Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Update!

Where o where has the time gone. October and nearly all of November are deserving of a blog post!

The girls have adjusted very well to JK. For the most part, they are loving it. Their teacher and ECE seem fantastic -- very caring, but also extremely organized. The girls seem to know the day's structure well. It is also posted on the teacher's website, so I can always see what's going on. It's amazing to me that they've learned so much already. I expected the focus of JK to be on social and emotional development, which is for sure. It's great to also see that their writing and reading skills are improving quite a bit. They're constantly writing their names and asking me to help them spell different words. While reading books, they like me to point to each word as I say it.

Teagan's separation anxiety has subsided for the most part. While she is reluctant to go into the kindergarten yard occasionally, she rarely cries and will leave me providing that the ECE is there. I acknowledge that it can be hard, but remind her of the fun that she has at school.

The girls have made lots of new friends. Quinn and her preschool best friend have remained super close, which has been nice to see. It's been great to see them run around with new friends when we stay in the playground after school. I've driven by the playground during their lunchtime recess a few times and have seen them playing with many different kids. Teagan developed her first crush last week! She came out of school and begged me to wait. After a few moments, she ran over to this boy from their class. He is a head taller than she is, so she stood there look up at him. She was beaming and he was smiling down at her. After a little exchange, she came running back to me and he ran out to the soccer field with his friends. She then insisted that she had to say goodbye to him. She ran into the playground and looked around. When she eventually spotted him on the soccer field, she said that she had to give him a hug. She went running across the field. I did have a moment of worry, wondering if he would push her away or ignore her. When she got to him, he wrapped his arms around her and picked her up in a big bear hug. She came running back over to me with a HUGE smile on her face. It reminded me of that scene towards the end of Love Actually. If you've seen the movie, I'm sure you know the one! She talked about this boy for a few days and even said that she loved him. Her crush seems to have subsided now! 4-year olds move on easily!

The girls' school is BIG on parent volunteerism, especially at the kindergarten level. I signed up to be a reader. This means that I go in once per week, if I can, and read with the kids individually. They each have a bag of three books of varying difficulties and choose which one they would like to read to me. I have to keep track of what they read, strengths and areas for improvement in a binder. I've really enjoyed it so far. Most of the kids were extremely keen on reading and wanted to read all three books multiple times.

October also meant a trip to the pumpkin farm! Jenn and I made a last minute decision to go on Thanksgiving Sunday. We had a Thanksgiving dinner planned for Monday, so it worked out well.

We took a wagon out into the pumpkin patch and the girls loved filling it up with pumpkins. We eventually made them each decide on just one!






On Monday, we did Thankgiving dinner at my parents place. The girls came home that weekend and proudly showed us their Thanksgiving project from school that week. Jenn didn't make Quinn's list, which was particularly funny to us given how much Quinn adores her! I found it equally funny that she is thankful for "Mommy makes pies" because I've never made a pie! Teagan apparently really enjoys the outdoors, particularly rocks and wood chips and loves sleepovers at Atty and Grandpa's, she explained to me afterwards. 





Jenn and I managed to escape for a night on our own towards the end of October. The break was much needed. We were both feeling tired and a little burnt out. Earlier in the year, we had done a great job of getting babysitters regularly so that we could go out to dinner alone or with friends, do something fun on a weekend afternoon, do ANYTHING kid-free! etc. So anyways, Jenn and I went down to one of our favourite quick getaway areas, had relaxing massages at a fantastic spa and ate some delicious meals. I also slept for almost 10 hours that night! It was so nice to have that time to reconnect and slow down. 

October ended with Halloween and two extremely excited little girls. Teagan counted down the days until she could trick or treat. By Halloween Day, she was asking every half hour if it was time yet. By 5:45, they were dressed and ready to go -- it was still light out. At the first house, we overheard the owner tell the girls the they were the first trick or treaters!


Trick or treating is serious business...



On the Friday before Halloween, there was a big kindergarten parade. Parents were invited to line the halls while the kids walked through the school. I was shocked to walk into the school to find the halls packed. Kindergarten parents are very supportive! It was clearly overwhelming for the little 4/5 year olds to walk out and see the crowds! The girls teacher had them lined up nicely and had reminded them to be quiet (hence the finger over the mouth!). 




