Sunday, November 30, 2014

Swimming in our living room...

I feel so sick today, partly because of the virus I STILL have, but mostly because of what’s going on at our house.

I wrote about the mould problem we discovered last week under our stairs...And management’s (lame) attempt at looking to see what the problem was...They were supposed to get back to us by the end of the day on Thursday to let us know when something was going to be done (to start fixing the leak) and it was all we could do to get them to ‘commit’ to starting on Friday...Only on Friday they became impossible to reach and then when we finally did manage to contact them, they said it was ‘out of their hands’ until the contactors got back to them as to when they could start.  We called again yesterday despite it being Saturday as the problem was getting noticeably worse - about a foot and a half past the wall by the closet door for the stairs was wet, and was getting wetter.  They said there was nothing they could do until at least Monday.  But when I discovered that the main part of our living room is also soaking wet in several areas now, (far away from the area that initially got wet) I called again this morning.  The manager actually said, after I told her outright it’s obviously a serious leak (actually, we suspect there are 2 separate leaks, but anyway…) that, ‘It’s Sunday, so I can’t do anything about it right now.’  When I insisted that it’s serious and needs to be addressed, she said she’d ‘try’ to get a hold of a higher up manager but with it being Sunday, it wasn’t likely he’d answer his phone!  I swear, this is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse we’re dealing with here.  She did call back, and said they’ll be arriving in the morning complete with we’ll see.  I have to take Andrew to school around the same time they’re arriving, and I don’t want the girls here for the chaos of it, so James will again be working from home so he can be here to see what’s going on.  I feel so fortunate to have him helping me, and with the option of working from home at times like these.

I know they’re supposed to start working on this tomorrow, I guess I just have little faith in whoever they are sending to do the job right.  We’ll have lived here for 2 years in mid January, and it seems like it has been one thing after the other.  In our 15 years of renting together, we have never experienced so many problems as what we have here in 2 short years.  

I was looking at listings for current rentals in our area and as far away as places like Maple Ridge or Delta (neither of which we want to move to) and I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to find something that fits our basic needs ANYWHERE EVEN CLOSE to where we would want to live, let alone what we’d actually ‘like’ to have.  I’m feeling really disheartened by the whole thing!

I love our place over all, I think it’s just hard to stomach the fact that we’re supporting a management company that is totally incompetent and doesn’t care at all about its tenants.  I take so much pride in my home, but it makes me sad that I can’t feel fully comfortable in it because I don’t know how things are being taken care of (or not being taken care of at all).

Anyway...Last night I got all excited because James agreed with me that we should buy a new Christmas tree this year.  We have a 4ft tree (that we set up last night with the kids), which worked perfectly for us in our last place since it was significantly smaller, and we’ve always been happy with a more modest tree.  It’s fibre optic, which in my opinion is AWESOME, but in our place here it looks so small and it’s a bit ridiculous that our ‘babies’ are over half the size of our tree!  I picked one out online and it was just a matter of going to get it, but it snowed the night before last and yesterday it was -3 and extremely icy so I didn’t want to venture out driving in it.  We’re not used to snow and ice here and people don’t drive according to the road conditions.  So I opted to stay home.  By this morning I had given up on the new tree because realistically I have no idea when we’ll be able to set it up and decorate it, because now that our main living room has started to flood, we’re likely going to have to move EVERYTHING out of there to get the carpet replaced.  I was feeling very dejected.  I anticipated that James would agree that we should hold off on it and he’d be happy to just save the money and forgo the tree, but he can obviously tell how much this situation is affecting me, because not only did he think we should still get it, but he took Andrew to the store during the babies’ nap time and he bought it for me!  

It’s hard to feel excited about it right now, but hopefully this stuff will get fixed completely this week so we’ll be able to get it set up and just focus on being excited about the holidays, which is what I want more than anything.  I probably shouldn’t allow myself to get so worked up about this stuff, especially when it’s out of my control, but I think that’s the part that bothers me the most, because if I could control the situation I’d be having something done about it RIGHT NOW.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

All I want for Christmas is...a mould free house?!!

Andrew has a pro-d day today so during the babies’ nap time we went to the mall to do a bit of Christmas shopping together.  (James worked from home, which made this plan possible!)  He got his Christmas presents for Daddy and also picked out one for Papa.  Then we went and got a treat from DQ - a Candy Cane Chill Blizzard.  He loved it so much that he said he’s going to marry it when he grows up!!

I dropped him off with my mom so they can have some time together, and when the girls wake up from their nap (they’ve been asleep for almost 2.5 hours already!!) we’ll head over to my parents’ house for a few hours, just to get away from our house for a while.

