Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another reason why I love my husband

I love my husband.

He is endlessly patient, hard-working, and loving. If we have a problem he assumes it's something he needs to fix. He's good and kind and makes me want to be a better woman. 

Our marriage is far from perfect, but we know we're in this together and we know that the tough times will come and go and that we are best friends through it all. 

Saturday night I washed my cell phone. He didn't even blink an eye, even after a week of lots of bills being paid and big expenses. If he had washed his cell phone after the week we'd had financially, I would have yelled. But he didn't even remotely react badly.  The phone came back to life on Sunday morning (happy birthday to me!) and worked fine yesterday... then this morning I realized that most of the buttons weren't working. Which makes it difficult to use.

Again, instead of being upset- Daniel came home with a new phone for me tonight. Nothing fancy, just another pre-paid phone, but it works and has the features I need and he bought it all on his own without me asking him to.

Yet another reason why I love him.  I am so blessed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What I've been waiting for since January 2009. Seriously.

In January 2009, the ultrasound tech said "it's a girl!" and I started dreaming of frills and pink and bows. Vivian is showing signs of being a tomboy, so I'm taking advantage of her inability to choose her own clothes and have been dressing her in the girliest things ever. Like this.  This is the pinnacle of girlyness and I giggled with happiness the entire time I was taking pictures.  And yes, I tried various hair accessories to see what was cutest :)


Some of the pictures are kind of hard to look at because she's getting to be such a little girl- not so much a cute baby anymore!!! Speaking of cute babies, have you seen this trailer for the movie Babies? I think it looks so cute and I think it'll be interesting to see how kids live their 1st year in different parts of the world.


I wasn't compensated for posting a link to the Babies trailer, but I was entered into a prize drawing over at BzzAgent as thanks for posting information. The cute pictures of Vivian I posted just because I wanted to :)

Sugar-free jello versus cake. The choice is clear, right?

So, yesterday was my birthday. I turned 33. More about that in a moment.  As you all know, I'm doing Weight Watchers right now, and I've been trying to not eat dessert or sugary foods, but since it was my birthday we stopped at the store and picked up a couple of individual slices of cake.  Then we came home and had our usual crazy evening with the kids.  And at one point I made some sugar-free jello because I had a bad week weightloss- (gain!) wise last week, and I wanted to be prepared for this week.

The evening wound down and we got Ethan to go to bed and we ate our sushi and tried to keep Vivian from chewing on the cable cords, and she finally went to sleep and it was almost cake time.  Which is when I looked up to see Daniel dishing himself up a big bowl of sugar-free jello. Not part of the two pieces of cake, a big bowl of sf jello.  When I asked him about this, he told me that he would have some cake, and cut off the teensiest tiniest bit of cake ever and put it in his bowl.

People, I am married to a man that voluntarily chooses sf jello over cake. No, he wasn't just saving it for me, he knew we'd gotten enough for both of us, and I'd told him to help himself to cake right before he went to get his dessert.  I'm still confused by this.  A friend suggested this morning that it was probably an Asian thing, which is likely true. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and then grew up eating traditional foods and they just don't eat much sugar. My friend and I also ranted a bit about the horror that's Chinese cake.  It's total false advertising, all pretty and sugary-looking and then it's like eating bread covered in barely sweet whipped cream. So wrong.

In other news, I found out yesterday that I share a birthday with Kate Gosselin of reality TV fame .Which is fine- except for the fact that she turned 35 yesterday. And I think of her as a definite grown-up- she has 8 kids and is divorced and is unquestionably an adult. And she's only 2 years older than I am, which means I'm very likely older in real life than I am in my mind.  I'm having trouble dealing with that reality.

It sounds like Vivian is tiring of being in her pack-n-play- I was really hoping she'd give in and take a nap, but no luck with that.  Ethan actually is honoring me with one of his rare naps today- hurray for morning playdates that exhaust kids!  But this will give Vivian a chance to play with her toys without them being ripped out of her hands ever 30 seconds. The hazards and trials of being a younger sister!

Have a good Monday, everyone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A decade ago!

