Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Winter Break Recap

Winter break is over and the kids went back to school on Monday.  The holidays are always such a whirlwind!  This past year was no exception.

The kids’ last day of school was December 22nd.  I was doing everything possible to stave off getting sick, as Margaret had a terrible cold, the same one she’d had off and on since the very beginning of December.  That morning I helped out with the pancake breakfast at the kids' school. It was also pajama day and all 3 wore their new Xmas onesie jammies which I thought was so cute - they were excited to go to school dressed as 'triplets'. We had my aunt and uncle over that day after school for our Christmas visit with them, which was nice since James was home too (he started his holidays on Thursday the 21st, and we took advantage of it by hitting up the mall and completing our Xmas shopping, and going for lunch at Red Robin).

The evening of the 22nd I went to a Ladies’ Night In at a friends’ house, but was responsible and didn’t drink much as we were having my brother and sister in law and my parents over for more Christmas shenanigans the next day.  It was a fun evening with my girlfriends, though.  We played a fun game, ate lots of yummy snacks, and shared tons of laughs as always.

By the morning of the 23rd it was obvious Andrew had caught Margaret’s cold.  Luckily kids aren’t nearly as phased by sickness as adults, and with the excitement of Christmas coming up, it didn’t seem to bother him much.  We went ahead with our family visit (we always make sure people are warned before coming over if there is a potential for germ sharing, and they can decide if they’re willing to take the risk!)  We had lots of nibblies, drinks, played Christmas Bingo, and my bro and sil built a gingerbread house with the kids (as per tradition).  My French bulldog niece joined in for the festivities, which was fun.  My mom made the fixings for, and James prepared, hot buttered rum and it was a delish treat!

On Christmas Eve I went to the mall with Andrew and Emily (Margaret at that point seemed too sickly to go, her ear was bothering her and she was too grumpy to be able to handle the mall!)  It was totally insane to go shopping so last minute.  I don’t EVER shop on Xmas Eve and I was reminded why by how crazy the mall was!  I just had a couple of things I needed to pick up so we did what we had to, and then I got Julius’s for the kids (and one to bring home for Margaret) (Andrew chose to have Taco Time instead - it’s his fave!)

A little before dinner time we drove around looking at Christmas lights, in particular Trinity Street where a lot of the houses are all lit up.  In all honesty, I can’t say I was overly impressed - I hope I’m not becoming a total Christmas lights snob?!  Next year I want to check out the rich area in North Van where people go all out with lights.  But I will say, there were some cute displays that we saw while we were out, and it was a nice change to look in some different areas than just around our neighbourhood.

We got White Spot for dinner, take out on the way home, and watched Santa ‘85 (or as I like to call it, Santa Goes To Jail) while we ate.  I think it’s our new Xmas Eve tradition to watch that show from my childhood that I used to watch over and over and over again because I loved it so much!  I love that the kids like it just as much as I always did.

Soon enough it was Xmas morning and Santa had definitely arrived!  The kids were so excited, but didn’t wake up till 6:20am, which to me is pretty good for Xmas morning.  Santa did leave a few stocking stuffers outside the kids’ doors so they were able to get up and have something to play with if they got up too early.  James managed to keep the kids occupied so I could sleep till 7am, which was so nice since for me 7 is still painstakingly early!!

The kids opened up their stockings, which I’m always delighted to see their reactions with, although that being said Santa may start leaving their stockings outside their doors moving forward, as when I got to be a certain age that’s how it was done for me and I always loved that.

Andrew got a Minecraft blind box in his stocking, which is something I always say absolutely NO to buying since they’re ridiculously priced for what they are, so he was thrilled to bits!  He also got some Magic cards, a Monopoly card game, lots of treats, and of course socks and underwear, among other things (he has a really big stocking!)  The girls may have slightly smaller stockings but Santa did not disappoint, and they seemed to particularly love their little ‘makeup’ lipgloss kits, as well as some Barbie blind boxes, cozy socks, Monster High hair clips, and so much more.

Santa brought the whole family a cool light show thing that we can use when we have dance parties in the living room.  We got a 3 month subscription to Spotify as a gift to everyone, so the light will come in handy with all the music we now have at our fingertips (although we weren’t thrilled to find out that Spotify is no longer Roku friendly, which means it’s not easy for us to stream the music from the TV, which also means we’re unlikely to keep the subscription after the 3 months for 99 cents offer expires).

Santa brought Andrew the one and only thing he asked him for, which was an Ed Sheeran poster!  He also got some books, and in particular loves the Diary of a Minecraft Zombie one he got.  He also got a Stikbot set and an add on to it, as well as a gift card for Xbox (he ended up buying a Plants and Zombies something or other Warfare game, which he is loving).  Margaret and Emily got some Monster High Lego sets, several books (Fancy Nancy for Emily, and Moana for Margaret) and a DVD of The Little Charmers.  They also got what they asked for - a Dentist Drill and Fill Play Doh set (that they’ve been playing with a ton!) and Fur Real Pets - a cute grey and white cat for Emily (that has the cutest purr ever!) and a Pug for Margaret (that she calls a bulldog) that is equally as cute as the cat.

And that was just from Santa!  James and I sipped some mimosas after coffee, and we slowly passed the presents out one at a time.  James got me a new purse and wallet (that can also be a small purse), a pretty gold necklace, Saje bath salts.  From Santa I got new slippers, earrings, soap, treats.  Andrew got me a new planner and the girls gave me a book I asked for, called Clean My Space by Melissa Maker, who I follow on Youtube.

James got a poker set, a Merge Cube, a virtual reality headset, some booze, and other treats.  The kids also got some clothes, games (the girls are loving Trolls Trouble, that Emily gave Margaret), lots of Barbie stuff (Emily’s loving the pool set that Margaret gave her!), horse stuffies, Star Wars books, and so much more.  Andrew got Dropmix from my parents which is proving to be a really cool DJing device.  Andrew is even having a dance party with it in his classroom today, which all of the kids in his class seem super excited about!

My mom got me a Saje diffuser which I am LOVING and using all the time now and don’t know how I ever lived without!  Of course, Christmas is not all about the presents - I just wanted to jot down some of what we got as a reminder for years to come.  