Yesterday we had a more professional person come to assess the mould in our under the stairs area, and I was feeling really positive that things were going to be fixed properly, and in a timely fashion.  Everything the guy said was great, and I do believe he meant everything he said, but unfortunately the Mickey Mouse crew that everything has to go through once his recommendations were made are making it not go quite as planned.  I’m now feeling worried about what they’re doing, how they’re going about it, and who will be doing the most crucial work to actually fix the problem.  Unfortunately rather than something more ‘simple’ like a slow leak from the pipes leading to the washing machine, which is what we’d suspected might be the issue, it is looking like a much more serious problem with a pipe leaking UNDERNEATH THE CONCRETE FLOOR.  So it’s quite likely they will have to jackhammer the entire floor under the stairs.  At this point 3-4 walls have to be cut and replaced, the carpet in half our living room has to be replaced...It’ll be nice when it’s all done and we’re finished with this but for the time being I feel like I can’t relax.  To make matters worse, the guy yesterday assured me they’d take extra precautions to section the area off and spray stuff before cutting the walls to minimize the dust/mould becoming airborne etc.  But because the Mickey Mouse crew was sent back (which he said he didn’t even want them LOOKING at it again let alone touching it) half of one wall was taken out without any precautions and by the time I realized what they were doing it was too late.  I could literally SEE the dust coming out of the closet toward me and the kids!  I got them upstairs quickly, but the fact is that dust and grossness is in our house, and a lot of it I’m sure I breathed in.  I’m so annoyed by how things are done around here, it’s really not OK.  In fact, after getting the paperwork from the guy yesterday that said the mould does not pose ‘an immediate health risk’, management called us to suggest that this is not an urgent matter because we’re not at risk from the mould yet!  Seriously!  That’s the way they think, in order to save money as long as possible.  But I called back and made a stink about it so they sent these guys to do what they did...SIGH.  I wish it wasn’t so expensive to live around here, or we’d be moving soon FOR SURE.  I just can’t imagine having to go through that whole process right now, though, and we have a lot more to think about now that Andrew’s in school.  I also really love his school so a part of me wouldn’t want to leave the area because of that, although part of me thinks in the next couple of years we really should think about trying out a new city altogether.

For now, fingers crossed they get this job done SOON and they do it right the first time...I want to get the house decorated for Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Totally grossed out

I was just cleaning up from supper when I heard a knock on the door.  I thought to myself, Who could that be, who would knock on the door at this ungodly hour?!  After the UPS guy left (after dropping off a package of some xmas gifts I bought off Amazon) I looked at the clock and realized it was only just after 6pm!  Seriously.  I thought it had to be at least 9:00.  And since when 9:00 is considered an ‘ungodly hour’ in my mind is another good question.

It felt like a really long day today, parts of it good, others not so much.  First of all, we’ve all still got the stupid virus.  I seem to have had it the worst, and it just lingers - lots of coughing, phlegm (sorry, TMI), massive amounts of snot, like Guiness Book of World Records for most nose blowing.  It zaps energy levels that are barely there to begin with.  It’s really annoying.  I’ve started getting terrible sore throats through the night because I can’t breathe through my nose when I lay down.  And this has been going on for several WEEKS now.  It got to a point where it stopped getting worse, but it can’t seem to figure out how to get better.  James started coming down with it yesterday after showing small signs of it for about a, yeah.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

But anyway...James was working from home today so I was able to take Andrew to school on my own and talk to his teacher a bit as I’ve been so out of the loop lately with not being able to go into his classroom.  From there I stopped by Shoppers for some stamps, then picked up the girls and we went over to my mom and dad’s.  My dad had the day off work and wanted to shampoo their carpets (because that’s the kind of thing my dad does on a ‘day off’) and we had the shampooer at our place, so I took it over and we had a little visit with them.  The girls were over the moon of course, because they LOVE going to my parents’ house!  It was a nice little change of pace for me, too.  I took them home in time for their nap, and that’s when things went a bit awry.  

We had to remove everything from under the stairs today because management was clearing the pipes leading to the outside taps to make sure there would be no water left in them in the winter in case of freezing.  I had taken almost everything out of there before Halloween to get the boxes out for decorating, but I’d left a shelf in there and a few other things that I didn’t have to move to get to the boxes.  It hasn’t been THAT long since I removed everything, but several months I guess.  We found MOLD all in behind the shelf and along part of the wall leading to the closet door.  Not the worst amount ever but enough to be alarmed by it, and it’s definitely a problem.  Then I noticed something that literally had popped up since this morning because I had looked in that exact spot this morning and there was nothing...There were MUSHROOMS growing out of the carpet.  MUSHROOMS. GROWING. OUT. OF. THE. CARPET.  I’ve literally never in my life seen that before and hadn’t even thought about the possibility of it.  So to say I was shocked would be an understatement!  I am so horrified by the whole thing, especially with two 2 year olds who are not shy to pick random things off the floor.  What if they touched them, or worse yet, ate them??  I can’t even believe this is happening, yet at the same time I can.  While this place has great potential, it seems to be riddled with problems because it hasn’t been properly maintained.  

We had someone from management come and look at it and they’re sending someone tomorrow to start dealing with it, but I’m so worried that they’ll do a half-assed job of it like they do with everything else, and the underlying issue won’t be fixed.  It really freaks me out, especially for the sake of our kids.  I don’t want to be raising our kids in a place that has mold in it.  I know the problem could be worse and it’s good that we found it and they’re going to do something right away, but at the same time...I’m also stressed about all that this is going to entail.  Tonight before I go to bed I have to take literally everything out of that closet AGAIN (I couldn’t leave it all over the living room all day today as I didn’t want the girls getting into it, although now I’ll have to let that happen because I have no idea when the workers will be here tomorrow).  Then I have to hope they arrive when I’m going to be home, hope it doesn’t totally screw up the girls’ nap since that will totally screw up the rest of the day...then there’s the amount of days they’ll have to come back to patch things up etc.  Not to mention that the carpet has to be replace, which is great in the sense that we NEEDED new carpet there when we moved in...but it also means moving heavy furniture and basically just a giant headache before we have the new carpet installed.  I’m just not in the mood for this, I wish things could just be going smoothly and I didn’t have all this crap added on.