I was just watching a local TV show, and they were asking "where were you a decade ago" in relation to a local event. And then I stopped and thought about it and realized that a decade ago was the beginning of a huge, life-altering journey for me- my year living and working as a missionary in Ukraine!

A decade ago I had just arrived in Kyiv, where I spent a few days with a friend of a friend, getting to know lots of people and seeing some of the city. I celebrated my 23rd birthday there- hard to believe how very young I was when I set out on a year alone on the other side of the world.

Soon after my birthday I headed south to the city where I would be living and working for a year. I spent a few weeks living with a local family and trying to function even though they spoke no English and I spoke no Russian. A few weeks later I moved to a flat in the center of the city where I lived with a dear older American woman who had spent many months living in Ukraine and developing relationships and friendships with the people there.

It was quite a year- I studied Russian at the local university, worked with AIDS orphans in the local hospitals (that's a whole other heartbreaking story), taught English classes, traveled a bit, made tons of friends (who are almost all on Facebook now!), found a new boyfriend (another long story!), and finished doing a lot of growing up.  It was a life-changing year- one that was challenging and full of loneliness and friendships all at the same time. I wouldn't change it for the world!


 
 Galina and Pavel, the local couple that I lived with when I first arrived in Donetsk

My flat was on the bottom floor- the one with the windows enclosed.


If you look at the wall on the left side of the picture you can see the "propaganda radio" on the wall. You could not change the station on this radio or turn it off, only turn down the volume a bit.


There were giant cockroaches that lived in this kitchen, and no microwave! But I learned to function here pretty well!

My Russian teacher, Marina

My dear friend Yana with one of the AIDS babies


With my Ukrainian friends on a trip to Yalta. Almost every Ukrainian has this same picture! 


On a trip to Western Ukraine to visit people I met during my first trip to Ukraine in 1998. 


St. Andrew's in Kyiv

I need to come up with a plan...

I need a plan to actually keep money in our bank accounts. It's practically falling out lately.  One expense after another.  We knew it was going to be tough living on one income- and thanks to Daniel's company cutting salaries as well as me not working, we're down to 50% of the income that we were living on a few years ago. With about 120% of the expense. Pretty common problem, I realize, and thankfully we're already very very frugal, and have savings to cover emergencies.

But still. I hate spending money on anything. We shop clearance for everything, are huge bargain shoppers and keep our expenses to what we consider a minimum. I'm sure there are other things we could do, but overall I think we do a pretty good job.

My main problem is in remembering that sometimes relationships matter more than expenses. Today I just bought a bridesmaid's dress and am getting ready to buy a plane ticket to the wedding as well.  The dress cost over twice as much as my wedding dress. Because I bought my wedding dress on ebay :) That's how cheap we are. To add insult to the cost today, I had to order a plus size which cost $20 more. Even though I'm losing weight, we can't count on me losing more before the wedding (in 3 months), and I have to have a dress that fits. Still, I'm going to be annoyed if (when?) I have to pay to have the fabric that I paid extra for cut out of the dress.

This is good for me though, I need to have this perspective on money fixed- to remember that being there for my friend and a part of her big day is worth spending money. Saving money and being cheap is good, but it has to be within reason. This expense is not going to keep me from feeding my family or paying our bills, in any way. And we've been planning for this and budgeting for it and it fits in our budget now. It's still really hard for me to spend large chunks of money, but I know it's something that I don't currently have quite right in my brain and I need to reprioritize.


That all being said, I'm going to go try to figure out a way to stop our bank account leak. Duct tape fixes everything. Right? :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday

As usual, I'm better today after whining here yesterday. Thanks so much to you guys for your nice comments and for the emails that I received. You're the best.

I just need to suck it up and realize that this is, as everyone told me it would be, a challenging time of life. My kids are young and close together in age and both learning and developing little personalities.  My tendency is to focus on the negative and I need to quit that.

I made a comment on Facebook last night similar to what I wrote about, and was humbled to get comments on that from several friends that I have with 3 kids close in age. I do not know how they handle it. And why they didn't just tell me to quit whining and threaten to ship one or more of their kids in my direction :) I deserve that.