We called various family members to say Merry Christmas after we’d done all our gift opening, and then we got a few things sorted for dinner in advance (I’d also done some of the meal prep the day before) and then my parents came over a little after 4pm.  We opened prezzies with them and visited and James got the Tofurky in to cook.  We ate around 6 and I was so hungry when we started, but as always was so stuffed by the end that I wondered how I had ever been so hungry.  I was sure I would never want to eat again, yet somehow managed to find room for Yule Log cake (from M&M, it’s so good!) and some Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (that I’d meant to serve when my bro and sil were over but forgot - oops!)  We were so full after and just sat around chatting until it was time for the kids to be going to bed.  Even Andrew requested going to bed before it was even his bedtime, as it had been such a big day and he’d been awake far earlier than what we’d actually thought!

Toward the end of the evening I could really tell that I wasn’t feeling right, and so it began that I was getting The Cold.  I give it caps because it wasn’t just any ordinary cold, oh no, this would become one of those Colds that lingers and never seems to want to leave.

I really wasn’t feeling well, but managed on Boxing Day to get all our suitcases packed, the house as cleaned as possible, laundry done, and basically everything in as good of order as possible, considering that Christmas had just thrown up all over our living room the day before!!  We were heading off to Victoria early on the 27th for 2 nights, and James’ bro and sil were supposed to be coming back with us on the 29th, so I wanted the house to be ready for that.  I also wouldn’t ever want to come home from a trip to a messy house, so I would have had it tidied up regardless.  It was just challenging getting it all done because I was beginning to feel so run down.

We left the house a bit before 8am on the 27th, and I was definitely feeling worse.  We had reservations for the 10am ferry but traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as we’d anticipated so we got there in time to catch the 9.  We went straight to James’ dad’s place and had a bit of a visit with him and his significant other, as well as James’ bro and sil.  We left after lunch to check into the hotel, which was wonderful - not that we were leaving, but the hotel!  It was identical to a room we’d stayed in there before, so we knew exactly what we were getting and it did not disappoint.  It had a separate bedroom for us, a queen sized bed just outside the room, and a pull out couch, so definitely perfect for a family of 5.  There was also a kitchen, so we’d brought some food with us so the kids could have snacks and breakfast in the room.  After a quick check in, we headed back for more visiting, where James’ dad’s significant other’s family came over to visit with us, and we had a yummy dinner and a big chocolate cake for dessert as it was both James’ dad’s birthday as well as their dil’s.  

We didn’t get back to the hotel till it was time for the kids to get sorted for bed.  Usually I stay up till around 1am (bad, I know, it’s a habit I want to break but haven’t been able to yet) so even going to bed by midnight feels like an early night for me.  I was in bed and full on sleeping before 10 that night!  I was just zonked, and not feeling well AT ALL.  I didn’t sleep amazingly, but having gone to bed so early meant I got as much sleep as I possibly could have.  

By this point, Margaret’s cold had seemed to get worse again, and Andrew’s wasn’t great either.  Emily didn’t have it full fledged but was seeming a bit sniffly.  It appeared that James was the last man standing!

At 10 the next morning, we were at James’ sister’s place to have a visit with her and her new husband.  They made us a yummy pancake breakfast, and we spent a few hours visiting with them before heading straight back to James’ dad’s house.  By this point I was becoming a bit of a wreck.  It was great to see everyone for sure, but I was feeling so out of it and could barely think straight, let alone properly visit.  For how infrequently we get over for these visits, it was extremely unfortunate timing to be feeling so unwell.

James’ bro and sil ended up heading back home early that evening, so would not be coming back with us the next day - which sadly would end up being the best thing for everyone given the circumstances of our illnesses.  We ended up staying again till the kids’ bedtimes that evening, and by the time we got to the hotel even Emily was getting out of sorts (although her cold would prove to be the slightest of anyone’s).

That night Andrew, Margaret, and I all coughed so much that we were awake for at least half the night and felt like we’d barely slept a wink by morning.  Of course, that meant James hadn’t slept either, since we all kept him awake with our coughing!  It was not a good situation.  I was feeling wretched, and we had to pack up the hotel room to check out.  How we managed to create such chaos in the room when we hadn’t even spent much time in it is beyond me!  But we’d also acquired a lot more stuff for the kids since they’d gotten lots of presents, so there was a lot more to pack than we’d taken there with us originally.  We managed to get it all sorted and into the van, and we went for a very quick visit at James’ dad’s place before heading to the ferry to go home.  We had a reservation for the 5pm sailing but ended up getting the 2 (we just narrowly missed the 1) because we were too sick to stay on.  It was a good thing we went home early, as we were all so beat and really needed to be resting at home.

The next day again was terrible due to illness.  Luckily I had basically got everything we needed for Andrew’s birthday coming up, and THANK GAWD we’d had his birthday party with all his school friends at Zone Bowling a few weeks prior, so he wouldn’t be feeling hard done by if we didn’t do much on his actual day because he’d already had a party.  I wasn’t up to leaving the house at all, and wouldn’t go anywhere till January 3rd (and at that only to a walk-in clinic!) so thankfully I was prepared and didn’t need to run any errands by that point.

Those few days are a blur.  I think the most I accomplished was wrapping Andrew’s birthday presents!  I managed to get a few random decorations and balloons up the night before his birthday, and on his special day, New Year’s Eve, he had his traditional birthday breakfast of Ice Cream!  We got him a really awesome Meccano robot building kit for his birthday, that builds a robot that’s over 2 ft tall (which James and Andrew finished building last night and it is AMAZING what this thing can do!)  He also got a hat with a skull on it (that he’d been eyeing up for ages), and from Margaret he got a blank comic book that he can create his own comics in (that goes well with a cartoon how-to book he got for Xmas), and from Emily a Minecraft t-shirt that says, ‘Creepers Gonna Creep’ on it.  He also got a big iTunes gift card from my parents that he was really stoked about, and a new outfit from H&M that he's obsessed with!