On the day before Halloween, it was discovered that my pregnant sister-in-law, Kelly's baby was breech. As a result, a c-section was scheduled for the following Monday. They were both disappointed to find out that baby was breech, but after processing it, became excited to meet their little girl. After a very smooth and uneventful c-section, they welcomed their little one into the world on the afternoon of November 2nd! She is absolutely adorable. At just 6 days old, her cousins got to meet her. The girls can be a little bit wild, especially around my brother, but managed to understand the importance of being calm and gentle around Kelly and the baby. They both held her, with assistance, and gave her many kisses. It definitely made me feel more excited for their baby brother's arrival in February!

We've been having some challenges at home with fighting. It amazes me how the two of them can be beating each other up one minute and then be best buddies the next. On one particular morning recently, I found the fluctuations completely exhausting. Two minutes before this picture was taken, they were yelling with tears streaming down their faces! 


And then they walked to school like this!


One of the funnier moments recently…I hear Quinn tell T to be a horse and look over to see this! 



I often try to think about what it would be like to be with one person 24/7. As twins, they know nothing else, but it still must be exhausting! Funny enough, when I try to separate them, they resist! 

In early November, the girls and I met one of my old friends and her baby at the Royal Winter Fair. I've taken the girls to it for the last few years now. It's always a blast. We watched the Super Dogs perform. The impressive pups ran through various obstacle courses, which included leaping high over bars, running through tunnels and zig-zagging through thin pylons. It was quite entertaining to watch! Each year, the main attraction for the girls has been the petting zoo. 





The girls watched several older kids riding the mechanical bull and decided that they wanted to try it. While waiting in line, Quinn backed out. Teagan was still determined to give it a try. She was by far the smallest kid in line, but did get onto the bull. I think that it was higher than she thought so she quickly slid off. Sadly, I wasn't able to capture a photo before that happened!


Hockey is going extremely well for the girls. They are really enjoying it and improving quite a bit. Teagan was quite excited to shoot the puck for the first time a couple weeks ago! 


As with anything that Quinn does, she likes to skate as fast as she can. She's working on stopping! 

video


We were lucky enough to experience some unseasonably warm Fall weather (here and there!) in Toronto. This meant more time outside! A few Fridays ago, I got a call from school that Teagan wasn't feeling well. I went to pick her up after lunch and as suspected, Quinn came home too. I questioned the sickness since she was running around with friends collecting worms when I arrived. It was a gorgeous day so we decided to take the pups for a walk. I took photos of all 6 of my children. Note the "sick" one in photo one ;)


And of course, no update would be complete without talk of the littlest member of our family! See the bottom-middle photo above! 

The little man is growing well. So far, I have been fortunate enough to experience an uneventful pregnancy. The third trimester is officially underway (28 weeks now). Overall, I'm feeling pretty good. My only complaints are some sleep disturbances (occasional insomnia) and occasional heartburn. I'm up a few times per night to go to the bathroom and sometimes have a lot of trouble falling back to sleep.  If I'm awake for more than 30 minutes or so, I usually just get up and head downstairs. I accept it for what it is but am usually exhausted and slightly cranky the next day. The heartburn stays in check providing I avoid certain spices. I learned it the hard way! I'm starting to actually feel pregnant, despite looking pregnant for quite some time. The second trimester is truly blissful in the sense that I didn't have to slow down. Now, my growing belly forces me to take a step back. It's hard though because I generally move pretty quickly. I've experienced a few sharp, sudden pains that were a definite warning to slow down! 

My anxiety during this pregnancy has been much higher than the last one. Surprising, I know. But, as I told my midwife yesterday, in my twin pregnancy, everyone did the worrying for me. I had constant monitoring so there was little room for something to go wrong without it being discovered quickly. As I mentioned, this pregnancy has been uneventful so far, so I feel extremely fortunate for that. I try hard to not worry and have faith in my body and the little baby growing inside me. His movements are incredibly reassuring. He favours my right side but is large enough now (around 14 inches long and roughly 2lbs) that he often stretches across the bottom of my belly too. 

