Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dear Eden

Dear Edie the Sweetie,

Tomorrow you will be 11 months old and I'm astounded at how quickly your first year has passed. You have begun to toddle around all of our furniture, you talk (babble) non stop and have mastered the words "Mommy" and "Daddy". Everyone who meets you quickly falls in love with your bubbly, sweet natured, personality, and no one can resist the urge to hug and squeeze your perfectly, chubby, baby frame. The comments I hear so often about you are "she's such a good baby", or "can you believe she didn't cry at all". Something that I thought I would never hear all through your colicky months.

As sweet as you are, you are equally as mischievous. I'm always surprised by the lengths you'll go to in order to get into something you know you aren't allowed. And when you are caught red handed, instead of looking confused and innocent, you laugh and act as though trouble is your middle name.

You are also quite the dramatic, little actress. Your poor brother has taken the fall for your acts quite a few times before your father and I caught on to your devious game. I never thought I would have to play seasoned detective quite so early, but you are a constant surprise. It was about a month ago that your father and I discovered that you feigned injury in order to get your big brother into trouble. I'm sure many people will argue me on the validity of a 11 month old doing such premeditated acts... But it's hard to call it anything else when in the midst of playing happily beside your brother, he brushes against you and you scream in horror while hurling yourself to the floor. While on the floor you cry out "mommy" for good measure while pumping your little fists in the air, glaring at your brother, and looking tearfully at the ceiling as though asking god "WWWHHHHHYYYYY", or as your grandma likes to call it...your "STTTEEELLLLLAAAA" face. This morning after watching your little act your father (while laughing) requested that you stop "hamming it up" and you stopped the crocodile tears immediately, which of course, made us laugh even harder.

If I had to label you two I would call your brother the heart of the family, and you are it's personality. You can change any ones mood from grumpy to giddy in a little under 2 minutes. And this includes a brother throwing his famous "death throw" tantrum. You are just so effervescent people can't help but smile back at you when you're giving your most dazzling grin.

I Love you Teeny Tiny, you make me smile every day, no matter my mood.

Sincerely, Mommy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Speech Assessment

Dear Gabriel,

Hopefully within the next few weeks we will have an appointment for you to see a speech pathologist. You have approximately 50 words in your vocabulary and most of them are no where near being clear. You aren't putting words together in sentences and when you do I'm not sure if I have even heard you correctly. As your mom I am completely biased to your development and I always have been. In my eyes you are perfect. It's only when it's pointed out to me do I begin to worry that perhaps your prematurity has affected you in more ways than your birth weight.

I guess I took the doctors literally when they said that you would be caught up by the age of two and since we, as a family, don't know kids your own age I have nothing to compare your progress to. We worked so hard in your first year of life to get your physical development on track that I never had time to think about your cognitive development. It's only when family members began to question your lack of speech did I even know to question it myself. I feel as though I have let you down, little one. That I should have noticed your speech problems earlier. You were always such a quiet baby that when you weren't babbling by the time you turned one I just brushed it aside as personality. I was such a new mommy I didn't really know what was normal and what wasn't. It didn't really hit me how far you were behind until I compared you to your sister. I realize now my mistake, and it pains me to know that my mistake has hurt you in some regard.

I know, rationally, that I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but I'm your mother. It's my job to protect and nurture you. I think my guilt probably extends, even beyond, not recognizing your speech difficulties, to feeling as though somehow I have passed this problem onto you through genetics.

I was speech delayed as a child and was in the child development center for two years to remedy this problem. I remember bits and pieces from that time and I remember how lonely I felt broken. I didn't understand why I couldn't go to kindergarten and my brother could. I didn't understand why my classroom had children in wheelchairs who could barely lift their heads let alone carry on any sort of game or conversation with me, and I remember thinking I just didn't belong there.

I don't want you to feel like that. All I have ever wanted for you was good things. And I know a speech delay isn't the worst thing in the world, but its still hard for me to see that as far as you have come since birth, you still have so much farther to go. And I guess what I want for you, most of all, is for certain people in our family to see how wonderfully brilliant, and beautiful you are. I want for them to comment on everything you can do, for once, and not on the things you cant. It seems since birth all we have heard is "he's not doing that yet?" And I'm just so sick of listening to this endlessly repetitive question. Maybe you aren't "doing that yet" but there's a hell of a lot you can do, if only they would open their eyes to see you.

Their ignorance reminds me of your lullaby. The very first time I held you (and your father will vouch for me) I sang to you "Baby mine". It is our special song, and in it the words read...

