Friday, October 30, 2009

And the winner is....

Ecomama! Ecomama won herself a copy of Character is Key. Way to go Ecomama. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apparently you can go back home again

We had a great weekend in Ottawa last weekend. It was a whirlwind tour but nice nonetheless. I would have liked a little more time so that we weren't feeling so frenzied seeing everyone and getting things from our house. The girls had a great time but were also up until 10:00 two nights in a row. That's never good.

We spent Friday night at a hotel in Peterborough. It had a pool which was the big sell for the girls. The big sell for me was that the pool was set about one degree above body temperature. Lovely. The hotel also offered a continental breakfast which usually, in my experience, consists of dry muffins and bad coffee. This hotel had a full breakfast (muffins, cinnamon buns, hot and cold cereal, toast, bagels, juice, coffee, tea) which included something the girls are still talking about: wall-mounted cereal dispensers. You had to twist a handle and the cereal, which you could see through the big transparent tube, fell into your bowl. It was pretty cool. Do you think Starfrit makes those?

On Saturday we drove to Ottawa and started our buzzing around - first to Meredith and Ron's to drop off our things and have a quick visits, then to Pam and Jim's for playtime and visiting and dinner, then back to Meredith and Ron's in Chelsea. The next morning our friends John and Dawn and their daughter Emily arrived in Chelsea for a visit, then everyone else showed up at noon for a brunch. After that it was to our house to pick up some Christmas decorations and other things, then to John's brother's in Riverside South for supper. Back to Chelsea and then I drove the girls home with me the next morning. It was a full day's drive and we made it without resorting to buying a DVD player. That is the sign of a good car trip. I think we can say goodbye to that technology for good (fingers crossed). We did stop at the Sandlion Sticker Outlet in Richmond Hill and stocked up on about 5 years of stickers.

Did I take photos? Not one. And that is the problem with having such a crappy camera. I often don't even bother to pull it out anymore. So sad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More on Character is the Key

I've finished going through the book Character is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves by Sara Dimerman. Mom Central sent the book to me for my review. As I said in my previous post, this book not only gives parents a lot to think about but also a firm plan for building strong character in our children.

The first half of the book lays the foundation for being examples for our children (modelling character) and gives real life examples on how this has changed families. The second half of the book lays out the plan on implementing this in your own family through four weekly family meetings and then regular monthly family meetings following that. During the first four meetings, you use Dimerman's worksheets so that each meeting has a specific focus for discussion. The meetings that follow from there are completely up to each family. You might be discussing where to go on vacation, where to go for dinner, or more substantial things such as finding ways to spend more time together in the midst of busy schedules. And every month each member can discuss how they've been feeling as part of the family, problems they see, things that are working or not working. The key to these meetings is honesty and respect for one another.

Being a person who likes systems, this really appeals to me and I plan to try it in our family but I still have some reservations on how this will work with a really young family. The reality is that there are many questions on the worksheets that only John and I will be able to answer because our children just won't understand the questions. Emily will be able to answer some, but not many. I do wonder if we should try part of this but not use the worksheets until the kids are older. I need to do some deeper reading and thinking.

I do think this book is worth reading for any parent, single or married, one child or many. And as such, as I said below, the publisher will send one lucky reader a copy of the book. So just leave a comment in the post below for your chance to receive it! I'll do a random draw on October 29.

Disclosure: Mom Central sent me a copy of this book as well as a $20 Amazon gift certificate in return for my review.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A book review (to come) and a giveaway!

Periodically I review products, books and the like for Mom Central. A few weeks ago I was chosen to review a (Canadian! in fact, Ontarian!) book called Character is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves. I'm almost half-way through the book and I am very excited about applying Sara Dimerman's program to our family. It didn't hurt that when I opened it to the forward it was written by John Havercroft, former superintendent of the York Region District School Board (north of Toronto) and father to an old friend from camp, Bill. It caused me to like the book immediately. Anywho.

Let me give you a taste (a full review will come in a couple of days) from the back of the book (there are so many gems I want to share):

Would you like to see your children:
  • taking greater initiative at home and at school?
  • taking more responsibility for their actions?
  • valuing togetherness as a family and wanting to spend more time with you?
  • consistently treating peers, adults and themselves with respect?
  • persisting through challenges and not giving up prematurely?
  • being honest even when the truth is difficult to share?
  • motivated to help with chores around the house?
  • less influenced by negative peer pressure and more able to stand up for what they believe?
  • Looking forward to a bright and successful future?
Okay, so obviously we all answered yet to all of those questions. And I opened the book hoping that the author would show me how to do this. So far, I am getting a taste of that. The second half of the book is where the real meat of "the plan" comes into place - family meetings, worksheets, exercises. The first half is a deep reflection on modelling behaviour intentionally; that is, being a living example for our children. If we want our children to persist through challenges and not give up prematurely, then we need to do the same when presented with something difficult; we need to tell the truth even when it is difficult and make sure they see it happen; we need to stand up for what we believe in and talk to them about it when we do.

It is very inspiring and is reinvigorating me in regards to intentional parenting and character building. There is a lot her to chew on. I'll have more to report in a few days.

In the meantime, the publisher has graciously agreed to send one of you lovely people a copy of this book. So, all you need to do is make a comment here. Tell me what you do to parent intentionally or areas that you could work on. I'll leave this open for a week and then I'll randomly pull one of your names. Good luck!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A visit to the pumpkin patch

On Thursday I accompanied my first class trip for Emily. Her class went to Herrle's Country Farm Market to learn a bit about farming, have a wagon ride, see the market, see the pumpkin patch and pick their own pumpkin. It was a lot of fun. The kids also got to go through the corn maze, jump from straw bales and bat balloons around inside a big inflatable pumpkin.