I've tried to keep active. I'm doing a prenatal bootcamp twice per week and yoga once. I would love to up the yoga, but at this point my schedule doesn't permit it. I also walk a lot during the week between the kids and the dog walking. 

A few weeks ago, we toured the new Toronto Birth Centre. I'm hoping to have the baby there. This does mean a natural labour and delivery with no pain relief. It's something that I feel like I can do and want to do for myself. We have hired a doula to help both Jenn and I during labour and will have our two midwives too. 

Spending time with Rob and Kelly's little girl has made me very excited for the little man's arrival! The girls are excited too, particularly Teagan, who talks to him and kisses my belly constantly. I'll post some proper belly photos soon. I'm embarrassed to say that I've only taken one at 22 weeks! 




Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lying

One afternoon last week, we hosted a play date. There were 6 kids aged 4 and under in the house. While all of the kids were playing upstairs, Quinn came down and asked me for crayons. I told her that if the kids wanted to colour, they would have to come downstairs and colour on the blue kids' table. She agreed, but then ran to the back room and a moment later ran by me looking guilty. I stopped her on the stairs and asked what was behind her back. "Nothing," she said. I asked her to show me both hands, so she sat down awkwardly and put her hands out in front. I asked if she was sitting on a crayon. "No, " she answered. I then told her that I was going to pick her up. She quickly shoved the offending item under a closed door. I opened the door and brought out the brown marker. "It wasn't me!" She yelled. "Someone else put it there!"

This is happening multiple times per day in our house. Quinn has taken to lying about big things and extremely small things. It seems to be her default. Even when I catch her in a lie, she will continue to lie to me.

She understands what it means to tell the truth. I've tried to explain that not telling the truth is more upsetting than whatever she has actually done. I've tried to explain that trust comes from telling the truth, even when it is tough to do. I've bought books about lying/fibbing/telling the truth. We've read them and talked about them afterwards. After speaking to a few people, I've worked on removing the word lie from my vocabulary when speaking with her.

I've read that lying is normal at this age. It doesn't make it any easier, especially to the extent that she is doing it. She's a smart kid who is always thinking. I do find it slightly concerning that she comes up with such elaborate lies and will continue to lie even after getting caught.

Currently, I do not get angry with her if she has lied to me. I'm disappointed more than anything and let her know that. I'm reluctant to place negative consequences on lying as I've read that it can makes things worse. I did get quite frustrated with her this morning and slightly raised my voice. She locked herself in the bathroom and touched up her face paint (she was one of the Paw Patrol dogs for Halloween and we were going to a party). I didn't realized that that was what she was doing and asked her to unlock the door. She did and I said simply, "You fixed up your dog face paint." She proceeded to tell me that she hadn't. She clearly thought that I would be angry. I then said, "I'm not angry, Quinn. I can see that you fixed up your face paint." She continued to tell me that she hadn't. I don't get it. I got frustrated and made her sit on the stairs. We chatted a few minutes later and had the same conversation that we've had so many times.

I'm jumping ahead, but this makes me fearful for the teenaged years. I do hope that this is a phase that we can get through (until the next one!). I absolutely hate not trusting her. I used to always be able to trust that she would tell me the truth.

Any advice? Words of wisdom? Stories that support my hope that it is a phase?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Battling colds while pregnant

Let's face it...getting sick sucks. As a mom, I hate getting sick. I find it tough to take care of myself and get the rest that I need. Getting sick as a pregnant mom is even more challenging. I was lucky enough to breeze through my last pregnancy without even a minor cold. I knew it was inevitable when Jenn got sick two weeks ago. Sicker than I've ever seen her -- the in bed with a fever and chills for two days straight kind of sick. We sent her to the basement to rest. It still took her several days after those two days in bed to fully recover. During that time, the girls started waking in the night for various reasons. After several nights of this, I was exhausted. After 10 days straight of waking in the night multiple times, I was a walking zombie. I knew that sickness was inevitable.

