Monday, October 29, 2012

Are You Prepared?

I know a lot of people in my neck of the woods think that all the news reports about  Hurricane Sandy are overblown hype, but I can't help myself. Today's blog is a PSA.

Way back in 2003, Steve and I were caught off-guard by the East Coast blackout. In 1999 we were caught-off guard by the Great Toronto blizzard. Before that it was the Eastern Ontario/Quebec icestorm. The list goes on. We're going to do our best not to be caught unprepared again.

According to Environment Canada, Hurricane Sandy is expected to impact the eastern coast of the United States and parts of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes over the next few days. The storm covers a wide area and the impacts of heavy rainfall, high winds and possibly snow may be experienced well away from the centre of the storm.

"The Canadian Red Cross encourages all Canadians to take some steps to ensure their safety. Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours in an emergency," said Mike Morton, Canadian Red Cross director of disaster management in Ontario. "By taking some time now to store emergency food, water and other supplies, you can provide for your entire family during a power outage or evacuation."

The Red Cross recommends families have AT LEAST the following items ready in sturdy,easy-to-carry containers such as suitcases on wheels or backpacks in the event of a power outage or an evacuation:
  • Water: Store two litres of drinking water and two litres of water for washing per person, per day, keeping a 72-hour supply on hand for your family and any pets.
  • Food: Store at least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food for each person. Ensure that there is enough for each member of your family.
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra blankets
  • Manual can opener
  • Crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries
  • Crank or battery-operated radio, with extra batteries
  • Extra keys, for house and car
  • First aid kit :
  • Cash in small bills
  • Special needs items - medications, baby formula and diapers, and equipment for people with disabilities.
Visit for a full list of supplies that can be added to your emergency kit.

The Red Cross also recommends families have a plan in place in case they need to evacuate their homes. For tips on how to make an evacuation plan, visit

Whether you think the reports and warnings about Sandy are overblown hype or not, I encourage you to be prepared and stay safe. This one might be our Hurricane Hazel, or it might not, but if you prepare now and don't need those supplie, you'll be in much better shape for the next storm, or power failure, or house fire, or....  Better safe than sorry, me thinks.


*Thank you to the Red Cross for most of this!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Silencing the Alarm Bells - Phew!

Sorry for the delay, friends. I've been trying to catch up at work and at home, but mostly on my sleep. ;)  I forget sometimes that this isn't just a personal diary but a public blog. Sorry about that.

Great news!! After a sleepless and worriesome Monday night and Tuesday morning, I went to my local OB on Tuesday. She confirmed that BGB was moving and her heartbeat was a perfect 140 BMP. I got a better night's sleep that night but was still on edge.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Special Pregnancy unit at Mount Sinai. They did a thorough ultrasound, which I sobbed my way through. She is perfectly average in all respects. Yeah! They even did extra movement checks and she scored 7/7 on them. Double yeah!

We're 26 weeks along now, and the docs are increasing our monitoring as we approach some crucial milestones. Our next ultrasound and blood work at Mt. Sinai is in two weeks. I'll be going there at least every two weeks until we get safely to the 34 week mark, and seeing my local OB between those appointments. They are keeping a close eye on her movements, growth and placenta, as well as my thyroid and uterine arteries, to make sure that we stay out of the danger zone. When we get to 34 weeks safely, they'll make decisions regarding her bed rest, c-section, lung development drugs, etc.

For now though, I am very relieved to say that everything is going well. PHEW!!

BGB didn't cooperate for pictures yesterday but
this is what a relieved mama looks like at the end of a long but happy day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silencing the Alarm Bells

It was another sleepless night for me last night. BGB didn't seem to be moving as much as she has been recently and it worried me. It hopefully it was just my paranoid mama mind. Her pattern of movements is solidfiying but because her placenta is anterior, it's harder to feel her move because she mostly kicks that instead of me. (Heck, this might turn out to be a good sign that her placenta has moved to where it needs to be.)  She's been moving around this morning so I'm not in emergency mode, but once the alarm bells go off, it's hard to silence them.