At the same time, we gave management a list of things we’d like to have done to upgrade our place, so there will be a few renos taking place, although it doesn’t sound all that promising as to what we’ll get done.  In some ways I think I just have zero faith in the company to do anything at all, or to do any of it right.  It’s too bad, because otherwise I feel like the bones of this place are great and it has the potential to be a place we could stay for a long time, but there are reasons why I wonder how long we’ll last here.  I’m not about to start looking into moving but I wish I felt more secure where we are.  I don’t like feeling any amount of discomfort in my own home!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our tree is gone

Shortly after the girls and I got home from dropping Andrew off at school this morning, a big truck pulled up outside of our house and workers started clearcutting the trees in our neighbourhood.  First they took down the one in the yard next to ours, and then they cut ours down.  Just like that, our tree is gone.  I feel kind of sick about it.  We had a feeling it was going to happen eventually, as about 6 months ago they clearcut the ones in the little cul de sac across from us, and there were green tags on all the trees in the complex.  But we kept hoping it wouldn’t happen, and for the most part forgot about it because they hadn’t ever come back.  
It looks TERRIBLE, and we have completely lost all privacy in the front of our house.  If we open the blinds in our bedroom, we look right over to a window in the townhouse across from us.  Which means if they look through that window they can not only see into our bedroom, but they can see our dining room and kitchen as well!  I feel way too exposed now.  It will be noisier for us, too, when cars go by, because we don’t have that tree as a barrier anymore.

The thing that bugs me the most is that they didn’t even give us any warning that they’d be doing that today.  It would have been nice to be able to wrap our heads around it.  That’s something that bugs me sometimes about rentals.  They don’t seem to assume that we live here thinking of it as our own home.  This isn’t just their townhouse that we rent, we have made this our home even if we don’t officially own it.  I know we don’t get the final say with things like keeping trees or not (although I have NO IDEA why they’ve done this, it was a stupid move unless they have some sort of fantastic plans to extend the yard spaces or something, which I highly doubt!) but having warning and knowing what’s going on would give us a better sense of community and make us feel more respected as tenants.  I wish our place was under different ownership and things were gone about differently.  I would do things so differently if I was in charge of it!!

Our dining room is definitely a lot brighter now, and I know I’ll get used to this change over time.  I think it’s just sad to see a tree that’s been growing there for about 30 years just cut down like that.  It wasn’t dead or dying, it was a perfectly good tree!  And while I’m glad they kept one, the one they left behind (which looks weird because it grew behind the big tree so it’d warped looking from not growing properly in sunlight...but anyway) is the one that sheds leaves all over our yard like crazy several times a year!!  So we got to keep that one, but not the one that just did it’s own thing and didn’t bother anyone.  LOL  Awesome :S

Monday, November 17, 2014

Preparing for Christmas early

The girls still have does do I...and as of last night, James, too.  So it’s a house full of sickies for us!  A few nights ago I sneezed and literally within a minute I had a full fledged head cold.  Luckily it’s not the kind of cold where you feel achy and almost flu like, since I feel like I just got over that one.  This is ‘just’ a head cold.  But it’s not fun, and it’s making it nearly impossible to sleep.  Between my nose dripping and having a nightmare that a terrorist was one by one taking out everyone in the room and I knew it was only a matter of time before he got me (I blame season 4 of Homeland for that!), I barely slept a wink last night.

BUT I am almost done all my Christmas shopping, so that’s a plus!!  I’ve done almost all my shopping online and it has been GREAT.  I finally finished our ‘year in review’ book yesterday and it’s on the printing press right now.  I’m really happy with it.  It’s VERY time consuming, I can’t even count the hours I spent on it, but it’s so worth it to have that keepsake.  Mixbook had a deal for 50% off, ending today, so I wanted to make sure I got in on that deal.  I had 7 books printed, and because of the ridiculous amount of extra pages per book (it’s a 57 page book!...and that was with scaling back!) it would have been $61 PER BOOK!!!  And then shipping on top of that.  INSANE.  But it was half price, so I saved $230.  Amazing!  I don’t think I’d be able to justify the price if it wasn’t on sale, but luckily they always do this deal around this time of year so I make sure the book is done in time for it.  I love Mixbook, I actually have several other books in the works, but I’m taking a bit of a break from it for the time being.

It’s weird that in 2 weeks we’ll be getting decorated for Christmas.  Even though I’m fairly prepared already gift wise, it still feels like Xmas should be a long time off.  It’s going to be exciting though - Andrew of course will be completely wound up, but the girls will be, too.  They don’t totally understand and I’m sure don’t remember last Christmas, but they’ll sometimes mention Christmas and Santa in the right context, so I have a feeling they’re going to be over the moon with it all.

