Monday, October 29, 2012


This weekend we had our church's Fall Carnival which is probably one of the top 10 events for the kids (not me!!!!) every year.  They love it. Games and prizes galore.  I have now remembered how dangerous this time of year is for me with all that chocolate!!!  They have no idea what's in their candy stash so they don't notice if one or ten mini chocolate bars are missing:)

Here's just a test shot I took of my boys as we were setting up the photobooth.  
I also did a super sweet newborn session on Saturday.  Such a beautiful baby who has been his parents hope, dream and prayer for the last 6 years.  Love it.  I love, love, love little babies and would redo these last 5 months a million times over.  Except for the C-section and the engorgement. Oh Nya, you are the bestest!!  Except for bottles, you are terrible at that.  She still won't take one and she won't really eat food either.  Oh well, I will just never be away from her for more than 3 hours:)

I ran a lot this week!! In 5 days, I ran 3 times; a 4 km, 3 km and a 6 km run! Go me!  The 6 km run was with the running room and it went well.  I'm pretty proud of myself for that.  Each time I did 10 minutes running and 1 minute walking.  My time is not great but it wasn't terrible at all.    

So, Gary spent the weekend dealing with food poisoning.  He rested all Saturday so that he could spend 3 hours at the fall carnival.  I did the first hour of photos while he took the kids around and then I brought all the kids home while he did the last 2 hours of photos.  He even took today off of work to recover.   Not a fan of seeing Gary sick.  I don't like seeing him under the weather and it's just really gross.

Oh ya, I meant to record how the Parent Teachers Meeting went for Kai.  He is doing well:)  He is excelling at reading, writing and math.  He just needs more space between his words.  He would love to do everything that the grade 2's are doing and his teacher does allow him to do some of it.  I didn't know this, but apparently he was hugging everyone in his class (teacher included) and kissing the girls.  His teacher talked to him about boundaries so I think he's not doing it any more.  Also, as I knew, he has a problem with being too silly during sharing time.  Apparently he makes the whole class laugh with his ridiculous jokes that don't even make sense.  However, I think he has now learned that that is not appropriate either.  He's a good rule follower so as long as the teacher lets him know what's okay and what's not, he'll obey:)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Sunshine

I don't want my last post up for too long so I'll put a new on up here.  I feel good so that's what I will focus on for now:)

My happy little baby makes my day. 
I made her some homemade brown rice cereal...she just sort of chewed the spoon and her bib.  She wasn't really into the food.  At dinner time, I just gave her some sweet potato that we were eating and she liked that more.  Kai was so excited to see her eating and said, `I will never forget this day as long as I live!'.  
Kai also said, in relation to the jam on his toast, `I am very impressed with this jam.  The flavour is just so intense!'.  He's funny.  Tessa, if you're reading, it was your jam:)  See the tulips in the photo?  Gary bought them for me.  That was nice.  Then he bought me beer.  That was much nicer.
And Koen, He's cute too:) His skin is nearly 100%.  He makes me laugh with this eagerness for learning.  It's a bit exhausting as he is a bit afraid to write a letter if he is not confident in his ability.  Kai did the same thing when he was that age.  Aren't the two of them so cute together? I'm excited to get a picture of all three together for our Christmas card...
The smile below is what I get to look at all the time.  Isn't she so cute (and bald)? 
We are meeting with Kai's teacher today.  I'm excited to hear how he is doing.

Last night I went to the Running Room as they have free running clinics on Wednesdays at 6:30pm.  I was so nervous as there were about 100 people there.  I found a girl about my age, standing alone, and asked her how it worked.  I joined the `Learn to Run 10km' group with her.  We just did 4 km yesterday and it was way slower than I would do on my own but at least I could run at night safely.  And the weird thing, I made a new friend to run with.  It was sort of awkward...much easier on facebook:) Ha. But sort of sad that that is true.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So.  As mentioned in my last post, I now fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans all of a sudden.  That means I lost about 5 lbs in 2 weeks.  You know what that means.