He had a great day (despite that he woke up with pink eye...YES PINK EYE seriously, how many illnesses could we have in our house this holiday season?!) and was fussed with a fair bit, although in all honesty I was feeling terrible that I couldn’t do more for him.  I was so run down and feeling so dreadful, I couldn’t muster much energy for anything.  My parents came over for dinner and we ordered Thai food (Andrew’s request) and they brought a Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert (also his request!)  Everyone seemed to enjoy it all.  I personally had lost my sense of smell and taste COMPLETELY and it was so odd because I literally couldn’t taste anything at all!  Which would go on for many days afterward as well, sadly.

The next few days are a blur.  Emily got pink eye, too, but luckily for both her and Andrew it was a mild case and cleared up within a couple of days and over the counter treatment (that we keep stocked at all times just in case!) James was feeling like he might be coming down with the cold by New Year’s Eve evening, and went to bed long before midnight.  I didn’t feel sad that we weren’t doing something more fun to bring in the new year though - one because I think of the day as Andrew’s birthday and not really NYE anymore, and besides that I was too sick to care, anyway.  I sat by the fireplace and enjoyed the fire we’d made earlier in the evening, wrote in my new planner, did some writing in general, and tried to just take it easy.  It was all I could do!

I felt worse each day till finally on January 3rd I’d had such a horrible night the night before, I knew I needed to see a doctor.  I’d been fevering on and off for about a week, and in the night woke to horrible pain in my cheeks and my teeth were SO SORE I couldn’t stand it.  I had such a headache, and had already had a migraine just a few days before.  At 5am I got up and made an appointment online for a walk-in time and went to the dr in the morning.  James thought he was back to work that day but it turned out he had booked that as his last vacation day of Winter Break so he was home and I didn’t have to take the kids with me to the appointment.  As I suspected by that point, I had a sinus infection and got a prescription for antibiotics as well as a nose spray.  I finished the pills after 5 days but have to do the spray for longer than 2 weeks. 

I was so happy I’d listened to myself and went to the doctor because a bit later that day the pain in my cheeks and teeth got so excrutiating, that other than childbirth it was on par with or possibly even worse than the migraines I suffer from several times per month.  I had a headache with the tooth pain so that’s probably why it seemed worse!  I’d never had tooth pain like that before.  It was so bad I wanted to rip my entire top set of teeth out of my head because I felt like it would HAVE to feel better to just be rid of them!  It was all part of the infection but OMG it was so bad.  Luckily I had the meds starting to get into my system so that day was the worst of it, and while I did have more pain like it the next day it was tolerable.

Now it’s almost a whole week since I went to the dr and it’s still obvious I have something, but it’s definitely a lot better than it was.  It’s just my energy that has yet to return.  It’s better than it was, but I tucker out so easily.  Luckily I started to feel better when James was hit with the worst of his virus, though, because he was so down and out all of a sudden (after seriously stepping up and doing SO MUCH for me and being my rock, I seriously don’t know how I’d have survived if not for his help through it all!) and it happened that when he got to his lowest point, I was well enough to pick up where he’d left off.  He’s starting to improve and went back to work today, but had to take a sick day ALREADY (and he only gets a few a year so it sucks using them this early) and had to work from home for several days, too.  It’s a terrible virus, which for me turned into the stupid infection, but hopefully the worst is behind us.  The kids are all pretty much better now, other than a bit of a lingering cough, which I suspect we’re going to have for a while yet.

So was a time.  It was so unfortunate because we missed out on doing a lot of fun Christmas activities, and I’d really hoped to get together with friends over the holidays but we just weren’t well enough.  I’m grateful we made it through Xmas day before I started to fall, but I wish we’d been able to be healthy for our Victoria trip.

It felt like an extremely long two weeks to be honest.  It’s been good for the kids to get back to school because they were housebound for so long with us being as sick as we were.  Now I just have to get my energy up so I can start feeling productive and start the year off more the way I’d hoped to!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas time is almost here

Today marks 12 years since James proposed to me!  That’s crazy.  In some ways it really doesn’t feel that long ago.

Time goes by fast, like this month just whizzing by before my very eyes.  How can it already be just 9 days till Christmas?!  I don’t feel ready for it somehow, and yet I can’t help but be excited about it.

The kids have been busy with school activities centered around holiday time, which means I’ve also been busy with school activities centered around holiday time!  I recently helped the girls’ class with an art project making cute little angel ornaments.  It was fun, and I was happy to be asked to help, because it’s special to be a part of those moments, having had the same opportunity (in the same classroom, with the same teacher even!) when Andrew was in Kindergarten.  I enjoy getting to know the personalities of a lot of the kids in the class, and knowing they feel comfortable around me because they’re used to seeing me, much like the kids in Andrew’s K class got to know me and still say Hi to me 3 years later.

I drove the girls’ and one of their friends to their first ever skating lesson.  They had so much fun!  I was nervous at first because it was a free for all skate, not a proper lesson per se, and Emily was helped onto the ice and given a bar to use (we were at a different rink for all the years leading up to this for Andrew’s lessons, and they had a no bar policy, so already this was different).  She was slip sliding along using the bar, barely holding herself up and obviously feeling overwhelmed with how out of control she was.  She turned to look at me through the plexiglass that separated us, and got her adorable yet heart-breaking sob face and I couldn’t hear her but I could read her lips as she said, ‘Mommy, I just want to go home!’  Emily isn’t way over the top sensitive, but she definitely leans more toward the sensitive side, and I feared that if someone didn’t rescue her and make her feel more comfortable, she was going to hate skating for life based on this one terrible experience.  I was about ready to walk onto the ice in my boots (I honestly don’t know how to skate myself so I’d be better off in my street shoes!) when one of the older kids (they were skating with the grade 6’s and maybe some 7’s) that Emily knows from school that often looks out for her came over and helped her along.  Suddenly her face softened and I could see some excitement in her eyes.  Soon she was gliding gleefully across the ice, and grinned at me when I gave her a thumbs up sign to let her know I was seeing how great she was doing.  Those are the kinds of moments that melt my heart.  A while later another older student who I don’t know took to her and really helped her along.  He even had her away from the bar for a while, skating all on her own, or holding his hand.  It was so sweet to watch!

