Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Me At Nya's Age

Thank you for answering my question in the last post about how often you and your partner are in contact throughout the day.  I think it is more professionally based than anything!  Gary really doesn't have time to text/call/email me as he's teaching all day.  Let's be honest, if you are Gary's friend, you know that is not his strength.  At all.

I told him he could get an iPhone but he said he didn't want to be able to text with me:)  I think he's scared I'd ask him to do a million errands on the way home or something.  I know I can always contact him in an emergency if I call the school but we are trying to figure out the best way to stay a bit more connected during the day because I need it.  

Here is a picture of me at Nya's age.  I look like a mix of Nya and Georgie.  Nya's head is thinner and she has a cuter nose but man, we tie for baldness!  She has my smile though:)
Today Isaac was over and it was wet but we still explored.  Kai and Koen went to Gary's parents overnight (Yahoo!!!!  Missed them but so nice to have a break!  They do it about 2-3x a year) so I just had the two little kids! They are soooo easy together!  If Nya was a twin, I wish it would be with Isaac:)  He is very gentle and sensitive.  When I said `NO!' to Nya, Isaac started crying!  So sweet.
Isaac: Water! Water!
Nya is so cute and tries to pick up water with a pincer grasp.
 Wait up Isaac!  He's a runner.
A walk is more about the journey.  Fun things to jump on that make a cool sound.  Isaac is 4 months older and about 2 inches and 10 lbs heavier than Nya :)
And the park is in sight! Off they go....

So great to spend some time with Isaac and get to know him better.  I could never do daycare full time but I do enjoy doing it once in a while...for one kid :)
And the boys.  This trampoline has been sooooo well used.  Always a different game going on.
Too cute! Buddies!

By the way, I've been having smoothies for breakfast every day for 5 days and have tripled my fruit and veggie intake (it was really terrible before), feel way healthier, and lost 2-3 lbs.  Just saying! Ha, I sound like an infomercial.  Koen LOVES infomercials:)

HOpe you are having a good week!

Love, Louise

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Menchies Makes the Summer Top 5 List

It's been a week since I blogged!! Miss me?   So what have we been up to?

Zumba: I went and it was okay but I didn't love it as much as I thought.  It was a room full of Lululemon in a club...I'm more of a hiking wearing MEC clothes girl.  Going hiking next weekend with Lynette and looking forward to it!

Sickness: Nya had a fever for two days but seems okay now.  Not a teething fever, a high one.  Her two lower molars are making their way through and it's going to take a month...she doesn't teeth well.  Back up at 4 or 5am for a feed.

Work: I've had five photo sessions this week.  Now I have two weeks to get caught up before my next session. Phew.  Gary goes back to work tomorrow!! This is a good thing.  Space is healthy for our marriage and we haven't had a whole lot of it in the last 8 weeks :)  I hope to start subbing once a week and the end of September is busy with two weddings in a row (we usually just do one per month).

Playdates: Lots.  I'm not good with too many as it throws everything off balance (getting work done while Nya sleeps, cleaning while the kids play nicely etc).  I need to limit this to one per week too or I end up having to work til 11pm which is not fun.

Smoothies: Started having smoothies for breakfast packed with fruit, veggies and flax.  If you have a recipe you'd recommend, please let me know!!  I need something healthy that astes good.  My kids are way better at eating their fruits and veggies than I am.  So far, it's been really good.

Hockey Camp: Kai had a week of hockey camp in the mornings.  It was just run by the city so nothing fancy.  He loved it though so that was great.  It was a week of playing hockey which got his muscles back in shape after his illness.  Glad he loved it!

Cement: Gary finished off the cement pad and learned a bit in the process.  May have to refinish the top after the winter:)  Thanks Gary!