And I chatted online with another blog friend whose attitude just never ceases to amaze me. She not only has three kids, including one baby, but she works nights. And then comes home and takes care of her baby all day. Which means that she's doing this mom thing on almost no sleep. I'm practically incapacitated by an occasional night of baby teething.

I'm glad to have other mom friends who let me know that it's okay to be tired and stressed by my kids, but who also remind me that I am not in this alone and that motherhood is sometimes just a lot of work.  What's the saying, this is the hardest job I've ever loved? So true!

Hope your weeks are full of funny kid moments and lots of hugs. Love to you all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tired

I was talking to a friend at church on Sunday. She has a new baby and a toddler, and her kids are at about the same age span as mine. And since her kids are little, she's still in the "am I ever going to leave the house again" stage. I assured her that it gets easier. Then I should have shut up, but continued talking and said "and then it gets harder again."

My kids fight EVERY WAKING MOMENT. If I turn my back for a second, someone pushes someone or steals a toy from someone or does something bad to someone else. And, as I mentioned the other day, sometimes Vivian just starts yelling as soon as Ethan is in the same room as her and I have no idea who to yell at.

Today Ethan kicked Vivian in the face. With his shoes on. And laughed. I wanted to cry.  And that was at 11 AM, which meant there were hours to go, and this was by no means their first bad interaction of the day.  He did end up taking a nap, and Vivian did not, so she did have some time on her own, and she just sat and played with her toys and smiled because no one was tackling her or stealing her toys for an extended period of time.

I am utterly exhausted.  The kids haven't been sleeping well (thanks, teething), so we've been up all night, then dealing with this all day.  I am holding on tight to the hope of the kids playing quietly together at some point in the future, leaving me time to actually do all the multitudes of things on my to-do list. Which practically expands before my eyes these days.

Please, someone, tell me it gets easier. And if it's going to get hard again after that, please DON'T tell me. I'm reaching the end of my energy and patience. I need some hope.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trying to make plans for this Sunday... my birthday!

I have a birthday right around the corner- this coming Sunday I will turn 33! It's funny, I keep waiting to feel like a real grown-up, but despite having kids, a husband, mortgages, degrees, a career and being in my early/mid 30s, I still feel like a total imposter. :)

Anyway, my birthday is Sunday, so we'll have church, but what we do after that is currently under negotiations.   Daniel really wants to get a sitter and take me out for dinner- which is SO sweet of him to think about and want to plan.

Truthfully though, I really just want a cheeseburger for lunch and take-out sushi for dinner. I want to watch a silly movie and eat my sushi in my pjs in front of the TV with a glass of wine.  That sounds utterly divine to me. Oh, and cake, of course.

My birthday plans heavily revolve around food because I've been on Weight Watchers for almost 2 months now.  And it's working, I'm down 11 pounds, which is pretty good, given that I'm only just over 5 feet tall, so little losses make a big difference.  But I weigh-in on Sunday mornings, which means my sometimes-cheat-day is Sunday, and since it's my birthday, I really want to take advantage of this. 

Daniel is a naturally skinny guy who is not obsessed with food, so he doesn't understand my logic at all, and I know he thinks I'm just trying to save money or something. I have 6 days to bring him around to my side :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vivian

My little baby is almost 10 months old. Do you realize what that means? Her first birthday is just around the corner! How did that happen?  It really is mind-blowing to think about her being that old.

And oh my goodness, the girl developed some personality lately! Daniel and I have been joking that her cold virus brought her all sorts of other things. She's trying desperately to give up napping- I can usually get her down for about an hour per day. Total. Insane.

And when I'm not trying to get her to nap, Vivian's busy exerting her new screaming skills. Most of the time it's deserved screaming, as Ethan spends about 90% of his time sitting on her or taking toys from her or pushing her over. There is nothing he finds more amusing than watching people fall over (I think this is some boy thing, and the reason why men like the Three Stooges), so pushing his sister to make her fall over is, in his mind, a good time for all.  Vivian also starts yelling when she wants attention- Daniel and I are starting to realize that we are feeding into this by assuming that Ethan has done something to her every time she yells, so now she's yelling ahead of time to get her way. Sneaky. I'm secretly proud.