I got my blood test results back this morning and they very clearly indicated that I have relapsed with Graves' Disease.  My TSH is less than 0.01 (should be 0.3-5.5) and my T4 is 28 (should be 11-22).  This isn't super out of control but is definitely heading in the wrong direction.

I feel fine so far because I caught it early.  My last blood test was 2 months ago and I will still fine then, so ya, it started sometime in October.  I've had many of the classic symptoms but I think I was in denial.   Great.   I'm nervous because I want to get it under control right away.  Like now.  I really hope I do not need to go down the long road I did last time.

I really hope that I will be able to continue training for the 10 km run and not lose all the muscles I have.  I know that sounds silly but anyone who has GD knows how much you lose all of your muscles and it takes years to get it back:(  Boooooooooooo.

I talked to my endocrinologist today (SO THANKFUL FOR BLOOD TESTS, SPECIALISTS AND HEALTH CARE) and she recommended me waiting a bit before going on my medication.  It is not recommended while breastfeeding and as long as my symptoms are totally manageable, then I'm okay for now.  If I start experiencing the anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, irritability etc, then I will just start taking it.  I sort of want to take them now but she thinks that my body has a chance of fixing itself on it's own because I am five months post partum, rather than just one month out.  I did take the meds while breastfeeding Koen, and with Nya, well, she doesn't take a bottle so I don't have any other option.  I also believe the benefits outweigh the costs of breastfeeding while taking PTU.  Must research.

For now, I will enjoy the weight loss.  However, please pray that my immune system does figure itself out and that I don't have any severe symptoms like last time.

Love, Louise

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

8 Quick Things

1.  I signed up for a 10 km race in February.  If I want to be sure to actually run, it helps to pay $50 for a race admission:)  I signed Gary up too.  I also may have bought my most expensive pair of running shoes to date.  They were 20% off and I had an additional $10 off coupon, but still.  I was that salesman's dream.  If you are curious, they are Brooks Glycerin 10.   They should pretty much run for me, right?:)  The last time I ran 10 km's was in December 2004 in the Aids Run in Nairobi, Kenya.  A woman finished ahead of me wearing a skirt and dress shoes.  I am doing a run/walk program and started on Sunday.

2.  I was able to do all three photo sessions this weekend!  So thankful for good weather.

3.   Somehow I am now able to fit into my pre pregnancy jeans!!!!  This does not mean that it looks pretty right above the waist where everything squishes and  seems to go, but, at least I fit in them again:).  I should probably go for my blood test to make sure my thyroid is behaving.  It's time.

4.  I am not going to Uganda with our church.  Many reasons but mostly I won't leave Nya at home, I would rather go for a longer time, and, I would rather go with my family.  Gary says let's work on our SE Asia trip first, before we plan our trip to Africa.  I guess he's right: )  Right now, the plan in my head, is that it would be perfect for us to go in 2014.  For a year.  Probably teaching in either Uganda or Kenya.  We will see!  I really hope a great opportunity arises in one of the two schools that I'm looking at.

5.  Any one else nervous about SIDS ?  I have a hard time saying goodnight to Nya at night.  I know there's nothing I can do about it.  I was this way with the boys too.  Until they were one.  You don't know how many times I've gone in there and poked her to make sure she was okay.

6.  The sermon at church this week was about community.  Nothing new.  One thing really stuck out though. He said, `The requirement for true intimacy is chunks of unhurried time.  If you think you can fit deep community into the cracks of an overloaded schedule-think again.  Wise people do not try to microwave can't do community in a hurry...'.  

I have made the decision lately to do less work (ha, don't I always make this decision?) because why the heck am I working so much?  We don't need that much money for our lifestyle/life.  I have said `no' to so many people but I need to.  I am planning to fill that time with more exercise for my health but also for more time with my family/friends.  Also, there are times when people need a hand and that way I'm more available.  I will say that nothing makes me feel like poop than when people who are supposed to be a big part of my community are too busy for me/us.  Ha, now a bunch of you are like `Is she talking about me?!'.  Nope, the ones who are too busy likely don't have time to read this:).