Once again we weren’t able to stay for reading time in Andrew’s class this morning due to our colds, so when we got home the girls decided they wanted to go out and play in the yard.  It was -2 when we took Andrew to school, and had to be about the same or colder when we went out, because it was icy and frosty and COOOOLD.  But we were bundled up, and the girls enjoyed sweeping the leaves of the decks, both front and back, and then playing on their slide and climber in the backyard. It’s nice to have that option, even if it was fairly short-lived given the cold.  The girls’ little fingers were bright red they were so cold, but I can’t get them to keep gloves on for more than a minute.  So glad we live somewhere mild enough that it doesn’t really matter!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Little Miss Grumpy Pants

The girls were over the fever part (of whatever it is they have) today, and while Margaret still has a few dots on her back they’re lighter and the ones on her belly and leg are almost gone.  So we can rule out chicken pox, THANK GAWD.  All 3 kids seem SO stuffed up and major cold symptoms, but Emily was the worst today.  She was really snotty and it was making her miserable.  I felt so bad for her.  Her face was all red and you could just tell she wasn’t feeling good.  Sometime when she gets upset she gets into a mode where she doesn’t know WHAT she wants, she just knows she doesn’t like how things are.  If I suggest cuddles, she pulls away and says,’ NO!’ and it gets her even more worked up.  If I suggest getting her cozy with a blanket she freaks more.  A snack?  More screaming.  You get the drift!  It can be really frustrating, but ultimately the reason she’s doing it is because SHE’S frustrated, and she can’t vocalize it.  I always have to take a deep breath and not let myself get annoyed by the freaking out part!  It doesn’t usually last all that long anyway.  Sometimes it works to just walk away and let her know if she needs anything I’m there, but give her a bit of space.

This morning was tough because I knew she was feeling unwell, and yet I had to get her dressed and bundled up to go out into the cold (which was -5 when James left for work, and I don’t think it was much warmer when we went to school).  She was so upset being out in the cold and just wanted me to carry her, which worked out OK because Margaret was fine with walking.  (I could carry them both if I had to, for a little while, but they’re both exactly 27.8lbs as of last week, so I’d rather not if I don’t have to!!)  (Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but here’s a huge difference in Margaret and Emily’s personalities - when we get to Andrew’s school, they know they have to hold my hand till we get to the fence, and then they can run because we’re in the school yard and it’s safe.  As soon as she knows she’s allowed, Margaret let’s go of my hand and charges away....Whereas Emily doesn’t let go of my hand at all until we’re practically outside of Andrew’s classroom.  If I happened to let go of her hand for any reason, she would protest!)  

We haven’t been able to participate in Family Reading Time in the mornings the past few days because I don’t want the kids in Andrew’s class catching the girls’ cold if possible (even though Andrew has the same symptoms for the most part…)  They’ve been really good about it, even though I know they’re itching to get back into that classroom!  But this morning Emily was just so cold and when we got back to the van she was bawling her eyes out and screaming, and then that seemed to set Margaret off and then she was crying too and it must have been a sight for the other parents because they were both screaming and crying and saying, ‘HUG, HUUUUG!’  I gave them both a shoulder to cry on (good thing I’ve got two of those!!) and then they got into their seats with the promise of a couple of Tic Tac’s each to tide them over till we got home for breakfast LOL.  Oh, but how can I forget, before they settled down, Emily cried so hard she threw up.  ‘Luckily’ I was wearing a scarf and had something to clean it up with!  (Unluckily for my scarf) =S  What can I say, accessories take on new meanings when you’re a mom.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Post flu mist update (and other stories)

Something I forgot to add to all the craziness of last night was how cute Andrew was about the whole thing.  While we were waiting for the paramedics to arrive, he kept bringing toys over to Margaret and Emily and said, ‘I just feel so bad for my sisters, I want to bring them toys to try to make them feel better!  I just feel so BAD for them!’  It was so sweet.  He was of course chatting up the paramedics, too, telling them all about his Halloween costume and the treat bag he made for it and about the toys he has.  One of them was holding some of the toys and he said, ‘You can’t take those with you, those are mine!’  LOL

It is SOOOOO COOOOOLD.  It’s been freezing for the past few days.  James was going to cycle to work today but it was -4 so he decided not to.  For us, that’s reeeeally cold!  It’s super sunny, and it has been nice to see bright blue skies the past few days, but I could do without the frost.  We’ve been cranking up the furnace a lot, and I’m hoping we can go get a load of fire wood this weekend so we can start having somewhat regular fires in the fireplace.  I’d love to have them often but basically I don’t feel comfortable starting a fire till close to when the girls go to bed, so that they can enjoy looking at it for a few but then they’re in bed and we don’t have to worry about them.  Obviously I DOUBT they’d do anything silly around the fire, but an adult would have to ALWAYS be in the same room as them if we had a fire going, no exceptions, and that’s complicated.  Sometimes we need to go to the kitchen or bathroom or whatever, so it doesn’t make sense to have a fire going earlier in the day.

I love that the girls are more and more at an age where they understand things and are learning what’s ok and what’s not.  The past few days I’ve actually had Emily come up to me several times with things she feels are inappropriate and hands me the item and says, ‘Not for babies.’  Or she’ll point out that something is ‘safe babies.’  It’s so cute.  She talks so much, and says so many little sentences.  Margaret is more and more as well.  Sometimes I notice she mimics some of what Emily says, but they also just have their own ways of speaking.  This morning Margaret came running into the kitchen requesting, ‘Watermelon, please!’  LOL  I have no idea what made her say that as it wasn’t in the past few days that she had any, but we just so happened to have a few slices in the fridge so she was able to have some.  Such a random thing, but that’s what she was thinking about!