If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Sweet as can be, baby of mine

Those words hold special meaning for me for obvious reasons. From the second you were born you have shown me how strong and brave you are. I am so damned proud of you, and I feel so blessed to be one of the only people on the face of this earth, who truly has the hold you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dancing Queen

Scott's at work today (he left at 4 am) so I was the one to get up with the kids. As per usual Edie was up at 630am and Gabriel was up at 730am. I dont mind this time difference because it gives me time to get Edie's diaper changed, get her dressed, and fed before "the Tornado" comes down for breakfast. When Gabe does get up it's the same routine as his sister. Diaper, clothes, food. Recently, during Gabe's diaper change, Edie has been showing her affection for him by bending over and kissing his mouth. The two cuddle, kiss, and hug one another for the next few minutes. I think this show of affection is just so damned cute! I wish my camera weren't dead so I could get video of it. Soon!

Today the kids and I also rocked out to some classic songs(their favourite being ACDC). Gabe sat in the middle of the floor spinning on his butt (pretending to break dance?) while Edie and I rocked it out next to him. Dancing with my kids is one of the most enjoyable exercises I do in a day. And man do they love it. Especially Gabe who has become quite the little dancer. Edie is still a little unsure of all the bouncing and swinging on my hips but she doesn't complain.

Life is sweet when you can dance your troubles away, or at least to the back of your mind for a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Wedding planning always seemed like so much fun. I love to watch "Wedding SOS", "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Rich Bride, Poor Bride", but no one ever really tells you how much work a wedding is, or how much it costs...even when done as cheaply as possible. To give you an idea of cost - Scott and I have a photographer for free, a DJ for free, and all of our invitations were done by my mom...for FREE. Bonus right? This means my wedding should be under budget, easily under 10,000 dollars! So far I'm under, but not easily!

Wedding dress = $1200.00 with veil.
New wedding dress after getting knocked up = $558.00
Shoes = $35.00
Gabe and Edie's outfits = $100.00
Venue = $1100.00
Food = approx. $4000.00
Minister = $150.00
Wedding certificate = $100.00
Cake = $420.00
Hair for three people = approx. $300.00
Maid of Honor and Groomsmen Hotel room = $218.00
Baby Prison = $120.00
Interlocking floor mats = $50.00
Bubbles = $15.00
Hand fans and ice cold water = approx $250.00
alterations for dress = approx. 150.00
Ties for wedding party = $100.00
Bouquets for 3 = $200.00
Door prize = $100.00
String lights = $80.00
Center Pieces = $160.00
Kiddie Pool = $20.00
Poker Set = $50.00
Cake Topper and Cake knife set = $150.00
AIrporter to get drunks safely home = $280.00
Grand Total so far = $9906.00

All the little things really add up. I have decided I am never getting married again. If Scott and I divorce I will remain a Middleton for the rest of my life. Weddings are expensive and stressful. I just want things done and over with! I love you Scott, but if I could go back and marry you in Vegas, I would in a second!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I'm not sure if it's this way for most parents (other than my friend Jess) but I dread night times. After having a second child night times have become, for lack of a better word, nightmares. Edie usually wants to go to bed before Gabe but when Gabe finally gets to bed (between 730 and 800) he likes to play and talk to himself (quite loudly). He has also gotten into the habit of pounding, kicking, and karate chopping his walls, door and or closet in a futile attempt to escape sleep. This of course wakes up Edie and anyone else within a hundred foot'd be amazed how loud kicking a door can be... and I'm left with two screaming kids and a lip I have chewed to nearly nothing.

The only thing to do is wait until Gabe falls asleep entirely (around 9 pm) and then put Edie to sleep in her room. But she has to sleep somewhere for the next few hours and she usually ends up sleeping on the couch next to me, or is in my bed while I'm on the computer. By the time Gabe hits a deep sleep (and it would be safe to move Edie) it's 10 pm, my bedtime and I'm too tired to give a damn about trying to get Edie to sleep in her crib.

The unfortunate thing about trying to get some backup from Scott is his work schedule. He has 4 days on and 4 days off. The 4 days he has on he can't help me at all because his day shifts begin at 4:00 am and his two night shifts...well hes not here at all obviously. Ultimately, Scott is going to have to take a block or two off so we can transition Edie because I'm not going to attempt it by myself, nor am I going to attempt it on his four days off in case it takes Edie longer than that.