7.  Anyone watch `Parenthood'?  It's emotional right now.  Christina has breast cancer.  You would think it would be emotional because it's exactly what my mom went through.  No, it's emotional because I feel like it's going to happen to me.  Gary says I'm pessimistic.  I say I'm realistic.  It's got a good chance of getting me...or one of my sisters anyway.  That's 10 breasts.  That's a lot. And I'm the oldest.   Can't wait for my first mammogram.  Seriously.

8.  Kai goes to Friday night basketball.  I have no idea how people sign their kids up for something that is more than once a week!  He loves it.  I wonder if he'll play for Gary one day:)   We have Parent Teacher conferences this week and I look forward to hearing how Kai is doing.  In my opinion, he is surpassing any academic expectations that I had for him.  Yesterday he told me he likes writing.  Awesome. Love it!  We read `Diary of  Wimpy Kid' together over this last week.  Wow, way more fun than Curious George.  Also, this week Kai started teaching Koen how to read.  It was the CUTEST thing in the world.  Koen was reading two letter words like; on, in, it, is etc.  So cute!!!  Kai was so encouraging.

I hope you have a wonderful day.
Love, Louise

Monday, October 22, 2012

5 Months Old

Babes is 5 months old today!!  I have to say that as each day goes by, we all love her a little more.  The boys, even Koen, think she is the most amazing little thing ever.  They love making her laugh and smile.  Koen still can't pronounce `Nya' so everyone we meet thinks her name is `Mya'.  At least he got over calling her `Carla'.

She still eats every 3 hours during the day and every 5 hours at night.    She has two 45 minute naps and one 2 hour one, just like Koen used to do.

She still does not take a bottle and we'll likely start giving her some food soon.  I hope she likes it!  I've made her some homemade brown rice cereal and pureed pears so we'll see what she thinks of it. 
I love, love, looooooooooooooooove her eyes and I hope they stay blue!! The boys got Gary's hazel eyes, which are lovely, but you know, I wouldn't mind to see a little more of myself in her:)

She is super easy going and although she now detests the car seat, she is easily consoled by being held.  I have to say that we could be having a great family day and then we go on a car ride, with Nya screaming and we're stuck in traffic, and suddenly, it's the worst day ever.  I can't stand a screaming baby in the car when there's nothing you can do!

I know I've said it a million times but I hope I say it a million times more....I am so incredibly thankful for this beautiful gift.  She is amazing.  I am so thankful.  Love my family!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Little Cowboy

Hey team.  So, Gary has been gone most of the week.  He went hiking with his LEAD class to Garibaldi Lake.  One day I hope to join him!  Then, he had parent teachers last night.  So, I'm looking forward to having my parenting partner back this weekend!  Although, he came back sick.  Not cool.   Nya was sick enough, with just a cold, to need Tylenol for the first time in her little life.  I am so thankful that I had very minimal work to do this week.  Purposely.  I could just focus on keeping the house in order and the kids alive:)

I feel like a pile of junk.  I have had barely any time to run and I've been eating terribly at night.  Apparently when Gary's gone and the kids are finally in bed,  I need to eat ice cream straight out of the container?  And let me tell you, I probably ate 4x what I normally would.  So ya, won't do that again.

I am starting to train for a 10 km race which takes place in February.  Except, well, I haven't signed up for it yet.  This means I haven't really started training yet.  I will.  Just need to get a program to follow.  I think that this whole taking care of three kids, one being a newborn, plus never sleeping more than 4-5 hours at a time, just drains me.  Time to start taking some iron pills again.  And seriously, the laundry?  NEVER ENDING. At least one load per day.  I'm tired of it.
We are taking pictures at the fall carnival again this year.  It's on Oct. 27th, from 5-8pm, at Southridge Fellowship if any of you want to come out.  It is a ton of fun and always a western theme.  Here is Koen testing out our backdrop and props.  I was looking for a burlap type material but it was pricey so I just bought some curtains (50% off from Fabricland) that sort of looked like it.  I think we'll have people sitting on hay bales.  Should work. Testing it out on Koen cost me 5 chocolate chips.
My oma (dad's mom) came for a visit.  I love her and I have such good memories of her and her house in Lethbridge.  Here she is with my little sis Trish and her daughter Hannah.

