Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pink

These next two weeks are not my favourite;  the anniversary of my mom's death is in one week (May 7th) and then Mother's Day is 5 days later.  Boo.  I'm so thankful to be a mom.  But ya.  I'm also on my 5th sinus infection in 6 months.  So frustrating mostly because I can't breathe and it's exhausting.  I'm pretty sure it's linked to my autoimmune disease as I've never had one in my life until this past October.  Googling it suggests so.   I just sent Gary to the store in hopes that he can find something magical besides a humidifier, sinus rinse, nasal spray and decongestant.  You know, like a magical vacuum that can suck everything out of your sinuses.  Does anyone know of any other treatment for it?  Could you do chiro? Massage? Acupuncture?

{Whenever I see these pink blossoms, I think of my mom.  The last time she went outside was for some pictures under the tree and it was always right outside of her window. Although these aren't cherry blossoms are they? }
{A cute little bald girl took her first step today!! Go Nya Go!}

No matter how crappy I feel, I have three very awesome kids and a wonderful husband.  Kai is so helpful, encouraging, sensitive and hardworking.  Koen is hilarious and eager.  Nya is energetic, adorable, and so easy going.  Let me give you two examples of Gary's wonderfulness.  He donates blood and he makes us healthy and delicious meals regularly.  Oh, he also is pretty great at making dessert and I love dessert!

Have a great week.   The weather forecast is looking awesome here for the Lower Mainland.

Love, Louise




Sunday, April 28, 2013

YAY!!

In case you didn't want a post about poop to be at the top, here's a new one.  
HER 6TH TOOTH CAME THROUGH AND WE HAVE A VERY HAPPY GIRL AGAIN AND I ACTUALLY SLEPT LAST NIGHT (just one feed at 12:30am). YAHOO.  The end.
{Shopping Nya banging into all of our walls}
{Serious Nya post nap}

Our little monkey is now standing by herself up to 30 seconds.  No steps yet on her own.  

I had TWO sessions postponed this weekend due to rain which means my May will be crazier. Oh well.  As long as I'm sleeping better, it will be much easier!

Our summer countdown is on and we are a T-63 days!  One month of travelling, beaches, exploring, yummy food, and no working.  Soooo fun.  

Hope you had a great weekend.
Love, Louise

Friday, April 26, 2013

Elimination Communication

*Warning: Just about a baby pooping on the potty.  I have had a few people ask questions about it so thought I would share.**

We have been doing a part time sort of Elimination Communication (EC) for about 4 months now.  I think.  Had I known how easy it was, I would've started earlier.   I am NOT an expert and didn't read through a website to learn how to do it, I just followed my gut.

It all started because I noticed that like most babies, when she was upright in the jumperoo or the bouncy chair, that is when she would have a bowel movement.  So, why not do it on the toilet?  The gravity PLUS the bare bottom just made her go right away.   It was AMAZING and so cool.  And besides, in so many countries they can't afford diapers (or have access to them) so they do this from day one.  This is normal.
{Usually I hold her under the arm pits but I got Koen to help as I was taking a photo}

The benefits that we have found from doing it are:

1.  Fewer diapers.  She goes through a maximum of 3 (which will just have urine in them) per 24 hours.  This is cost saving and environmental saving.  This also includes wipes...very few used.  Pooping on the toilet is not messy for a baby and you just need one wipe afterwards (or could just use toilet paper).

2.  No diaper rash

3.  No constipation

4.  Better feeds (babies will often stop breastfeeding early if they need to go the bathroom) during the day.

5.  Great naps (babies will often wake up if they need to go to the bathroom OR have a hard time going to sleep).

6. I don't have to change a dirty diaper!  I think that in the past 2 months, there was just one day up at Green Lake where I had to.  Gross.  It's gotten to the point where I rarely think to bring a diaper or wipes with me when I go out.  I think I have a spare diaper in my purse but I'm not sure.

How do you do it? 
I only feel the desire to do it part time so you could definitely do way more to keep them dry all day.

After her morning feed (6:30am ish), I will put her on the toilet.  We have a toilet insert that makes it softer and more comfortable for her.  As a side note, she is now pretty dependent on sitting on the insert which is not ideal.  She will generally have a bowel movement within 1 minute.  I just hold her under her arms to support her as her bottom is so small, she would fall right in, even with the insert.

After each nap (two per day), I put her on the toilet and she will have another bowel movement or she will pee.  In most cases, if she goes down for a nap with a dry diaper, she will wake up with one too.   Babies can hold it while napping for up to two hours.