Church: I asked the kids if they wanted to go to church or go hiking.  They chose church.  My vote was to go hiking as I wanted to do Lower Falls with them :)  Oh well, I had fun hanging out in the nursery with all the mommas and babies.  Nya did not want me to leave her alone. At all.  She is G.R.U.M.P.Y.
I have no idea what these spy glasses are for.  Koen made them in Sunday School and proceeded to play `Spy' with his stuffed animals all afternoon.  He is sooooo good at playing by himself.  He has a fabulous imagination.
Menchies: I have several groupons and today we went.  It made the top 5 events of the summer for them.  They loved it and cannot wait to go back.  They are putting `Menchies gift cards' on their Christmas list.
Shopping: While in South Surrey, we did a quick shop at the GAP outlet while our kids ran wild.  I need to replace a lot of my clothes and apparently Gary and I like stripes?   Gary also got a green long sleeved dress shirt that looks pretty good on him :)  It helps that everything was on sale, and up to 60% off.  It's probably good we went with the kids so I didn't have time to do any more shopping.  
Babysitting: We babysat Isaac one day this week and also will next week.  He's so easy to take care of as he loves all of our toys and the kids play well with him.  He spent over an hour on the trampoline, by himself, jumping on top of the balls. Him and Nya could live outside.
Hung out with sisters: Had playdates and took some pictures of my littlest niece Grace.  Her big sister Hannah had zero desire to be in the photos.  
Back To School: Had some back to school photo sessions.  Here are some pictures of Koen.  I love having the kids write their own name because it allows you to see how cute their writing was when you look back a year later.  Koen wanted to wear his hat:)  My kids did not get a lot in the way of new school clothes.  Some jeans and runners. That's it. No new shirts.  They just have so many already.  They don't care at all about clothes so that's good.  Well, a shirt with Mario or Pokemon is cool to them but that's about it. Oh, and Koen likes this hat.
Koen is just going back to preschool.  Sooooo ready for kindergarten but he's a January baby!
Kai is looking forward to going to school but he doesn't care who is in his class or who his teacher is.  So easy going that way.  

All righty, time to relax as tomorrow it's back to `normal'!  Three kids at home and Gary goes to work!  We'll be going to visit the kids daycare so they can familiarize themselves with it and she can get to know them briefly.  I've been making meals and freezing them in preparation for Gary going back :)  

Have a great week!

Love, Louise

PS Don't forget to tell me your favourite healthy smoothie recipe!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Green Lake Summer 2013

  On the 13th, Gary and I went on a date! Yahoo!  We went to `Date Night' at Eighteen 27 in Fort Langley.  Three course meal for two for $39.99.   There were some additional rules to this that we found out when we got there.  Each person had to order a drink (add $10) and you share the appetizer and dessert.  Would've been good to know that info ahead of time!  I had the ribs (as usual, I always get them!) and they were really good.    I gave it 8/10, Gary gave his salmon and experience  a 7/10. 
We have committed to date night once a month.  In June, we went to Cactus Club and it was really, really good.  I loved it and was surprised how much I loved it.  We did have gift cards which made the experience much nicer because you aren't thinking about the money you are spending!  
The picture above is from our Cactus Club date and that bread appetizer was AWESOME.  I also got ribs there:)
For my birthday, this is going to sound terrible, but I got a bunch of alcohol.  Beer and then wine.  Gary had the kids decorate labels and then he wrote on the inside.  I don't drink a lot.  Maybe a glass of wine three times a week?  I think because I didn't drink for so long (pregnant, bfing) I really do enjoy it now!  Anyway, the birthday was pretty uneventful.  I think next year I will spoil myself with the spa or something.  I'm very low maintenance (in my opinion) but I really do enjoy being `spoiled'.  Not with gifts, but experiences.  And loving words.
On my birthday, we drove up to Green Lake.  This is the best sight you could see; Babes sleeping on the way up!!!  Okay, so she only slept 30 minutes and then the other 5 hours were spent pointing out of the window saying `Mama! Mama!' meaning `I want outside!!!'  She has started nodding yes and no to questions, it is amazing!!  She can `tell' us what she wants. So great.
The power was out for 12 hours when we got there.  Not ideal.  We had lasagna on the bbq.  The next night we had a greek pasta salad with bbq chicken. Yum.
Nya had this funky rash for over a week.  No idea what it is.  She is teething so that's what I'm assuming it is.
The boys went on the quad
and they went canoeing.  Kai loved canoeing.  Kai and Koen LOVE Amazing Race Canada.  Kai is determined to be a mom/son team in 9 years.  He told me I needed to `train' paddling with him in preparation.  He talks about the race every single day.  He's trying to figure out what our team name will be and what sort of training we should work on. 
We played some Balongoball.
There is a fire ban so we couldn't make s'mores but we could make s'morepedoes!!  Put mini marshmallows and chocolate in  a waffle cone, packed full, cover in aluminum foil, and bbq for 5 minutes. YUM! So good and way neater to eat:)
We did a hike together, just 10 minutes away at Mt. Begbie.
The boys loved the hike.  I carried Nya up but she wanted OUT. 
So we took a different path down and she did the whole thing on her own!! Her first hike!
On the last day, my dad flew in to visit.  He landed on a private air strip just 5 km down the road.  It's on the grass field!  You can see his co-pilot on the leash; Boom Boom.  My dad is hilarious because he's just so random.  So, he hung out with us for the afternoon and then I drove him back to the plane.
I forgot to say that Kai vomited the first night and Koen did the second night.  I think our kids are still struggling with some residual stuff from the SE Asia trip.  Nya is teething but still sleeping pretty well at night.

