Thursday, January 31, 2008

Difficult Morning

When Darcy was first born I joined a community group called, "Just for Moms and Babies". Anyone with a new baby could sign up for the six-week group. It was one of the best things I did as a new mom. The group of women I was with were fantastic. We really hit it off and enjoyed each other's company immensely.

After the group ended we kept in touch and three of us, Andrea, Michelle and I continued meeting regularly until we went back to work. After we went back to work I found it hard to keep in regular contact with them. There'd be occasional emails but that was really the extent of it for me.

Not quite a year ago I heard that Andrea had been diagnosed with breast cancer but that she was fighting and things looked good. Her husband has been sending out emails with updates and her sister started a Facebook group to get information out as well.

Andrea was diagnosed when her younger son was less than a year old. She has two boys, Nolan who is Darcy's age and Lincoln who isn't yet two. She has been fighting for just over a year. All of the emails I've received from her husband have been positive, focused on her fight and her will to win. That changed last week. He was brutally honest and told us the situation was dire and that Andrea was being moved to our Hospice centre for better care. Her outlook is not good. Her oncololgist has suggested that maybe she has months to live. Her sister isn't sure if it will be that long. She has stopped all treatment.

I went to visit her this morning. She was barely recognizable at first. I was very fortunate that she was awake and alert during our visit. We had a good visit. I saw some wonderful pictures of her boys (her younger boy is her spitting image!) and she was happy to see recent pictures of Darcy and Wesley. Her sense of humour is still intact and she is very involved in making plans for Nolan to start school in September. It was a great visit. By the end I could see she was getting tired so I left her to get some rest. When I got home I couldn't help but shed a few tears.

When I was preparing to leave this morning Darcy asked where I was going. I told her I was going to the hospital to visit a friend who was sick. When she heard I was going to the hospital (she wouldn't understand what a Hospice is) she got scared. The last time I was leaving to go to the hospital for a short time I stayed for 6 weeks. She cried a little and begged me not to stay because she would miss me. She was glad when I came home.

If you pray, please pray for Andrea, Allan, Nolan and Lincoln and all their family and friends.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm So Not Ready for This

Nearly every day Darcy finds some reason to talk about when she goes to "big school". This morning she was wondering if we had a painting smock for her to take with her to school or if they would give her one there. We told her we'd make sure she had a smock one way or the other.

I actually called the school this morning to get more information about registration. I can make an appointment for any time after February 18th to go into the school to get her registered, or we can take her to an open house on February 12th and get her registered then. We'll probably go to the open house, but that will mean she'll have to miss ballet.

She's really ready for school I just don't know if I'm ready for it! She still seems so small to me. How can that little girl handle being in school? For her part, she wants to learn how to read, she wants to paint, she wants to make new friends, she's ready for all of it. We've also been preparing her for the fact that she will be in a French immersion program so she's excited about learning French too. Of course, she can already say "bonjour" so she's not quite sure why she needs to learn any more French! I read a magazine article about French immersion saying that there are some waiting lists at immersion schools. I asked her school about it and was told that's not an issue here. If we sign her up, she'll be all set to go.

September is coming whether I like it or not. I guess I just need to spend the next few months getting myself ready.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In The Swim of Things

Darcy is in her third week of swimming lessons that have her unaccompanied in the pool. She loves it!

Not surprisingly she has regressed a bit from where she was in the lessons she was doing with Nick. She would jump comfortably off the side of the pool to him but she's nervous of jumping to her instructor now. She had put her face in the pool a few times with Nick there but now she's hesitant. It will come.

Up to this point all of their time in the water has involved pool noodles or life jackets. Yesterday, however, they started to do a tiny bit of swimming without any sort of flotation device. They were standing on a table about a metre from the side of the pool. Then they had to get from the table to the side on their own, once on their front and once on their back. She was a bit nervous again but did a great job! They are also doing floats now without assistance. Morgan will help them get into position then he lets go and counts to see how long they can hold themselves up before he needs to lift them again. Darcy got a 7 count on her back float and 4 on her front float (she wouldn't put her face in the water).

