Thursday, October 30, 2008


- I've been known to tuck toys under the couch instead of picking them up. Makes for less mess the next day, and Hana gets all excited when I finally dig them out months later.

- The TV is on for hours a day. There used to be no tv at all, but that was before the second child was born.

- I bribe Hana with my computer when I want a few minutes to myself.

- Eli's laundry doesn't really get folded, just folded in half once so it's not a complete mess when I throw it in his drawer.

- I get Ben to pick up take-out when my day doesn't leave me enough time to think about planning a meal, let alone cook one.

- I leave my browser open to my favorite sites so I can feel like I have time to read things that interest me, and to make it quicker to actually read them while Hana is distracted by above mentioned TV.

- Crackers, cheese and pickles sometimes passes as lunch.

- I keep Hana naked from the waist down most of the day and put her in a disposable for her nap so I have less diapers to wash.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eli - three months

Time is flying by. If it weren't for the change of seasons I wouldn't believe he's three months old already.

Eli is doing great - he smiles and coos all day long. He loves his sister, and gives me the cutest grins while he's nursing. He sleeps great, all nestled close beside me, and has learned to love being on my back while Hana plays outside.

We had a trip tot he lactation consultant today because he's about 500 grams (a little over 1lbs) smaller than he should be. He has a great latch, and a strong suck, but doesn't like my heavy let-down. We had just weaned from the shield, but the LC recommends I keep using it to help fully empty my breast and boost my supply a bit. My hemoglobin was really low after he was born (so much that my mother was shocked they didn't transfuse me) and that has made it harder for my body to produce milk. I'm starting to take fenugreek and pump and hopefully by Friday we see some improvement.

The struggle with him gaining weight has been hard on me. After everything that happened with Hana it's just heartbreaking to think I can't feed him. A mother's job is to nourish her child, and it felt as though I was failing. The LC assured me that he is healthy, just small, and there are things we can do to fix it before it becomes a real problem. I know so much more this time around, and even if I do need to suppliment, I'll keep nursing him as long as I can.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ranting and Raving

I'm not so happy with life right now. Hana has been banging around in her room for over an hour. SHe was up until 10 last night and awake at 6:45 this morning - the child is tired and will be a bear tonight if she doesn't sleep. But she doesn't sleep, story of my life. She's waking up at night again, I'm telling myself it's just teething, but really I'm wondering if I'll ever get a decent sleep.

Eli isn't gaining weight. In the last two weeks he hasn't even gained an ounce. He's content and nurses great, but he's not growing. I can't even feed my own child, do you know how heartbreaking that is. We're ging to see a LC tomorrow, and I'm hopeful that we'll figure out what's wrong and be able to fix it, but it just kills me to know he hasn't been getting enough and I didn't notice. I thought we were doing so well. I thought he was growing - clothes don't fit anymore, isn't that a good sign? There was no indication there was a problem, he was just small - so is the rest of my family! I can't believe how stupid I was not to realize it was a problem. I'm so broken over that.

I'm stuck in the house all the time. In the evenings Ben is tired and doesn't want to go anywhere, plus we have to get Hana to bed. On the weekends I'm so exhausted it's hard to do anything, and Ben would rather stay home anyway. I'm feeling isolated from people - the only time I really see anyone is when they come here, and that doesn't happen often. I want to get out, I want to get to know people. I don't want to have to rely on the internet for social interaction, it's not good for me.

I haven't been to the gym in weeks. I feel so guilty leaving both kids with Ben, even tho he tells me not to. And then there's such a mess that needs to be cleaned up when I get home it doesn't seem worth it. But I have the membership so I'm just wasing money. Good thing this month was free.

My house is a mess. I just can't stay on top of it lately. No, not that I can't, I just haven't been. Lazy.

I've been neglecting God. THings were going really great for a while, but just haven't happened lately. No time to myself, no time to htink, let alone ready, study, meditate, reflect.

And to top it all off, I know God is still there, still faithful, still seeing me through this all. With Ben's illness, and Hana's spirit, and Eli's weight, I'm so scared and worried and guilty and ashamed and God can still handle it all. And handle me. Comfort me, give me hope and get me through it. I just need to let Him.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get it done

I realize that as a born-and-raised resident of New Brunswick that really should say "Git'er done!", but meh.