The kids had fun so that's good.  I was able to finish editing a session and even read a book! The joys of not having cable or internet:)  
When we got home, we picked out our new pet.  Swimmy Gordie Chapman. Kai picked `Swimmy' and Koen picked `Gordie'.   This is as much pet responsibility as I can handle.
Kai starts hockey camp this week and he's excited!   It's just ball hockey, not ice.

Not sure if you follow the news but there was a ferry that sunk outside of Cebu, Philippines.  It is the same ferry company that we used (2Go), and the same port.  It was coming from a different island, but still.  So devastating.  800 people aboard and almost 100 missing/dead.  It had collided with a tanker.  Once again, I am so thankful for our safety on our trip and my heart grieves for all of those that have lost loved ones.

I'm off to a couple of family sessions's awesomely cloudy so should be good.  Hope you had a good weekend.

Love, Louise

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Trust Your Gut

I'm going to blog about our trip to Green Lake but just wanted to post a little tidbit about trusting your gut.  When Kai was sick 3 weeks ago, I knew it was more than just food poisoning by the 4th day when his fever was still high.  He had no diarrhea so that is not consistent with food poisoning.  I even took him to two different doctors and both were not that concerned saying it was food poisoning or a viral infection of sorts.   I have this idea in my head that doctors don't want me doing my own research and they wouldn't listen to me anyway and they know best.  I have a great family doctor but I still feel like I shouldn't question them.  Not sure if it's just my perception or reality.  I'm just scared they are going to think I'm a crazy mom.

  Anyway, over that week, Kai was very sick.  Lethargic, feverish, no appetite. All he did was sleep and moan about his sore stomach.  I did my research for several hours over the week.  Looking up his symptoms.  Looking up Chiang Mai.  Looking at images.  Once his legs developed the giant bruise, I knew it must be Dengue Fever.  I went to the doctor and said, `Look at his legs, I'm concerned he has Dengue Fever'.  He took a look at his legs, googled it, and then said he would send him for a blood test.  I went back to the clinic today with Koen (going on 10 days of `digestive issues') and asked about Kai's final test results.   He had been preliminary diagnosed based on low platelets.  The receptionist said there was nothing unusual with them, negative results.  REALLY??  He didn't have Dengue Fever? What did he have then?  When I saw the doctor, I mentioned that I hadn't heard from him so assumed Kai was fine?  He looked it up and printed up the results. Yes, Kai had tested positive for Dengue Fever.  The results had been in a WEEK AGO.

It is important for his medical history to know what he has had.  It's important for me to know.  True, there is no treatment for him but it was good to know what to look for in case it got worse.  ANYWAY, my point is, had I just stopped after the first doctor visit, I never would've known.  Think about if he had something that did require treatment?  Or if it turned out to be hemorrhagic Dengue? (deadly).   I'm not saying anything against the doctors.  They are awesome and hard working and I always wanted to be one.  I just think that as parents, we shouldn't feel bad about being persistent and it's good to advocate for our kids sometimes beyond what we feel comfortable with.  I felt kind of dumb going back a third time.  But, I'm so glad that I did.   So, if you ever aren't sure, better to be safe than sorry, right?!  

Trust your gut, people.  Don't ever feel bad about getting a second opinion. Or a third:)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Video of SE Asia Trip!

Gary made a video of our summer trip! It is 13 minutes long so if you can't watch the whole thing, I understand!!