I'm also starting to realize that I might not get to win the girly-girl battle much longer.  I dress Vivian in frilly dresses and hairbows, then she beelines off to play with Ethan's trucks and construction equipment and tricycle, leaving her dolls in the dust. Let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than the sight of a ruffled bum crawling off to play with a toy dump truck.

It's still weird to me to see my kids becoming real little people. They aren't my babies anymore, they are kids with their own personalities and opinions. That's scary and thrilling all at the same time. 

For your viewing pleasure- some random cute pictures of Miss Vivian. And one with Mr. Ethan as well.

Her shirt reads "Cutest Little Tax Deduction". We were doing our taxes that day


Friday, March 19, 2010

Things that are making me happy today

What a nice day today! I'm in such a good mood and thought I should actually blog happy instead of waiting for my usual angsty mood to hit :)  Things that are making me happy today:
  • Sunshine. And 60-something degrees. It's just perfect outside. Of course, we are inside, but we'll probably head out again later.
  • Time to meet up with friends. We finally got out of quarantine today and were able to meet up with friends at a coffee shop. The play area was only lightly populated when we got there, and then we soon had the place to ourselves. So the kids were able to run around and dance and be loud and wear themselves out. It was a good morning.
  • Lizzie's daughter Lucy's dancing. The girl has moves.  There were several times that Lizzie and I were laughing so hard that we could barely breathe. It was fabulous.  There is very little in this world that's more fun than watching a 1 1/2 year old dance.
  • A free Saturday tomorrow! Daniel just called to tell me that we do not have to drive an hour and a half each way tomorrow to check on the ridiculously expensive septic tank repairs at our rental property. I am thrilled, since spending a nice Saturday in the car to check out a septic system was not sounding so exciting. But Daniel's love language is quality time together, so I was trying to keep my mouth shut :)
  • My kids are a handful these days, but they're so much fun too! It blows my mind that Ethan's just a few months away from being 3 years old, and my little baby is going to be 1 even sooner! But they are so much fun and it's great to see their little personalities really developing. I feel like I can have actual conversations now with Ethan and really interact with him, which is nice.  Vivian is busy trying to figure out how to stand up from crawling. She can pull herself up if there's furniture nearby, but she really wants to stand. Since I'm anti-vacuuming, I'm all for anything that gets her further away from the dirty floor. 
  • To top off a nice day today, tonight is our home fellowship. We're reading a great book about prayer, so I'm looking forward to catching up with the other couples in our group and hearing what God is doing in their lives these days and hearing what the book had to say to everyone.
  • And did I mention sunshine!  It's supposed to be sticking around for a few days too, which is so exciting. This winter has completely rocked here in Seattle. I'm hoping for a sunny spring too!
Happy Friday and Happy Spring, everyone! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts on being in a mixed-culture marriage

 A picture from last month- the relevance will be clear if you stick with me all through this post. If you look closely, you can see that Vivian is wearing American flag leggings and her shirt says "all american girl", while Ethan's wearing his Canada hockey jersey :)

Our census form came yesterday and I immediately filled it out- because I have a secret love of filling out forms.  I'm not kidding, I love them! No idea why, maybe it just appeals to my organized personality in some way. Daniel doesn't mind, as he hates filling out forms and being expected to remember things like his own birthday or social security number.  I swear, there's an entire section of his brain that he just downloaded to me when we got married and immediately erased. Because I know he was functional and had to keep track of things for the 38 years of his life before I showed up, but now I'm around to remember for him :) It works.

Anyway, yesterday I was filling out census forms and putting in everyone's name and ethnicity. And again realizing that my kids are going to have a lifetime of checking multiple boxes in the ethnicity/race section of forms. I'm just glad they live in a time where checking multiple boxes is an option. I know that hasn't always been true.

Then today I was drowning out the kids' coughing and sneezing with my iPod (mother of the year!) and listening to a Family Life Today podcast while I wiped noses. The episode that I was listening to was an author who is in a mixed culture marriage, and she has done a lot of research into that topic and mixed-race marriages as well. 