We were at the lab yesterday and have an OB appointment and  ultrasound at Mt. Sinai tomorrow, but I'm not going to wait that long. I've called and made an appointment to see my local OB this afternoon to check her heartbeat and my blood pressure. I'm sure that everything is fine, but that niggly memory is in the back of my head so an extra trip to check things out makes sense. Rather than a nuisance trip, it's exactly what I've been encouraged to do and what I encourage other moms to be to do. This could be nothing or it could be the start of a pattern that many women notice in the days before a stillbirth.

Assuming that everything is ok, I'll start daily kick counting soon. Movement is the best sign of a baby's well-being in utero and the goal is kick counting is to notice any significant changes to her routine of movement, and possibly head off a problem. In the meanwhile, we're in the limbo land, where things like her pattern of movement isn't predictable yet, leaving a lot of room for worry about what's happening in there. There's a pill to help with nausea, but sometimes I wish there was one to shut off the alarm bells in my brain. I guess it's training for all those sleepless nights to come.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Name Game

Time is flying by. In just a few short months, BGB will join us and life will never be the same again. She's going to need a name and picking one is no easy feat. Some get crossed off this list before they're even written down, and others we bounce around to see how they feel. Our rules for first names are simple:
  1. We automatically eliminate names of women in our families and daily lives who are still alive. (We are going to make an exception to this rule if BGB turns out to be BBB, but you'll have to wait to see if that happens to find out what we've decided.)
  2. Jonas has to be able to say it.
  3. It has to be something that works for a little girl and also a grown-up woman.
  4. It can't be too off the wall.
  5. It can't be something that makes any of us cringe.
  6. We have to like the predictable nicknames.
The boys were pretty easy to name. About a month before he was born, I had a dream that we had a boy and named him Jonah. Steve thought it was too bibical and as we were discussing it, the song "My name is Jonas" came on the radio. Problem solved and name chosen. Owen was a character name a movie we watched just before he was born and it came to us both immediately in the delivery room.

This time around, we toss in a few wacky ones to make it a little more fun, but Esmerelda, Alphaba, Gertie, Xena, Sue the Second and Filomena are all officially out of contention. We've also eliminated Kahlan, Daphne, Emma, Olivia, Lillianne, Ruth, Amy, Hannah, Robyn, Isabell, Allison, Faith and Cassandra.

This week's nominees are:
  • Sam (one of Jonas's favourite TV characters)
  • Gabrielle (Steve's suggestion after we took Xena off the list)

Choosing middle names is a challenge as well but not quite as pressurized. Here's where family names come in. We like the idea of making our kid's middle names tributes, as long as the person had real meaning to us. (i.e. No empty gestures). Jonas's middle name is Robert, after Steve's dad and my Grandpa Lillie, and Owen's was Michael, after my dad and brother. This little girl has her middle names all picked out so now we just need to settle on her first name.

We do have three current forerunners that we're deliberating on. They aren't listed above, and we're not going to share them. We need to save some surprises!  :)


Friday, October 19, 2012

Bucket Filling

Back in January 2011, I wrote a blog entry about a couple of books called "How Full is Your Bucket?" and "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" that I was using with the kids to try to teach them to be nice to each other. I was thrilled yesterday to find out that Jonas's school has become a "Bucket Filling School"!

Bucket filling is all about building other people up - helping them, being nice to them - and not dipping into other people's buckets to fill your own. The book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves.

Personally, it's one of my favourite books for kids and Jonas's teacher apparently agrees. She started a bucket filling program in her class last year and has amped it up this year. Every day, each student gets up in front of the class and tells about one nice thing they did for someone else and one nice thing someone did for them. They then add a cardboard drop of water to their classmates plastic buckets, which are kept on display in the classroom. 