I can't attach it here for some reason but here is the link.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Our Weekend

This afternoon we went to Campbell Valley Park to feed the birds.  I think the birds were full:)  We went with my sister Maria, her husband Kris, and their 4 girls.  So easy as our kids just get along really well.  The oldest kids, Ani and Kai, are just 6 months apart and then the youngest two, Georgia and Nya, are 6 weeks apart.  
Kai was super pumped he got a bird.  
Two funny things that Kai has said this weekend:
1.  After a good meal by Gary he said, `Mom, I think Dad is ready for `Chopped' now'
2.  While helping me hang the laundry on the clothesline for the first time, `This is a sort of an interesting experience'.
Kai did not have an official birthday this year.  Opi, my dad, did take him out for McDonalds which he loved.  He also brought back a meal for Koen (very thoughtful) and ice cream for us:)
Then, on Thursday Gary and I took Kai, Koen and my nieces Ani and Izzy to Splashdown Waterslides for his birthday.  We were able to use three coupons so only had to pay for three of us.  Way more affordable.  My sister Maria took Nya for the morning/afternoon which made our day so easy.  When the youngest is 4.5? Oh wow, SO EASY!!!  The last hour I just sat at the bottom of the slides and watched them come down.  I could've probably read a book or something!
I had a photo shoot at Redwood Park on Friday so Gary and the kiddos came to play on the playground and then we had a little picnic.
Koen got a new Star Wars Lego clock.  He loves it.  He loves Lego Star Wars and he loves numbers/time.
Gary is going to be laying (?) cement tomorrow to extend our patio.  He's going to do a smaller section first as he's never done it before.
We had a barbeque at my sister's house on Saturday and almost everyone was there (minus Jackie, Tyler and Isaac who are camping).  We all got cuddles with the littlest babe, Grace. She looks just like her big sis and is filling out quickly! She'll surpass Nya in no time!
Nya had a crazy reaction to either whole milk or kiwi.  I think it was kiwi.  She got hives all over her legs and weird sores on her cheeks.  She's had it for two days so I hope it clears up soon! Below she is eating beef curry with pineapples and yummy and she loves to feed herself. I don't even know what this expression is but you can see she has some work to do on her accuracy with feeding herself.
Made a super yummy Blueberry Strawberry Cobbler.  I need to buy a bunch of blueberries to freeze for the winter!  You can find the recipe here.
And because I have a couple more pictures of Kai Bear, here he is.  He is completely better and his appetite is back with a vengeance!  He won't stop eating! 
Kai has gorgeous hazel/green eyes and Nya will have the same.  
Kai said that the best part of being married is that one adult can stay home with the kids so the other adult can go out.  So true!  Not sure it's the best part but WOW, I LOVE THE FREEDOM RIGHT NOW!!!   I can go for a run in the morning, I can go shopping (did Gary's back to school shopping) great.

Talking about exercise, I'm thinking of buying a small machine to work out with.  I've had a manual treadmill, elliptical, and a bike.  I used them all quite a bit (each for 2 years...they were second hand and not the best condition) but am looking for something else.  I always need it for the fall as Gary has basketball and if I want to get some exercise in, it needs to be in our home.  Thoughts?

Hope you had a great weekend!!
Love, Louise

PS Someone is turning 35 this week!! Not sure it's that exciting. The big 40 will be way more exciting and I'm planning on going to Vegas for it:)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Boys and Girls; Really That Different?

**I have so many pictures of the kids doing things that are not stereotypical for their gender roles but lack of time is preventing me from adding them.  So picture Nya playing cars and the boys baking and then all three of them wrestling **

Very few things get me riled up but one of those things is gender equality.  I was one of 5 girls.  Yup, no boys.  It seemed like every day someone said `Your parents must've kept going to try to get a boy!'.  This drove us crazy!!! Are girls not just as wonderful as boys?  Would my parents love us more if they had a boy? Of course not, who would they trade in? None of us!
{Is this really the most recent picture I have of all 5 sisters?}

Thanks to my feminist father, we grew up knowing that we could do whatever a boy could do.  We knew that we were just as capable as boys at anything and everything.  He may have taken it too far in the other direction saying that girls were better, but regardless, I never thought for ONE SECOND that boys could beat me in anything.  I loved math.  I arm wrestled boys and girls.  I became a science teacher.  I hiked. I caught and gutted fish.  I played barbies but I was also excited to get my very own hammer (which I may have hit Maria over the head with).  We built forts in the forest.  