Margaret was less nervous from the get go, but mostly stuck to the bar.  She had a bit of help from the older kids but for the most part she was happy to skate around with the bar on her own, and would keep an eye on Emily to make sure they didn’t stray too far from each other.  I don’t think it was so much that she was looking out for her sister as she just wanted to know she was nearby.  The girls aren’t clingy as twins but they do like to know each other is around.  They don’t have to be attached at the hip by any means, but if they can’t find each other after a while they’ll definitely inquire as to where their other half is!

I enjoyed taking them to skating, truthfully much more so than I enjoyed taking Andrew in the past.  He went once a week for 4 weeks every year till now, and I would drive him and usually 3 other kids each time, lace them all up, make sure they got on the ice, and afterwards would help them all get ready to leave, feed them a snack I brought along for the car ride back, and take them back to school.  It was a lot of work in some ways, but I did enjoy being able to help out and be there to watch Andrew skate.  The thing was, he always acted as if the umbilical cord had yet to be cut, and would FREAK THE EFF OUT if I so much as glanced away from him for a split second.  I felt that skating was an opportunity for me to watch him on the ice, but also at times chat with his teacher, or other parents of kids in his class.  Instead, I was made to feel (by him) that if I strayed from watching him for even a moment I was ruining his life, on and off the ice, and he would literally throw tantrums, sob, and make the entire experience miserable.  Not saying it was like that every single time, to that degree, but some variant of it.  I remember once when he was in grade one, I went next door to the rink to grab a coffee (after telling his teacher I’d be gone for just a few minutes) and when I came back it was as if his entire world had ended.  It was ridiculous.  Absolutely ri-di-cu-lous!  And emotionally taxing.  I love the kid to bits but O-M-G!!  So in stark contrast to that, it was hugely refreshing to take the girls, and be able to tell them, ‘If you can’t see me right here beyond the plexiglass, know I am right over there in the warm waiting area!’  They didn’t even notice me most of the time I was there watching them, let alone when I’d left to go warm up for a while.

This year, due to being at a rink much closer to home, the Kindergarten kids were the only ones who would need a ride there and back, whereas grades 1 through 7 would be walking.  So I told Andrew that I wasn’t going to see him skate because 1) I was already driving the girls in the morning and didn’t want to have to go back to the rink again later that same day, and 2) I was honest and said he’d probably do better to not have me there because he could focus on skating and not be making my life a living hell if I blinked my eyes!  LOL  I do think it’s important to be honest with kids about such things!!  Although this year he has shown a lot more independence, at least at school, and doesn’t necessarily even want me there sometimes (which is a whole new thing to get used to!  In some ways it’s great, I won’t lie!  In others, it’s sad how quickly he’s growing up and doesn’t need me as much!  It’s funny how the grass is always greener on the other side!)

Last Saturday Andrew had his Christmas concert for his dance school.  He was in an Acro number with kids aged 10 and up, so he was younger than everyone being that he’s not quite 9, but he definitely managed to hold his own, and was a shining star on stage, as always.  He literally shines, like he just belongs on stage.  He loves performing so much, which amazes me since I was scarred for life by my ballet recitals as a young child and can’t imagine ever being comfortable on a stage, but I’m glad he enjoys it so much!

This week it was the school Christmas concerts, and they had the odd divisions perform on Tuesday, and the even divisions on Thursday.  Wouldn’t you know Andrew is in an odd division, and the girls are even!  So we had to go to both concerts.  It was the exact same performance both times, just different kids doing it, so it was a bit strange in some ways to have to watch the same show like that, but over all it was good.  James was able to work from home so he could attend the afternoon performances with me, and then my parents were able to use the tickets to go to the evening performances.  Both were good, and I loved seeing Andrew up there all dressed up in his finery, tie included.  The girls had to wear pajamas for their number, so they chose their Christmas onesies.  I thought Emily might not like being on stage but she sang every word and was right into the music.  Margaret sang for the most part, but I think she was busy looking for us in the audience, and didn’t like that she couldn’t find us.  They both did well, but the song was slow and all the kids, not just ours, looked kind of miserable - not because they necessarily were, but because the song wasn’t entirely upbeat.  I kind of wish that had been different, but it was good nonetheless, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves.  

Lots of plans this weekend, and a busy week ahead and then Christmas will be here before we know it!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Worst management company ever

I really don’t want to be focusing on annoying, negative crap, but I feel like this needs to be written, for one so I can try to get it off my chest, and for another so I have it documented.

Our management company is pretty much the worst imaginable.  They do NOTHING.  They don’t even do the bare minimum at this point.  They either ignoring our requests altogether for maintenance, or they say they’re getting to it ‘soon’ in the hopes we’ll just forget about it and stop asking.  Or, they book times for stuff and then when I call to confirm those times, they say they've been cancelled (because they of course never had any intention of following through).

Last week we spent just under $160 to have our chimney swept, after not having it done for 4 years.  I’ve since asked twice for reimbursement but of course they’re ignoring me.  They don’t even respond AT ALL, it’s just a flat out ignore.  I’ve been asking for 3 years to have our dryer ducts cleaned, after having them done 4 years ago, and every time I request it they IGNORE.  

Today I spoke with one of Burnaby’s Fire Chiefs to see what sort of recourse we have.  They investigated and went and spoke with the manager...who LIED and said that the dryer ducts for the entire complex were cleaned in October!  Seriously!  She lied outright to a Fire Chief.  How low can a person be??  Why would I be wasting my time trying to make sure the complex is SAFE, if I already knew that it was!??!  That makes no sense whatsoever.  I can guarantee 100% our dryer hasn’t been done in 4 years.

The fire department doesn’t have any jurisdiction due to the property being privately owned.  So we basically sit and wait for a fire to break out and potentially wipe us all out (no, I’m not exaggerating - even the chimney guy said that if one unit caught fire here, we’d like lose more than half the complex).  This is serious!  