It came in the form of a cold that start mildly last Saturday. By Sunday, it had moved to my head. The head congestion was brutal and I struggled to find a comfortable position to get some rest. I usually don't turn to OTC medications, but had I not been pregnant, I might have on Sunday. Here's what I did instead. This would be beneficial to anyone, from child to adult, during sickness.


Lemon-Raw Honey-Apple Cider Vinegar Tea
  • We all know that lemons are packed with vitamin C -- a key immune booster and cold fighter. 
  • Raw Honey -- I wrote a post about it a few years ago. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, basically anti-everything (in the best possible way!). It's a great cough remedy and a great addition to tea. The medicinal benefits can only be found in the raw, unpasturized honey. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) -- It is alkalinizing, which helps kill a cold because colds send the body into an overly acidic state (lemon is alkalinizing too). 
  • To make the drink, I squeeze half a lemon, about 1 tbsp of ACV (more if you can tolerate it) and 1 tsp-1tbsp of raw honey into hot water. 
Vitamin C
  • As I said above, vitamin C is a key cold fighter. 
  • Being pregnant, I only take 3000mg per day, split into several 500mg doses approximately 2 hours apart. (Note: In the first trimester, limit vitamin C intake to 2000mg per day because it has been linked to miscarriages. In trimester two and three, limit intake to 4000mg.)
Vitamin D
  • If you live in a colder climate, you are likely deficient in vitamin D if you don't supplement. It is super important for immune health, but very often overlooked. The kids and I take it from October to May. I regularly take 2000-4000IU per day. The kids take 1000-2000IU per day.
  • During colds, I usually double those amounts. 
  • Note: Take vitamin D with food, preferably foods with fat in them. Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed by the body. 
Probiotics
  • I'm a huge fan of probiotics. It is one of the few supplements that I believe everyone, from a newborn to an elderly adult, should take. 
  • A healthy gut is needed for a healthy immune system. Probiotics, or "good" bacteria, help keep the digestive tract healthy and working optimally. 
  • Numerous studies show that young children who take a probiotic daily get less colds, coughs and fevers than those who do not. While its benefits are mostly preventative, I always double our probiotics dose during times of sickness. 
Mediherb Echinacea
  • I won't lie, this stuff tastes terrible. Putting a dose in a shot of juice makes it completely manageable. And, this super high quality echinacea is a true powerhouse in the immune department. While echinacea is considered safe in pregnancy, my ND said that this is the only one she would recommend. 
  • Echinacea boosts the immune system's response by assisting the white blood cells in their attack against foreign cells.
  • Note: Echinacea shouldn't be taken long term. I usually take it when I feel sickness coming on and continue taking it for several days after I recover. While pregnant, I take 1 tsp. per day. I give the kids 1/4 tsp. per day. Last weekend, I took an additional tsp. for two days straight to give me a boost. 



Friday, October 9, 2015

Quiet little girls

Is what I don't have.

While cleaning up after breakfast, this is what I looked over to see...




And that's nothing. 

Yesterday's game involved standing on that window ledge behind the couch and then leaping from the ledge to the couch that was pushed out from the wall about 2 feet. Leaping over a 3 foot drop. Leaping down towards the edge of a coffee table. Right. Maybe if I hadn't had to deal with Quinn splitting her head, chin and lip open multiple times (including once on that coffee table!), I would relax a bit more. 

They were watching an episode of Paw Patrol this morning before we left for school. They can't just sit on the couch. Some sort of questionable game always needs to be created. 

They're having fun, which makes the game hard to stop. It's hard to let it keep going when injury, hopefully not serious, is highly probable.

Keeping these two busy and active is no easy feat. They get plenty of free time to run, jump, wrestle and play. We also balance that with some structured activities. They can do a 5K hike, play in the park for an hour and still have energy to burn. They are my karma. 

The fall lesson round up...

Swimming lessons are a must in my books. While we aren't around the water as much anymore because we no longer have the cottage, I still think that learning to swim is critical. They have a half hour lesson once per week. They love their instructor and I've been thrilled with the quality of the lessons. 