She's really doing well and is having a great time. Wesley and I like going to watch her, except that Wesley gets really warm in the pool area. I just dress him in a t-shirt and light pants on swimming days but by the time we leave his face is all red and he's really warm. Maybe just a t-shirt next week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Perfect Timing

We had Wesley all set for his dedication on Sunday morning, all decked out in the Titcombe family heirloom gown (pictures to come). The dedication was part way through the church service so we had to keep him relatively calm until it was time for us to go up. This proved to be no easy task because he hated the gown and he was starting to get hungry.

In an attempt to keep him settled we gave him his favourite toy to play with. This worked for a few minutes but in that time he managed to whack himself so hard in the eye that we thought he had given himself a black eye. It never bruised so it just turned out to be a good whack in the eye. Right as we were getting ready to go up for the ceremony. It was pretty puffy.

Here's what it looked like at the lunch afterwards:

He also got introduced to rice cereal this weekend which so far seems to be a big hit.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great Weekend

We had Wesley dedicated yesterday (our church's version of a Christening) so we had lots of family around all weekend to help us celebrate.

Grandmaman and Papa Titcombe were the first to arrive on Friday, followed by Stef and Marc. We exchanged Christmas presents with them on Friday night after a tasty supper at Applebees. Saturday was spent with various errands, hair appointments, that sort of fun stuff until my family arrived at supper time. We had a buffet-style supper with some yummy desserts. It was a bit crowded in our house but it was great to have everyone together.

The service was on Sunday morning, followed by another tasty meal. We did a lot of eating! The caterers were excellent, I thought. Nick and I will be dealing with a lot of leftovers for the next few days and I'll be hearing from him about ordering the world's largest cake for a long, long time!

It was great to have everyone here and we hope those of you who were here enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. Darcy is pretty beat today after all the excitement!

I did some shopping this morning to use my Christmas gift certificates. I had a very rare experience at the mall today. You know how there are times when you have money to spend and you can't find anything good and then there are times when you don't have money to spend and you find everything good. Very rarely there are times when you have money to spend and you find lots of good things. That is what happened to me this morning. I don't think it has happened like that since I was 18! Anyway, I got five sweaters, one camisole and a pair of pants and added less than $30 of my own money. I got a nice pair of pants at Mark's Work Wearhouse for $15 and I pretty much had to pay the taxes on my gift certificate purchases at RW & Co and The Bay. Very cool.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Have Something To Tell You

If you are coming to our house this weekend be ready to hear the words, "I have something to tell you...". Apparently Darcy has a lot on her mind right now and she needs to make an announcement before she says anything. Then once you have acknowledged that she has something to tell you she will tell you about something very important that happened in either Beauty and the Beast (which she calls "Belle"), Aladdin or Cinderella.

Wesley definitely seems to be on the mend but the rest of us are fighting it now. I seem to be in the best shape of anyone at this point. I seem to have a killer immune system while I'm nursing. It comes in handy. Nick has a pretty sore throat and a cough and Darcy is coughing constantly.

Even with the coughing and sniffling we're really excited about our families coming to visit this weekend for Wesley's dedication. We're super-excited about seeing Papa after his time in India. I probably won't have much to add until the weekend is all over.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Poor Wesley

Wesley is experiencing his first cold and I don't think he's a big fan. Since Friday he's had a runny nose and a little cough (well enough of a cough to make him throw up if he coughs right after eating). He doesn't like getting his nose wiped but he likes it even less if I try to suctiob it out with a little bulb syringe. However as he also doesn't like it when he's all stuffed up I've got to try either of those things constantly throughout the day.

The funny part about it is that he seems to have developed laryngitis. I don't want to sound mean but it's actually kind of funny. When he tries to babble or cry, nothing comes out. He looks totally confused. He's just got this squeaky little voice.

I think he's doing a bit better today. For the past two days he has barely eaten anything at all but today he's eating well. I hope that's a sign of good things to come, especially with everyone coming this weekend for his dedication. Now should I be concerned about this sore throat I've got?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finally Finished

It has taken a ridiculously long time but I have finally finished reading Shake Hands With the Devil. It was an incredibly difficult book to read.