I’m really at my wits end here.  The amount of stress this stuff has caused me now for pretty much our entire tenancy - and it’ll be 5 years in January that we’ve been here - is insane.  It’s just one thing after the other here.  But not maintaining what helps us prevent fires is a whole different level from most of the other stuff they don’t take care of.  I will fight this, I have to, I have 3 little lives to protect.

It just saddens (and angers) me so much that they think they can get away with this.  And yet raise our rent every year the maximum allowed amount!  I honestly don’t know how any of them sleep at night.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trying to stay positive

Ever since finding out the news about my friend being unwell, I’ve been trying harder to live more in the moment.  It’s challenging, though.  Especially when trying to process what she’s going through.  I just can’t.  I keep getting this awful feeling of helplessness and it nags at me and just makes me feel sad.  Yes it all reminds me how precious life is and not to take it for granted, but it's just so scary, and sad, there’s no way around it.  I appreciate what I have and have to remind myself that I’m healthy (as far as I know...which reminds me, I did get my blood drawn yesterday, finally.  She just finished getting 3 vials and took the needle out of my arm and then said, oh sorry, I didn’t get quite enough and I used the wrong type of vial so I need to go in my other arm got jabbed, too.  But at least it’s done and maybe I’ll find out why I’m getting these headaches...and hopefully I’ll find out nothing is wrong at all).  Part of me wonders, though, why I’m healthy and my friend is not.  There’s just no rhyme nor reason for this.  It’s random, which is all the more terrifying, and I just can’t wrap my head around why it would happen to her of all the people in the world.  Why her?????

It consumes me a lot because she’s too young to be having to worry about this, and the uncertainties involved.  It’s not fair, it’s not fair AT ALL.  I really can’t stand it.  I wish I could do something to help, I wish there was a simple answer to it. My heart hurts so badly for her and her family, so so badly.

At the same time, I know it’s important that I don’t let it consume me, because she wouldn’t want that, and it’s not healthy to do that.  I want to be looking forward to the holidays and doing fun things with the kids and all of that kind of stuff and I know I shouldn't feel guilty for being able to do that. It's just so wrong that her greatest concerns aren't stupid little things like the stuff I complain about.

Speaking of totally trivial matters in comparison...Today we had our chimney swept, which we had to pay for up front (over $150) because our stupid management company has put off doing the job FOR YEARS now and books us in to have it done but then cancels (or, what I really think is happening is that they don’t book it at all but just tell us a date to get us off their backs and then cancel at the time it’s supposed to happen).  I finally had enough of that and said if they cancelled I was going to hire someone and send them the bill, and lo and behold they cancelled, so I had someone in today and have an invoice to take over to the office before I go to pick the kids up this afternoon.  I’m sure they’ll try to get away with not paying us back but I am going to fight this. They’ve gotten away with WAY too much around here already, there’s no way I’m letting them get away with this one. I'm sick of having to waste energy on them but I'm not going to let them walk all over me, either.

At least hiring someone myself, I know they were actual professionals and not the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse people that our management would hire.  He was thorough and asked several times if I had any questions and he talked to me about the process and the state of our chimney.  I was impressed, and I’m excited that we get to enjoy our first fire of the season tonight, now that we know our chimney’s not going to burst into flames.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Life is too fragile

This past little while has been a tad challenging.  I’ve been dealing with back to back migraines, and while the medication I take for them helps at times, they return and I end up quite nauseous and in general I’ve been finding it debilitating.  I’m getting a blood test this week to see if there’s any ‘easy’ answer for what might be causing them, so we’ll see.  

I don’t even want to complain AT ALL about these headaches, though, as I feel like they’re nothing in comparison to what I could be dealing with.  I found out a few days ago that a friend of mine (who’s younger than me by several years) has a rare form of C (which I can’t even bring myself to type) and it’s complicated.  I don’t want to get into it because I just want to remain hopeful and think positive.  It’s just a very scary, awful situation, and my heart is hurting so badly for her and her family.  She has two young kids and it’s just completely unfair that this is happening.  She’s literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, just one of those people who is totally kind, genuine, good-natured in every way.  No one deserves to go through something like this but I can’t wrap my head around how or why the world chose her.  I know it’s just totally random but it’s so completely unfair and it’s hard to process it when it’s someone so great, with so much ahead of them still.  I just can’t seem to stop dwelling on it ever since finding out, because I can’t make sense of it.

It’s definitely a reminder to be happy and enjoy life Right Now.  You just never know.  If it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone.  Which in and of itself is scary, and I think my headaches have continued to flare up because I’m constantly trying to make sense of a situation that reminds me how vulnerable we all are.  It’s hard to think about and it hurts.

I tend to sweat the small stuff more than I should, and I want to work on that.  I want to feel happy with where I am in life, and live a little more ‘in the moment’, although that’s really not my nature to be honest!  I mean, I AM happy for the most part and I do know what a great life I have, and I’m soooo grateful for my family and the wonderful kids I have, who I’m so proud of and love with all of my heart.  There’s not a lot I would change even if I could, (just a few maybe!) but it’s still hard to truly live in the moment as though it would be OK if everything ended today.  Does anyone really live that way, and can honestly say they’d be totally fine with their life ending?  I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point, or at least not until I’ve lived to be a ripe old age (even then, I don’t see myself ever being OK with the finality of it).  The major complication being my children, because the thought of leaving my kids before they’re into their older age too is heart-wrenching.  I want to be here with them for as long as I possibly can.  And I want that for my friend as well, so badly that it’s hard to even put my feelings into words.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Emily lost a tooth

Emily lost her first tooth on Friday (Nov 10th)!  I actually think if it had happened more naturally, it probably would have been another day or two, but it came out nonetheless!  All 3 kids were playing and running around together laughing, when Andrew basically fell right into Emily and on their way down to the ground, he bumped her face pretty hard.  Luckily he didn’t land on her, but it was so hard to watch because he could have, which would have had the potential for far worse damage.  I was just scolding him a bit for not being as careful as he could have been because she really could have got hurt, when she started sitting up and sheer panic crossed her face as she realized blood was coming out of her mouth.  She started screaming, ‘My tooth, my TOOTH!’ as I quickly got her standing up and on the vinyl floor.  Thank GAWD they fell right at the edge of the vinyl floor where it meets the carpet, or there would have been a lot of blood to try to clean out of the carpet!  I quickly grabbed a few kleenex from the bathroom (also convenient that it happened right beside it!) and just barely touched it to her loose tooth and it immediately came out.  There was quite a bit of bleeding due to the fact that the tooth technically wasn’t fully ready to come out yet, but I had her rinse her mouth a bit with water and then held some kleenex there for a minute and it soon stopped.  Margaret and Andrew were jumping up and down with excitement that she’d lost her very first tooth, which helped to calm her down and then she got excited about it too, once the shock had worn off a bit!  Andrew said to her, ‘I know I hit into you and I’m sorry about that, but at the same time you should really be thanking me because if you think about it, I just helped make you some money!’  LOL!!  