Gymnastics. My Mom and I started taking them when they were about 18 months. They have always loved it. It's a great energy burner and fantastic for building confidence, balance and agility. They're going to a new gym that has a great set up for little ones. Beams and bars at their level. A tumble track trampoline and lots of things to jump on and over. And, the best part is that they currently have a semi-private lesson so they never stop moving! 

Army-style: leaping from hoop to hoop.

Flying down the tumble track trampoline

And finally hockey. As you've likely seen if you've followed my blog, the girls have been skating for a while now. With a former professional figure skater for a mom, I've been lucky enough to have someone who can help me get them out there quite often. My friend was going to enrol her 3 and 5-year old in a hockey program, so I decided to enrol T&Q too. She and I actually met when we were 14 and playing hockey through the same organization. Getting their equipment on has been the hardest part. It's bulky and they complain. Once they're out there though, they have a blast. The instructor has a few teenaged girls from the older teams helping her out. They've been fantastic with the little ones. They usually do a few short skating drills and then play lots of games, like What time is it Mr. Wolf? Anything to get the kids moving around and improving their skating. At their last class, the girls stayed on the ice for an entire hour. They were very excited to tell me that the instructor asked them both to demonstrate how to skate backwards for the class. They can thank Atty for that one! It's amazing to see how much they're improving each week. Quinn loves to move quickly and has enough balance now to do so. Teagan, the more cautious twin, has developed quite a bit of confidence. 

Gotta represent!

A rare moment when Quinn isn't moving her
feet 100 miles an hour!

Balance and teamwork.

And for all the activity in this household, I try hard to balance it with some quiet reading time each day. They will almost always curl up on the couch with me if I offer to read them some books. They both also love to do arts n crafts, so I always try to have supplies on hand for a quiet activity. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

JK Update and Lunches

Well, we're nearly four weeks into JK. There are still some strong emotions rushing through the house, but overall, things have mellowed.

Teagan still has some anxiety over drop off in the mornings. She wavers between being excited about school and telling me she doesn't want to go. We've found a routine that works though. The ECE meets her at the gate of the kindergarten playground and walks her in. She really only has to hold T's hand for those few steps in and then she's fine. On the walk to school, T usually tells me that she's going to be brave. In the evenings and on the weekends, she talks about school very positively. This past weekend, she told me how much she was missing her teacher.

Teagan has been a fantastic source of info into their school life. She has told me all about the different activity centres in the classroom -- the room is split up into several (not sure how many) educational and play areas. She's talked about a writing centre, painting centre, drama corner, carpet construction (building blocks), arts n crafts, play dough. The kids can select to spent one period, about 20 minutes, at a centre. She says that they have to sit quietly on the carpet and raise their hand when the centre of their choice is mentioned. "If you shake your arm or yell 'me, me!', you don't get picked!" She tells me. The girls usually pick different activity centres, but told me that they decided to do carpet construction together the other day. They built a castle with a bird house. Once the period ended and the class had assembled on the carpet, the teacher asked Quinn to explain what they had built. She was apparently feeling shy that day so Teagan jumped up and explained their creation.

When Teagan starts telling me a story about school, Quinn usually chimes in too. She's generally not as willing to share details, unless she's in the mood. I usually ask about lunchtime as well. Apparently, they have a very strict lunch monitor. She might look like a sweet, old grandmother, but from the sounds of it, she's far from it! They must all sit at their placemat -- no moving and no talking! Talking is met with a quick, "zip it!" I can't blame the woman. She's trying to keep 25ish 4 and 5-year olds calm during what could be a very messy and loud lunchtime. After lunch, they head out to the playground. The playground stories are usually my favourite. The girls do share some friends, but seem to have made their own friends as well. I only wish I could be a fly on the wall of that playground! Teagan has become good friends with the daughter of one of my childhood friends. It has definitely brought back memories!

I've been thrilled to learn that they get a ton of outdoor playtime. They are usually out for close to an hour after lunch. They also get one or two other outdoor playtimes during the day, between free play and gym class. It sounds like the teacher does "outdoor classroom" a few times per week as well.