When we found out we were having a boy, I was so nervous.  I knew very little about little boys, how would I relate to him?  Well you know what, boys and girls aren't that different.  They have the same needs.  Within the two genders, there are variations.  Sensitive girls and sensitive boys.  Wild girls and wild boys.  Often we train the sensitivity/empathy out of our boys trying to get them to toughen up.  How many times when they are hurt do we say, `You're tough.  You're fine' rather than saying `That must've hurt.   Are you okay now?'.  I would LOVE for my boys to cry with those who cry.   Our little Ms. Nya is a tough one and I think that's great.  She's loud.  She's adventurous.  She loves to wrestle.  If she ends up being uber sensitive, that's fine too.

I love that Gary and I don't follow stereotypical gender roles.  The kids see Gary in the kitchen daily (one of his pet peeves is if I put something on the wrong shelf in the fridge!) and I play hockey with them.   However, I can cook and Gary can play hockey with them too.  We are both smart and fast and creative and funny and nice to them.  

I went to a talk about gender differences at TWU months ago and here are some of the things that stood out to me:
1.  Boys are 3X more likely to hear explanations from their parents about science.  Not sure why...let your girls know all the facts too!  If you don't know, google it together!    If your kids have a question, don't just say `I don't know', look it up.  Learn together!

2.  Female teachers can pass on their own anxieties of math and science to girls.  FEMALE TEACHERS, please do not say anything negative about math and science and your ability to do it!!  Let the kids see that although we all have varying degrees of skill in this area, we can all try our best, it has nothing to do with whether you are a boy or girl!  I first fell in love with science while studying the human body with our FEMALE science 9 teacher. I looooooooooooooved mad minutes in math.  You know, answer a whole page of math questions and turn the paper over as quickly as you can.  LOVED it.  

3. Vocabulary parents use with their kids in preschool predicts their vocabulary in grade 3.  Do you talk to your boys and girls differently?  

4. Stereotype threat; anxiety because of negative stereotypes.  This is so true with me. Because I've heard that men are better spatially, I am insecure with any 3D puzzles that require manipulation or video games etc.  

5. Parents may not encourage boys to communicate well.   Use emotion when talking with boys and girls. 

6. Parents discourage challenges for females. There was this whole study about the parents setting up the angle of a ramp for their babies; boys and girls.  They made it much steeper for the boys even though they were both equally capable.  Risk taking builds confidence.

7.  In marketing science toys, often the boys are doing the science activity and the girls are watching them!

Some other nuggets which were taken from `Real Boys' from William Pollock about raising boys are:

1. There is no such thing as giving boys too much love.  You can't spoil him with affection or providing him with freedom to follow his own path.  `There is no single path to a healthy and mature masculinity.  A good school or home environment will send the message that activities like sports, acting in a school, and volunteering at the local nursing home all provide good ways to succeed...'.

2. Boys and girls may connect with their parents differently.  A girl may snuggle or talk or bring a small gift.  A boys would prefer an activity together or do a task for his parents.   Although Kai and I love to read together, he definitely connects to us as parents by doing activities together (mostly sports:)

3.  At least once a day, give your boy undivided attention.  I'm thinking the same is good for a girl too:)  To those of you with one kid, you're probably thinking `Uh, obviously' but when you have three, there's a little less focused time on each so it is a good reminder.

4. When a boy expresses vulnerable feelings, avoid teasing or taunting him.  This is a big one because there is a lot of joking and teasing in this family:)  Gary has really learned a lot in this area.  Just because he might think Kai's reason for crying is silly does not mean that Kai doesn't actually feel sad about it. 

5. `Encourage the expression of a full range of emotions.'  Often when babies cry, we try to get them to laugh and smile.  How about holding them and showing empathy with your words and facial expressions.

6.  `Express your love and empathy openly and generously.'.  Don't be afraid of babying him, you can't show too much love or empathy.  Cutting off your affection and support can be very damaging.  Tell your son that you love him as often as you like, play closely, share emotions.  Give space when they ask for it. 

Why the rant now?  I saw the news about these shirts from `The Children's Place'.   Seriously, it drives me crazy.  If my daughter likes music and dancing that is so awesome, I hope my boys like it too!  But if it's encouraging the ideas that girls can't do math as well....oh my goodness....

{Taken from}

All right!  Time to go play some hockey with the kiddos:)  Nya even has her own stick now.

Love, Louise