How do you know when they need to go?
For us, we just know the timing of her digestive system, she likes to go first thing in the morning!

However, when teething, she goes more frequently and I can tell if she does some small grunts while she is playing OR yesterday she didn't go to sleep for her nap so I put her on the toilet, she pooped and then went to sleep for her nap.

Peeing is more difficult to catch but usually right after nap is a good time.

Also, if a baby is feeding and will keep latching on and off, that is often a sign that they need to go.

What if she doesn't like sitting on the toilet?
She doesn't mind sitting there because she's used to it but there are times when she tries to get off.  She will arch her back, especially more lately as she doesn't like her high chair or car seat either.  Generally I will give her something to play with that she never gets to hold (a toothbrush, cup, shampoo botttle...whatever is there).  That keeps her occupied for the minute or two that we need.  If she has to go badly though, she will go right away.  Like the second she's sitting down.  Also, she likes it if I blow air on her belly or legs and sometimes that helps her to go.


What will happen potty training wise?
I have no idea if this will make it easier or harder but we will see!! I'm assuming easier since she's so used to it but who knows once she is able to walk there and do it herself.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Love,
Louise
PS You like all my teeth?! You better. They were a lot of work:) 



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

11 Months Old

11 Months Old
-crawls everywhere or pushes a car to walk
-has two 1 hour naps/day (10am and 2pm ISH)
-still gets up 1-3 times a night and only settled with breastfeeding
-normally goes to bed at 6:30pm and gets up at 6:30am (with wake ups in the night).  While teething, doesn't get to sleep until about 9:30pm.  Sleeps in a sleep sack and loves sucking on receiving blankets.  Not one of my kids has taken a soother.


-continues to use the toilet which is initiated by us still, but she holds it until we put her on.
-19 lbs (I think, will check.).  Very slender.  Unless she is wearing leggings, her pants fall down.
-5.5 teeth
-bald
-says `mama' and `dada'

Loves
-her brothers
-being outside
-balls
-cars
-breastfeeding (so glad I stuck with it for those tough few months!!)
-the bath
-keys, phones, remotes
-music
-eating rocks.  EVERYTHING goes in her mouth.
-waving
-climbing stairs

Doesn't Love:
-eating (although she does love eating whatever she can find on the ground, sometimes I seriously just pour some cheerios on the ground for her so she'll eat it).
-car seats
-high chair
-teething.  Oh my goodness, tooth #6 is ridiculous.  
-getting changed
-a bottle.  Generally will not take it.
Personality:
-very laid back and easy going in all situations (except the car seat!!!!!!)
-loves being in the action
-comfortable with everyone but generally quiet unless at home.  At home she shrieks.
-not very cuddly but loves to be physical by being thrown, tickled, bounced etc 


{This `Opposites' book with doggies has been a favourite for all three kids}

Yesterday I was looking for my yoga mat and Gary asked when I last used it.  I said when I was 8 months pregnant which means about....a year ago?!! Oh my goodness, how has it been a YEAR?!!  We are so done. I'm so tired.  She is awesome.  Love her to bits.  She completes our family sooooo well.  The boys love her.  If she's sad, Koen will give her his Bubbi.  Kai runs in the house to see `Cutie' as soon as he gets home.  


You can see Kai at 11 months here and Koen here.  It's interesting how they are different.  Nya def. resembles Koen's personality more..another wild one folks!

All right, back to work.  I won't be blogging much this week..too busy!  Have a great week.

Love, Louise

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thankful

There have been quite a few hospital stays for my family over the past couple of years but I think it's hardest to see the kids in there :(  Last week, Isaac spent three nights there due to dehydration from bacterial and viral tonsillitis   Poor bubba.  My sister blogged about it here.
He was in isolation so when I went to see him, I stayed far away.  He liked it when I danced though, so I did.
Today he came over for a little play date and he's walking!  Nya pushed him around on the car and all was well.  So glad to see him back to normal!  
Thankful for an awesome medical system.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, Louise

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kai Bear Awesomeness

Last night, while we were eating dinner, Kai hopped off his chair and came over to give me a hug.  He then said, `I'm so glad that you're my mom.'.   It was so unexpected as he doesn't really talk like that....he's more of a `let's play hockey together!' kind of guy.   I loved it.

{I should also add that he does profess his love for `cutie' all day long.  'Cutie! Cutie!  I love you so much!'  It's adorable.  Hugs, kisses and non stop `I love you!''s. }

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Miss Nya's Birthday Invites

Just a quickie of my cutie.  We (okay, yes, just me) wanted to get a photo for her birthday invitation.  Her first birthday is just a month away.    I do love to have parties to celebrate the birth of my kiddos and how glad I am that they are in our lives!!

