Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tales from a sweet pea

There's not a heck of a lot to report in the life of our sweet pea (6 weeks). I did read this morning, which prompted my post…

You may find yourself developing a bit of a split personality — feeling moody one day and joyful the next. Unsettling as this is (especially if you pride yourself on being in control), what you're going through is normal.

I woke in an awful mood this morning. I'm not really sure why. Glad that I'm "normal." Despite a decent sleep, I woke up tired. That's been the case for the last few mornings. The girls started fighting before 6:30am so that certainly didn't help. We have since had breakfast and they're relaxing on the couch watching an episode of Caillou, while I drink tea and type. Day is getting better!

So, you might have noticed that I referred to baby as a SINGLE sweet pea. We are having "just" one! I ended up having a very early ultrasound last week. I was having some pains on one side of my lower abdomen. They were sharp and very localized. The one-sidedness concerned me, especially because we were getting ready to go down to Western MA for a long weekend for a wedding. (Pictures to come -- wedding was gorgeous!)

I sent a message to the doctor because it was after-hours and I couldn't reach the nurse. His response wasn't encouraging. "Please go to the emergency room." Jenn was angry at the shortness of his reply because it scared me. I knew that I would feel much better if I ruled out an ectopic pregnancy, so I went to the ER, only to leave 3 hours later at midnight without an answer. Because I wasn't doubled over in pain and/or bleeding, they felt confident that I could get a proper OB ultrasound in the morning. Thankfully, my morning ultrasound showed an intrauterine pregnancy with one little sac. We were relieved on many levels!

Symptom-wise -- I don't have any real complaints. Symptoms seem to come and go. I seem to be a little bit more tired than usual. I have very mild bouts of nausea that come and go, usually when I'm feeling hungry. The abdominal twinges are less frequent now.

We have our first midwife appointment this week -- with the same midwife who delivered the girls! And, we are going in for an ultrasound next week to see the little gummy bear. I can't wait to see the heartbeat!

PS. YES, AMANDA…my bucket list is coming soon!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"You have to give me a hug first."

Many schools are out for the summer now, so at 2pm, the playgrounds are no longer run by the under 5 crowd during the day. The "big kids" like to hang out on the playground, chatting with friends, but also blocking slides and climbing equipment. For the most part, it's fine. If the little ones want to use the slide, they'll move.

While at the park yesterday afternoon, the girls and their friend were playing on a playground structure that had a small tunnel. My friend and I were sitting close by on a bench. We could clearly see the playground structure, but couldn't see the corner with the tunnel very well. Several minutes later, we got up. I went and stood near T & Q. Teagan then tells me that the big kids had been blocking the tunnel. She asked them to move so she could crawl through with Quinn and their friend. The big girl told her that she would let them through if Teagan gave her a hug. Alarm bells went off in my head, but I didn't let T see that. I calmly asked her a few more questions. Teagan did hug the girl, who then let the three of them pass.

I know that the young girl was likely harmless and simply wanted a hug from a cute little kid, but the fact that Teagan obliged so quickly concerned me. I get it though. She doesn't see danger (in the form of strangers) yet. Big kids are cool to a 4-year old and she just wanted to crawl through a tunnel.

While I've talked to them for over a year now about what to do if they get lost, we hadn't had stranger conversations yet. I tried to bring it up last night, but they had no interest in listening since we were getting ready to read books.

At breakfast this morning, I brought it up again. I asked them if they knew who strangers are. They didn't. We talked about who would be a stranger and who wouldn't be. We then talked about something a stranger might ask them to do or offer to them and what they should do. Teagan asked what to do if a stranger follows them. Awesome question, T. I told her to scream as loud as she could and run towards a group of people. She thought that was great. This sparked a conversation about screaming inside the house (a new thing that they've started!) and screaming at other times.

This is a tricky conversation to have. Like everything with young children, it needs to be talked about simply. I also didn't want to scare them. I want them to develop reasonable street smarts without being afraid of their own shadows. I think that I definitely got through to them this morning, but it is something that we need to talk about regularly for a while until it sinks in.

How do you talk to your kids about strangers?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New blog name?

So this happened….!!

Sunday, June 7th

Please excuse the pee stick picture. I know that some think it's gross! When you want to see two lines, this is truly the greatest sight ever! (This is NOT public knowledge so no shootouts!!)