It was loaned to me by Trevor a long time ago and I'm embarassed to say how long it took me to read it. It took me a bit to get into it and to have the courage to read it. Trevor left for a year in Zambia and told me to keep the book while he was gone. A few weeks ago I realized that his year is almost up so I'd better get reading. Then he came home early! He's gone again now, but I wasn't able to get the book back to him before he left.

As difficult as it was to read I would highly recommend it. The difficulty is in seeing how horribly the world responded to the Rwandan genocide, caring more about the OJ Simpson trial at the time than the hundreds of thousands of people dying in a tiny little country in Africa. So many mistakes were made and chains of events happened that could have prevented countless deaths.

If you're not into a 500+ page historical read then there is a documentary by the same name probably available at your local library.

As a separate plug, please follow the link I've listed above to Trevor's blog. Trevor is a recent Engineering grad who is working with Engineers Without Borders on water and sanitation projects in Zambia. He writes about his amazing experiences and the incredible people he meets along the way. Whether you know Trevor or not, it's a wonderful read and an eye-opener as well. You'll never think of water the same again!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shopping Joy

I took the kids to the mall yesterday to get a few errands done while Nick was sleeping. One of the errands was to get me something to wear for Wesley's dedication next week. I don't have any skirts that I can get done up anymore.

We went into Laura which can be a touch and go store for me. They generally have a good mix of clothes for younger women and older women, but sometimes it seems to me that it's just geared toward older women.

As soon as we got in the store, Darcy started picking up skirts and tops of the lower racks and saying, "What about this, Mommy?" or "This is really pretty." or "This would look beautiful on you, Mommy!" It was hilarious. I should have stuck with her because the associate who attached herself to me was clueless.

I told her that we were having my son's dedication next week and that I don't fit into any of my old clothes. She got right on it and started showing me different things. I was still trying to find things I liked but she kept trying to drag me away to stuff she liked. The thing is, she was only showing me things that I would consider to be their stuff for older women. There was an 80-year old woman shopping next to me, to prove my point. The associate found a top she liked and showed it to me, I told her it wasn't my style. Undaunted she started flipping through and said, "We only have small, medium and large in this style. There are no extra large." I wanted to scream, "Have you even looked at me????" I finally told her I had seen something I liked on a different rack and went back to get it myself.

When I tried on the stuff I had, the skirt didn't fit. I really liked the top I had found and decided to get that but I needed to go somewhere else to get a skirt to match. I didn't want to give the woman any commission but the shirt was pretty reasonable, so she didn't get much. Darcy got really distressed then saying, "Mommy, you need to get the skirt too. You can't go to Wesley's special church day without a skirt on!" My good little helper. I managed to find a skirt with a clued in associate at the next store. Sometimes I hate shopping.


I forgot to mention that she also didn't tell me that my purchase was a final sale until after the transaction was completed. Not cool.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Darcy the Ballerina

The first ballet class last night was a riot. I'll be honest though. It's definitely as much fun (if not more) for the parents as it is for the kids right now. Jerilee and I had a blast last night watching the girls in their class and parents were jockeying for positions in front of the two-way mirror so we could see them. Nick came along last night but said on the way home that it will be his last time unless I can't go.

It was very sweet. More pictures are on our Flickr site.
And to close off today, a couple of new Darcyisms for you:

The other night Darcy had finished colouring and Nick told her to put her markers away. Without missing a beat she said, "Never mind about that." I lost it. I just couldn't stop laughing. After Nick got her to put her markers away he told her to tell me to be good, which she did. At supper I started laughing about something again and she said, "I thought I told you to be good!" Pardon me.

Then last night while she and I were alone at the table the radio station was playing "Rock Me, Amadeus". I was enjoying the nice little blast from the past ("Amadeus, Amadeus, oh oh oh Amadeus") when Darcy said, "They're singing about hot potatoes."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Swimming Ballerina

Tuesdays are going to be fun for us for the next couple of months. We wanted to sign Darcy up for a couple of city-run programs to help keep her active during the winter months. We wanted ballet (which we wanted her to do with her best friend, Alisa) and the first level of parent-free swimming lessons. Both ended up being on Tuesdays.