I first went out by myself and really there were no keepers.  It was bright out and all Nya wanted to do was climb and avoid eye contact.  Evidence of the cute trouble maker below.
So, after dinner, we quickly went to our local field with the boys.  Kai was in charge of the reflector (good when backlit to add some light into their face/eyes...he actually turned it around and used the gold side), Koen was in charge of the entertainment (he danced and yelled and tried to stay out of the way), and Gary and I took turns putting Nya back on the blanket because she just wanted to make a run (crawl) for it. 
Here is a keeper.  Doesn't it look like she even has some hair? She doesn't.  She's so bald.  It's my fault, I was until I was 2.  
Oh Miss Nya, we love you!!!  For her 11 month photos (yes, we/I take a lot of photos), they are going to be daddy/daughter ones!  Gary has already started picking out outfits. HA.  So funny. If you know Gary, there is a zero percent chance he's even thought about it. 

I hope you are having a lovely week!  Thing have been getting way too busy around here so I'm going to be pretty much be saying `no' to everyone and everything except for my family until it gets under control.  My fault.  May will be much better.  

Love, 
Louise

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Fun

Several weeks ago, my friend Lindsay gifted us a wonderful prize pack that she had won.  A hotel stay (in Surrey), pool pass, pizza dinner, and the honeybee centre!  She knew the boys would love it and she was right! I don't have any pictures other than the honeybee centre but picture all three kids loving the hotel room, pizza, and swimming at the Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre.  Oh, and picture Nya in her new bathing suit.  She was the hit of the kiddie pool that's for sure. 

On Saturday, we went to the Honeybee Centre.  We've been there once before but didn't pay for the admission part last time so didn't get to go to a class or the bug lab.  I should also point out that we drive by the centre several times a week and every time it's `When can we go back to the honeybee centre?!!' so they were very excited about it.  We went to the `Products of the Hive' presentation and I found it pretty interesting.  There was a family with us that was older so she spoke mostly at their level but the boys didn't mind.  Koen eagerly asked a bunch of questions...I love the confidence at that age! He asked why bees were yellow.  Good question!  Yellow and black indicates to other animals that it is venomous   We got to taste a lot of honey and then after a 20 minute presentation we explored the shop and bug lab.  
{The boys LOVED the tarantulas which made me feel kind of sick.  I do NOT like them!!  Koen was very excited.  `Guys! Guys! Look at the spider!  Guys! Guys! Look at the apple!...'}
{I did love the walking sticks though!  I don't know if I've ever seen them before.  They seriously just look like sticks, way more than I ever imagined.}
{Nya churning the honeycomb}
{Checking out the honeycomb and bees.}
{Nya exploring during the presentation}
{Boys eagerly watching the presentation.  What? They can sit still when they are together?!}
{Thank you Linsday for gifting us with these fun family activities! We had a great time:) }
I hope you all had a great weekend!
Love, Louise

Friday, April 12, 2013

Koen Putting On A Coat

Koen: I put on my jacket by myself!  I just need a little help with the zipper.

This kid is ridiculous when getting dressed.  The coat is inside out and upside down and twisted in the back.  Pretty much every piece of clothing is usually on backwards or inside out.  And yes, we duct taped his rain boots.  They just need to last another month or so :)

Further Reflection...

Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post!! I think the big thing that people mentioned on  the donation of products/services/time is that we need to choose what/who we want to give to, and also, to be a cheerful giver. I don't want to be grumbly and resentful about it. I think that in the grand scheme, we are not asked to give a lot. However, where we are in life right now, and the desire to strike some sort of balance, it is a lot.   

 Looking back 10 years ago, I was teaching full time and coaching and going on school trips and helping at dances and driving the bus for sports etc. I would go to the gym at least four days a week or run on those days. I would SEEK OUT VOLUNTEER opportunities (eek, I had so much time!!).  One example?  Every Saturday I would bike over the Cambie street bridge (yes, I lived in Vancouver) and volunteer at a Seniors Home in Yaletown. My job? Painting with seniors. If you know me, this is hilarious because I a terrible painter/drawer.   The only thing that would be funnier is if I was singing with them.  However, I was able to assist and lead and that is what they needed.  We would find pictures in calendars/magazines and use that as our inspiration.  So funny. I had a great social life (with friends, not the seniors.  ha.). I was busy but had the time. I didn't watch any tv and had no desire to.