T&Q aren't sleeping as much as I had hoped overnight. They need a lot of sleep too -- they come by this honestly. I'm the same way (as is most of my family). I'm finding that the lack of sleep is affecting their mood as the week goes on. I spoke with their teacher last week and have decided to let them do a half day once a week so that they can nap in the afternoon. I kept them home last Thursday afternoon and they both ended up sleeping for two hours. Clearly it was needed. I really don't want to push it and know that lack of sleep will end up leading to an increase in colds and other sickness. Their teacher said that I'm one of many parents making arrangements like this and is 100% ok with it. JK is optional for this very reason -- many kids aren't ready for the full day.

Lunches!

Making lunches for the girls has been a lot more fun than I had anticipated. They often come home and tell me how much they loved their lunch :) Pretty sweet coming from 4-year olds. I've been trying to get creative with it. I bought them each a Yumbox and so far, I've been thrilled with it. It holds a good amount of food and doesn't leak. Everything stays in its respective compartment, even liquids.

Here are a few of the lunches that I've made since they started school. I'm definitely not the best food photographer, but you'll get the idea. They need to have enough food for a morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack. I always send two additional containers for snack, but those are only pictured below in one photo.

Spelt wrap with goat cheese and raspberry jam, preservative and nitrite-free roast turkey, carrots and cucumber, sweet potato hummus, concord grapes and quinoa-sesame snaps.


Homemade chicken and wild rice soup, rice crackers and cheddar cheese, tomato and avocado salad, kiwis, animal cookies. Snack is carrots and apples with granola bites. The bag has snap peas in it. 


Spelt pitas with tuna, roasted sweet potato, banana, grapefruit and pomegranate, cucumbers and a homemade oatmeal-chocolate chip-raisin cookie.


Roasted chicken and tzatziki for dipping, carrots and cucumbers, hummus, cherry tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad, concord grapes. 


Butternut squash-sweet potato-lentil soup, hardboiled egg, carrot and sweet potato muffin, grapefruit, red pepper and lemon spelt cookies. Snack is grapes and granola bites. 


Beef meatballs with ketchup for dipping, carrot sticks, rice crackers, seaweed and pears. 


Chicken and goat cheese wraps, carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, plums and kiwi and granola bites. 


Spelt pita with sunflower seed butter, raw honey and jam, snap peas and tomatoes, oranges and strawberries and a homemade oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie.



It gets a bit tricky because I only want to make one thing for lunch, but have kids with different tastes. T loves beans and legumes, but Q doesn't. I guess at some point, I'll have to send different things on occasion.

What do you send in your kids' lunchbox? Definitely share your ideas. It's going to be a loooooong school year!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Odd man out

Since we made it public knowledge last week that we are expecting a boy in February, I've received several comments to the effect of, "he's going to be rrrrrreally outnumbered!" As the only boy in our soon to be family of five, yes, he will be. I often wonder if their comments come from the thought of two women raising a boy.

Sure, there are nerves at the thought parenting a boy, but honestly, the feelings aren't any stronger than the thought of parenting a third child. Just like when I was pregnant with the girls, the thought of my children not having a "father" never worried me. From day one, my girls developed the most incredible connection with my Dad and my two brothers, Rob and Michael. The last thing they lack is a strong male influence! It won't be any different for the little monkey. While there will be unique challenges that arise from parenting a boy, we are so lucky to have three wonderful and trustworthy men to turn to instantly. My Dad, Rob and Michael never ran away from a crying baby or a dirty diaper. My Dad would always happily change the girls -- a welcome break for Jenn and I who used to change 16+ diapers per day. Rob made babysitting infant twins look effortless and Michael was always so willing to learn something new in caring for the babies. The three of them are all fantastic chefs, who are more than willing to jump up and do the dishes after dinner. They are incredibly thoughtful, kind and loving. My Dad used to call every morning when the girls were born to see how our night had gone (and still calls many times per week to check in). Both Rob and Michael call and text regularly and are always there for me when things get tough. They would all be here in a second if we needed them and have done that many times in the past. If my little boy turned into one of these three amazing guys, I would feel incredibly lucky.