To be honest, I sometimes forget that I'm in both a mixed culture and mixed race family.  Other than the whole Canadian/American thing, that's too big of a culture gap to miss- my husband rarely watches football, but the TV is often on curling or hockey!

Honestly, in a lot of ways this hasn't been a big problem for Daniel and I so far. We live in Seattle and a huge number of our friends and people in the community are also in mixed culture/race marriages.  And despite being raised by families who spoke different languages and lived on opposite sides of the world, our parents' backgrounds had a lot of similarities and we were raised largely the same in many ways.  And then there's the fact that Daniel has been living in "my" world for a long time.  Since they emigrated to Canada when he was a young boy, he's been watching the same music and TV that I would have if I was his age (yes, we have a 10-year-age gap on top of everything else!), and our pop cultural references are more or less the same.

Our families never questioned our marriage or gave us a hard time about marrying someone from another ethnic background.  So, like I said, it's been pretty easy.

Honestly, the biggest challenge has been in a couple of areas. One I've written a lot about here - my challenges with his family and understanding them.  I think Daniel's total immersion in "my" world plays a role in that- when we're here at home he eats the same food as I do and speaks the same languages and understands the same things, then we visit his family and it's like being on a different planet- and my husband suddenly is one of the aliens. He speaks a different language and eats completely different foods and is part of this world that I don't even remotely understand.

The other major area of challenge is also on my part- my worries about raising kids that accept both parts of who they are. On my side, they're something like 15th or 16th generation Americans, and on the other side they're the first generation born in North America.  Ethan's great-great grandfather on my side of the family was born just blocks from where he was born, and on the other side his great-great-grandparents were born somewhere in China, in an entirely different world and society. But both parts of the family history are important for the kids to know. I think a lot about this as they're getting older.  It's especially challenging because Daniel's from the "just assimilate with the country you live in generation" and he's lost a lot of the information that I want to pass on to the kids about traditions and cultural references. And even with language- although Daniel's truly bilingual, it doesn't occur to him to speak Chinese to the kids, because that's not the language that he speaks unless he's around his parents.

I'm glad to be a part of this new family- even though I don't understand it at all. I'm praying for wisdom in my relationships with my in-laws and for helping the kids learn and respect who they are.  It's still strange to be checking boxes for ethnicity for my kids that I don't check for myself, but it's a fun kind of strange, and I know it's going to be an interesting journey for us all. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More thoughts on motherhood- and on my struggle for balance

Last night was hands down the worst night we've had in our home since Vivian's first weeks of life. Ethan came down with a cold on Sunday morning, and since he's in the sharing everything with his baby sister stage, and she's in the put everything in her mouth stage, her catching the cold was kind of inevitable.

We've been very fortunate to date- Vivian's only had one day of a mild cold until now. Even teething, she's pretty easy to deal with and low-key.  She rarely cries or even fusses.  So we were due for something.  And hats off to those of you with cranky, colicy kids. Can't imagine how you do it.

Last night Vivian slept in 15 minute sessions. In our bed. So pretty much every time Daniel and I would drift off, we were immediately woken up by a screaming baby. And she wasn't even acting sick last night, so we were kind of confused- kept giving her teething medication and tummy drops and things like that, since she didn't seem to have the cold, but was just so very off.

When morning finally rolled around she started sneezing and coughing and definitely now has a full-fledged cold. So I was prepared to spend the day wiping her nose and Ethan's and not doing much else.

Of course, I did make the mistake of checking my work email. And found one of  my projects waiting. We get these projects randomly from a large company we work for. I'm one of the few people at my company who can do these assessments- I look at the chemicals that the pregnant woman is exposed to and make recommendations to the medical director at the company as to which chemicals she probably should not work with during her pregnancy.  It's a fast turnaround project everytime, and it's something I really love doing.  There are a few other people who can do the projects if I'm not available, but thanks to our national conference last week, they're all out of the office.

Here's the thing- I have 5 days to get this project done and reviewed by my boss. It doesn't have to be done right this second. But I'm such a "get it done immediately" person that I usually do drop everything and plow through it right away. I can't stand having things on my to-do list.