It's weird to go from that, to now.  The major difference now being that I have these three little people who require oodles of my time and energy.  My exercise is walking to Extra Food pushing a stroller.  Oh ya, and a big house with mortgage payments and vehicles that need to be repaired etc :) Oh and throw in that then I was getting about 8 hours of solid sleep a night, and well, last night I was up 3 times with a teething baby and have only slept through the night 4 times in the last 11 months.  I am not complaining about this, it's just a need to adapt to this change and where we are in life.

 If you know the `True Colours' categorization of people, I'm pretty much as gold as you get. Time orientated, punctual, wise with money, organized, planner, responsible, rule follower,  etc.  How does this look in life and relationships?  We like to help and keep things organized and are hardworking.  Family time is high on the priority list.  What stresses golds out in regards to something like being asked to donate/volunteer more than I feel capable of?  A lot going on at the same time and too many responsibilities.   

Anyway, thanks for `listening' and caring.  

I hope you have a great weekend.  We have something fun planned and I'll fill you  in later :)

Also, just in case you were wondering...OUR VERY FUN SUMMER TRIP begins in 79 days (we are actually going to Whistler before SE Asia).   Some people have asked if I plan on blogging while there and I think I would like to at least once/week.  I likely will not be editing our travel photos while there so I will just post  iPhone photos (which is all I seem to do now anyway!).  We'll see how the wifi is where we go...


Love,
Louise

PS I found this website which explains the True Colours personalities in marriage/relationships.  The gold is so me (I am also a touch of blue).  If you look at the bottom of that page, you can see what your colour is like.  If you don't know your colour, it's interesting to take the test...I think I've done it three times in my life at various professional development type things.  Interesting the important info for significant others.  Gary is green.  We are so different :)



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Advice Needed

Three different parts of my life that I would love some advice on!!  I love the variety of people that read this so would really appreciate any perspective you could offer me.

1.  Okay, so my hormones are crazy.  Like, bring me back to when I was 15 years old.  I mean, I've always been a bit like this with my emotions anyway, but I think that all the hormonal changes that come post pregnancy and then delayed by breastfeeding etc. it can be a wild ride.    And you know, I'd rather have those high highs and the low lows, than just being a flat line all the time like my husband.  Not that Gary's is bad either, it would be nice to wake up feeling the same way every day.


My question is, what are some natural supplements that I can take to help relax/not be so crazy?  They must be breastfeeding friendly as that is still going strong....fish oils? St. Johns wort?

{First Shoulder Ride :)}

2.  We get asked A LOT to donate our photography services.  Like, a lot. And we do.  I should also clarify that some of the time we are offering to do it as well.  Thousands of dollars worth each year...at least 1/5 of how much we make in our business.  I don't know.  Maybe everyone is asked to donate their services?    We donate photography to church and school and low income families and immediate family but I don't know where to draw the line.   The problem is that it takes away from calendar space where we could be making money as I only do one session per week.  It takes away from family time.  I WANT to give and WANT to help but where is that line?    In some cases we do get a donation receipt which is helpful.  I'm not trying to sound mean or cheap or anything, I just don't know what's the right amount and what to do about it and what's right business wise.  I would love any feedback on this :)   Please note that this is not about donating money, that's often a lot easier :)  It's about the extra work...

{Loving momma's spaghetti.  Loved by all three kids and their momma.}

3.  Being that I spend hours a day working on the computer, I have realized that I could also utilize my mind a bit more by listening to podcasts.  I'm into a variety of topics, is there anything you would recommend me listening to?  Faith, marriage, kids, health, science...all good.  Just not history...sorry, not into that.  Oh ya, I should blog about a gender studies talk I went to, pretty cool stuff.  Remind me.

{Another blast from the past...Kai at 1.5 (?) years of age.}

 If you do not feel comfortable leaving a comment here, I totally understand!! Please email me at louisechap@gmail.com :)
{Starting to plan her 1st birthday!!! So fun!!}

Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Louise

Monday, April 08, 2013

Some Things Never Change

Yesterday I spent a few hours going through old photos to clean out my computer and get rid of about 75% of them.  I didn't really realize how many photos I took of Koen when he was little until I went through the 2009 folder.  It is so cool to see Nya playing with all the same things that Koen did.   Here is a photo from 4 years ago...
And from this weekend.  She won't kiss her momma but she'll kiss her new best friend!

Some cute things Koen has said over the past week:
Koen: Mom's Day is coming soon!
Gary: What are some things that she loves that we can get her?
Koen: We can put me and some chocolates in a box!

Me: Koen, what kind of behaviour are you going to have?
Koen: Gooder than Super Duper!