The girls are well aware at this point that they don't have a Dad. I've heard them tell other kids, very matter-of-factly, "I don't have a Daddy. I have a Mommy and a Mama." They will often talk about how kids have a Mommy or a Daddy or a Mama. They haven't asked why yet. I'm actually somewhat surprised, given their inquisitive nature. I'm sure it's coming! I think that it has just become so normal to them. They have friends with a Mommy and Daddy, friends with two Moms and friends with two Dads. I love that about Toronto. There isn't a "normal" type of family.

My Mom always says, "all children need is love." There certainly won't be a shortage of that for the little monkey.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tales from a Mango/Heirloom Tomato

Well, we are nearly half way there! 19 weeks! Depending on what site you look at, baby is either the size of a mango or an heirloom tomato.

Apparently, the little monkey is already about 15cm (6in) long and weighs roughly 9oz. Baby's daily activities include swallowing amniotic fluid and movement…lots and lots of movement. Some of which I feel, but most of which I don't. The tiny jabs have been pretty incredible to feel. For about a week, without fail, every time I would lie on my side, I would feel little punches and kicks. It's been pretty quiet in there for the last couple of days, but I've been told by my midwife that it is completely normal. Babies are so small at this stage so they can easily turn and have all limbs facing mom's back. Nerve cells are rapidly developing, so the little person can hear the complete chaos of our house! When the girls are screaming and decide to throw a tantrum right in front of my belly, I quietly apologize for the noise. I guess soon enough the little monkey will have to get used to it!

In very exciting news, I had my anatomy scan earlier in the week! A friend of Kelly's (my sister-in-law), is a radiologist and has her own clinic. We went there and were treated unbelievably well. The tech was kind and extremely thorough. After about 20 minutes, she asked me to go and drink some juice or coffee and walk around because the little monkey was stubbornly placed in my pelvis. She wasn't able to get the important head measurements. After a few sips of my first caffeinated coffee in 19 weeks and a walk around the block, we headed back into the clinic. The stubborn little one, revved up on caffeine, started doing a jig and was apparently moving so fast at times that the tech couldn't keep up. It sounds like Jenn was thoroughly entertained. This anatomy scan ended up taking longer than the scan I had with the twins. The tech had the patience of a saint and finally got what she needed. Kelly's friend came in after reviewing the images and gave us the amazing news that baby is completely healthy and on track. After receiving that much anticipated news, we opened a card that she gave us to reveal the gender!

Here are a few photos of the adorable little monkey.


This one is completely freaky I know, but seeing the spine is quite cool. Baby's face is actually towards us. 


Giving a wave…throwing a fist?


And the big reveal for family and friends!

video


Things will be evened out with 3 girls and 3 boys!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Summer Recap

In some ways, it seems like the summer dragged on forever. It was 10 weeks long, after all. In others, it feels like it flew by.

I spent the majority of the summer in the first trimester. I can't complain too much because it seems like I had it easier than most. My main symptom was fatigue. Some days/weeks were worse than others. Jenn was usually left alone to work, read or watch TV at 8pm, while I made my way to bed. On a few nights, she found me cuddled with Quinn in our bed, who was having trouble settling down. (This little habit created a monster. She asks to sleep in bed with me on most nights now.) I did have some mild nausea, but it would usually come in waves and go away once I ate something. Apart from some very mild spotting twice, the first trimester was uneventful. It ended with an NT scan that went well -- baby had the lowest nuchal fold measurement that he/she could get, and my blood work was great. After that, we told the girls! Not surprisingly, they were over the moon. Their initial reaction was anti-climatic. I started by telling them that we had big news. They were going to be big sisters. I was met with blank stares, so I asked, "Do you know what that means?" They both shook their heads no. Then I told them that Mommy has a baby in her tummy. The baby will be their little brother or sister. Since then, they talk about the baby frequently. Teagan often gives the baby kisses and tells baby how much she loves him/her. There have been lots of questions, but the winner so far came from Quinn. "Sooooo Mommy, if the baby comes out of your bee-gina, will you pee on him (she always calls baby a boy)?" Good question, Quinn. I kept it together somehow and honestly told her that 'no, I wouldn't pee on the baby.' "Oh that's a good thing, Mommy!" She said, relieved.