I've been slacking in my responsibilities lately, not getting as much done around the house, or for me, or for Hana as I should have been. I'm not sure exactly what was filling my days, but it wasn't nearly enough of what should have been there. Every time Eli fell asleep Hana would wake him, she was getting more than an hour of TV a day, laundry was piling up and it was just not right.

Today, however, is going much better. We played upstairs for a bit, everyone was happy, no tantrums. Breakfast went great, then I got Eli on my back for a nap. Got a load of laundry put away and another started, tidied the living room, danced with Hana, vacuumed the rug, coloured with Hana. Then I made lunch, we both ate and the got Hana ready for her nap. Now Eli is playing beside me, my livingroom is presentable, my kitchen is passable and I'm not stressed out.

See, don't we look happy?

Now hopefully I can keep this momentum, get the kitchen and bathroom cleaned and go play outside with Hana again this afternoon. But first, a nap.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


A while ago when I wrote about my evolving thoughts on abortion, I balked at the idea of being called pro-choice. That was kind of dumb of me.

I like having choices, I like giving choices. I've found giving Hana options is a great way of finding compromise and avoiding melt downs. Toddlers like having a sense of control over their lives. Apparently this trait doesn't go away with age, we just get better at being disappointed.

There are times tho when giving options means giving people the opportunity to do something we don't like. Last night Ben gave Hana the choice of having dinner or playing with play-doh. Guess which she chose? The only way to avoid situations like that is to limit choices to things that are pre-approved. While I think this is a wonderful way to pick baby names, it doesn't really sit well with me in other areas.

Take birth for example. There is a lot of talk (well, at least in sites that I spend time on) about giving women the ability to choose the birth she wants. I strongly believe that a woman should be supported in any situation where she feels safe - water birth, home birth, lotus birth, hospital birth. But then what about medical birth? Elective Cesarean? Early elective induction? Those things make me more uncomfortable. They are choices I wouldn't make because the possible consequences seem too risky to me. I would rather people didn't make those choices, but can I really say I support a woman's right to choose while wanting to limit her options?

So many people see abortion as such a black and white issue - choose to birth the baby or choose to terminate the pregnancy. It's not. Babies don't just appear. There are appointments, tests, sleep issues, pains, nausea, bloating, complications, hormones, ultrasounds, emotions, cravings. Anyone who has had a baby will say it's all worth it (a lot of us even choose to go through it more than once just for kicks), but pregnancy is hard on a person. When talking to a mother about her choice to birth her baby, all of the above need to be taken into consideration. Sure, if she feels she can't support her child adoption is an option. There are even avenues that keep her from having to pay legal fees. But what about the time off work to have the baby, or go to prenatal appointments, who pays for that? Or the transportation, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes.

It's not just an issue of money, there's also the havoc pregnancy can play on emotions. I am blessed to have Ben as my husband, I don't think anyone else could survive living with me pregnant. What if that mother has a fear, substantiated or not, that she won't survive the pregnancy because of the people in her life - the father, her father, her pimp, her employer? It's hard to see clearly through the fog the hormones cause. Possible, yes, but hard. Who will be there to offer council, a place to stay, to act as a liaison between support organizations, rehab, shelters? These are things that Christians should be doing, but they're too busy holding signs and spewing hate.

I don't like abortion. The idea of it makes me sick, breaks my heart, makes me hold my babies close and never want to let them go. At the same time, I have to be realistic - there are times when a mother doesn't see the choice as black and white, she sees all the things in between, agonizes, weighs the few options available to her. To me, it is far more necessary to give those women more options - more support, more finances, more understanding, more jobs, more maternity leave, more legal aid, more medical insurance - than it is to take options away, even the ones that make us uncomfortable.

We can't erase the things we don't like from the world. We can't control everything in a way that makes us feel more comfortable. There will always be situations we don't like, choices we say we could never make, things that we know will needlessly make life harder. We can't stop those things, we can only offer alternatives and do all we can to make the bad choices obsolete.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let Down

That last post was a hard thing for me. As open as I try to be, it's always easier to be open about tough times when they're over, not when I'm in the midst of them. I was hoping for some encouragement, some support, something to show I'm not alone in the world.

