Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just Ten Minutes

The older two kids are at a party this evening. That meant that I came home from our weekly family supper with Doug's parents, by myself with the two littlest girls. I mentioned before that I had a crazy week. Well, one day into the weekend and I don't quite feel like I've recovered. So I'll admit that I just wanted to get into the house with the girls and get them to bed as fast as I could. Sarah erupted into tears as I tried to tuck her into the bed with Arianna so I quickly gave up that fight and gently plunked her into mine and Doug's bed.

I thought I'd just hug and kiss her and slip out. "P'ease a 'tory?" I hear as tiny arms are wrapped around my neck. I took a deep breath and read a story to two sweet daughters on either side of me. Arianna headed to her own bed and I turned off the light in our room.

The same little voice then exclaims "We 'got a brush a teef!" I tried to tell her they were fine and we could do them in the morning. Her response: "But see Mom, dere dirty!" as her sweet mouth was wide open to show me. With a gentle sigh, I tell her to hop out of bed and she scrambled to the end where I was waiting. So with her legs around my waist, her arms clinging to my neck and her head nesting on my shoulder, she whispers "thank you Mom".

I just wanted to remind myself that in the big picture of my 1, 440 minutes in a 24 hour period, those ten minutes were really not that long. Yes, I wanted to hurry the tuck in process. Yes, I wanted to just be alone for a while. But the complete and ultimate adoration of my sweet five year old was worth the extra time. And the connection I made with a {growing up too fast for my liking} nine year old was important too.

I was talking with my sister about the "new year" starting in the fall. To both of us, it's a time where we regroup, make some resolutions and sort things out as school begins. I'm hoping to enjoy my kids as much as possible. To spend time with each of them. I want to play outside and take delight in the things they do. And to remember that bedtime tuck ins are a vital part of their day.

Happy Saturday my friends...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Good Bye Summer

Well, it's almost over... summer of 2013 that is. I really don't think we had many nice days over all and I'm sure I wore jeans or capris and a hoodie more often than not. I'm kind of complaining here since I really like summer. June was a write off as it rained pretty much every. single. day. There was 130mm of recorded rainfall. Seriously. The garden that I attempted was pretty much washed out. Now that we are approaching September, things are slowly falling into a routine.

Joshua has begun his online school with a few days of orientation which has been a huge learning curve for both of us. I think it will be a good year for him and I.

The older girls will also start their traditional school next Tuesday after a (hopefully) relaxing weekend.

For some reason, this ended up being a really busy week and I am paying for it with Sarah's bad mood. She is whiny, clingy and tired. She has spent most of today crying off and on and is really unable to tell me what's going on.

I am thankful that before we get back to school full force, we will have a nice long weekend to spend together as a family. Even if that means games or watching a movie. I see popcorn, treats and maybe a wiener roast in our near future!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday

To Homeschooling Mom of Four blog! On this day in 2007, I began a new venture of blogging. I had no idea where it would go or what it would do. I have written 526 posts so far with my busiest year being 2011 when I posted 130 times. This year might follow close since I'm already at 103 to date. Although I write about a wide variety of things, Sarah is my most common subject followed close behind by the other kids, Doug and homeschooling. I have 51 drafts sitting in a folder, some of which may or may not ever see a publication.

This blog was intended to be a place for me to share my thoughts, visions and dreams. Through it I have found a huge network of homeschooling families as well as amazing and supportive special needs parents. I know that not everyone will agree with what I say but we're all human and I'm okay with that. I do this for myself and if I can encourage someone else with it, then that's all the better.

Thank you for sharing and reading through this journey with me. Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dreams and Detours

For nine months, I waited in delighted expectation for the arrival of our last baby. Like any mom, I had hopes and dreams for this little one. We didn't know by ultrasound but something in me thought the life inside of me was a girl. My instinct was right! I also figured I'd do everything the same for her as I did with the other three kids. Why would anything be different?