The girls' summer started with half-day camps. They went to a camp that I attended as a child. They got picked up in the morning by the bus and I would pick them up just after lunch. To say that they loved this camp would be an understatement. I wrote an email to the director after their three weeks finished to tell him how wonderful I thought the camp and staff had been. From the bus counsellors to the activities to the swimming lessons to their insane level of organization, this camp was incredible. They can't wait to go back.

After that, they went back to animal camp. I've already talked (raved) about the previous camp and animal camp here.

And finally, they attended a music camp and a camp at their preschool.

All of these half-day camps were my saving grace given the fatigue of the first trimester. It was a nice mix between a structured program and then free afternoons to nap, go to the park, splash pad or get together with friends.

Sadly, I don't have camp pictures. Most are pretty strict about that sort of thing. Luckily, I do have lots of pics from the rest of our summer fun!

We celebrated part of Canada Day by listening to my friend's choir perform in front of a packed crowd downtown!


The girls spent ages arranging and rearranging the tiny furniture outside the fairy house in one Toronto park. Someone built a tiny door for the house! 


We visited many different parks:






Including the awesome Treehouse Village -- one of the coolest and most unique playgrounds that I've ever been to. Several treehouses are connected by ropes, tunnels and slides. The kids had a blast and eventually told me to stay on the ground because they wanted to go alone!








We spent time in the backyard filling the water table with various things for some sensory fun. And coloured under the shade of the backyard trees. 



The fur children spent as much time in the water as they possibly could….


Toronto had PanAm fever. I didn't get my act together to buy tickets (read: didn't even think about it ahead of time like all Torontonians). Lucky for me, a friend thought about it and invited me to see the gymnastics. 


Summer didn't mean letting go of our beauty regimen…



We went raspberry picking with friends and enjoyed time in the playground afterwards. 




And like all good Canadians, skating and hockey weren't forgotten despite the 30 degree Celsius weather. 






Friends visited from out of town to play and read stories. 


 We visited the new Children's Discovery Centre with Allison. The centre has 10 interactive discovery zones for the kids to explore.


All four kids loved various aspects of the
art space.

Dress up time!

The vet room was popular with Teagan

Big girls who are always willing to help!

Burning off some energy!

The girls rode horses and played with farm dogs. After some particularly aggressive behaviour, we asked Teagan to sit on the grass for a time out. It's hardly a time-out when a friend comes over to play :)







Sibling love. Finn loves to be near them.


In mid-August, we spent a couple weeks up north with my parents. The cottage was heaven on earth for the three dogs, who got to roam freely and swim whenever they pleased. 

                                      

On one particularly rainy day, I created an obstacle course for the girls. As always, it was taken one step further by adding a leap from one couch to another.



Happy dogs!









The water trampoline was a huge hit. They would climb up the ladder and go down the slide. Quinn started doing it on her own. Being so small, she would fly down it at times. Teagan preferred that one of us catch her at the bottom.


For days, Teagan begged to roast marshmallows. Grandpa worked hard to get a small fire going despite all the rain that we had.



While Michael and Paige were visiting one weekend, we discovered a dog festival going on. There was a jumping competition that Michael and I felt was right up Finn's alley. He made our family very proud!

video

We ended the summer with two weeks to hang out and get ready for school. We took the girls to Great W0lf Lodge for a night. It's a hotel that contains a large indoor water park. I don't have any pictures from the water park unfortunately, because we didn't dare bring our phones in there. I surprised them and booked a room with their very own "cabin." The kids' sleeping space is sectioned off by a wall and looks like a log cabin. 





And like that our summer came to an end! School is now in full swing. If you've read my previous posts, you likely saw that Teagan, in particular, was having a tough time at school. The last two days have been quite smooth. She seems happier to go to school and is talking about it more positively. More school updates to come!