Jonas's new principal liked the idea so much that the entire school now takes time every day to do the same thing. What a great idea, especially in this day and age, with bullying front and centre in the headlines.

We found out about this initiative last night when Jonas's teacher called us to talk about his field trip-essay issue yesterday morning. She made a special point of letting us know how proud she was of Jonas for volunteering to answer a question at the Science Centre yesterday. He stood up in front of at least 60 people and explained about how to use bleach to do laundry. (Something I had no idea he knew about, but fully intend to exploit now that I do.) She said it took him a while to say it, but he didn't get frustrated and explained himself very well. He was beaming when he got off the phone with her, and so were we.

Have you filled a bucket today?


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Field Trips, Essays and Tears

Today started dark and early at 5:20am. As I headed to the bathroom for a shower, Jonas met me there. My initial thought was to tell him to go back to bed, but before I could get the words out, I realized that he was crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he winpered that "Today is the field trip to the Science Centre." Because he's always so excited about going there, I thought maybe he had had a bad dream or something. Starting the day with tears and "Mom, can I please not go on the field trip?" was not at all what I expected.

It turns out that he has been dreading this trip all week. Not because he doesn't want to go, but because he knows he's going to have to write an essay about it when he gets back to school. He loves the science centre and he loves field trips but he is overwhelmed at the thought of having to write about it. Between is struggles with handwriting and organizing his thoughts, he was literally sobbing at the thought.

He has his occupational therapy assessment in three weeks, and we're truly hopeful that he'll start getting the additional help he needs once that happens. The school board has limited resources so all the red tape has to be gone through before he can get a share of them. After 4 years of inaction at his first school, and two years on the waiting list at this school, I say "It's about bloody time!"

I left a message on  the school voicemail this morning, requesting a meeting with his teacher and the special resources teacher. They talked us out of persuing an official IEP (Individual Education Plan) last year. They have been fantastic with him in the two years we've been there, but it seems that whatever unofficial accomodations they had in place for him have not been reestablished this year. Whether it's because of the teachers union's work to rule campaign or not, I don't know, but the boy needs help so this mama it putting her big girl boots on and going back into the trenches.  Wish us luck!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Yesterday, when I....


....was at work....
I kept coming across the street name "Queen Filomena"
and pondered naming BGB that for a second or two each time it came up.

... picked Jonas up after school...
he was not his usual happy self because he had just been
accidentally hit in the head with a stick while playing in the woods beside the school.

... went to charge my tablet....
I wasn't my usual happy self because the cats had chewed through the power cord.
... went for a nap...
I couldn't sleep because Jonas practiced "Hot Cross Buns",
the only song he knows on his recorder.

... went to put cream on the belly...
'nuf said?

... went to watch my favourite show on Netflix...
I was a disappointed to realize that I have to wait a little longer
to see the first episode of the new season.

When I went to bed...
I laughed because this is what I found when I checked to see if Jonas actually brushed his teeth.
Oh well, I guess beggars can't be choosers!

When I came back from having a middle of the night snack demanded by BGB...
I found the occupancy rate of our bed had doubled in my absence.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Bullying: The In-between

There's been a lot of discussion about bullying the last few days. Another teen chose to end her life this week, rather than endure seemingly unending bullying. It's a tragedy that has everyone talking about what to do about it. Everyone agrees that "someone" should "do something" but that's about as far as the consensus goes. There is a lot of finger pointing happening, particularly at the parents and the schools. There's even a call for new federal legislation to address the problem in Canada.

I don't have an answer to the questions of who's to blame and what should be done. I sure wish I did. I was bullied as a child and my son is suffers bullying today. If only there was a magic wand.

I was pondering these questions as I waited for Jonas to come out school today. Yesterday was another on our list of run-ins with the neighbourhood bully. I've already tried to talk to his parents, to no avail, and the boys don't go to the same school so that's not a issue in this case, so we're left to deal with this on our own for now. But as I sat in the school parking lot today, I realized that it isn't just a two family issue.

