I'm so ready. Okay, I'll trust you. But ya, by the end of next year please?!'.

I do feel some guilt about taking a spot on the active list amongst adoptive parents who don't have any kids and have been waiting so long already (there is no `wait list', it's the birth parent that chooses you).

So ya, a lot we (mostly me!!) have been thinking about. If we get everything done, we will be active next week. Wowsers. I guess we need to start thinking baby names, just in case? Although, maybe the birth parents will have named him or her already. Maybe it will be a 5 month old? We are open to any race/ethnic background so we would like to choose a name based on the ethnicity which we will have to wait and see. I keep picturing a Japanese baby so we call him (yes, we refer to the baby as a him) Hikaru:)

So that's where I'm at. Hopefully this is normal. Gary and I are going to set a timeline in place of what we will do if nothing has happened in one year and then again in two years. It could involve going through the US, going through the ministry, trying for a biological child, or, staying as is! I can't wait to see where we are at in one or two years from now.

Love you baby. Wherever you are. I cannot wait to meet you and hold you forever and ever.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Dinosaur Party!

This morning we had Kai's birthday party. It was so fun! The kids are at a great age where they can just go off and play. No fighting. Including Kai and Koen, there were 11 kids. Half of the parents stayed, the other half just dropped them off.
The birthday boy! Yes, his hands are in the back of his shorts...just noticed that now. We had a relay race where they had to wear a headlamp (it was in the dark garage due to the rain), go down the slide, over the swamp (kiddie pool) and then dig for 3 dinosaurs each. In the end they all just kept digging:)
They played in the basement and at one point I found 5 of them having a dance party on our bed:)
We played some `Stick the Pterodactyl in the sky' which I'm surprised all of the kids did being that they were blindfolded.
Look at them all just sitting and eating, so well behaved! Yes, the centerpiece was a plant with dinosaurs in it. You know, kind of forest like?
Opened some presents...thanks everyone!
And then ate dinosaur cupcakes! I had made a 3D Stegosaurus cake on his actual day but didn't feel like remaking one so we just did cupcakes. I think in the future I will do smaller sugar or chocolate cookie cutouts on cupcakes, then you can do any theme! They were supposed to have grass on them but I didn't buy any green candies in time. And the jellybeans, those are EGGS not dinosaur poop. They stand up because you insert a lollipop stick in the cookies before you bake them. Cool huh?
He blew out his candle and made a wish...

And then everyone went home! I love celebrating the boys birthdays. It's so fun to see them so happy and having their day celebrated with friends or family (this was our first year doing a `just friends' party as the numbers were getting out of control!). Three of the boys at the party are our neighbours so it's just so awesome for Kai to have buddies just next door.

And just random things that will be blogged about in the next week:
1. Gary and I now share an office...pictures to come!
2. Last social worker visit on Monday
3. I need to lose 10lbs....plan will be in place soon.
Bon nuit.
Love, Louise

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Gary!

My wonderful husband turned 35 years old today. I can't believe that I have known him for 10 years, that sounds so long! I was 22 and he was 25 when we met. Ah, the good old days! We celebrated by going to The Vault for dinner (thanks auntie Trisha for babysitting the kiddos!!).

Gary, I hope that you have a wonderful year that is full of a lot of laughter and love and great health (yes, when you've had someone sick in your family, you wish them good health). You are such a fun dad and involve the kids in everything that you do, like putting together your new desk today with Kai Bear. You are an excellent husband who is very patient. You look to see how we can make our marriage better and better. I love you. Looking forward to seeing what this next year brings you and us!
Love, Louise

(Please note the green wall is now grey and I'm not that tall next to Gary. I wore heels for our dinner out. How do people wear those things? Not a fan!).
Bon nuit.
Love, Louise

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Kai is Four!!

Four and half years ago, we found out that we were having a boy. When the nurse read us the results, I cried. I was shocked. I felt like I did not know how to raise a boy as I was one of five girls. I'm so thankful that we found out what we were having because then at least I could let my mom know so that she could have some connection to her second grandchild before she passed away.
Four years ago, at 8:09am, we met our baby boy! It was not the best start as we were utterly exhausted from 2 sleepless nights due to contractions, labour and trying to push this guy out.
It took some time for me to fall in love with him. I had a bond all right, but didn't feel that undying love that I thought I was supposed to. I felt like I didn't know him. I even asked Gary several times if he was sure that this was our baby as I just thought I should be able to recognize him. Kai Bear cried...a lot. Like many babies, he had some tummy issues but boy, did he cry!
Here was our family picture at Green Lake when he was 3 weeks old. He decided there to have a growth spurt and ate EVERY SINGLE HOUR throughout the night. I was exhausted.
It wasn't long though before my love for him was in full bloom and I was head over heals with the most beautiful baby in the world. He ate like a champ and continued to grow so well. I love having boys. They are so entertaining and tough and I see the world so differently. I never thought I would have to learn about excavators and Stegosauruses but I love it. I love seeing them wrestle with Gary. I love the snuggles that I can still get out of them.
Kai bear has been such a blessing to us. He is a great big brother and a wonderful helper to Gary and I. He is very enthusiastic and fun to talk to. This morning he came into our room and we sang happy birthday to him. Then he asked if he could open his present to finally get his transformer. Uh oh. I didn't think the dinosaur puzzle and `paint a dinosaur' was going to cut it. He had been asking for a transformer for about 6 months and for some reason, because he didn't talk about it in the last 2 weeks, I didn't buy one for him. Bad parents. So I said that we would open his present in a couple of hours and ran off to the store. I found one that he loves. Phew:)
Gary and Kai transforming his new toy. Great, now I have to figure out how it works too!
Kai Bear, we love you so much. You make me laugh with your dance moves, you make me smile with your wonderment, and you make me filled with joy when you interact (nicely) with your brother.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for you. We love you!!!
Love, Mommy, Daddy and Kokies.
PS Someone is turning 35 tomorrow.....there will be another birthday post:)

Monday, August 02, 2010

19 Months

19 Months ago, this was my belly.
We met Koen Jacob Daniel Chapman.
And fell in love immediately with our chubby little guy.
(Check out the rolls on him at just one week of age!)
And today, we love our little monkey more than ever.
(Making Kai's birthday cake with the boys today...we are having a cake tomorrow for his real bday and another one on Saturday for his party)

Kokies: 19 Months
-climber (Kai never left the ground so this is very new to us. He is the one teaching Kai!)
-talker (he has started saying two words together like `hug mommy').
-runner (usually away from us)
-eater (loves all food)
-drinker (loves his milk and I'll admit that we still give it to him in a bottle half of the time)
-sleeper (woohoo!! He naps about 1 hour during the day and sleeps about 14 hours at night. Awesomeness).
-brother (Kai and Koen have so much fun together, it warms my heart more than anything to see them playing together)
-mover (Go, go, go all day long...this has caused him to stay at 26.5lbs)
-teether (he grew 3 more teeth, finally, in Alberta, for a total of 12)
-blanket lover (I have no idea what we would've done without their blankies for our 14 hour drive!)

We love you Kokies. You bring so much joy into our lives. Don't grow up too fast!!
Love, mommy