No, this isn't one of those pity party blog posts saying how horrible it is that I don't get comments. I did briefly consider abandoning this blog, but who am I kidding, I need the outlet (I just can't shut up, in case the length of my posts didn't make you aware of that). It's just the mumblings running around my head after realizing that I can't look at my blog as a means of socialization or to validate my existence - if I did I'd be left in a sadder state of mind than I am on my own.

Instead, this introducing the new phase of my blog. Yes, it's taking another turn (and hopefully not for the worst) - I'm going to treat it more as a journal. Yeah, that means a lot more family stuff probably. I'm aware this may affect my readership (the faithful 20 or so of you, and that random Irish visitor, I appreciate you all, hence the explanation), but as my readership doesn't bring any interaction, I'm not sure I'll notice the change.

Of course, comments and interaction are still welcome, and strongly encouraged.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Last week Ben was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

This actually comes as a great relief. The whole time I've known Ben he's always been tense, nervous, shy, a worrier. There were times he couldn't let go of things and would focus on negative posibilities. THat's what made him so quiet in social situations - he was afraid. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, afraid of what people would think of him. Worried about normal things that people think about when in new situations, but for him it was something he couldn't ignore or put aside.

Over the past three years our lives have changed a lot. It seemed with each change Ben's anxiety would get worse. Over the past year, and especially since Eli's birth, it got to the point where he couldn't function. He physically slowed down because too much was going on in his brain. He couldn't relax because he was alwys thinking about htings that needed to be done, but he couldn't do them because he couldn't focus on any one thing. He was obssessing over small, meaningless things (like thinking our neighbours were stealing our cat), and couldn't even talk to me anymore.

It was rough on all of us. He would get short tempered with Hana, he couldn't have a conversation with me, things around the house weren't getting done and he was stressed out about work. We would have arguments over the same small things over and over again. They would always come down to the same thing - he couldn't think, he couldn't control his thoughts and everything gave him more reason to worry. Once he realized it wasn't normal and wasn't something he could control on his own he felt a bit better. It sill took him weeks to make an appointment with our doctor - even taking time off for the appointment made him worry.

Knowing what the problem is really is a relief - he is on meds that will help. In the meantime however there are still frustrations. As his wife I need him - I need my husband to pitch in, to talk with me, to show me he cares - and sometimes that just doesn't happen. THen I'm left frustrated, hurt and angry, but with no outlet for it. I end up having less patience with him and with Hana than is fair. It's hard on the whole family.

He has another appointment in a couple of weeks to discuss how the meds are working. So far he's experiencing a couple of side effects - mostly nausia and dizzyness, both normal and should go away once his body adjusts. Already his head feels clearer most of the time, so we're very hopeful we're on the right track. I'm so excited to have Ben back, to see what he's really like as a husband and father without always being so anxious and tense.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mirror Mirror

I have issues.

Wait, I've mentioned that before. Have I mentioned my self-image issues? Not that it should come as any surprise, there are very few women I've met who haven't had some sort of inaccuracy in their view of themselves at some point in their life.

Like most women, I place a lot of my identity in my relationships. I'm a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Success in those relationships means I'm doing well as a human being, turmoil and disharmony can really mess me up. Like if my daughter is screaming at me for no reason other than she's almost two, or I'm stressed out and ask Ben to pick up something for supper instead of cooking for him like a "good wife" should, or when my mom (hi mom, don't know if you still read this) annoys me and I lash out at her, or when I haven't heard from friends in a while (it's ok friends, I know I hear from you as often as you hear from me).

When those things happen I start to get anxious, confused, stressed out and insecure. I try to hide the insecurity with defensiveness, and that just makes things worse. I try to do something tangible to handle perceived problems, but my stress and anxiousness just turn it all into worry. My house gets (more) messy, I raise my voice and watch too much TV (and then get mad at myself for yelling and being lazy) and end up having a bad day (and sometimes causing bad days for those around me...sorry Ben).

And all of that mess happens just because I place too much value on things that change and are out of my control. Things that are part of me, but aren't really me.