I haven't been vocal about our plans for #3 on the blog, so I know that it might come as a shock to some. I can actually remember thinking that I wanted another child, as far back as when I was pregnant with the girls. Jenn has ummm had, always been dead set on two kids. We just happened to get two at once. I just knew that I was going to want to experience pregnancy, birth and the baby stage a second time. It took nearly four years of convincing, but I finally did! Jenn agreed to a third! What I absolutely love about Jenn is that once she commits to something, she is 100% in. From the second she agreed, she became excited (and yes, a bit nervous, but hey, so am I!).

This happened at the end of February. 

As it turned out, our (anonymous) donor left the program in late 2011. There were/are still vials left, but they are all in the US. We had to purchase three vials from the US and wait for 6-12 weeks for them to go through a testing process with Health Canada. One vials was "wasted" in the testing process, so we were left with two tries. The fertility clinic that we previously went to doesn't take clients who have to go through this process because the paperwork is quite extensive. We switched clinics and had our initial appointment in mid-March. The approval from Health Canada came through and we were able to do our first IUI on May 3rd. This one resulted in a big fat negative. The first cycle was much harder on me emotionally than I thought it would be. I'm a worrier by nature. I have a feeling that the IUI was timed too early. I don't really have any proof of this, just an intuitive wondering. Anyone who has gone through this process knows the disappointment that you feel when you see that negative pregnancy test. Fortunately, my period arrived right on schedule and we were into the next cycle. I was much calmer and less anxious. 

The doctor took a closer look at my cycle for this try. I'm glad he did because he caught the LH surge (ie. the hormone surge that happens 24-48 hours before ovulation) happening much earlier than it ever has for me. My cycles are normally like clockwork. 27 days. Ovulation on day 13 or 14. He caught the levels rising on day 9 and the surge on 10. The IUI ended up being on day 11. I was convinced that it was too early, but decided to let it go and trust the professional! 

I didn't feel much for the days after the IUI. I tried not to look for signs that the little bean had decided to get comfy and stick around. It was around day 8 post IUI that I started to feel a little off. Jenn had been feeling a little under the weather so I thought that maybe I was coming down with something too. On day 9 and 10, I felt mildly nauseous, yet I was still hungry for meals. That's when the lightbulb turned on. I was out on Saturday afternoon and decided to buy a test. I came home and quietly took it. Positive! Jenn was out in the backyard. I quickly called the girls into our room and begged them to put these t-shirts on to show Mama:

(Yes, I ordered them ahead of time. I was putting the intention out there!) They reluctantly wore them for me (after a gelato bribe!). I followed them outside to see Jenn's reaction! It took a moment to register, but when it did, a HUGE smile filled her face. Even though we were waiting for this, it felt completely surreal. I think it always does! The girls don't have a clue what the t-shirts say. They call them their birdie shirts! They won't be told for a while.

We are beyond excited and a little nervous too. Our girls are going to be the most incredible big sisters. While at my cousin's son's first birthday party on the weekend, I watched the girls interact with him. At one point, the three of them were on the floor together. He started to cry. Teagan immediately started rubbing his back and then gave him kisses on his head. 

Teagan has always been an intuitive kid. About one week after the IUI, she told someone very matter-of-factly, "we are having a baby!" I immediately turned and shook my head no! The day after I found out that I was pregnant, she got into bed with me and said, "Mommy, I wish there was a baby in your tummy." We have not said a word about any of this to the girls. They are incapable of keeping secrets! They will know when we are comfortable making it public knowledge. 

I know what you're thinking…twin boys! While my body seems to ovulate two eggs frequently, there was only one very dominant follicle for this cycle. For the previous cycle, I'm actually pretty sure that I was going to ovulate two. Perhaps that negative test was God's way of saying, NOPE! We will know for sure who is in there on June 30th when I go in for an ultrasound. I will be 7 weeks. I'm currently 5 weeks. I would love to experience a pregnancy with "only" one. 

At this point, symptoms are minimal. For the last week, I've been able to feel the my uterus and ligaments stretching. I'm assuming that it started early since my body knew what to do. I'm a little bit tired, but I'm also running around with two 4-year olds all day, so I think that's mostly the cause! 

Hmm…so is a new blog name in order? #3 needs a clever nickname…stay tuned!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kiddie Triathlon

Last weekend, the girls participated in a kids' triathlon, Nicola's Tri for Kids. It was set up in memory of a 3-year old girl who died of myelodysplasia (bone marrow failure).