Koen: Santa is old, what happens when he dies?
Kai (matter of factly): The government will vote for a new one.

We had a good wedding on Saturday (yay, no rain!!) and now the work will be non stop until July.  However, then we have 5 weeks off to travel and enjoy our own family.  I think the boys are wanting a countdown so we should probably figure out how many days it is until July :)  Just did.  83 days!! Yahoo.

I hope you have a great week!
Love, Louise


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Looking Back

Sometimes I like looking back to see where we were a year ago.  I was working way too much (three weddings in a row at 34-37 weeks!)  Look at little Nya in there!!!  
The belly looks cute to me but I do not miss being pregnant and uncomfortable.  I have many friends that are due in May so will get any baby fix I might need through them.  
We had family photos done last Spring Break.  Can't wait to get them again when Nya is a bit older.  By the way, Gary lost this purple shirt, I liked it.
And, looking back at Koen at 10 months of age, he already had a great love for his Bubi, `Blue'.  He still loves Bubi more than anything in the world, even more than his cars.  I've had to sew his head back on about 10 times and each of the ears have also been ripped off and sewn back on.
And looking back even further.  This was the day after Gary proposed  to me up at Green Lake seven years ago.  We are a great team and I'm so thankful to have him as my partner.  Not who I would've chosen but someone God chose for me.  It's not perfect but it's great.  I think of all the ways my life could have gone differently and I'm so thankful to be where I am.  You just never know who God has for you and where you find him/her or the journey it will take to being together....:)
And here is something  that is going around on facebook.  I really, really hope that I don't make life sound perfect.  It's not.  I think something I learned from my parents is to focus on the positive and be thankful for what you DO have.  Something that I learned from being in Africa is that our first world problems are mostly pretty silly.  However, the reality of our life is that our kids drive us crazy (when all together).  My husband drives me crazy (although less these days!).  I'm too controlling/bossy/irritable.  I would like to lose a good 10 lbs but am not willing to give up homemade cookies or whipped cream or bacon.  My fridge really needs to be cleaned.  Kai and Koen fight like crazy.  I wish I had my mom here.  I wish my health was perfect.  I could go on and on.  But that's not what I focus on because it's not the big part of my day/life/thoughts.

And finally, something that is not even the least bit related to this....If one more person says `So you're not working?' even after I tell them that yes, I am a photographer that works about 10-20 hours a week, I'm going to lose it. Ha.  Just kidding, but seriously.  Because I'm not teaching right now, I'm not working?!  If you mean to ask if I'm teaching right now, then maybe phrase it that way.   Do you know how much work it takes to run a business with 3 kids and a house to take care of?   The only reason I vent this is because I get asked this about once a week and sometimes I feel that work at home mom's aren't really recognized as people who are working.  Or maybe it's that photography isn't recognized as a profession. I don't know. The end.

PS on the work front, I'm really enjoying the balance right now.  I'm doing so much less which goes against my normal instinct but it is so good.  Must stick with it.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Love, Louise

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Food and Islands

To all the single ladies that read this, I have a piece of advice.  If you like to eat good food, look for a guy who loves cooking and baking.   And single guys, learn how to make some good food :)  I'm kind of joking but seriously, I LOVE that Gary loves being in the kitchen.  Yesterday he baked some soft pretzel buns.  Not so healthy but really good.  Yum.  Doesn't he look handsome with his slight beard too?  

Nya enjoying the banana chocolate chip muffins I made.  I changed the recipe to make them healthy but still added some chocolate chips :)
And, if you would like to see 11 seconds of cuteness.  Here she is waving and giggling in her `boy clothes' as Gary called them. 
A large portion of yesterday I spent researching various islands.  Most of our trip is planned except for 4 ish days in the Philippines where we will be on either Camotes Island or Bohol Island.  I'm leaning towards Bohol because there seems to be more activities to do and nature to explore.  Gary isn't a `beach' person and although I love it (and will be doing some serious snorkeling), I want to make sure we have a variety of activities. If it was just Gary and I, I wouldn't plan so much in advance but with 3 kids, it's a little more difficult to find good places to stay that can fit us all at a reasonable rate!  Also, being that it's a million degrees, we'll need a place with AC and a pool :)  Not really roughing it...
{Camotes Island photo taken from here}

{Bohol Island photo taken from here.  These are the `Chocolate Hills.   Bohol has amazing beaches too!!!}

Well, it's back to school today and I have to say that I am LOVING how quiet it is at home. No fighting!!!!!!

Have a great week!

Love, Louise

PS I did post on Sunday as well.