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!

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!

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!