I have no idea how big families manage sleep times but I'm thinking there is a lot of crying it outs. These parents must be really adapted to hearing their kids sobs, or are just so frazzled that they don't care anymore. I think I'll be the second variety parent as I'm already getting to the point of bitterness about the whole bedtime fiasco. Soon my kids will have a mother who will let them cry, cry, cry until they just cant cry anymore because she's just too sleep deprived herself to muster any real energy to sympathize. Besides, at this age a little crying won't devastate their little psyches more than a mommy whose screaming at the top of her lungs "WHY WONT YOU SLEEP" while stomping around, cursing under her breath and crying spontaneously.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I don't remember if I ever mentioned that my little sister Nicki was pregnant, but she is and she's about seven weeks ahead of me! Today she had her ultrasound and found out that she is going to be having a baby girl! This is her first baby and I'm so excited for her.

I can't believe how many people I know are young moms. I wish some lived closer to me, but phone and facebook networking are about all the one on one mommy visits I get at the moment.I'm fine with that, especially with a third on the way, its hard enough finding time to be by myself, let alone trying to squeeze visits with friends in. Having more than one child definitely makes going out a little more complicated, so it doesn't usually happen without Scott in the mix.

It's awesome that everyone in our family are having babies at the same time, it means family reunions and holidays are that much more exciting and entertaining. Is there anything better than a new baby? Just the family to share the new bundle with!

Congrats Nickster! She'll be a beauty!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I have recently realized (now that summer is upon us) that I have never created a list of my favourite books. Books are my passion, I live to read. I'm constantly on the look out for books I haven't read, and ones which are too good not to read again. And I feel that the summer is the BEST time to read a book. I always found it so relaxing to lay outside in a hammock with a ice cold beer (or in my pregger case, iced tea) with a nice breeze blowing the hair from my face, while reading a novel. Depending on the day, my mood dictates what kind of book that will be. I'm such a consumer of books that I have no true allegiance to any one genre. I range from horror to romantic smut! As long as the story is interesting you'll find it difficult to pull me away from it's pages.

Of course being a full time mother of two really cuts into my reading time, but on that rare occasion I can get an hour to myself, you can usually find me with a book in my hand.

So for those who love to read, and are always looking for their next novel to digest here is a list of my favourites, and if anyone has a book to recommend don't hesitate to comment!

Horror Fiction

1. Fear Nothing and Seize the Night - Dean Koontz. (a man with Xeroderma Pigmentosum, stuck living in a dark world, discovers it may be darker than he originally perceived. - mixed with loads of comic relief).

2. Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd, and Odd Hours - Dean Koontz (a series about a man who sees ghosts and dark shadows that warn him to deadly precipitous events! He goes on missions to prevent tragedies...often with Elvis in tow - also full of comic relief).

3. IT -Stephen King (a deadly creature living in the sewers love the taste of children and lures them to his domain by appearing as a creepy clown).

4. The Shining- Stephen King (a haunted mansion that drives it's caretakers insane!)

Murder Mysteries

1. Women's Murder Club Series - James Patterson( a group of friends who get together to solve homicides- characters consist of a cop, coroner, reporter, and prosecutor) There are nine books in the series so far.

2. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie (ten people are lured to an island and killed off one by one while they desperately try to figure out who the killer is)

3. A Time To Kill - John Grisham (a 10 year old black girl is raped by two red neck pricks and the father gets his revenge. Can his lawyer save him, or is the South to racially divided to grant this father a reprieve?)


1.Sign of Seven Trilogy - Blood Brothers, The Hollow, and the Pagan Stone - Nora Roberts (about three blood brothers who unleashed an ancient evil and who must, along with the women they love, kill the thing that has haunted their dreams from childhood.)

2. Eve Duncan Saga - Iris Johansen (about a woman whose daughter was kidnapped and never found and whose desperate search has lead her to become a forensic sculptor to help other victims of tragedy.) Could also fall under Murder Mystery!

Contemporary Fiction

1. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult (a family whose struggle to save a dying daughter/sister, comes to a head when her genetically matched, test tube, sister refuses to donate anymore organs, blood, etc, to save her sister's life) Completely different from the movie, read the book!!

Classic Fiction

1. East of Eden- John Steinbeck (set in twentieth century America, it mirrors the story of Cain and Abel, in a wonderfully created character piece which centers on humanity and all it means to be human.) A book I read in grade 10 which has stuck with me throughout the years as one of the best I have ever read!

2. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (about a doctor who creates a monster and discovers that his monster, may in fact, be more human than the good doctor himself).

Science Fiction

1. The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton (a doomsday virus from outer space spells disaster for the world if a group of scientists can't discover how to cure it) One of the best modern sci-fi books of all time!

2. The Time Machine - HG Wells (a scientist figures out how to travel through time in a desperate attempt to save the woman he loves)

3. War of the Worlds - HG Wells (invaders from Mars stake a claim to the earth as mankind does his best to defeat and survive the enemy)


1. The Holographic Universe - Micheal Talbot (A book that describes our world as being more of a hologram than of solid "matter". It insinuates that this explains paranormal phenomenon) A very fascinating read for anyone searching for answers about our world and all that's in it.