When Sarah reached all her milestones late, I really thought nothing of it. Why should she crawl when she had three doting siblings to answer her every beck and call? The tiniest whimper would have her loved ones rushing to aid her. Same thing for walking. Crawling worked fine and she was so little that we all enjoyed carting her around. The fact that she didn't walk till almost 19 months didn't really concern me at the time.

In my ideal world, my baby was going to eat wholesome, nutritious food. I cooked, pureed and froze oodles of ice cube sized portions of the best stuff. And she would have none of it. Despite my best laid plans, my baby was not going to eat vegetables or meat. End. Of. Discussion. I tried and I still do but her diet is rich in carbs, high in {some} fruits and she receives her protein through peanut butter sandwiches. Sometimes she'll eat a hot dog if she's in the mood. I do wonder what people must think of me when I end up explaining her diet. But I can't force chicken or beef into her. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Cheerios are still a favorite.
Of course she LOVES cake!

In the summer of 2011, I thought Sarah was on the road to being potty trained. Because in my ideal world, my kids are toilet trained between the ages of 2 & 3. Why should this last one be any different. I had bought the potties, I bought panties and treats. I thought I was on a roll. And she was until she got sick. She came down with a flu, I ended up going back to diapers for what I had thought would be a temporary thing and all my efforts were... flushed away. Now the mere mention of using it brings her to tears and she is terrified of washrooms.

Like any other parent out there, I had dreams of blissfully sleeping through the night by the time my baby was... 6 months or even a year. I hadn't had a good 'sleeper' till this point but there's always a hope right? I hoped and hoped and hoped. For months which has now turned into years. At one point Sarah was sleeping through the night, in her own bed right beside Arianna. She'd eagerly wake up for a few chocolate chips as a reward and I thought I hit the motherlode. I had successfully taught all four of my children to sleep through the night! And then the same flu bug that kiboshed my potty training efforts also affected her sleep. And to date, I'm sure she has only slept through the night, in her own bed a handful of times. I am not a cry it out parent and Doug and I have always responded to our kids when they cry in the night... even the big ones if they have bad dreams. I don't know what her "issue" is but she can't {or won't} sleep through the night any more. She can start in her own bed with Arianna but will end up beside me at some point. She needs to feel me close and be close to me. Believe me, I have tried.

I wanted to write this post because so often I feel like I have failed a parenting course. I have a diapered, not-sleeping-through-the-night, carbaolic child. Seldom do I think "oh yes, this is the road I had planned", but rather am frequently reminded that it's not MY plan. I have to remind myself of this time and time again. Yes, Sarah is parented differently than the other kids, but she's a different kid. Entirely. I also have to remember that I am doing the best for her that I can. And at the end of the day when her long wispy lashes graze her cheeks, I am so overwhelmed with love for her. Do I wish she was a better eater? Sure. Do I think it would be nice to be done with diapers? Absolutely. Would I love to consistently sleep uninterrupted? Of course! But this is not the course for now. I'm on a detour. And it's taking me to a whole new wonderful world. Something I've been saying to myself (sometimes out loud) is that I need to focus on the journey and not worry about the destination. I am thankful for financial assistance we receive for the diapers. I am grateful that she's still tiny and that we have a king sized bed. Also that Doug sleeps deep enough that she doesn't bother his sleep unless she's dreaming of kick boxing.

I still have a constant fear of being judged. That people will look at me and quietly say to themselves "she really doesn't deserve financial help" or "Sarah is so easy going, why does she need respite" or even "she home schools, that can't be good for her kids".  I'll admit, I resisted the help for quite a while. For almost a year, I was given 4 hours a month for respite services and didn't use any of them. Not one hour. That's changed but it took time for me to relax and enjoy myself while someone else watched her. I've been blessed by two people who love her and care for her on a regular basis during the month ... just enough time for me to do some cleaning, laundry or running around without worrying about where she is or if she's getting into something. I had idealistic dreams, God sent me on a detour that has taught me more in 5 years than I have learned in my life. I'm focusing on our journey... the destination isn't important.

