Monday, May 30, 2016

What Everyone Should Know About Graves' Disease

When my second son was about eight months old I felt like I was coming down with the flu. Normally I could run five km's and suddenly I could barely walk one block– my muscles were weak and sore. The symptoms progressed quickly: elevated heart rate, insomnia, hair loss, brittle nails, massive hunger, diarrhea, hand tremors, and sweating. I was losing weight rapidly (close to 20 lbs in three weeks) despite eating numerous meals each day and snacking throughout the night. Some people suggested I had anxiety and it did feel like it but I knew it was something more.

I felt terrible and within two weeks I finally had a blood test that confirmed that I was in a hyperthyroid state and my T4 was not even really existent. Although they were not sure if it was Postpartum Thyroiditis or Graves' Disease, they started treating it with PTU which is an anti-thyroid medication that was safe with breastfeeding. I was also given beta blockers to help my heart rate come down–oh, how I loved the beta blockers. I finally felt like I could relax for a little bit as my resting heart rate had been over 100 for weeks!

How Graves' Disease Affects Your Thyroid
Respect the thyroid!

Friday, May 27, 2016

How to Hug a Porcupine: Parenting Tween Tips

I feel like we finally just got everyone sleeping through the night and now we're on to this whole new stage: The Preteen Years. I know how hard things were for me being a teenager so if we can work on developing their self-esteem and building a stronger relationship with them now, that should help our kids as they transition through these stages. Our son could be heading off to university in eight years–that's not a whole lot of time left to invest in him before he leaves (and hopefully it's not far!).

I recently read How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years to gain some insight into this stage. This book has some great ideas and although I wouldn't say the examples were always realistic, I did think it was helpful and I would love to share some tips with you.

Parenting Tips for Preteens

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Celebrating Nya's Fourth Birthday

This long weekend we celebrated Nya's fourth birthday.  We started out on Saturday by going to the Greater Vancouver Zoo.  We have an annual pass that is good until October and like to go about once a month.  It is a great place for our kids to run around as it's completely safe.  Our Little One was with us this weekend and is a major fan of the train so we were sure to ride that too (it's included in the pass.)  All four out of four kids were happy which was unusual and very appreciated!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Benefits to Offering Your Kids Choices

It can be hard in our every day life when we feel like so many things are beyond our control–personally it can make me feel nervous and uncomfortable; how am I supposed to know what to expect next? Now imagine being a two-year-old where you are told when to eat, what to wear, when to go outside, what to say, and when to go to bed. Of course they are going to struggle with this as they feel they have no say. Often they express their frustration through tantrums, screaming "No!" or running away from the situation.

One key thing to remember is to give them choices.

Our Infant Development Worker encouraged us to use this for our Little One and it has been so helpful– how did I not integrate this more frequently before? I don't mean "Put on your shoes or go to Time Out" I mean, "Do you want your brown boots or your sparkly shoes?" or "Do you want apple slices or yogurt?" I will hold the items in front of them to help them decide by combining visual and audio.  I use options on my bigger kids, too. "Do you want a shower now or at 6 pm?" The shower will happen on this day but they have some say in the matter.

What are five benefits to giving choices?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thankful for my Perfectly Imperfect Body

*Every week I do a Thankful Thursday post and this one is a bit different–still thankful but more of a Thankful Thursday: Body Edition*

This week involved honouring the ten year anniversary of my mom passing away from breast cancer, running a five km race, finally buying a bikini after eight years of thinking about it, and hearing of yet another (way too young)  woman being diagnosed with cancer.  What do these all have in common?  It's all part of the journey leading to an appreciation for this perfectly imperfect body of mine.  Throughout my teen years I struggled with feeling fat and equated that with being undesirable.  In my 20's and 30's I journeyed through an autoimmune disease, TMJ dysfunction, and a body that looked and acted differently after three pregnancies, three C-sections, and breastfeeding for four years (you know what that means.)

Just because other people have it worse does not mean that I can't feel frustrated when my body doesn't do what I feel it should or when it looks differently than I'd prefer.  However, I also know that if we want to appreciate the body that we have, we need to practice gratitude and be gracious to ourselves. So here's me being grateful for this body of mine...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Burger Realization: Decision Fatigue

“What would you like on your burger?” “Whatever you want me to have” was the reply to my lovely chef of a husband. By the end of each day, I cannot make another decision. I will eat whatever is on that burger and enjoy it because the energy I save from not thinking about it can go towards eating my food. I feel like a negotiator, counselor, teacher, coach, dentist, doctor, and taxi driver, which requires non-stop thinking and problem solving. From figuring out how much Clash of Clans is okay to play (and is he old enough to play?!), reminding my kids to wash their hands, contemplating the best method for dealing with meltdowns, trying to find a lost field trip form, teaching a child how to tie shoes, figuring out who is driving each kid where and when, and explaining why they should have more than a banana for dinner, I am done.