These are the books I can recall off the top of my head as being some of my favourites! Feel free to tell me what I've missed!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gorgeous Day

Today was such a warm, and lovely day. My brood and I managed to get out of the house for a few hours so that daddy could do some banking and I could get some run of the mill, pregnancy, blood tests. Since I don't have a cell phone Scott is always left to guesstimate when I will be done. Unfortunately if there's a line I could be stuck waiting for a good hour, but if it's a day like today, (where no person wants to be stuck inside getting tests done) the line moves fast. Scott showed up 20 minutes after I was done but during that time I got to bask in the sun.

I almost forget what it's like to enjoy the day without children. There is something uniquely calming about it. I don't have to worry about getting them ready, dressing them appropriately, applying mounds of sun screen, reapplying sunscreen after an hour, preventing fights, timing my outings around meal times, or nap times, or trying to find a safe place for my toddler to run. I can just turn my face towards that bright blue sky, close my eyes, and listen to the day. I can watch the breeze move the trees, and smile at the wonderfully smelling, old people who greet me with quips about getting out for a tan.

I miss even the little things about sitting on the roadway by myself. Like examining the sidewalk and following the many cracks with my eyes; quietly observing how they intersect and sprout grass or weeds. I marvel at how life can exist in any environment. I miss bouncing rocks off said sidewalk, and resting my back against cool cement. I miss the people watching that comes with waiting for a bus, or in my case my husband. You'd be surprised the things that can pass you by that you never even knew you could miss.

I love the tranquility that comes with no responsibilities to anyone but yourself. Being alone on a beautiful day reminds you that the world is marvelous and not always full of danger at every turn (something you are constantly on standby for when you are a parent). Sometimes I miss the world and all it has to offer as I'm desperately trying to navigate my children through it.

So to all those moms out there. I highly recommend just a half hour alone, in the sun, in the world, to find yourself again and to enjoy a little piece of summer bliss.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day. WHAT. Oh crap.

The day started off as any other. I sat down at the computer to check Facebook while Edie played at my feet. I wished all the mother's I knew a Happy Mother's Day and when Scott woke up I smiled and said "so, what are we doing today?". His look of confusion quickly morphed into one of horror and I knew immediately he had forgotten Mother's Day.
"Ahem...ah well...I was thinking of getting you Tim Horton's for breakfast..and then whatever you want to do...we can do...".
"Ah huh..." I responded, "did you forget Mother's Day?"
" my defence you're not my mother" Nervous chuckle.
My icy glare must have frightened him as he tried in vain to back out of that comment.
"Well, what I mean is our kids...they are cheap...and um...couldn't afford to get you anything"
"Our kids are cheap?"
"okay well go get me Tim Hortons then, and bring the kids. I don't feel like watching children who can't be bothered to even make me a card"
"Okay..." he said with a gulp.

I'm sure he believed he could pick something up on the way to Tim Hortons, but apparently handling the kids on his own was too much for him to deal with. By the time he got back I had decided I wasn't going to be mad or bitter, and instead I would use his forgetfulness for the best Mother's Day ever. I would get whatever i wanted, and he couldn't complain.

Ever since I moved to the lower mainland I've been dying to go to Playland and Scott always had an excuse not to go. Now he didn't. HEH HEH. So we all travelled an hour and a half and I got to spend a few hours having the best time with my kids. Playing games, eating candy apples, going on rides (kiddie ones). It was the most fun I have had in a while (I'm a freak about fairs). Then we got home and ordered pizza and watched the Canucks game (which they won!). The best part of Mother's Day was avoiding all the menial tasks of being a mother. I didn't have to cook or clean all day and Scott also bathed the kids and put them to bed.

I truly enjoyed having Scott as my personal guilt induced slave and I hope everyone else enjoyed their Mother's Day as much as I did.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


When I first became pregnant with Gabriel I was ecstatic. Everything was so new and exciting and I never thought for one moment that my pregnancy would be anything but boring, and routine. I wholeheartedly believed that I, like most women, would carry full term and probably even past my due date. No one I had known had ever had their water break early or lost a baby in the second or third trimester, and I was woefully naive to the possibility that this occurred in normal, healthy pregnancies. When I was 12 weeks pregnant and entering my second trimester my cousin Krissy (who is like a sister to me) was already in her second trimester and we talked every night. I would ask her what it was like to feel her baby kick, and what it was like to feel him move, and asked how many weeks she was when she felt those first flutters, and if I would know when it happened. Then one night, as we were discussing what sex we thought our babies would be she told me about a dream she had dreamt the night before.