I should probably mention, in update to yesterday’s post, I don’t think the red bumps are chicken pox.  If they were, they’d be spreading and getting worse, but they haven’t multiplied at all and they’re not looking any worse.  They don’t look better either, but no worse is a good sign, at least somewhat!  Emily had a fever through the night, and James was up with her for a while around 3am to give her some cuddles and then she went back to sleep, and all 3 kids slept in a bit later than usual.  I’ve definitely noticed both girls seem a bit out of sorts today compared to usual, and both have cold symptoms, although we were told that’s normal for a few days after the Flu Mist (Andrew is showing the same symptoms and I swear he can’t possibly have an actual cold because he just got over back to back colds!!)  I have to say I’m somewhat wary about the flu mist at this point.  On the one hand, we’ll see - maybe they’ll just have these ‘minor’ symptoms and won’t get any sicknesses this winter that are more than mild.  But so far, just what we’ve dealt with since they got it, feels like exactly what we wanted it for - to prevent going through all of this!  I guess no pain, no gain, but still.  We’ve never had any ill effects from the flu shot before (no pun intended) so I’m a bit surprised at the effect on the kids this year.  Maybe getting the shot instead of the mist would be better?

A visit to the ER...

Today we had a family appointment to get our flu shots.  James worked from home so he could join, and we kept Andrew out of school for the day due to the timing of when the appointment was.  It wouldn’t have made much sense for him to only be at school for about 2 hours in the afternoon.

All 3 kids were able to get the Flu Mist, which was a relief.  I knew the girls could get it, but I thought Andrew was going to have to get a shot.  It turns out the Flu Mist goes to age 17, so he was quite pleased to let everyone know that he could have it that way ‘for the next 12 years!’  He would have been a champ getting a needle, as he’s always been amazingly brave in the past, but if you don’t have to get one why would you, I’d do the mist too if I could!  Although the shot was no big deal.

The girls did really well too, and then we came home and it was a little past their usual nap time so off they went to bed.  They didn’t sleep as long as usual, but when they got up they didn’t really seem to want to do much.  It’s not uncommon for them to have a little bit of a ‘wake up’ time where we just veg on the couch together and watch a little show while cuddling.  Margaret in particular tends to like cuddles right after waking up from her nap, and sometimes (like today) she falls back asleep in my arms, curled up under the blanket.  Today, Emily tucked herself under the blanket next to her sister and rested her head against me, which for her is a bit more unusual.  She likes cuddles, but not the same way as Margaret, and usually she wakes up faster after nap time and is happy to even just sit by herself, or go play with some toys.  But she was cuddling up, and I started kissing her cheek and noticed they were practically on fire and very red.  She definitely had a fever.  I told her so, and she said, ‘NO fever, Emmy FINE!’  LOL  As if she even knows what a fever is.  But she was quite clingy, which is not her usual way.

James went and picked up some children’s tylenol around 5pm and gave both girls some right away (Margaret was feeling warm by this point too).  I had noticed a few red marks on one of her legs that looked like big bug bites or something.  Just two, but they were fairly big and it did make me watch her a little closer, but I figured they weren’t anything really to worry about.  She seemed fine otherwise.  Then at dinner time we noticed she had little red dots on her back by her shoulders, some on her belly, and a few more on her legs.  Emily still had a fever, and had one large red bump on one of her legs.  I was wondering if it might be a reaction to the Flu Mist, although that seemed like an odd side effect, so I didn’t really think it had anything to do with that, but I DID worry it could be chicken pox.  The kids have been immunized against it, but they’re not fully vaccinated for that till they are 5, so they still have one shot to go.  I had a bad feeling about it and I wanted to know more, especially because I have to drop Andrew off at school tomorrow with the girls, I don’t have any other options, and if the girls are getting chicken pox I’m going to have to figure something out for drop off and pick up to avoid possibly affecting other kids.  I decided to call the nurse help line to see what they thought.

I was put through to a registered nurse, and as soon as I described what the red bumps looked like, she said that it was hives, which is the sign of a SEVERE allergic reaction to the flu mist, and that I had to call 911 IMMEDIATELY because while Margaret (and Emily, too, given she was showing signs as well, although Margaret was obviously worse) seemed fine over all (at that point she was running around with her siblings laughing hysterically as Andrew chased her around in his Spiderman costume), she could literally suddenly stop breathing without any notice due to anaphylactic shock.

I was dumbfounded.  I was anticipating hearing that we should give her some Benadryl maybe or that yes it might be chicken pox, keep her monitored, but I wasn’t expecting to hear, ‘Hang up and call 911 RIGHT NOW.’  !!!  I was in shock.  Basically the way she put it was that they might be fine and just need Benadryl or Tylenol or even nothing at all, but if we did nothing, or drove ourselves to the hospital, and suddenly she’s not breathing, what are we going to do?  I was freaked out at the thought, so I called 911, even though a part of me just felt so weird doing so, and like it was over the top.  My gut said Margaret wasn’t going to suddenly drop, but at the same time if I didn’t listen to the nurse and something happened, how could I live with myself?