So this is a learning experience for me. Reminding myself that work comes second, that I can and will still get it done on time, maybe not as fast as usual, but on time. And that my kids are at the top of my list of priorities. Way at the top. And that my job title right now is Mom, and that's the most important job title that I could possibly have.  It's still making me a little nuts to not be able to get right to my work, but that's okay.

Vivian's napping now, which is why I'm blogging and not holding her or working :) In case you were wondering. But now Ethan's done with his "coloring" (read drawing on the table and throwing the crayons on the floor), so I need to wrap-up and close.

Hope you're all staying well. Keep those icky cold germs far away from your homes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The blessing of challenging times

Things have been challenging here lately. I've written a lot about most of it, but to recap- financial problems, not-to-serious-but-worrisome health problems for Ethan, a very close family member being diagnosed with a progressive auto-immune disease, and another very close family member telling me about a serious case of osteoporosis and the very real threat of a broken hip or back at any time. Add that to a lot of stress at Daniel's job and my struggles with trying to adapt to the change from income-generating career woman to stay-at-home-mom... and things have just been challenging. Not bad, challenging.

I heard someone recently (and I cannot remember who said this, I apologize!) make the statement that it's not climbing the mountain that's going to drive you insane, it's the grain of sand in your shoe while you make the climb. I told Daniel that and he laughed and agreed that that statement definitely applies to us lately.

Today I ended up going to church by myself since Ethan woke up with a cold. And I am so blessed that I did. It was the first time in probably a year that I've been able to just sit and listen to the service without any distractions of kids or nursing or pregnant bladder to distract me. It was a great sermon, but I also had time during the worship and prayers to reflect on all the things that God has been telling me lately through some wonderful Christian blogs and books and podcasts.  Pretty much everything that I have heard lately has been speaking directly to me and saying "Stop worrying about what all these little things mean to your life.  You are on the path that I put you on. Focus on Me and what I want your life to be. Trust Me, I know what I'm doing and I am doing this all for a higher purpose than what you can understand.  Immediate happiness and ease of living is not My goal for you.  Have faith."

I'm like a lot of people, when things get easy I tend to slip in my devotions and prayer life.  It takes a jolt to make me wake up and realize that I've drifted and need to refocus and get back on track. I'm so glad to serve a God who is patient with me and is there holding out His hand and waiting for me.  Once again (I know I've said this here many times before, and I'm sure I will many times in the future!) I need to refocus off the things of daily life and on the One who holds my daily life in His hands.

Our church is starting a Bible study on the book of Ruth this week, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible, so I'm hopeful about being able to fit that into my schedule.  It's always nice to hear other people's insights and wisdom first hand. And to get to chat with some wonderful women from my church is nice too.

In other news, how totally annoying is this switching on and off daylight savings time when you have small kids? And Vivian is teething and Ethan has a cold, so their sleep is already messed up- we have no idea what time it is or who should be sleeping when! :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Weight Watchers and heavy cream

I think that the members of my family spend about 90% of their time thinking about food.  In my case, it's what foods to avoid and how many points I've spent on food and how many I have left and how am I going to get through the evening with only 100 calories left! Of course I'm also consumed with trying to remember how many bottles Vivian has had and how many solid food meals she's had. And thinking about what to cook for dinner that will be healthy for me and not cause my skinny husband to lose any weight...

Oh, and then there's Ethan.  We had an appointment yesterday with the occupational therapist. The good news is that we're all on the same page. Thinking that the problem is a combination of 1) Ethan being ultra-sensitive to anything in his mouth and gagging easily, 2) Ethan having developed a phobia of food, thanks to his frequent gagging and vomiting (including vomiting a bunch of goldfish crackers into my hands at the Pull-Ups Potty Dance Party at the Pacific Science Center yesterday! Thanks, Ethan!), and 3) Ethan being 2 1/2 and in the throes of the contrary, saying no to everything stage.