Monday, May 16, 2016

In the Midst of the Messy Place

I feel like we are in a messy, middle place. Is there a word for that? Limbo? Transition? It's just an uncomfortable yet necessary step. Our foster child is transitioning home slowly which means about half the week is spent with us and half the week with Mama. We're dealing with big feelings from every single family member and it's tricky. I almost wish our Little One could just go because then we could all move on to the next step. However, I know that this middle space is where we need to be. We are working through our thoughts in this messiness and doing our very best to make it go smoothly.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Motivation {Share Your Story}

{On Sundays guest writers share a piece of their story.  My hope is that through this we can consider someone else's perspective and understand each other better.  This is today's piece: Motivation.  I think a lot of us can relate to this struggle!}

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Where's My Preteen Support Team?

We're in a new stage–preteen, and I'm trying to figure out how to get a supportive community around this. When your kids are young, it's normal to publicly ask questions about sleep (or lack thereof), potty training, discipline, and rashes, as it's somewhat generic and everyone goes through it. Ideas are thrown out left, right, and center, and we can figure out what works best for us. Although people often talk about feeling alone, support is there with "You can do this, mom!", "I remember those days" and "Yes, Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease sucks!"  People see you with a tantruming toddler and get it, they have been there and are hopefully giving you a knowing smile.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Our Weekend in Whistler {At the Fairmont}

Several months ago I won a trip to Whistler.  I probably enter to win a trip there once a week and was soooooo excited to win and  ecstatic with the timing.  It had to be used by the end of May and therefore we could do it Mother's Day Weekend with just the original five Chapmans!  The win included a two night stay for a family at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and dinner, up to $300, at The Wildflower.  I love Whistler, it's very "us", but we hadn't been as a family in five years.  

We checked in Friday evening and were upgraded to a Deluxe mountain view room–it was incredible!  The kids immediately said "This is the best day ever!" and couldn't wait to head to the pool.  

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Journey With Vulvodynia

*This is the first guest post in a series entitled "Share Your Story".  I appreciate the impact that people's stories can have on my life; I understand them and the world a little more.  This writer has asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the topic and I am so proud of her desire to let other women know that they are not alone and that there is always hope. *

The wedding day. It’s a big exciting day in one’s life. I know I was excited for my wedding day. Excited to commit my life to my then fiancĂ©. As someone who abstained from intercourse until marriage it seemed like an especially big day. Awkward, but exciting. Does anyone’s wedding day go completely as planned? I know mine sure didn’t. There were some bumps in the day and then the wedding night was not what I expected.

What is vulvodynia and how can you help treat it? A personal journey.

Friday, May 06, 2016

VeggieTales in the House, Yo

For years our kids have been watching VeggieTales.  Netflix has VeggieTales in the House, a Netflix original series that is faith-based, follows Bob the Tomato,  Larry the Cucumber and all their friends on various adventures where they learn important life lessons.  Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix which means there are about 40 different episodes to watch.  Before I continue, I need to point out that anything that has a seed (Bob the Tomato!  Jimmy and Jerry Gourd!) is technically a fruit so it should probably be called Fruit and Veggie Tales.!

Here are five reasons I love it when they they choose VeggieTales in the House to watch:

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Thankful Thursday

Every Thursday I take the time to write down ten things that I am thankful for.  I started this years ago and recently read about practicing gratitude in Brenè Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. She says that joyfulness can be attributed to practicing gratitude.  If it doesn't come naturally to you–practice it.  Thinking, writing, and/or sharing what you are grateful for can help you to become more joyful.  I would encourage you to join me in practicing gratitude.  Happy Thursday, friends.

This week I am thankful for:

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

We're All Doing the Best We Can

{I am a foster mom but this can relate to every parent in regards to how we judge others and sometimes ourselves.}

"How could she choose drugs over her children?" " How could she not feed her child?" "She doesn't deserve to see her children again after what happened." We can be a judgey bunch in general, but oh do we let loose when it comes to stories of neglect and trauma. Now don't get me wrong, these incidents are terrible and heart-breaking and their children should be removed in most cases. Immediately. Every child deserves love, encouragement and support along with the basic rights of safety, food, clothing, and medical care. But do the parents actions warrant our words of judgement?

 Where were we when they needed help? Do we know or consider their story?

All parents are doing the best that they can

Monday, May 02, 2016

Northern B.C. Road Trip

Hello, friends! This summer, our family of five will be heading out on a two week long road trip from Surrey, B.C. north to Prince George and then taking the Great Northern Circle Route up to Watson Lake, Yukon and continuing down on the northwest taking in Telegraph Creek and Hyder, Alaska. This trip is over 4500 km in length and will be our longest road trip as a family.

{This was mapped on google maps but if you have a more user-friendly recommendation for tracking distances and times, I'd love to hear it!}

Before we get too far into our planning, I'd love to ask you for our feedback!  The awesome this about this blog is that almost 70% of my readers are from B.C. (with Alberta and Ontario coming in next).  You know this province and I'd love your tips on where to stay and what to see. Our goal is nature.  We want to see the beauty of this province and explore it with family-friendly hikes and activities.