The reality is that this is a neighbourhood issue. The bullying isn't happening at school or in our homes, it's happening in-between, and very likely has more than one victim. The bullying happens at the park, on the internet, on the street, on the pathways, in the forest between the school and the parking lot. It happens in all those places that haven't officially signed the anti-bully petition.

Playing in the woods behind the school:
It can be a world of fun and exploration, and also a space bullying can flourish.
It's in those places, where we let our children explore their identities and independence, that bullying can flourish. In the cracks where parents and teachers aren't. It's in those places where our neighbourhood is. Oh, there might not be a grown-up around all the time, but there are usually adult eyes and ears that see and hear the reports of what goes on there. If we all took a more vested interest in our children, including the neighbourhood children, we could probably put the brakes on this problem.

It's going to take a community to solve this problem. The "someone" is us. The "do something" is making ours a community that pays attention and cares about what's going on with our children - a community where people don't turn a blind eye because "it's not my problem" or "they aren't my kids", or worse, responding with indifference or a defensive "not my kid". We need to do the right thing and let them see us doing it. We need to listen to our kids and teach them to do the right thing. We need to teach them, simply, to be nice. Teaching our kids right from wrong, to stick up for each other and what's right, and that we'll stick up for them, is something that every one of us who interacts with children can do. It's up to all of us.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shh! She can hear you!

Wow! 25 weeks pregnant. 15 weeks to go. BGB is about 13.5 inches long now, and weighs in at a whopping 1.5 pounds. She's moving around a lot and her ninja moves are now every day entertainment for all of us.

Everything is going great so far. My blood pressure has been perfect, I've gained "an appropriate amount of weight" and I'm hoping to start feeling the effects of my thyroid pill soon. (A little more energy would be nice until I'm too big for it to matter any more.) We rescheduled an OB appointment this week because our doc had the flu but we'll go next week and also go for our glucose test. Our next trip to Mount Sinai is the following week, when we'll get a better idea of how those red flags are progressing.

My hormones are raging right on schedule. TV shows, movies and songs that reference my daughter or my child, bring on the water works. Steve was worried when I started weeping on the drive home on Monday night. I wimpered "Everything is fine. It's just my hormones and this stupid song!' as Melissa Etheridge's "Gently We Row" played and she sang
"I wrapped my arms round my own daughter
as she fell into her place and time
and as her mind creates her illusions
I won't complicate hers with mine
She looked into her mother's eyes
she said tell me what I should believe"    
I may have the most extreme reactions, but it's not just me. BGB is at the forefront of our minds more and more everyday. Steve and I are collecting stuff and planning her room, Tasha is prepping to come stay with us for a little while around the birth, and Jonas is barely containing his excitement over becoming a big brother.

Jonas joins me on the couch every day, puts his hand on the belly and feels her kick. He loves feeling her move around and as it gets stronger and stronger, so does his imagination and his protective nature.  We've got a book called "Conception to Birth" that details the baby's development with in-utero pictures. He asks a hundred questions and we use the book and a couple of websites to figure out the answers together.

We recently read this cool fact: 
"Your baby's ears are fully functional now. And since they are, you may notice that loud noises and sudden movements can startle the little bugger. She's getting used to the everyday sounds inside the womb: the sound of your heart beating, your lungs inhaling and exhaling air, the growling of your stomach because your partner promised he'd be right back with that poutine and he's taking forever! She'll even be able to hear your voice when your partner finally arrives and you ask him where the bleep he's been! So talk nice!"
A week or two ago he came up beside me and started whispering in my ear about something he wanted to do to surprise the baby when she gets a little older. When I asked him why he was whispering he answered that "It's a secret and I don't want her to hear me. It's a surprise!" That was before we read the above quote, when we only knew that her ears were fully formed and starting to work.
Now, an almost daily quote in our house is "Shh! She can hear you!". Questionable language (Holy cow! How strict are they in schools today? Geesh!), future surprises for her, conversations, tv shows or movies that are ok for a nine year old but may be a little too old for her .... You name it, the Hearing Police is on patrol to make sure we only use baby appropriate language unless we whisper.