Jenn had a work commitment, so my friend Cheryl helped me out. The girls ended up having a blast and so did we! They set it up like the real deal, not that I've see it first hand! We had to leave the bikes at a drop off point and then circle back to park the car. We then grabbed the bikes and walked them over to the transition area (ie. the area where you make the switch from swim to bike and then bike to run).

We then checked out the bouncy castles and the silent auction. The girls were being unusually timid and didn't want to go on the bouncy castle alone. Good ol' Cheryl, at 5-months pregnant, climbed through that thing with her like it was nobody's business. Yes, I know. Why did I let the poor pregnant lady climb through the bouncy obstacle course while I kicked my feet up on the grass?

Cheryl is like an awesome big kid. And in fairness, they wanted her and not me!

It was finally our turn to be called into the holding area for the swim. The girls were number 65 and 66, so it took a little while for our turn since they started at 1 and called only 14 kids at a time. The girls were getting antsy, so we tried our best to keep them distracted. They finally received their ankle band with the chip and were ready to swim (seriously, this was the real deal!) We decided that it was easier for me to go in the pool with both kids and Cheryl would wait at the end with our shoes and bag.

The horn went off and the girls jumped in. It was a combo of them kicking and me pulling for the length of the pool. We put their shoes on quickly and ran into the transition area to jump on the bikes. As Cheryl wisely pointed out, next year, we need to put the bikes at the very end so we don't have to navigate through all the people with our bikes.

It was during the bike portion that I noticed the loud "encouragement" by other parents for their kids. I thought that I was competitive. I also naively thought that a triathlon for 3-5 year olds would just be for fun! These parents ran next to their kids yelling, "COME ON ___!!!", while clapping their hands ferociously. It was quite amusing. It was even more amusing when their kid would slow down or not feel like peddling.

Quinn was slightly ahead of Teagan, but took a tumble on the bike turn around. The kid didn't even flinch and jumped right back on. We got back to the transition area, quickly dropped off the bikes and started running. Q ran over the finish line and was met by a volunteer who immediately put a medal around her neck. We turned around to see Cheryl and T crossing the finish line with arms in the air!

Naturally, the medals were the best part. The entire thing took a total of 15 minutes. While the girls were reluctant at first, likely because it was something new, they embraced the challenge and had a ton of fun. They will definitely compete again next year!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dairy-free Fudgesicles!

Not surprisingly, popsicles are a huge hit in this house during the warmer months. The girls and I have experimented with all sorts of different fruit popsicles. I thought that we should change it up and make fudgesicles this time. Apart from being extremely messy, they were a gobbled up in no time!

I love making my own because it is so quick and easy, but also allows me to control what goes into them. Nutritionally, this recipe is good because it provides the kids some necessary fat from the coconut milk. With only some maple syrup in it, sugar crashes can be avoided!

A smiling fudgesicle

Dairy-Free Fudgesicles

1 can of full-fat coconut milk (must be the can, not cartons of coconut milk)
1/3 cup of pure cocoa powder
4 tbsp of maple syrup (honey can be used too) - start with less and add more to taste
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt


1. Throw everything in the blender!
2. Fill popsicle molds
3. Freeze for at least 6 hours
4. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

4 + 1 week

A week ago, the girls turned 4. Four years ago, I was nursing/pumping for two tiny newborns around the clock. Today, I have two active, happy, intelligent and hilarious 4-year olds.

The birthday festivities lasted for about a week. They started with a birthday party at an indoor playground with all of their friends. The kids had a blast, running, climbing and jumping. That was followed by some pizza and cupcakes. And that was followed by our car almost being towed. Jenn went out to load it up, to find a crowd around it as it was being lifted onto a tow truck. There was NO reason to tow it. We were in a legal spot and had paid, however, the meter had run out 15 minutes prior. That's reason for a parking ticket, not a tow. The crowd was apparently telling the parking cop that he had no good reason to tow the car. They asked if it was stolen. Thankfully, he put the car down. Jenn bit her tongue….hard. We went home to open presents and eat more cupcakes :)

For their actual birthday, May 29th, I set up a few things for them the night before and made them some breakfast cupcakes. As with most little kids, balloons are the greatest thing ever, so I picked out a few of their favourites.