Emily was worried about where to put her tooth because she didn’t want to lose it, so I found a tiny little jewellry type box for her to borrow to put it in, and she immediately had me go up to her room to help her decide the perfect place under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find it.  She must have put it in the right spot, because by the wee hours of the morning, there was a congratulatory note along with a Toonie waiting for her.

It’s her front bottom tooth to the left that came out, and I didn’t think it would be very noticeable, but it actually is to me, and it’s so ridiculously adorable!  I also find it makes her talk ever so slightly differently and it’s just really cute.

I love that Margaret was 100% happy for her sister and didn’t show even a hint of jealousy that she hasn’t lost any teeth yet.  She has at least one loose one, and she knows eventually it will be her turn for the Tooth Fairy to visit!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Halloween and now...Christmas?!

I got a bit of Christmas shopping done this morning.  Did I seriously just say that?!  Actually, I always tend to get going on it at this time in November, with the hope of being done by early December to avoid the total insanity of the Christmas-Rush.  Still, it feels so early.  Wasn’t it just Halloween?!

Speaking of which, the kids of course had a great time that day.  It was a school day, which the kids loved because it meant having a Halloween parade and seeing everyone else’s costumes.  Getting ready for trick or treating isn’t so much of a treat for me, as I always find the kids are bouncing off the walls and bordering on crashing from the excitement, but we got through that part of Halloween, and then the fun of trick or treating began.  

My parents came over to hand out candy while James and I went out with the kids.  The weekend prior I’d gone to a Halloween party with the kids where I was asked to dress up, so a couple of hours before the party I threw together a ‘Cereal’ Killer costume that turned out pretty cool, and I loved how it was cheap and easily taken off my jacket so I can either re-attach it again next year, or not!  Andrew thought it was super cool because I’d added on pictures of horror movie character cereal boxes that I’d found online, so it would be a little more unique.

Andrew went as Jason Voorhies (even though he’s way too young to watch Friday the 13th and I assure you he hasn’t!!), and the girls were Shimmer and Shine, which they’d got for wearing at their birthday party of the same theme.

Trick or treating was fun, and the weather was surprisingly really mild.  I had my jean jacket on with my cereal boxes attached to it, and was not the least bit cold and I didn’t even do the jacket up!  Usually the kids need gloves and are complaining about their hands being cold but they didn’t even need gloves this year!  It was perfect.  They all came back with way too much candy, that even after eating a ton of it since doesn’t look like even a dent has been made (it’s a bit ridiculous, actually…)  I had a virus, like a stomach type bug/flu-y/headache inducing not-fun issue that came and went for about a week, and I had it on Halloween so I wasn’t into the candy thing at all, which is crazy for me because usually I can’t help myself when it comes to candy!  I have eaten some since, but not much.  I haven’t really got my appetite back since not feeling well (which, when it comes to the candy aspect, is probably a good thing!)

I’ve been doing some volunteer work for a food bank, as well as volunteer stuff at the school, and when I’m home I’m cooking, cleaning, and working on odds and ends projects that I’ve been meaning to get to for ages but have never found the time.  There is still SO MUCH on my To Do list that I haven’t got to yet, and honestly don’t even know when I will, but I’ll get there eventually.  I really haven’t spent all that much time at all just relaxing since the kids started school, which is also something I know I need to work on.  Why wouldn’t I just take a day to laze around and not do much of anything, right?!  I feel like I can’t relax though, and I don’t exactly know why.  There’s just so much I want to do, and it feels like so little time to do it in even though it should feel like a lot.  Also, the school has so many !^*@^&$(%@! Pro-d days and ‘school closures’ that it feels like most weeks are a 4 day week - next week is only 3!  It’s ridiculous.  It’s funny because I used to love it when it was a pro-d because it meant I didn’t have to do the whole drop off and pick up thing, since I had two kids with me at home anyway what’s one more?!  But now that they’re all in school, it cuts into my time to get stuff done!  I do love having my kids home with me, but...there’s the weekend for that :P  LOL.  And it’s not like we don’t have hours and hours of togetherness from 3pm onward each day!!  They also love school so I don’t feel any guilt in sending them!  Even on a day when Margaret and Emily had a field trip that I decided not to take them to (because we’d already been to the place), they wanted to go to school that day instead of staying home with me (but I did keep them home for that.  It’s just funny to me that they’d rather be at school than at home!)

It’s hard to believe it’s getting to that time of year where we’re counting down to Christmas...I’m really not ready for it, but at the same time I know it’ll be here before we know it.  So I’m happy to be getting my shopping started, and hopefully finished within the next few weeks...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Babies!

I can’t believe my baby girls are officially FIVE!

They had their Shimmer and Shine themed birthday party on Saturday, and I am happy (and relieved!) to report that it went really well!  I started with migraine symptoms the afternoon before their birthday and was so worried I’d be feeling ill on their actual day.  I took one of my headache pills (and have since had to refill the prescription) which made me feel kind of loopy and out of it, and really easily bothered.  I wanted to just lay in a quiet, dark room but I had so much to do to prepare for the party.  I wanted to get all the decorations set up the night before so the girls would get to enjoy it all when they got up in the morning.  