She said that she had delivered her baby in Boston Pizza where she worked and her boss put her baby in the walk in freezer and she wasn't allowed to bring him home. She also told me that my baby had been there but that I was allowed to leave with my child. I immediately equated the walk in freezer with a morgue and felt chills. I neglected to tell her my thoughts and we just laughed it off as one of those weird pregnancy dreams.

That night Krissy woke in excruciating back pain and went to the ER. The doctors almost didn't look at her because they were convinced she just had a kidney infection. Two hours later they determined she had spontaneously dilated. I got a call from my mom who told me that Krissy had delivered her 21 week old son, and that he had died during delivery (they named him Chance Cal-Gary - as he was their Calgary Chance at happiness). I cried for days. I knew the last person she would want to talk to for a while was me, and I knew there wasn't anything anyone could do to make things better for her.

I automatically thought back to what now seemed like a prophetic dream and worried about my own child. My naivety was shaken from me like leaves from a tree and I now realized that pregnancy was anything but routine. I was terrified the rest of my pregnancy and wished so much that the distance that was now necessary for Krissy, didn't exist. I needed my best friend to talk with, and she just wasn't ready.

At 33 weeks and 6 days my water broke and Krissy's dream came thundering back, sweeping me away in a complete panic. I knew it was too early for my son to enter this world and although the chance of losing him completely was low, I couldn't help but think about my cousin, and the possibility of a second trimester loss also being ridiculously small. I spent two days in the hospital trying in vain to get a hold of my mother (who was in Puerto Vallarta) and was surprised to receive a phone call from my cousin. I hadn't spoken to her since she lost her baby, nearly 6 months earlier, and she did the most gracious thing. She offered me her support, and love, and said she could fly down if I needed her.

She understood more than anyone how scared I was. We've been close again ever since. So every subsequent pregnancy I have had, and the one she just recently carried to term, has been tainted a little bit. Worries that most women don't have surrounds us at every turn. It was determined that Krissy had an incompetent cervix and that she would need a stitch if she was to carry her future children to term. I also knew that having a preterm premature rupture of membranes only occurs in 5% of people and after having one your chances of having another rise dramatically.

I did not have a preterm premature rupture of membranes with my daughter, but I did have a premature rupture of membranes (which basically means I ruptured before I was in labour, although I had managed to carry her to term). It has now been established that I rupture before labour (which again is very rare) and it makes every new pregnancy another desperate run to make it to full term before that inevitably happens. The doctors keep a close eye on me and I am, like my cousin, considered a high risk pregnancy.

So although I'm thrilled to be pregnant again I'm also afraid. I don't let it get me stressed, nor do i sit there and worry hour after hour, but I do catch myself thinking from time to time whether my water has just broken. It's a fear I wont ever shake and normal cervical fluid changes will always keep me wondering, and no doubt, will like last pregnancy, drive me to seek out doctors to confirm or deny the possibility of a possible rupture of membranes. It's just the nature of the beast when it comes to my pregnancies...something that unfortunately, I have learned to live with.

But I also have hope, that I can carry this baby to a safe, new life, and that my baby will be born healthy and strong, without the need for doctors, nurses, or NICU's..something that I have yet to accomplish (Edie was born with an infection thanks to me rupturing 24 hours before, and was in the NICU for two days on antibiotics), but am determined to do.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


June will be here before I know it and Scott will be gone for two whole weeks helping with traffic at the G20 Summit. The thought of handling the kids for two weeks completely alone is a scary thought. My mom is going to visit for a few days but its not enough. I need Scott. I need adult conversation everyday! Oh I'm dreading it. And what a crappy time to be gone for. The dates hes gone happen to fall a month before our wedding, directly on Edie's birthday, and right around the 18week ultrasound. I understand hes trying to make us a little extra cash and that extra money will definitely be nice (especially since I have to buy a second wedding dress) but I'm going to miss him. Sigh. Plain and simple. I'm going to miss my Scott.

No doubt by the time he gets back Edie will be toddling all over the place. She has begun to pull herself up on everything she possibly can and is starting to walk around the furniture. Gabe tries to help her get down when she gets stuck by grabbing her legs...which does not turn out at all as he plans and they both usually end up hurt or entangled. Poor little Gabe always trying to be Edie's constant guardian and and instead becomes her torturer.

I wish he talked a little more so I could be privy to a peak inside that busy little mind but he's still fairly limited in his speech. Right now we are on a wait list to see a specialist so hopefully they can tell us if hes speech delayed or not.

The next few months are going to be interesting and some of it I'm really not looking forward to.