She did give us some hints- we're going to continue pushing the nutritional supplement drinks, since he's actually been losing weight  lately. And we are supposed to distract him during meals as much as possible- toys, TV, whatever. Anything to take his mind off the fact that something is in his mouth. We're also trying to slowly re-introduce real food. Very slowly. Like set a piece of sandwich in front of him and ask him to touch it one day and smell it the next and maybe taste it a few days later.  This is going to involve lots of patience on my part and Daniel's part- so that is about training us as much as anything else!  And the OT is going to try to find a feeding support group for Ethan, so he can get used to being around other kids while they're eating and see that it's not a bad thing.

In my weight news, I've lost about 8 pounds so far, which I'm happy with, given that I haven't been exercising and haven't been sticking to the diet particularly closely on a number of weekend trips.  That's the important thing for me at this stage- to lose weight in a way that I can maintain later. Really altering my lifestyle on a permanent basis.  I did make myself a promise to figure out a way to fit more exercise into my life once I hit a certain weight, and I'm almost there, so I'm going to have to work on that soon :)

I hope you all have a great weekend. We are going to try to work on our taxes. That should be all sorts of fun!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My turn to be the optimist

My beloved husband is an optimist. So much so that it annoys the crap out of me. Nothing ever gets him down. EVER. There's always a bright side. My life motto is pretty much- "it can't be as bad as I think it is as long as Daniel isn't worried."

People, Daniel is worried.  His job, which he really likes, has been incredibly draining lately, and this is all on top of him being paid significantly less than he used to be paid there, because of some salary cuts (hopefully temporary ones, but we don't know). He wants his company to do well and is pouring his life into it, but the challenges just seem to be never-ending. And then there's the vacancy at our rental property plus the crazy, mind-numbingly huge check that we're writing for repairs to the septic system there. Again.

So, it's apparently my turn to step up and be the optimist. To remind him that God knows what we're going through and that this is just a season. That we're still okay in the big picture and that this is just a low point for us and that things WILL get better. I think it's good for us- even the strong person in a marriage needs a break sometimes and a chance to be tired and discouraged for a while.

In other news, Ethan's meeting with the physical therapist on Thursday- they told me to bring him hungry but not starving, and with a food that he likes to eat and one that he doesn't want normally want to eat.  I'm baffled by the idea of a food that he likes to eat- I'm not sure there are any, really! And for foods we want him to eat, that would be anything. Today he had 2 nutritional drinks and a few bites of applesauce. Total of 600 something calories- far short of the 1100/day goal set by the GI doctors.  It's going to be an interesting adventure.

BUT- in other good news, I get to meet Ashley and her kids tomorrow! I'm so excited, I love (and am totally scared of) meeting my blog friends! It's going to be fun!

If you're interested, I'm giving away a $100 visa card!

At review blog #2 (long story, but because of my advertising restrictions, I had to put this new review on a separate blog) I have a review of some great new OxiClean products- and a $100 gift card giveaway! Here's the link!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another trip to Children's Hospital done

Visiting Children's Hospital is always a humbling and emotional experience- and I always leave being thankful for my child's relative good health and praying for strength for the parents there who are going through every parent's nightmare.

As you all know, Ethan doesn't eat and therefore doesn't gain weight or grow.  He used to have a lot of problems with gagging and vomiting, but now he just hates food. Yes, he's not possibly my child! About a month ago we had a visit to the GI department at Children's and today was our follow-up appointment.  Ethan also had an upper GI x-ray as well. The x-ray showed that nothing is anatomically wrong. So we were happy about that, but when we went to the GI appointment, we found out that after a month of supplementing with high-calorie drinks... Ethan lost weight.

So, every test that's been run is showing nothing wrong. He just doesn't eat. We're all thinking that he may have had a problem when he was young that led him to not want to eat- and then last year he had a terrible stomach flu from which he never quite recovered. So it's a matter of getting him to have better associations with food. And continuing the high calorie supplements. That was the best news today- since Ethan's needing the supplements for a diagnosed medical problem, we might be able to get insurance or other financial help paying for them, which would be great, because these things are expensive. 

Other than that, we're plugging along here. Things have been challenging financially- we ended up with a mind-numbingly expensive repair at our rental property. And a vacancy too. We're really praying to be able to sell that place soon, it's turning into a bit of a money pit!