On the flip side, it's also important to him that she hears our voices. He talks and reads to her every day, and wants Steven to do the same. He wants me to sing to her daily and likes it when we put our mp3 headphones on the belly so she can hear other music. Of course, that playlist has to be approved by him. Poor kid isn't even born yet and her big brother is already bossing her around.  ;)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Coffee Break

I've been mostly off-line for the last few days, enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with loved ones. It was back to the grind yesterday, including a call from the school while I was at work. Thank goodness I had a chance to take a much needed coffee break with a good friend after work. Thanks Val!  I went to bed tired, happy and thinking about these four things:

This is the lunch Jonas groggily packed himself in the morning.
It's not great, I'll admit, but it mattered not.
It's the same lunch he left on the counter and forgot to take to school.
Good thing Dad only works a few minutes away.
They had tuna salad sandwiches and chocolate milk together in the school parking lot instead.
We celebrate the good and work our way through the not so good when it comes to parenting and ADHD.
Way to go, Super Dad!
(It's safe to say that the impromptu lunch was a welcome break for Dad.)
Speaking of celebrating the good -
with a little adult intervention, Jonas helped Teddy survive the better part of three days living with this adorable puppy, who is teething right now.

Jonas had a great time playing with his cousins this weekend.
He's going to be an awesome big brother for BGB!

Two of my amazing nieces, Ashley and ballerina-doctor-cowgirl Emily,
taught me that I'm overthinking the fact that I'm going to have a little girl.
It's going to be awesome!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This holiday weekend, this blogger is counting her many blessings
with her husband, kids and our extended families.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Lingerie Drawer

Today's blog entry comes to you from a place of vital importance. It's a topic we usually reserve for conversation on girls' night, but it's common ground to all of us. We all need them and most of us use them daily. No matter how thick your rose-coloured glasses are, life is simply miserable if you don't have the right ones. Some of us, especially pregnant women, can find the process of buying new ones only slightly less involved and stressful than getting the oil changed in our vehicles. I resisted until I could resist no more and tonight, with the support of my loving husband, I found sweet relief.

Thank you! Thank you Thyme Maternity! Thank you for bras and underwear that fit properly and are super comfy. Thank you for saving me hours of feeling like a hippo trying to squeeze into a drinking straw, trying to figure out the right size. Thank you for bringing to my dressing room ever realistic option to try on, without making me walk around the store or, worse, asking my husband to walk back and forth making sense of the overwhelming number of selections. Thank you for the sweet relief of finding a few things in just the right size and shape. Thank you for not making everything in the granny gitch style that is the exact opposite of anyone's illusion of sexy. Thank for you also for having a good sale. It wasn't necessary but made the process much easier to swallow. And thank you for reminding me that one day, this daily growth will start to reverse itself and that my body will some day return to it's not so uncomfortable configuration.

Thank you also to my amazing husband Steven! Thank you for going with me and creating at least the illusion of a romantic adventure around this task that I've dreaded so much. No. It wasn't anything like we see in the movies or on tv. It wasn't romantic at all. You didn't even get to go into the dressing room with me but, then again, your fantasies of what could go on are no dobut MUCH more appealing than what actually happened in there. I know that smile on your face was only for my benefit, except for the moment when the sales girl told us how big my boobs really are at the moment.  And that giggle you let escape when she followed that number letter combo with a reminder that they are still going to get bigger? You're welcome for that.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Great Night

Jonas was home sick on Monday and although he made it to school yesterday, he didn't feel up to going to Cub Scouts last night. We stayed home and it turned out to be a pretty great night.