It basically looked like Shimmer and Shine had thrown up all over our dining room!  In the form of glitter and sparkles, OF COURSE!  It was definitely a theme, and I loved the way it all came together.  I also put up a huge S&S birthday banner in the living room.  James got up with the kids first and he told me the girls LOVED all the decor.

I luckily woke up on their birthday with my headache GONE, which was a miracle (I’m sure also in part due to the fact that I took 2 migraine Tylenol pills before I went to bed).  I was so thankful to be feeling well so I could properly dote on Margaret and Emily on their special day!

They opened up the cards from their great grandmas and some gifts that were sent over from family that don’t live nearby, and then they opened the Shimmer and Shine books, DVDs, and hats (complete with long pink and blue hair!) that we got for them.  They also opened each other’s gifts - Margaret gave Emily a Shimmer stuffie that came with one of the animal characters from the show, and Emily gave her sister a foal toy and a little kitty cat stuffie that looks like Fifi.  They played and hung around while James and Andrew went to pick up the cake, and I went on a whirlwind tidying, cleaning, and getting all the last minute stuff ready for the party.  No amount of pre-planning and pre-getting things ready accounts for the time it takes to fix everything up at the last minute.  There’s no point doing all the cleaning in advance because the kids manage to mess everything up anyway!

It was a bit crazy getting everything done but I finished in the nick of time and then suddenly the guests started to arrive and we got the party started!  First the girls showed off their bedroom, and they just ran around giggling and playing, then they played a bit of a Halloween twister game.  Had some snacks, and then played a Pin the Gem on Shimmer and Shine, basically like Pin the Tail on the Donkey which I wasn’t sure how well received it would be but it ended up being a huge hit and the kids had so much fun playing!  They actually played it for several rounds.  Then they had their pizza party in the dining room, which was chaos with lemonade being spilled as soon as they sat down and everyone needing seconds of different things but all in all it went smoothly and everything seemed to enjoy their cheese pizza (they’d had veggies and dip and chips and cheezies for their snack beforehand!)  

By the time the food was finished, it was only a few minutes before I brought out the cake - which turned out AMAZING.  I’d had James take a few pictures of Shimmer and Shine to Dairy Queen in hopes they could do something with that, and they seemed unsure as to what they could do because they don’t actually have S&S in their book of what they can do.  But someone is clearly an artist there and did an AMAZING job putting Shimmer on the cake.  It turned out way better than I could have even hoped for!  And of course being the classic DQ ice cream cake, we knew it would not disappoint.  

After cake it was a bit of a gong show with present opening, as of course the kids were all very excited and everyone was practically piled on top of me trying to see what the presents were as the girls opened them!  But it went well and they got a really great assortment of things.  They also have almost every Shimmer and Shine toy out there, but what’s cool is that they didn’t get any duplicates, AND they have enough of the toys to be able to play with all the characters without fighting over them!  Win/win!!

One of their friends wasn’t able to get here till halfway through the party so she stayed on till 1:45, but everyone else left at 1:15, which was only 15 minutes over our end time according to the invite!  I thought 2 hours was a good length of time to have 8 five year olds in the house…!  It ended up flying by, and it was so nice to see the kids all having fun and enjoying spending time together.  I love that the girls made so many friends so quickly, having only started Kindergarten a month ago (although they knew a few of the kids before that).

After the party I got things cleaned up a bit and then I went upstairs and put the girls’ new bedroom theme together.  I wasn’t able to do a huge room makeover like we did for Andrew’s last birthday because there wasn’t somewhere for them to sleep over the night before their birthday like he did last year, and with their party in the morning it just wouldn’t have made sense.  I didn’t paint the walls but I did paint the bureau from blue back to white a few days before their birthday, and I got some new decals for the walls (although the walls are a work in progress - I have a mirror to add and I want to put up a few pictures, but I need to find just the right thing first!)  I got them new duvets from IKEA with a cute whimsy fairy theme, my mom hemmed the curtains for me, and also gave me a lamp to put in there that is super cute and that she’s had for many years and has been saving to give them once they were old enough not to break it.  I also got them a little owl lamp from IKEA and a new rug, and basically just went on a whirlwind putting it all together, and then called them up for the big reveal.  They also opened up their gifts from Andrew, which were Shimmer and Nala (another character from the show)  mermaid dolls for the bathtub, so then they wanted to have a bath as they LOVE playing in the tub together!

My parents came over a bit later.  They got them super cute emoji onesie pj’s, a decorative pillow each  to match their new bedding, and fleece blankets to also go with their new room.  I’d made a brownie so we could sing Happy Birthday to the girls again with my parents, and then we just had salad and leftovers later on for dinner.  It was a great day, and the girls really seemed to enjoy it (and Andrew was very well behaved and relatively helpful at the party, which was a huge plus as well!)

I was surprisingly not as tired as I’d expected I would have been through the afternoon.  I think I was just so relieved that a) everything had gone so well and b) the party was OVER (lol!) so I no longer had to worry about it!  I’m so happy we were able to make the day so special for our babies-that-are-no-longer-babies-at-all (even though I’ll call them my babies forever!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Keeping myself busy

Since gaining this time throughout the day now that the girls are in school, too, I feel as though I’ve been trying to make up for lost time and I haven’t really allowed myself any time to truly relax.  Yet.  I will get to that...eventually!  It’s just that there’s so much I want to get done.

Add to that the girls’ birthday party is this Saturday, and I’m really wanting to accomplish as much as I can to prepare for that.

I spent the entirety of my time today painting: I sanded and painted the area of the wall by the bookshelf in our living room that the idiot maintenance guy ruined last Spring (yes, I finally just got around to that!), I painted the frame around the front sliding glass door, then upstairs I painted the girls’ bureau from blue back to white (it took 3 tedious coats but it’s finally done!), and I painted their window frame.  Still more painting to be done but at least it’s getting there, and I accomplished what I wanted to do in their room specifically since part of their bday gift is going to be a bedroom update.

While painting I was listening to music, and Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flowers came on.  I’d heard the song quite a few times given Ed Sheeran is currently tops on Andrew’s list of favourite artists (and, thank goodness, I like him, too!) but I’d never really focused enough on the song to feel anything from it.  While I was painting I really listened to the lyrics and oh my goodness I even had to put the paintbrush down because I couldn’t see the window frame for the tears!