Thanks for listening to me today. This blog post has been in my 'drafts' folder for quite a while I finally gained the courage to share my thoughts.

I am SO blessed! What an amazing little girlie I have!

I'm a Guest Blogger

Today you can read about me on Sylvia's blog Living and Learning With Our New Normal. Feel free to take a moment and hop over there and read my story. If you'd like, I'd love it if you left a comment saying you read it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Five Quick Takes

  • Yesterday, I got so much accomplished. I was determined to get all our bedding washed and dried before bedtime and I did! Every bed had fresh sheets and quilts by late afternoon and it sure felt nice to crawl into a clean smelling bed last night. 
  • Sometimes in the midst of a discouraging week, Sarah pulls off something that totally amazes me. 
This is a song from the movie Camp Rock 2. The last time it was watched here on Netflix was in May. 
Last night out of the blue, she started singing this.
  • I miss taking pictures with my good camera. That's kind of the down side of having a camera on my phone which is much easier and accessible. I think I'm going to make a greater effort and try to take more photos more often.
  • Yesterday I received an encouraging email from a friend. I think it's neat how some things just fall into place, right when you need them.
  • I wrote a blog post to be featured on someone else's blog. I relived the last five years with Sarah from the time she was born till now. It was somewhat refreshing to think back to certain moments and then finally put it all down in words. I'm hoping I didn't leave any thing out...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hello Sunday (Random Thoughts)

For a long time now, Sunday has been my favorite day of the week. At one point it was because we were attending church on Saturday evening which left an entire day for resting and relaxing. Even though we've changed services, I still enjoy the leisurely pace that Sunday morning allows. For the first hour or so, it's just me, a coffee and usually a sleeper clad, bleary eyed five year old who just wants to watch a movie. We sit close together and although she's up, I still feel like I get some "me" time.

I've been trying hard to be thankful for things that are going on in my life. I tend to see the cup as half empty and it takes effort to see the positive side. This morning, Sarah managed to pull down a cup of fairly warm tea off the counter and poured it on herself. She of course, was really upset but I was thankful that the water wasn't boiling hot (we use a Keurig) and that the mug had sat for a few minutes already. So despite the scare that it gave us, Sarah wasn't burned.

Church this morning was a bit different, as the kids who attended VBS last week showed off the songs they learned in front of the congregation. It was kind of chaotic and quite noisy but there is always a feeling of excitement and joy in the air from every one. While we were waiting for the service to start, a friend's dad came up to me and told me how much I remind him of my mom. I really appreciate comments like that because it shows me that people haven't forgotten her.

I was lucky enough to be able to sit back and do some reading today. It felt nice to just relax and enjoy that time.

Friday, August 16, 2013


By a wasp that is. On Wednesday evening, I was in the yard with Sarah watching her play. Both of us were in bare feet when all of a sudden I felt something odd between my big and second toe on my right foot. First it was a bit of a zing, then it hurt REALLY bad. I hobble into the house calling for one of the other kids when Andrea came down wrapped in a towel, fresh out of the shower. At the bottom of the stairs, my legs gave out and I began to cry. Seriously, it hurt that bad. I managed to tell Andrea to get Sarah inside for me and she called the other two kids in. I needed them to get Sarah away from me since I was not in a good state. As the evening went on, the pain radiated up my shin to my knee. I took some Advil to try and ease the hurt. I furiously scanned the internet for ways to make it feel better. Despite my efforts, nothing seemed to make it better. By the next morning, the area near my toes on top of my foot was red, swollen and warm. I made it through the day but I did notice the puffiness increase as time went on. By bedtime and through the night, I was downright uncomfortable. I actually lost quite a few hours of sleep over it. So here's the list of things I've done in an attempt to make my foot feel better:

  • cool cloth (the most relieving, very quickly)
  • Solarcaine (not bad but very short lived relief)
  • Lanacane (longest lasting but not long enough)
  • vinegar and baking soda paste (nothing)
  • bleach (nothing)
  • soaking it in cool water in a sink (effective but inconvenient)
  • scratching (sweet, instant relief; followed by even more itching and burning)

 The night of the sting

The next night (still swollen)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

 Arianna's certificate for her hair donation!