I've never seen Jonas so excited to do homework!
His assignment last night was to explore
He actually cried when it was time to take a break for dinner.

While he did his homework on my computer,
I sat beside him and continued reading "Catching Fire" 

on a Kindle ereader I borrowed from a friend.

None of us had big appetites or felt like cooking so...
we had PB, banana and honey on whole wheat for dinner
And fresh picked honey crisp apples for dessert

Jonas kicked my butt at a few games of Uno 

I beat him at chess and then chicken out on letting him humilate me at cribbage
This morning I discovered why tooth brushing took so long and was so animated last night.

We read "Guess How Much I Love You" to BGB before we turned out the lights.
It's still one of  Jonas's favourites and he's very much looking forward to reading it to his little sister.

Who needs a race car bed?
We talked about Cub Scout Camp, which is something he always looks forward to.

Sometime after I kissed him good night, he decided to practice with his sleeping bag and bedroom floor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Kicks

We saw these pink baby converse while the three of us were out window shopping the other day.
VERY hard to resist!

Last night was another milestone in our house. Jonas felt BGB kick for the first time! He was home sick, and while he and I were snuggled on the couch watching a movie, BGB woke up and started to squirm around. I asked him for his hand, put it under mine on the belly, and waited. After about three seconds of anticipation, she put on a pretty good acrobatic display for her big brother. The look on his face was a indescribable. Fantasy met reality and resulted in the hugest smile and giggle. I don't think he realized until he felt that kick that there really is a little person in there. Very cool!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Eye Patch

Happy Monday!

After a heavy night and post yesterday, and another night of restless sleep last night, I could certainly use some levity today. I shared this story on Facebook but since it's still making me giggle I'm going to rehash it here.

Saturday morning started dark and early, discussing with Jonas about why he doesn't need to wear an eye patch for the sty in his eye. On Thursday, his pediatrician explained that some warm compresses and leaving it open to the fresh air are the best things for it, but he woke up on Saturday insistent that it needed to be patched. You have to hand it to him, he has some pretty compelling arguments:
  • He's convinced that he'll go blind if he doesn't wear a patch. He remembers that my mom had an eye infection some time ago and "Maybe that's why Nana is going blind!" Macular degeneration is a little beyond his comprehension at 9 years old, and well beyond my explanation skills at 6:45am. Nor did I have the heart to stop him from practicing his blindfolded Jedi moves, just like Luke Skywalker did. I would have perfered that he not do that in the living room with a plastic battle ax, but, what the heck, if I can't indluge one fantasy, why not encourage the other one. Besides, maybe practicing being blind will help get him over his fear of the dark....

  • He's worried that he'll pass the infection to the baby and turn her into a cyclops. Of course, he quickly developed mixed emotions about that too. She'd probably be picked on but she could also turn out to be the next member of the X-Men and, if she could shoot a lazer out of her eye that would be pretty cool, especially if she ends up having two heads like he imagined a couple of weeks ago.
  • He really believes that people will think he's Samuel L. Jackson if he wears an eye patch. No mixed motions here. If they think he's Nick Fury, he'll get to meet Ironman and the Avengers! Who am I am to be a skeptic? After all, in the words of my wise friend Pirkko, "The initial resemblance is uncanny..."  LOL!

Captain Nick Fury and Jonas: Twins from another mother?

Come to think of it, these conversations with Jonas may explain some of these weird pregnancy dreams I've been having. I had strange dreams with the boys, as most pregnant women do, but these ones are a little more out there. My personal favourite, is the recurring one where I am the head of security for the Royal family, specifically for Will and Kate. They've been embroiled in some pretty intricate international conspiracies in these dreams, which you'd think would lead me to being a James Bond type character, but no. Instead of sophisticated and stealthy, or even Royal Guardsmen looking, I'm always Dudley Do Right's twin sister. Of course, I also have super powers, so maybe it's not so bad after all.