Smiles for Lightning McQueen
Chocolate moustache!

We gave them their birthday present a few weeks ago. They got to pick out new "big girl" bikes from the bike store. We then took them to a nearby cemetery to ride without traffic. They're getting the hang of it. Quinn's totally fearless so she will definitely be flying in no time. T's a little bit more cautious. Not a bad thing!

Rob, Kelly, Michael, Paige, Jenn's parents and Jenn's sister, Chrissie and her husband all went in on a new bouncy castle for the girls. HUGE HIT! My parents got them some tennis racquets, so we've got to get them out on the court soon! We were a tennis playing family growing up!

After preschool on their birthday, we met up with some friends at the park for a picnic and some splash pad fun. We ended their birthday with a family dinner at a local gastropub.

Here are a few random updates on the "ladies", as my Dad calls them!

  • Teagan is a fantastic communicator. The kid is a sponge with the most incredible memory. She will remember random details from months ago and remember every word to stories or songs. She also does a fantastic job of expressing how she's feeling. She can explain that something makes her happy, sad, frustrated, angry and why. She seems to be quite in tune with her needs and will sometimes say that she needs some time alone. 
  • Quinn is a Chatty Cathy. She has lots to say and will often say it in the form of a song. Perhaps she has a future performing in musicals?! She has a bit of trouble expressing her feelings. She can be quite moody, but when asked what's wrong, she doesn't seem sure. I try to ask her how she's feeling about certain things, without being too pushy. I was quite proud of her the other day when she told me that she was feeling nervous about going to kindergarten in the fall. When I asked why, she said that she feels nervous because there will be a lot of kids. 

  • And on that note, they are registered for junior kindergarten (I think it is similar to preschool in the US). We went to an information night a few weeks ago. The principal and two JK teachers spoke. The kids then got to check out one of the classrooms. Last week, we got to go into the actual JK classroom and meet their teacher and early childhood educator. Both seem fantastic. The girls had fun exploring the classroom and playing at the stations their teacher set up. They're both feeling nervous about moving to the big school. They adore their preschool teacher. Teagan woke on the weekend and told me that she dreamed about her preschool teacher and misses her already. 

  • The girls just finished their ballet class for the year. They finished with a bang -- the recital! We made it a family affair. My parents, Rob, Kelly, Michael and Paige came too. Jenn and I managed to snag 8 seats in the front row. Nothing but the best for our fam. We wondered how the girls would do up on stage in front of a sold out crowd. They ended up performing amazingly well. For the little ones, one of the teachers stood at the corner of the stage performing the routine so that the kids could follow along. The girls were extremely serious and very focused, following everything that their teacher did. 
Typical over the top ballet costumes that
little kids ADORE!
After the big show - with Uncle Michael
and Auntie Paige
  • Both girls continue to love music. Teagan's current favourite song is Life is a Highway - the Rascal Flatts version (from Cars). Quinn loves Story of my Life by One Direction. We play a variety of different music for them, from classical to country to rock and pop. They seems to love it all and will bop their heads to the beat. They're participating in a music study right now. Participation actually gets them a week of free summer music camp - this Mommy isn't complaining! They had to do two cognitive tests 7 months apart. I sat in on Quinn's tests both times because she was a little nervous to be in there alone. They are asked to identify a variety of different objects, complete puzzles and play games. At the end of their second test, they were asked to sing the ABC's or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Apparently, Teagan told the testers that she didn't know either song (she does). When they asked her what she wanted to sing, she stated, "Life is a Highway. But, you need to pull it up on your phone so I can hear it first. Then I'll sing."

  • Recently, we regressed in the potty training department. Both girls are fully trained during the day. They still wear a diaper or pull up at night. However, Quinn has been known to take hers off before she falls asleep and sleep through the night without an accident. A few weeks ago, both girls started having several accidents per day (pee and poo). I was throwing out underwear constantly because I'm not scrubbing poo! We don't know what caused the regression. Nothing major had happened in our lives. No big changes. I started a sticker chart and miraculously the accidents stopped. It's amazing what stickers can do!

  • Teagan, in particular, is loving legos. She and Jenn will build all sorts of cool buildings. Quinn will often join in, but her quiet activity is colouring/drawing. She loves it and is definitely getting more creative. Quinn can now write her name quite well and knows the first letter of many names and words.