 He's always gotta get to the highest point on a playground!


 "Look Mom, I am a puppy."

 "Where I've Been" Starbucks mug that my sister brought from Vancouver. I'm loving collecting these.

Cute. Sweet. Precious.

One of the props at VBS.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday's Journal

Today was a pretty good day overall. Some downs but lots of ups.  It's been a long time since I really relaxed and took some time for myself. In light of Sarah's recent issue and just the busyness of day to day life, I have felt very stressed. I'm still internally upset over the seizure and trying to sort out how to cope. My stomach still turns over and over any time I think of it and those moments just keep replaying in my mind. The feeling of her limp and then stiff body in my arms is something that will be forever etched in memory.

I tackled and conquered most of the laundry gremlins today. Not all, but a lot. The big girls were at VBS all morning so the house was pretty quiet with just my oldest and youngest around. Then, this afternoon Shaneen came to play with Sarah for a couple of hours. During that time, I hibernated in my room and read a book. Well, about half a book but it's finished now and I get to move on to another one. I am so thankful for those two hours twice a week when Sarah receives all the attention she can possibly handle. She is well cared for and I know that she loves that one on one time.

I think it's hard for us as moms to take a break. We have an "I can do it all" mindset and yet we are so refreshed and rejuvenated after we've stepped away from the chaos that life throws at us. I feel like a better mom after some quiet time and I am able to do things in a more level headed frame of mind. I can know conquer bedtime with a clear head.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thankful Sunday

Well, it doesn't sound nearly as catchy as Thankful Thursday but I really felt like I needed to find some things that I was truly grateful for. I've been feeling really worried since Sarah's little incident last week. I've felt scared, edgy and worried. A lot. So here's what I am thankful for today on this Sunday morning.

  • First, that my sister was with me at the park. She was calm, confident and reassuring. She was the strength that I didn't have (or need) at a very intense time.
  • Second, if what happened to Sarah was any more serious, we were in a large, busy city that I know medical aid would have been easy to access.
  • Third that I was able to quickly reach and speak to a nurse when we arrived home. Although, I don't quite believe it was "nothing to worry about" like she said, I am thankful that those notes will be made on Sarah's chart and we'll be able to discuss it with the doctor. 
  • I'm thankful for the encouragement of friends and family. I don't know if something like this will happen again but I am so appreciate of the prayer and support that I received in a very short time.
  • Once again, my family is a blessing to me. My husband loves me with his whole heart and our children are all amazing in their own way. Parenting teens is a whole new game here and we're trying our best to do what we can.
  • Hugs and cuddling from the kids. Joshua always has been and still a very affectionate kid, even though he's 14. He will still hug and kiss me good-bye and I am grateful for that. Andrea's a little more distant but still frequently leans in for a hug and always comes to say good-night. Every night when she's tucked in, Arianna asks for a snuggle. We pray and then curl up together and talk about her day. Sarah is my cuddle bug. Her phrases "I need a hug-uppy" and "I need a cungle" are the most irresistible words ever and I love hearing them.
  • For the blogs that other moms (and dads) write. I love reading about other people's experiences and my awareness and knowledge of other special needs grows daily. They support and encourage me and I try to do the same.
  • I'm thankful for quiet opportunities such as this when my family is still sleeping and I'm allowed to venture into my own thoughts.
  • For the love of an ever present God. His never fails, even when I do. He waits patiently for me to come back when I insist on handling everything on my own. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Blog Design

Well, I thought it was time for a change on here so I found something new and different. I think I like it!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Scariest 60 Seconds of My Life