I sold a bunch of Nya's clothes for 0-3 months at a local store called `Once Upon A Child'.  So great!  They only take stuff in really good condition and I pretty much made back about 75% of what I spent on her clothes.  I buy 95% of her stuff second hand anyway.  So ya, dressing her so far hasn't cost me much!

Finally, I have a flip cell phone.  The old fashioned kind.  I never text.  It's for work/emergencies/calling Gary when I go out.  I'm thinking of getting an iPhone.  What is stopping me?  As much as I want internet access at any time, I'm scared I will use it too much.  It drives me crazy seeing moms on their phones all the time.  When Kai was in preschool, all of us moms would talk while waiting for our kids.  Now, everyone is on their phone while I stand there talking to Nya.    Thoughts on how you limit yourself or how often you use it?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I have three photo sessions and I'm hoping to do at least two of them...this weather is not the best:(  It's hard to reschedule though because there's not really a lot of room to do so AND who knows if the weather will get any better...oh well.

Have a great night.
Love, Louise

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cuteness and Traveling

{Terrible title but babes is crying in the monitor}

We had a good weekend.  I think what made it good is that it wasn't busy.  All of us have colds. Boo.  This means Little Miss Nya also has her first cold.  So far, she is handling it quite well.  She is so sweet and we all love her to bits.  When Kai comes home after school, the very first thing he does is run to find her. 

I can't believe she is almost 5 months old!  At this age I was already giving the boys food but I don't think she needs it at all.  She barely likes breastfeeding so I want to make sure she is filled up on milk before anything else.   I don't know how she grows with how little (in quantity) she drinks.   She's long though!  She's in 6-9 month clothes already:)  Also, and this is the weird part of me, I sort of don't want her to eat solid foods because that means she's growing up and I'M NOT READY!!!  I want to freeze time now.  
The only way I am ready for her to grow up is to get rid of all the baby paraphernalia that is taking up our whole living room.  We've gotten good use out of these items!  We have passed the swing on to a friend so I'm glad it's found a good home:)
This weekend I taught a photography class, here in my home.  I think it went well and I'm so glad I had Gary assisting me.  I'm not very good at figuring out everyone's camera dials, especially those Nikons.   It was good to see people from so many different areas of my life and ya, it went well!  Looking forward to doing it again next month.  I think it's great for the slower photography months (November-January).
Last weekend we had the extended Chapman family photos.  I've got some pretty good looking nieces and nephews, eh? It's always impossible to get a good full family shot with all of us but the rest turned out well.  We did it under the Mission bridge which was a fun location.  I've always wanted to see that railroad track that goes over the water and it would be a great place for photos in the future.

I'm really starting to think I want to book our SE Asia trip but I'm trying to figure out how it will work best for our family.  If it was just Gary and I, we'd travel way more and not plan so much.  With kids? I'd rather stay in fewer places and have all our hotels booked.  We will see!!  The current plan is to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand and then travel around the Philippines.  

Finally, our church is doing a trip to Uganda to support a family (with 7 kids!!) that have gone there for over a year.  They are working on leadership and in the orphanages there.  I REALLY want to go. I LOVE east Africa and miss it a whole lot.   It's for 2 weeks over Spring Break.  I'm not sure that I'll be able to though...I wouldn't be able to leave Nya at home and I'm not sure that they'd let/want me to bring her along.  We will see!  

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Love, Louise

PS Kai's school photos were so bad!!!  Thank goodness we don't buy them. Wow.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tackle Louise Chapman

After dinner, the boys love to bike or play soccer or football or hockey or...something active.  I love playing football with them.  Kai loves passing but Koen loves the tackling!  He just kept shouting, `Tackle Louise Chapman!'.  He's so cute.   He's also sick.  Just a cold, but he always gets it bad with his asthmatic breathing.  Thankful for humidifiers!  I had to keep him home from preschool yesterday.  Unfortunately my throat hurts this morning...better gargle with salt water. 

That's my Kai Bear, he got the throw off while being tackled:)  Nice follow through, bud!