Today marks 6 years since I had my miscarriage, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t affecting me.  I find this time of year particularly hard.  It’s confusing, too, because it’s also meant to be a happy time, with Thanksgiving and then the girls’ birthday.  And of course those things are definitely ones to celebrate!  I just find in around early October it sets in that this feels like a difficult time.  I’ll be happy to have this particular date put behind me once more.

I think about the miscarriage I had from time to time, and I know it’s always with me and has affected who I am ever since it happened.  But I don’t tend to dwell on it if I can help it, and usually I can just push it away and not think about it too much.  However, in the past week or so I’ll suddenly get flashbacks even when I don’t think I’m obsessing over it, usually when I’m trying to go to sleep.  It will jolt me awake and I feel shaken for a while afterwards.  It’s hard.  I will never get over what happened, in particular the way it happened.  I still hear my doctor’s stern words when I went back to see him because I was suffering mentally from it.  I know he was right in telling me I had to move on and not dwell on it, because I would never in my life ever have answers.  But it’s easy to say just move on and forget about it.  I can’t forget it ever.  I still sometimes can’t believe that happened to me.

On the other hand, it’s bittersweet because if it hadn’t happened just the way it did, I wouldn’t have Margaret and Emily.  And oh, how my heart hurts to imagine how I could live without them!  I wouldn’t have known what I was missing, true, and I would have the other child I thought I was meant to have and would love them dearly.  But having the girls in my life, my twins...I just can’t even.  So I guess somehow I have to be grateful for what happened, even though it’s hard on certain levels to see it that way.  I need my girls, and love the three kids I have, and couldn’t trade that for anything.  But it’s still hard having those flashbacks, and I wonder if I’ll ever stop having them or if they’re just something that I have to go through sometimes.  Like I said, it’s not that I’m suffering them all the time, but it’s more than just around this time of year.  Every so often it creeps up on me and I can’t seem to let it go.  I can’t get the image of that tiny baby out of my mind, and I keep going over it trying to imagine a scenario where I at least could have held it, and known if it was a boy or a girl.  I hate that I can’t have that.  But at the same time, I remind myself that if things had played out differently, even a slight difference would likely mean I wouldn’t have Margaret and Emily, because everything else after that moment would have been different.  So for that reason, I have to be OK with what happened.  It’s just a strange mix of emotions, and I can’t always compartmentalize it so easily.

Today was a good day to keep myself busy, and I definitely succeeded in doing that!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Thanksgiving already!

I’m hoping someone is going to show up soon to change the filter in our furnace so we can have heat if we need it this weekend.  I’m kind of bummed that management is being so slow to have our chimney cleaned, as it would have been so nice to be able to have a fire in the fireplace this weekend.  They’ve had that cleaned ONCE in the almost 5 years we’ve lived here, and it’s been at least 3 years now since it was done (maybe 4?) so I don’t feel comfortable using it till it’s been looked at.  It really sucks having such crappy landlords.

But enough about that!  

We’re heading into a busy time, with Thanksgiving this weekend (and hopefully a visit to at least one pumpkin patch!) and then the girls’ 5th birthday next Saturday.  We gave out 6 party invites the other day and so far have 3 confirmed ‘yes’ replies, so hopefully the rest let me know they’ll be attending.  Margaret and Emily decided on a ‘Shimmer and Shine’ theme (it’s a Nickelodeon show) and they got Shimmer and Shine costumes for Halloween, so they’ll wear those to their party as well.  I think it’s the cutest thing that they chose a theme that’s two girl characters so they can be twinsies but different.  

At this time of year it tends to feel like a whirlwind, because it’s Thanksgiving, the girls’ birthday, then Halloween, and after that it’s the craziness of trying to get as ready for Christmas as possible, then it’s Xmas, Andrew’s birthday, and boom we’re into a new year!

I can’t say I’m loving the change in weather, although we’ve had it good with not a ton of rain and quite a few days of sun that I wasn’t expecting would feel as warm as they did.  Today it’s just cold, and it’s supposed to start raining soon.  I miss summer, and prefer to be too hot as opposed to too cold.  (Altho that being said, my version of ‘cold’ isn’t that severe - I wore a sweater today but didn’t feel the need for a jacket!)

I think when the kids get home I’ll make them hot chocolate and we’ll watch a movie we haven’t seen in a long time, and cozy up on the couch together.  Whether or not that will actually be as relaxing as I’m envisioning is another story…!  The kids have a way of being filled with demands from 3:00 onward...

I’m still trying to get into a routine where I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot but also feel like I do have some ‘free’ time, which you’d think would be easy given the kids are all in school, but no.  I’m realizing how much I was doing before that I was managing to fit in while also catering to the kids, and the reality is that the basics of what need to be done on a daily basis take up a lot of time!  That being said, it’s nice to accomplish it with peace and quiet, or being able to play music of my choosing.  Also getting out more with my mom or meeting up with friends for coffee or breakfast.  It’s been a nice change, but I’m still struggling with certain parts of it.  I’ve been scheduling so many things and volunteering at the school so I’ve actually only had one day so far where I was able to be home the entire school day to work on things here.  I know there will be more days like that, and it’s not like it isn’t a good thing that I’m getting out and doing things, but there is such a long list of stuff I’ve told myself I’m going to accomplish and I can’t help but feel the pressure to tackle the list, but it’s just not happening quite as quickly as I’d imagined!

The kids are all enjoying school and as far as I can tell, are doing really well.  Andrew has several friends he looks forward to spending time with at recess and lunch, and he really seems to like his teacher and the kids in his class.  He hasn’t had any of the issues (that I’m aware of!) that he had last year, which is amazing.  The girls settled into Kindergarten just as I knew they would, and have been loving it.  It’s really cute hearing about their days, or hearing them sing songs they’ve learned in music class when they don’t know I’m listening!  I love that they’ve already made several friends in their class.  I knew they’d adjust well, and I like knowing they’re happy to be at school and actually look forward to going.  

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