It was such a bizarre experience, calling 911, immediately being put through to Ambulance Services, being talked through what we needed to do, etc.  I’d never called 911 in my life so this was all new to me!  The paramedics arrived about half an hour later, if that, and were very kind and listened to Margaret’s heartbeat and took a look at the bumps.  They said they didn’t feel she was in a dire condition and doubted she was going to suddenly stop breathing given that her lungs sounded clear and she seemed to be doing well otherwise.  They offered to drive us to the hospital in the Ambulance as they did still want us to go to Emergency to have the girls checked to be sure, as the rash was seriously enough to warrant needing looked at as obviously SOMETHING was causing it, whether it be the Flu Mist or something else.  But they didn’t feel it was at all likely either girl was going to suddenly stop breathing, so we opted to drive them ourselves.  I’d called my parents right after calling 911 and they thankfully were able to come over (and got to our place just as the Ambulance was arriving!) so they could stay with Andrew so we didn’t have to bring him to the hospital as well (sooooo grateful for that).

It’s really cold out so we got the girls bundled up and off we went.  To them it was an adventure, confusing maybe as we never go out ‘that late’ (it was a little after 7:30pm - early to some, but that’s their bedtime!) so it was an experience in their eyes!  And definitely too dramatic of one for this mama…

We got to the hospital and the girls were wanting bed time and bottles...but they were pretty good about staying distracted just with being pushed around in their stroller, or James carrying them around one at a time while I was going through the paperwork with the other.  We actually got in not all that long after we got there, thankfully.  It felt like forever in some ways, but it was nothing compared to usual ER wait times.  

I can’t say I was super impressed with the doctor we saw, although I can’t pinpoint exactly why.  I think he was a bit too nonchalant in his approach or something.  He often said, ‘sort of thing’ at the end of a sentence - for example, ‘Were they born early and that sort of thing?’ and it maybe bugged me a bit, I can’t explain why…!!  He checked both girls over, then pawed at his beard a bit and said, ‘Hmmm, interesting….She’s (pointing at Emily) got the fever, and the other one has the rash!’  (It is kind of interesting how they each seemed to have some symptoms that together would be something a bit easier to pinpoint!)

It turned out, as my gut told me, not to be something serious enough to worry they would suddenly stop breathing.  But it might be chicken pox.  It’s not really something we can know yet, as they apparently come on over the span of about 3 days, and if that’s the case this is the first day.  But we’ll have to wait and see.  Margaret does have a welt in her mouth that matches with the ones on her body, and is ‘normal’ with chicken pox.  But it might just be a fluke and could be a reaction to something she ate or whatever (although she barely ate today and only had stuff that is normal for her, other than the flu mist…)

We’re no further ahead, BUT at least we have some peace of mind, as the health nurse kind of freaked me out.  I don’t think I’d call 811 again any time soon, truthfully.  It’s true, it’s better to be safe than sorry, but I also can’t imagine going through all of what we did tonight again unless I REALLY knew something wasn’t right.  I don’t know why but I just can’t stand that I had to call 911 and that we had paramedics in our house, it feels so dramatic and ahhhh I just can’t stand it!!

So we’ll see what happens, hopefully the rash is a fluke and doesn’t get worse and the girls seem back to normal by morning.  They were so happy to come home and go to bed.  In the car on the way home I turned to them and said, ‘You can go to sleep now if you’d like, and Daddy and I can carry you to bed when we get home.’  Margaret took her bottle out of her mouth and said in her oh so sweet voice, ‘Thank you, Mommy.’  My kids just totally melt my heart!

(Just as an aside, the girls had the Flu Mist last year with no symptoms at all so it seems odd they’d suddenly have issues with it now.  Also, I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t even give the girls Tylenol at the hospital, especially since they said Emily had a fever.  But whatever, we gave them some when we got home, and they’ve been sleeping soundly, so hopefully they are on the mend and will be quick to heal.  

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Amazing what a little sleep can do...

It’s amazing what a little extra sleep does for a person’s psyche!  I am always so sleep deprived, and last night I really felt it catching up to me.  I went to bed a little over an hour earlier than usual, and slept pretty well, and felt SO much better this morning than I usually do.  I also had a cat nap during the girls’ nap time to refresh myself for the afternoon, and I feel so much better for it.

Knock on wood because I don’t want to jinx it, but the girls have been sleeping SO WELL for their naps lately.  They’re due to wake up any minute, but they’ve been sleeping for OVER TWO HOURS so far without a peep!  Usually they sleep for about an hour and a half, but when it’s two hours that’s such a bonus for me.  I’ll even take the hour and a half!  Of course you never know for sure if they’ll even sleep that long, but it’s been going pretty well for a while now.  Ever since they switched to their toddler beds.  I was so sure it would be a nightmare, especially with Margaret not being the greatest sleeper to begin with, but it’s amazing how good they are.  They’ve been sleeping more through the night, or just one wake up, but unfortunately changing the clocks back an hour last weekend has messed things up so that they get up at 5am and James can’t get them to go back to sleep.  They were doing fairly well for sleeping till around 6 before the time change.  Hopefully we can get them sleeping a little longer in the mornings, for James’ sake most of all!