I hope you have an awesome weekend!  I get to teach my first photography class tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it!  Also, I'm looking forward to wearing fall clothes.  I'm hoping the sun returns for next weekend (or at least the rain stays at bay) as I have three sessions then.

 You see the pants I'm wearing in these pictures?  I've had them since 2004.  I got them right before Africa (from my sisters for my bday).  The only time I was allowed to wear pants (trousers really, pants are underwear there), was when I got up to run early before people were awake.  I was in a really rural village where only men wear trousers.

 Kai Bear is a reading machine.  Last night in his book, he breezed through the word `photograph'.  Koen has taken a huge interest in drawing and writing his letters now!   He likes to draw a line for the sky, a line for the grass, and then a sunshine.  Then he draws one person and writes his name.   I love seeing him excited about it:)

Okay, better feed babe.  The sweetest little babe ever.  Who still gets up at 11pm and 4am.  

Love, Louise

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Pumpkin Py-a

I feel like our sunny days are numbered!  Last night we went for a family walk/bike ride as I wanted to go the local field to get some pictures of my little pumpkin:)
I know I take a lot of pictures of her.  It's not that she is my favourite, it's just that she is changing the most at this age!  And, she doesn't mind having her picture taken unlike a certain 3 year old.
Love, love, loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove her.  Look at her big open mouth smile below.   She does it all the time.  Usually she spits up while doing it too. So gross, she always smells like sour milk.  Shouldn't this be ending soon?!
Did I mention that I love, love, looooooooooooooooove her?!!!
Even Gary, Mr. `Nothing Cute Makes Me Smile', smiled when he saw his cute little daughter in her Halloween costume.  Never mind the terrible neck angle on Gary.  He doesn't have 10 chins but he does have a little bald spot:)  By the way, have you read the article about how a lot of mommas aren't in pictures because they are not happy with how they look.  I can definitely relate.  I am trying more to include just normal pictures of me.  In my sweats, pony tail and 15 lbs overweight.  Because really, that's what I look like and that's how my kids will remember me:) Besides, I really think it's important that my daughter sees me confident with the way I am here and now.  Now to get Gary to actually take day to day pictures of me;)   Thoughts?
Have a wonderful week, my friends!  
Love, Louise

Sunday, October 07, 2012

WAHM {Work at Home Mom}

I love being a work at home mom.  At the same time, I don't love it.  Every free minute in the day is taken up.  It sort of looks like this, in no particular order; feed, change, wipe, work, dress, feed, work, clean, clean, wash (clothes, faces, floors etc), dry, errands, play, park, colour, feed, discipline, discipline, organize, clean, work, etc.  Non stop parenting + working for 14 hours straight.  And then, usually working uninterrupted at night if I have any energy left.  Oh, and feeding Nya at 11pm and 4am.  Where is the ME time?!!!!!  Yikes.  Right now, `me time' is I get to watch what I want on tv when I'm breastfeeding Nya for 15 minutes every three hours:)  And actually,  now I usually just let Koen watch whatever he wants so that he doesn't distract his sister who has recently decided that there cannot be a single noise distraction while trying to really well with two non stop wrestling boys.

Anyway, the best part of this whole week was probably when I got out of the house yesterday morning for a 4 km run.  I need to get out of the house.  Alone.  That makes me miss my kids a bit and want to be with them more.  And then, I'm a whole lot more thankful for them:)  

However, don't get me wrong. I love my job. I love being here with my kids.  It's just really hard sometimes. And seriously, it drives me BONKERS when people think that because I'm a photographer, and not a teacher anymore, that I don't work.  Dude, being a photographer (while parenting three littles) is a lot of work.  The end.

Hope you are having a wonderful thanksgiving weekend.  Here is just one little monkey that I am so incredibly thankful for. She is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.  Thank you God for this wonderful gift!!!

PS These photos were taken with my 85mm which I now like a whole lot more.  Still, I don't love that I have to be so far away from the subject.  I like to get really close to kiddos.....


Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Picture taken by my sister Maria.  We had our weekly playdate and rarely are all the 5 kids up at the same time:)  Aren't they cute? They were so confused as we were jumping around singing `If You're Happy And You Know It' so that Isaac and Hannah would be okay laying down.  The two oldest are crawling now and Jack is rolling.  It's going to get reeeeeeeaaaaally crazy soon:) 

I love having 5 babies around the same age.  I wish we could do it all over again.  Sort of:)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Bronnie Ware was/is a palliative care nurse that took note of the 5 main regrets that people have when they are dying.  She wrote a book on it.  I haven't read it but I've come across this information several times and #2 really speaks to me these days.

1.I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3.  I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

(Gary probably wishes I did a little less of #3:)

I don't know if my mom had any regrets, I never asked her.  I know my dad, who has faced death several times, is definitely living life to the fullest.  He did work hard but he always made sure to take wonderful holidays with my mom and with us.  He retired early.  He always wanted to fly and now not only is he doing that, but, he just bought a plane:)  Crazy guy.  I'll have pictures at the end of him in his plane.

For me, I love work.  However, I really want to make sure that it doesn't take the place of my health (exercise), my family, my husband, my home, time with God (I will not tell you how often I read the Bible but I will say it's ridiculous), time with friends etc.  This season, well, mostly October, is THE biggest time photography wise.   I have had to say no to so many wonderful people and it's hard for me but I know it's better than the alternative which is being stressed with too much work.  I am very excited to be teaching two full classes as I do miss teaching.  That is something that I can do in the evenings and therefore it does not take away from my family.  

I have worked very hard my whole life.  Even all through university, I worked (yay, no student debt!) through the school year and full time in the summers.  I don't regret how hard/much I worked.  However, now I have a few kiddos and a husband that are more important to me.  I just keep thinking back to #2, I do not want to regret working too hard. 

And, here are some pictures of my dad not working too hard.  Or maybe  he worked hard so that he could enjoy things like his new plane (which we will NOT be going up in:)  Last week, he flew to Vancouver Island with his flight school buddy, Brayden, and they took my auntie Nellie (who started her chemo today) up in the air and around Tofino.  Beautiful area!

Have a wonderful week!
Love, Louise

Monday, October 01, 2012

Run For The Cure 2012

It was a beautiful day to Run For the Cure in Abbotsford.  All of my sisters, brother-in-laws and nieces and nephews were able to be there.  It's an important day for me to remember and honour my mom and to also run for the future.  You know, my sisters, nieces, and my baby Nya.  I guess I should say that I know breast cancer can also affect men, but ya, women are way more at risk.   I have been doing this run for probably 12 years. This year my goal was to run under 40 minutes.  I didn't know how long it would actually take me so that's why I gave myself a super attainable goal:)  I did it in 32:53.  Not bad!  I wasn't pushing myself, just slow and steady.  Seriously though, these extra 20lbs make it way harder to run.  Hoping they are gone by next year:)  And, because it matters to my family, for those that ran, the order was: Gary, Trish, Jan and then me:)  

Thank you to everyone who supported our team, `Greta's Girls'.  Maria's friend Tessa joined our team and all together we raised about $1300.00.  
Koen ran to the finish line 4 times, that is his favourite part.  I was actually moving quickly here even though it looks like I'm not going to make it:)  Kai ran/walked the 5km's with Uncle Tyler.
Terrible picture of Nya but it was cold.  Her pink toque is so cute:)  Thanks to Tessa for holding her during the walk.   Do you realize how cute babies are in hoodies?!  Very cute.
A little breastfeeding before the run..makes things a bit more comfortable:)  On that note, Nya has been a terrible breastfeeder the past two weeks.  Only good at night. Oh well, no choice, still love it and we're going to make it work!  Besides, it is good to help decrease your chances of breast cancer. 
My family.  Love these kiddos!!!
The team!  I thought we had everyone but noticed that Steve is missing from the picture.  Hard to get everyone together at once!  Looking forward to seeing all the babies walking the track next year:) Soooooo cute!
There's a picture of Steve (and Trish and Hannah).

On the topic of breast cancer, if you had the option to have genetic testing done to see if you had the breast cancer gene, would you?