Given that Emily and I had such a good time, I decided that we should take Hope there today (and John). So we navigated the corn maze, chasing each other down; the kids jumped from the straw bales again and again and again; and the girls chose out two honkin' pumpkins. It was really fun and the cold sunny day made for some great pictures (great if I had a decent camera; since I have a particularly shitty camera, it made for some okay picture with great subjects).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brown what?

Tonight we were all lying (laying? I never can get this one straight) on our bed having a pre-dinner family wrestling match snuggle. Emily climbed on. She was wearing a favourite brown shirt of hers.

John: Hey Brownie!
Emily: Hey Browneye!

And yes, courtesy of John, she is well-aware of what it means.

Either popping early or sloppy fat

I'm seven weeks pregnant and 1 day. And yet I've already been forced into those early kind of maternity pants. Not the ones with the giant panel that we all love. Not even the ones with the four-inch band. But I am having to wear the ones with the stretchy waists, the extra elastic sewn in... you know the ones.

This is my third baby. Is it normal to start showing this early or have I just let myself go? Has my muffin top grown into a full spare tire?

Should I really be sharing this with the blogosphere?

Oh baby, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what I'm willing to share over the next 7 and a half months!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My defence of homebirth after cesarean

Today I heard back from the Cambridge Midwives. I called them last week hoping for a more positive response to my wish to give birth at home, even though I've had a previous cesarean. The Kitchener Midwives responded with "We don't recommend that but we review on a case-by-case basis." I didn't like the initial negative clause in the sentence. The Cambridge Midwives responded with "Our attitude is that we respect the mother's wishes as long as it is safe." Much better.

And so today I got the time for my first appointment with the Cambridge Midwives. I still have one hesitation and that is that we live a 10-minute walk from the Grand River hospital in Kitchener where the Cambridge Midwives don't have privileges. Their privileges are at the Cambridge Hopsital, a twenty minute drive away. However, I don't plan to step foot in a hospital so I think it won't be an issue.

I am aware of some people's attitudes to homebirth-after-cesarean (HBAC). This will be my second HBAC. Emily was born by cesarean after a 20-hour labour and little progress (but A LOT of pain). Hope was born at home in Ottawa - a very successful HBAC and the most empowering experience of my life so far. I plan to repeat it.

Before deciding to have Hope at home, about 30 weeks into my pregnancy, I did a lot of research into HBACs, the risks and the inaccurate statistics. I decided that the fears I had about my delivery of Hope had nothing to do with me or her but had to do with the stress of being in a hospital environment. When I removed that, my attitude about the birth completely changed and I started to look forward to it. Amazing, I know. I read as much as I could, joined an HBAC message group, and even compiled quotes about birth to inspire me and read it over often.

And it all worked out as I hoped it would.

And so I have a hard time responding well to people when they infer that it is irresponsible or dangerous to have an HBAC. I know what my body can do, I know what it was designed to do and I know that my midwives will not agree to do something that endangers me or the baby.

Of course, there is the stress of living in a house that has a separate apartment in the basement. Luckily I've become good friends with our neighbours down there and they are the type of people who will likely embrace a homebirth even if it is above their heads. At least, I hope so.

I didn't talk about my plans for a homebirth with Hope on the blog at all and in fact I kept it a secret from most people except for John's sister and my sister and one or two friends. I wasn't ready or interested in defending my choice. This time I most definitely am having been there before and come out the other side.

Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.
Virginia Di Orio

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dreading the most important meal of the day

Before I started having to pack lunches for school, I had heard (from several reliable sources) that packing school lunches was attune to having your eyeballs pried out with a teaspoon.

I haven't found it bad at all but I think that is because I have a child with a very wide range of tastes and they all fall under the heading of "healthy".

But do you know what I despise making lately? Breakfasts! I find it absolutely loathsome. Most likely that is because, this week at least while I've either nursed other people's colds or my own, my grocery shopping and bread-baking has been sub-par. Every morning I wake up to find no bread in the house, apple but no other fruits that would be smoothie-worthy, eggs but no bacon (or bread as I just mentioned) or no time (or desire) to make pancakes.

And I'm looking it in the face tomorrow morning as well. I will likely be up early making muffins or pancakes.

And packing a lunch.

Friday, October 02, 2009


To all men who read here: warning, there is going to be period talk and if you don't want to read it, you may want to go elsewhere for a while.

Since my weird health mystery started last February/March, my periods have been very irregular; mostly short. So short that some cycles were 19 days long. And take it from me, that really sucks. That isn't even three weeks between the start of one period and the start of the next. And so, I started tracking the length of each cycle just so I could see if there was any consistency.

There wasn't. Some cycles were 26 days, most were around 22 or 21 days. Sometimes I ovulated and sometimes I didn't. This was weird for me because I was always a consistent ovulator. A few pap tests and a pelvic ultrasound or two only resulted in doctors scratching their heads and shrugging their shoulders. "I dunno. People have irregular periods, you know." Very helpful.

And then we moved to Waterloo and I don't know if there is something in the water but all of a sudden I had two cycles that were 27 days long. Bliss! And a big money savings on tampons.

I figured things had changed, I was back to "normal" or as normal as I can be with still no diagnosis and nothing on the horizon that would lead me to believe I'll be getting one anytime soon.

And then it was Day 30 and I told John that it was Day 30.

And then I peed on a stick.

Surprise! Yup, we're having another baby. We're going to be parents of THREE children. THREE!

Holy Hannah.

Yes, we're excited. But, wow, we're still getting used to the idea two weeks later (almost), revelling in the joy of it but also the whoa-ness of it and all the stuff we have to do/consider/think about when we are away from home, our midwives, our normal stomping grounds.