I feel like we’re in a good routine lately.  Of course, this is the ‘not sleep deprived’ Elizabeth talking.  A few days ago I was feeling so overwhelmed and like I just wanted to throw in the towel (of course I never actually would!)  But over all, I feel like we have a pretty good system going.  I do miss Andrew during the day, it’s not that I’m ‘happy’ he’s at school, but I think it’s really good for him, and good for us.  It’s nice to have that time to devote to the babies and not feel like Andrew is bored or annoyed that we’re not doing something more geared to his interests.  I love that he comes home from school with stories to tell about the day, and yesterday he was actually teaching ME about taste buds and which areas of the tongue taste different things.  I knew a bit about that but had forgot the facts over the years, and now he’s teaching me!  I like that we get the chance to spend some time at the school for the girls’ sake, so they, too, get some social interaction and something a little different than they’re used to at home.  I have a good system for where I park and ‘my spot’ is available 99% of the time, which I like, and it just feels like everything has fallen into place and the things I was worried about before school started aren’t even issues anymore.

We (well, let’s face it, ‘I’) got us all undecorated from Halloween the morning of the 1st.  We’re back to our usual decor and I feel like outside is boring right now, but I know it’s only a matter of weeks before we’ll be starting to get decorated for Christmas!  It feels like time is such a whirlwind these days, why is it that it seems to go by faster and faster the older we get?!  I can’t believe it will be Christmas, and part of me isn’t ready to get excited about that yet, but at the same time I’ve already started my Christmas shopping because I don’t want to be worrying about it all at the last minute.  My plan is to be COMPLETELY FINISHED Christmas shopping by December 1st so that December can be about enjoying the holidays and getting into Christmas baking and just spending time with family without the stress of gift buying taking over and making us all wonder what Christmas is about!  

I’m going to post this because I have a ‘sense’ that the girls will be up any second.  Interestingly I tend to have a strong sense with Margaret, less so with Emily.  Which is not to say I’m closer to Margaret because I feel equally close to all my kids, truthfully.  I think Emily is just a better sleeper and would probably sleep all afternoon long if no one disrupted her, so she’s just off in la la land!  But with Margaret, I will often suddenly get this ‘feeling’, just like a sense that I can’t explain and it will make me think, ‘Margaret’ and then boom, she’s calling my name on the monitor.  Sometimes it will happen when they’ve only been asleep a short time and I’ll think, ‘NO NO NO’ and try to push her out of my brain LOL.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t =D

Saturday, November 01, 2014

This is Halloween, this is Halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night

I can’t believe it’s NOVEMBER now and Halloween has come and gone!  We had a great Halloween at our house, although it was anything but relaxing for me and I felt quite under the weather by the time the day was here I think from total burn out leading up to the big day.  Which might sound ridiculous, I know it’s JUST Halloween, but there’s no such thing as JUST Halloween, is there?!  It’s Andrew’s favourite day of the entire year, even slightly above his birthday, so it’s a pretty big deal for us and I wanted it to be special.

It felt like a week of Halloween festivities around here actually.  On Tuesday we went on Andrew’s first ever school field trip, to a pumpkin patch.  James took a vacation day so he could go with us, so we were able to go as a family.  It was pouring with rain so hard in the morning that we tried to convince Andrew to skip out on his field trip and we’d take him to an indoor play centre or something else fun instead, but he freaked at the thought of missing out on the pumpkin patch with his friends.  It’s a good thing he convinced his parents to go, because even though we got soaked, it was totally worth it for the experience.  We got there and it was still raining quite hard, so we were drenched before we even got to the pumpkins, but it cleared up just as our hayride got us to the patch to pick out our pumpkin.  It rained a bit more after that but it wasn’t as bad.  We checked out the animals in the barn and I tried my best to get a good picture with all 3 kids in it by some pumpkins.  I got some OK ones but it’s impossible to get a picture of all 3 kids doing what I want them to do!

We drove there and back for about 2 hours, and were only at the farm itself for a little over an hour, but it was fun and I’m glad we went.  The kids all had a blast!

On Wednesday I stayed (along with the girls, they’re really getting into the groove of participating in Kindergarten and they LOVE it!!) for most of the morning in Andrew’s class and helped the kids with pumpkin carving.  The pumpkins at the patch were all quite small and we had several larger ones already at home, so I brought one of ours in and the teacher asked if I would like to help with the carving.  I love carving pumpkins so it worked out well.  I thought it might have been a total gong show with the girls there, because of course I can’t just focus on the pumpkin carving, I also had to keep an eye on what they were doing to make sure they stayed in the room/didn’t get into any mischief.  But the fact that we pretty much stay for 15-20 minutes every single morning, they’re used to the classroom and for the most part what they can and can’t do there, and they were so good the whole time.  The other kids absolutely LOVE the twins, too, which helps.  The girls giggle and give them hugs and kisses and go crazy every time Margaret gives them a kiss (Emily is a little more stingy with her kisses!)  It’s really cute, and I know the girls absolutely LOVE being there.  (In fact, they often mention how much fun they had in Andrew’s classroom when we’re home, and at nap time they make sure we’re ‘Andrew, up?’ which translates to picking Andrew up in the afternoon!

It was a lot of fun helping with the carving, and just spending a bit more time with the kids, getting to know some of them a little better.  Five year olds are SO CUTE and I love how innocent they are.  I like that the kids are getting more used to me and I notice now when I go to pick Andrew up after school, if any of the other kids see me through the window waiting, most of them will smile and wave.