The day was completely normal with a highly anticipated trip to visit my sister in Calgary. The drive down was uneventful and we arrived in good time for Alicia and I to have a good visit. Once her youngest woke up, we decided to head to a playground which was about a 7 minute walk away from her house. As my sister and I were chatting near the swings, I saw Sarah trip on a 2 inch curb and land on her hands and knees. She was about 10 feet away and I quickly rushed over to help her up. She didn't appear overly upset other than she pointed to her hand. As I lifted her up, her head flopped backwards, her back arched and then when I gently set her on the ground, her eyes rolled back into her head. I remember screaming for my sister to help. She ran over and asked if she was breathing. We both felt for breathing and as as we did, Sarah gasped for breath and began to cry. I scooped her up and held her close as she continued to cry in my arms. Alicia noticed that under her eyes was quite blue as was the skin around her lips. From the time I saw her trip until I was holding her crying, was probably around 60-90 seconds. She didn't lose consciousness or fall asleep afterwards but she did want to go home. She relaxed in the stroller on the way back and seemed to be pretty much normal after 20 minutes or so. 

I called Sarah's pediatrician and spoke to a nurse who didn't think it was a typical seizure but rather just a reaction to a situation. I'm not totally convinced about that because the fall wasn't that hard or anything serious. One of the things that my sister found online that sounds very much like what occurred was REFLEX ANOXIC SEIZURE. The site says:

"Any unexpected stimuli, such as pain, fear, fright or even a pleasant surprise can cause a seizure. During the seizure the heart stops, the eyes roll, there is a marked pallor (paleness) of the skin and clenching of the jaw. The body also stiffens and there may be jerking movements of the arms and legs.
After a few seconds to half a minute, the heart starts beating again and the body relaxes. The child may remain unconscious for anything from a few minutes to well over an hour as children often fall into a deep sleep afterwards."
Of course this is just something we found on the internet but I'm planning to talk to her doctor about it in a month. 
It's been over 24 hours since this happened and my stomach is still uneasy. The sight of my baby in the state that she was in is something that is etched in my memory forever. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sweet Innocence

There are some days where I just sit back in awe as I watch Sarah play. Right now, her favourite thing to do outside is have a small bit of water in our wading pool that she can play in. Almost constantly she asks "Play pool, water?", indicating that she'd like to play in the pool with some water in it. She loves it when someone is out there simply (I think) just to listen to her chattering. She brought me a jug that was ¼ filled up with water and left it by my feet. Then she made multiple trips to and from the pool with a small container, continuing to fill the jug. She didn't need me to interact or play with her as she was happy as a lark filling up the water jug.

I am in love with her love of life and easy going attitude.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

16 Years

Sixteen years ago, the day dawned bright and sunny, very similar to this morning. In fact, most August 2nd's over the years have been beautiful. 1997 was amazing. I got married. I pushed through elementary school, tolerated junior high, put up with high school, took a couple years of collage and then the day that I knew my life was going to begin was here. I had the frilliest, pouffiest, most ruffly dress I could find. I wanted to be a princess marrying her prince. And I was. 

The phrase on our wedding invitation was:

This day I will marry my friend,
The one I laugh with,
Life for
Dream with

I married my friend. We had dated for exactly 3 years, 3 months and 3 days before we got married. When we went out on our first date to a restaurant called Maxwell Taylors on Jasper Ave, I was pretty sure, I was going to be Doug's wife. Now at the time, he was not quite 17 and I was only 18, but sometimes we know these things anyhow. 

We have gone through our fair share of ups and downs in our marriage. Weddings, funerals of my mom and our grandparents, the births of our four children, the loss of three other pregnancies. One of the greatest blessings in our marriage is that we are not fighters. Seldom do we argue and if we do, it's peaceful and amicable. We are honest with each other and speak carefully to one another. We are peacemakers. 

I am so glad that I can grow old with the man who not just loves me but also adores me and likes me. Doug makes me feel special and good about myself. He is encouraging and supportive. He loves our children and works incredibly hard for us. 