The swimming class was offered in two different formats, a 1:4 ratio or a 1:6. I would have preferred the 1:4 but the locations and time for that were terrible. I didn't want to be trekking to the other side of the city with both kids in tow for a 9:00 class. The only one I could get at the nearby pool was a 1:6 ratio on Tuesday mornings. The only ballet class Jerilee could get to work for them was on Tuesday evenings. So, here we are.

We're just back from the first swimming class. It turns out my concerns about the ratio didn't matter. She had the same instructor from the parent/child class she just finished (who she loved) and there were only two kids in the class. Morgan said a third is registered. So we get at most a 1:3 ratio for the price of 1:6. Cool.

The other little boy doesn't speak very much English so his Mom stayed by the side of the pool translating for him while his Dad and I just sat and watched and laughed a lot at the two of them. At one point Marc let go of his noodle and started to go under, but Morgan was there in a flash and Marc was fine, just a little nervous after that. Morgan is reaaly good at getting the kids comfortable again after they get a little freaked out. Because Morgan knows Darcy and her comfort level in the water he got her to demonstrate lots of stuff for Marc and she loved that. Darcy swam across the pool on her own with a noodle today, and she was very proud of herself. She's already a better swimmer than me.

I'll have a full report on ballet, complete with pictures tomorrow!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Is This Necessary?

I used to be a terrible insomniac as a child. For some reason I had this fear of being the last one awake. I was convinced that burglars were going to break into our house and I, as the last one awake, would be solely responsible for fending them off. It used to worry me sick and every night I'd go to bed and stress myself about falling asleep quickly so I wouldn't be the last one up. I would get myself so worked up that it would be impossible to fall asleep. I'd try to go and sleep in my parents' room but they'd just keep sending me back to bed.

I find myself feeling the same way again lately when Nick is working overnight, or well into the night. I hear noises on these nights that just don't happen when Nick is at home. I'm convinced of it! I hear so many crazy things. I sleep very lightly on those nights and seem to hear everything that is going on.

But why am I so nervous? We don't live in a scary neighbourhood. In the 4+ years that we've lived here, there has been one break-in on the street. It was at the home directly across the street from us, where the guy restores old cars and seems to have a bit of a garage band. It was only the garage that was broken into with musical equipment being stolen. It seemed to be an inside job. Someone knew exactly what they were looking for.

A friend suggested to me yesterday that I look into some sort of alarm system. I think that's a good idea, but is that monthly monitoring fee really something we need to be paying while only Nick is working? Is it really necessary or do I just need to calm down a little? Maybe I just need earplugs.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The End of an Era

I'm not sure if I've bragged about this on here before or not, but when we moved Darcy up to a "big girl bed" she never got out of it. She would stay in bed until one of came to get her, no matter when that was. She would sometimes call for us and tell us that she was ready to get out of bed, but she would always wait there for us.

That seems to be over. Yesterday at the end of nap time I was feeding Wes and Nick was at work. I guess she felt she'd waited long enough because I suddenly heard footsteps in the hallway. I was just finishing with Wes so I went to check on her and tell her it was OK for her to be up.

Then this morning she got out of bed and came into our room when she was ready to get up. Fortunately it was at a decent hour. Hopefully she won't start coming in at 5:00 or anything like that.

On the Wesley front, he clearly didn't want the grass to grow under his feet between milestones. After his big belly-to-back roll yesterday he has now rolled from his back to his belly twice today. It won't be long before he's moving all over the room!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Milestone

Wesley is getting the new year started on the right foot. He chose today as the day to roll over for the first time. It is expected that babies will roll from their stomachs to their backs first which is one of the reasons we are encouraged to give them tummy time every day.

Well this afternoon he was lying on his back and was very nearly rolling onto his tummy. I figured I'd turn him over onto his belly to see what happened and, sure enough, he turned himself right back over onto his back. I loved the surprised look on his face when he was suddenly looking at the ceiling!

When Darcy was a baby I had all the developmental milestone charts memorized. I knew what she was supposed to be doing at different ages. I've barely looked at them this time around. I checked it out today and he's supposed to roll over sometime before the end of the fourth month so he's right on schedule.

This is the beginning of independent movement.