On Thursday night we went for a bit of a drive around our surrounding neighbourhoods looking at Halloween decor and pumpkins, although we didn’t really end up seeing much.  Our own decorations seemed amazing in comparison to most of what we saw.  We did do a pretty good job with our decor this year, if I do say so myself (since it was Andrew and I who did all the decorating!) but still...we were hoping to see a lot more community involvement!  It was still fun just to go out for an evening ride, which is something we generally don’t do at all as a family.  The kids seemed to have fun, especially the girls since we went out quite close to their usual bed time!  Emily kept marvelling at the ‘beachy radoos’ which is her way of saying, ‘Itsy bitsy spiders’, which also translates to spiders in general.  She has gone around a lot lately saying, ‘Beachy radoo, Mommy!  Beach-y ra-doo!’ because we had spider decorations inside and outside of the house.  Margaret was in full on parrot mode, where she was repeating a lot of what James and I were saying (not because the words were new for her to say, but just to let us know she was listening, the cheeky little devil that she is!)  I keep forgetting that we now have THREE little ones listening in on our conversations, not just one!  And they all have a pretty good idea what we’re saying most of the time!  At one point James asked me if the girls were still awake and before I could even turn my head to see, Margaret called out, ‘Yep!’  LOL.

We got a notice on Thursday after school that we had to bring a healthy ‘Halloween themed/coloured’ snack for the class as they were going to be having a little party in the afternoon on Halloween day.  I didn’t want to bring something that someone else was likely to bring, so we suddenly had ‘making a cool treat for the class’ added to our list...When we also still had several pumpkins to carve, zombie dance party cookies to make and decorate, Halloween treats to put together for Andrew’s class (we got some cool ‘skeleton puzzle candy’ and I attached labels to them that said, ‘Make no bones about it, you’re a real pal!  Happy Halloween!’ and Andrew signed his name on the back of each one), and I also had a million and one other things to take care of that night.  My parents were over later in the afternoon and stayed till dinner time so I could get the pumpkin carving done with Andrew, but it was such a whirlwind of a night.  I was pretty pleased with the healthy snack Andrew and I came up with for his class though!  We made mini banana muffins (with some green food colouring added to make it a little more Halloween-y), and then with a teensy bit of white icing (that we had made to decorate his zombie cookies) I added candy eyeballs to the center, and then I used a tube of red icing to make red lines so that the muffins looked like little eyeballs.  It was actually pretty cool, and all the kids loved them.  As much as it was more work that in some ways I didn’t need to add to my plate, I also really love doing stuff like that and having Andrew’s class to share them with.  I am actually really loving being involved with his class and feeling like we’re a part of something, and doing cute little things for the enjoyment of the kids.  It makes me happy to have that experience.

Anyway….so it was finally THE BIG DAY yesterday.  Andrew experienced his first ever Halloween Assembly at school, which I remember so well from when I was in school.  They sang a ‘Stirring the brew’ song for the adults, that the music teacher taught them, and he absolutely had a field day between that and checking out all the kids’ and teachers’ costumes.  He wore his Popeye costume from last year to school because his Zombie Doctor costume would have been too scary and inappropriate for Kindergarten I think.  His Popeye one was so cute, I’m glad he got another use out of it.  We went to the class an hour early to join their little party and it was a complete and utter GONG SHOW.  I felt so sorry for the teacher!  It was an inside day because it had been raining, so no recess OR lunch running around outside, and the kids were all totally hyped up about Halloween.  It was crazy.  But the girls were happy to be there, also in their costumes from last year (little flowers).  

From school we went straight to my parents’ house as Andrew wanted to trick or treat there first, and my parents of course really wanted to see the kids done up in their costumes.  When we got there I got them changed into their Zombie Doctor and Little Green Alien costumes in the lobby downstairs, and they went up and did their trick or treating.  We weren’t in the door 2 seconds when all 3 of them wanted their costumes off!  I can’t even count how many times their costumes were on and off again before we actually went out trick or treating in our neighbourhood at about 5:45pm!

The kids had SO MUCH FUN trick or treating.  The girls obviously didn’t remember it at all from last year but they got the hang of it pretty quick.  Emily scares a little easier than Margaret so there were some places that were quite decorated where she’d say, ‘Bit too scary’ and she didn’t want to go.  But they had such a great time, and so did we.  James wore an old man mask and his robe so he was going as an old man (funny because I actually wore that same mask and went as an old man one year when I was maybe in grade 3 or 4, I just remembered that now!)  I wore a cat mask, just to be participating in some way, although that was the extent of my costume.

We went to pretty much all the same areas as last year and the kids got more candy than we know what to do with.  The girls came home and stayed with my mil, who was at our place giving out candy while we were trick or treating, and that’s when James and I took Andrew around our complex just the 3 of us before calling it a night.  It was the perfect amount of time to be out, and the weather honestly couldn’t have been better.  It had rained all day but stopped within a few hours of heading out trick or treating, and it was so mild that I was actually sweating in my rain jacket which isn’t a heavy coat by any means.  It was so nice not to be worried that the kids were completely frozen under their costumes.

We finished the night with a fire log in the fireplace, and Andrew and I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas until he fell asleep =)