Today we celebrate 16 years of marriage and I am looking forward to the next 16 and beyond.


(still my favourite recent picture)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tantrums and Tears, Monsters and Fears

Yeah, that about sums up what we've been going through lately. Of course, developmentally, all these things are appropriate since they usually occur when children are 3 years old. It then makes sense why Sarah would be going through these stages as well.

  • Tantrums and Tears: They don't look like your stereotypical fit with screaming and kicking wildly on the floor. She's always been a quiet crier, in fact I think I recall my sister saying she sounds like a little kitten mewing. Her tantrum is her wanting something and repeating it over and over and over. And while she's crying, she is almost impossible to talk to or reason with. Tonight for example it was her needing to sleep in my bed. She repeated "I need mom bed!" I'm sure she said it while crying in a panicky voice 30 or more times. I knew I had two choices. One, put her to bed, tuck her in and leave. She'd likely still cry, possibly till she got herself so upset that she'd be sick. That really isn't Doug or my parenting style. Two, I could pick her up, settle her under my covers and know she'd be sleeping in minutes. Tonight, I chose the easy road. Now, I will say, every night, we encourage her to go to her own but sometimes at the end of a long day, I just don't have the fight in me. 
  • Monsters and Fears: Again, this is a very typical phase in a preschooler's life and if we look at Sarah's developmental age, it would seem appropriate that she'd be experiencing fears. Sometimes the fear will come as I'm putting her to bed and she will start crying that there are monsters in the room. I try desperately to tell her that the room is safe and there's nothing wrong but again, she is really hard to reason with. She also will cry out in the night, panicking and searching for me. Quite often in the morning she'll be snuggling in my arms telling me she had a bad or scary dream. She of course can't tell me what the dream was about so all I can really do is console her as best I can.

August 2013: My Goal

I had previously started a blog for the 1000 gifts but that dissolved and I'm disappointed in myself so today I'm going to try to do the gifts for August. The link can be found HERE. Ann is an exceptional author and I love what she puts out there for us moms and wives to think about.

August 1: Three gifts white

  1. The color of my coffee when I add the creamer to it. Yum!
  2. The super soft housecoat that I love to wear on cool mornings.
  3. The keys on my piano that make beautiful music when one of my girls sits down to play.

Thankful Thursday

  1. Despite my occasional vent about being woken up early, I am thankful that I am a morning person. I'm in a phase of life where my oldest two kids like to stay up late (I consider anything after 10, late) and yet my youngest girls like to get up early. That means my window of sleep is very small, as is the amount of alone time I get. Being up early is best without kids. It's a chance for me to sip my coffee, read and catch up on my blogs, both reading and writing.
  2. Tomorrow is Doug and my 16th wedding anniversary. I am so thankful for him and our marriage. I look forward to the next 16 and beyond.
  3. The weather has finally smartened up a bit. It's still not my ideal kind of temperatures for summer and I am beginning to feel a little deprived of those hot days. Yesterday, the kids and I took a walk to a park and spent some time outside. It was nice to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and even burn off some energy.
  4. Doug has been traveling this week (what else is new?) and I am glad we have a long weekend ahead of us. I'm hoping that we will be able to finish off some more of the painting and maybe by posting it on here, it'll actually get done! 
  5. I love my morning coffee. I know it's a small thing, but I go to bed every night looking forward to that first mug of the day! 
  6. I appreciate Sarah's cheerful outlook on most things. The first thing she does when she comes down is looks outside and says "it not raining!" Then she will begin to build her day and tell me what she might do. Her two favourite comments are "I go slide-park" or "play outside, Shee'm". The latter refers to a wonderful young lady who hangs out and plays with Sarah a couple times a week. They are Sarah's most looked forward to days!
  7. Life. I am blessed with an amazing family and great friends. The support and encouragement I receive from them are gifts that keep me going.


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