It's so hard for women (I'm using women now because I'm really hoping this isn't just a problem I have) to compliment themselves, to admit their good traits, their strengths (inherent strengths, not those that exist only because of our relationships and thus are dependent on those relationships). I think it's because we don't want to be seen as bragging, or full of ourselves, or to have it proven wrong. Kinda like how you can't ever say you're humble. But then we internalize it too much, and we end up having trouble even thinking of our good qualities, and then when the external things get crazy and messed up it's hard to find anything solid to hang on to while we get it figured out.

I'm trying to get to know myself again. Over the last few years so much has changed and I've felt so swept up in it that I've lost touch with who I am and with what makes me tick. I know what I do, I know where I fit, but the rest of it is kind of jumbled sometimes.

I'm hoping that as I find these things about myself - my gifts, my passions, my strengths and areas where I have the opportunity to ask for help and utilize the strengths of others (how's that for positive wording). I want to be able to help others again, I want to engage in the world around me instead of just observe it, I want to get rid of these insecurities and doubts that take me away from my family and friends.

Monday, October 06, 2008

5 minute cake


cerial bowl
6 tbs flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 or 2 tsp coco
2 tsp sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp oil
water to make it cake batter like

microwave for 90 seconds, let sit until you can hold the bowl without burning yourself, enjoy.

All measurements are approximate. I think it's the ratio that's more important than the actual amounts. I use a dessert spoon, not an actual measuring spoon. Flour and coco are heaping, baking soda is just the tip. Sugar amounts vary by mood. I taste test before I cook it. Be careful, it's addictive, I've warned you.

This is actually a very flexible recepie, feel free to make your favorite cake. Carrot, almond, vanilla, marble, spice, orange chocolate. mmmm, cake

Saturday, October 04, 2008

23 Months

Really? She's already that big? Are you sure?

Hana is such a big girl right now. As always she's talking up a storm. Sentences are the norm now - rarely does she put less than 3 words together at a time. She's also extremely independent. She knows how to ask for help, and until she asks it's best just to leave her be and figure it out on her own.

New accomplishments this month include learning how to strip and potty training. Yes the two are related. Ben put her up to bed one night and later went to check on her. She ran over to the bed and said "Diapy!" while pointing at the corner. She was naked. So far she's doing great with the potty - only a handful of accidents all week! I'm so proud of her, and thrilled that my days of changing toddler diapers are soon coming to a (temporary) end.

She knows most of the letters of the alphabet now. One of her favorite things to do is give us a pen and get us to write the letters so she can name them. She also has started singing along with us when we sing kids songs - probably due to the never-ending kids music we endured for a few weeks after Eli was born. We've also started playing "I Spy" with her picture books and she's getting really good at finding shapes, colours and different objects.

Every day she needs me less and less. It's exciting - as a parent that's a great accomplishment, to be able to equip my children for life without me. It's also a little sad to realize that she'll never need me like this again, that already her need of me is a choice and not always a necessity. I'm so proud of her, amazed by her and thrilled to see the wonderful child she's becoming.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I've just had a realization. I'm sitting here watching So You Think You Can Dance Canada and realized it doesn't have nearly the press or hype or following that the US version has. It's a bit disappointing. There always seems to be a stigma that Canadian TV isn't as good as it's US counterpart. Unfortunately, that carries over to Canadian talent, and many artists, performers and athletes get overlooked.

I know that the CRTC requires a certain amount of Canadian content from all of it's broadcasters, but that doesn't apply to the American channels that we all watch on a regular basis. It's possible to not see Canadian content at all and still catch all the popular prime time shows.

I think that's part of the reason Canadian athletes have so much trouble finding sponsorship (which translates into less funding, less press and less training). We're so close to the U.S and so inundated with their stars that we don't notice our own. I wonder if this happens less with other countries because there are usually either physical or language barriers, pr perhaps less media carry over.

I'm a huge supporter of Canadian talent - what can I say, I'm proud to be Canadian and local support is something I'm working on (local sports, talent, farmers, everything). I just find it so disappointing that the U.S. media has blinded us from seeing what wonderful things our country has to offer.

(of course, the way the government has cut funding to the arts might have something to do with it too....)