But the kids are so ridiculously cute lately, which makes things so much better. Ethan is talking up a storm and makes me laugh constantly.  He's still micromanaging my every move-it's pretty funny to have a 2 1/2 year old trying to direct my every move. It took me days to convince him that it was okay for me to wear a sweater instead of a coat when we went out in nice weather. I really am loving these days- I'm exhausted, but it's so worth it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Update on the kids

I have been such a terrible "mom" blogger lately- it's all about me lately- not about the kids!

Vivian had her 9 month appointment yesterday and she's incredibly healthy and well.  Her eczema is almost non-existent now, thanks mostly to the wonderous Aveeno lotion that I've been using on her. It's practically miraculous.  She's dropped off a bit in the percentage for weight- at 16 pounds 7.5 ounces now, which puts her in the 10th percentile. But she grew a lot in length- she's up to 26 3/4 inches, in the 50th percentile! Go, Vivian!

Ethan has suddenly become super-affectionate, which we're loving.  He's never been a clingy or huggy kid, but now he wants to give us hugs and kisses all the time.  He mostly loves to hug and kiss Vivian- he thinks she's the best little person to hang out with ever!

Here's a picture from today when I told Ethan he could go talk to Vivian, since she wasn't napping.
How cute are they?

Vivian's Canadian citizenship card showed up today. This is what she has to show for the rest of her life to prove she's a Canadian citizen! 
 

Overall, the kids are doing great and growing and getting into everything. Daniel and I are utterly exhausted- having two kids this close in age is a lot of work. A lot of joy too though- we're not complaining! Just wishing for a little more rest... :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

In our family we have high-maintenance versus low-maintenance

In our family there are two distinct personalities:

Myself and Ethan. HIGH MAINTENANCE.  Yes, that has to be capitalized. Everything is seriously dramatic. EVERYTHING.  We drop a toy- we expect the world to stop and worry and pick it up and give it to us and be concerned about everything.

Those other two people. In our case, Daniel and Vivian. We've discussed Daniel's patient, unbelievably good-natured self here ad nauseum. Today Vivian exhibited the fact that she is her father's daughter during her 9-month appointment. Everything was fine and good and the nurse exclaimed over and over about her good nature. And then the nurse gave Vivian the first of two shots and Vivian didn't even cry. And then the nurse gave Vivian the second shot and Vivian obligingly whined a bit and then got over it within about 0.1 seconds.  The nurse looked at me in utter confusion.  I informed her that yes, I know Vivian is the easiest baby ever, and that she is always this happy.

It's so confusing for a high-maintenance person to be the wife and mother of low-maintenance people. When I'm upset, I tell people. In fact, I tell EVERYONE.  But nice, good-natured people have to be drawn out and worked on and time has to be spent on their emotions. I spend a lot of time praying these days to understand the happy, kind, good-natured people in my life. I'm so very grateful for them. But I don't understand them at all.

We went to Victoria this weekend. It was a good trip. Insane, as trips with two small kids tend to be, but good. Except we returned at 9 PM last night to a dead car battery. Our car is high maintenance like Ethan and I. It was again dead at 8:45 this morning, so the kids and I had to sprint on foot to the doctor's office for Vivian's 9 AM appointment. But we made it just a few minutes late and everything was well.

In other news,  I'm trying to end my lonely, never-seeing-anyone-all-week life and am planning to visit a MOPS group on Wednesday. I am TERRIFIED. Visiting the MOPS group involves me talking to strangers, which I am SO bad at, and my toddler behaving while hanging out with other kids, which he also is so bad at. People, we spend 99.999% of our time at home, alone, with no interactions. We have no idea how to behave in the outside world. Vivian will be fine and will flirt and be cute and whatever.  But Ethan and I will probably alienate everyone and they will not want us to come back and I will be lonely and sad forever. (And you thought I was exaggerating about the whole high-maintenance thing :) )

I am so worried that no one will want to talk to me and that I will say the wrong things if they do and that I will leave more lonely than I arrive.  I want to wear a sign that says "Be patient with me, I'm a nice, deeply caring person, but terrible at small talk."

In other news, ultrasounds for my two newly pregnant friends have had good news. Please keep praying for them if you're praying people. We have a LONG way to go.