Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dear Grammie and Grandad

Dear Grammie and Grandad,

I hope you are enjoying your summer in Nova Scotia. I am having a lot of fun this summer too but I miss you a lot! I talk about you every day and call you on my phone. I have grown a lot in the short time since you have been gone and have so many new words and phrases. Mommy and Daddy took some video's of me so you can see what I have been up to just turn up your volume because it can be hard to hear what I am saying! Enjoy!!!

Love Ben

I have been doing a lot of summer reading. I have read some gems like "trucks trucks and more trucks", "Where is my Mommy" and "The tickly animals book"...the one I am reading in this video!

Grampa took me on a ride in a truck when I went to visit Daddy at the office. You can tell Mommy was a bit nervous (she's like that...) but I was having a great time!

We played at the splash park a lot. This evening it was broken but we played regardless. I didn't mind too much!

This morning we went on a train ride. This train was almost 100 years old. It was a lot of fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is in a Name...

Oh the name debate... I have a perfect must have boy name that Jon unequivocally refuses...it has been the main source of our marital discord for three years now. I feel as the gestator and pusher that I get vito over naming. Unfortunately he does not quite agree to this. It would seem that a "Gabriel" than is not in our future as Jon says if I write it on the birth certificate it won't matter...he will just keep calling the confused boy Thomas.

We have ONE girl name that we can agree to and about 3 boys names. The unfortunate part of the boy names are that we each have a cousin with the same names. Is it wrong to name all of our children from the same family name pool? Does this prove unoriginal or lazy on our part? We have put SO much time and thought into names though...REALLY! It just happens that we like the same names as our aunts!

Wish us luck, the battle has only just begun!

4 months

Today I am four months pregnant. I am split. Part of me thinks it is going by really fast; you know the organizing, nesting, cleaning, shopping part of me who can only think of all the things that I want/need to do before the arrival. The other part of me...the tired, headachey, crampy, ligament stretching, can't stop eating, really wants a little arm bundle to hold part feels it is dragging by... In four weeks however we will be able to hopefully determine if we are welcoming another player for the blue team or if I should start buying dresses (okay who are we kidding...there are bins of dresses downstairs already...remember the shopper part? It was her fault!). For a nano second I debated on not finding out and then I rolled my eyes at my own rediculousness while jon just stared at me, waiting for me to come to my sences and went on counting down the days! I enjoy having a surprise halfway through the pregnancy. There is enough surprise on the day of the delivery, I don't need it all at once. It would be too overwhemling. I hope for both so it really doesn't matter either way... I am trying not to put too much pressure on the little fetus as s/he has enough to keep themselves occupied right now, like brain development and nail growth but I can't help sneaking little jabs at the poor kid all day when Ben does somthing really "Ben". He has been calling me "Bud" (which makes me think I need to work on establishing more defined bounderies in our parent/child relationship???!!!)
"Ben do you want to come downstairs with Mommy"?
"Sure Bud"!

I lauphed really hard the first time (and tenth time) he said this and can;t help but address the addition in the same thought..."your brother is so cute and hilarious...you will be too right? right???" Really no pressure...but there are some pretty big shoes in your wake... We will love this child in their own way of course but my only reference point is Ben so it is hard not to compare. What if this baby is funny looking (would I know it?!) and is void of personality, cries all the time and doesn't sleep...what if they are a picky eater who throws tantrums? What would I do then? I don't think this will be the case as Ben is a good influance and is oh so excited to have "our baby" come home... I think we will dote on him/her and find the cuteness through the tantrums. In the meantime little bean, you just concentrate on your ear development (they come in handy, I promise!) and I will worry about your adorable brother!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Is Where They Love You

For the last ten days we have been staying at my parents home while our home is undergoing a renovation with a new bedroom addition. It is interesting staying in my "old home" as an adult with her own home. Because we don't live far we don't stay here for long periods, we simply drive home at the end of a Sunday evening visit. It is reassuring however that I still feel a distant feeling of home when I come through my parents door. The slight catch of the screen door, the distinct smell of fabric softener on the linens, the crystal water goblets and place mats on the table (my Mother will not eat dinner on a table without place mats...). The formal living room sofa that took many years to perfect the only possible position for slight comfort and the smell of je ne se que in the air...

I have been missing my home lately though, a space where I worked hard to create my version of "HOME". I have succeeded if the feedback I constantly receive is any indication. Upon spending a few moments in our house more new guests then not comment on how "homie" our house feels. The small touches I feel create this ambiance may seem natural but in fact were quite deliberate. I feel like a home should envelop you as soon as walk in the door. Wrap you up like a soft blanket with it's smells and warmth. I have tried to create this feeling in every room and every corner. In this attempt I have many photographs of our family spread throughout our home, most in sepia and black frames, a subtle reminder of exactly whose space you are sharing. Gourmet hot chocolates sit in the cupboard and the kettle waits readily on the stove. Bubble bath sits on the side of the soaker jacuzzi tub and fluffy white bath towels await. The only television on the main floor is hidden deliberately behind an armoir door so that conversation and a good book can take precedence. A screen door is essential to throw open and let additional light in along with a breeze to blow the curtains, also a must have, just so. Throw cushions, and blankets drape every overstuffed sitting surface so that if the impulse for a Saturday evening nap hits you, the space is prepared. Artwork was carefully selected for feelings they inspire; comfort, relaxation and peace. A candle lit here with a bouquet of flowers there complete the feeling with an addition of little corners of savoured items for interest. I love words in my home that make me happy when I pass. Over our patio door reads "Laughter is Sunshine in a Home". Our bathroom wall reads "Live Well, Love Much, Laugh often". Ben's room reads "Angels Danced the Day you were born" and "You are a Child of God". Our Bedroom reads "Grow Old With Me, The Best is Yet to Be".
I like an uncluttered fridge so the only things you will see on the front are two marble magnets reading "Simple" and "Joy" If I am lucky some of Ben's artwork will be hanging underneath. The same paint colour flows through our home, including the bedrooms. I like the home to flow in this way while defining each individual space with a different "tone, or feeling".

I am looking forward to returning home from "home" and walking through the door to familiar warmth. I will open the front door, get the popcorn maker out and curl up under a throw blanket with the two most important home accessories, without which my home just wouldn't be.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cause For Celebration!

I have been extremely blessed with very easy pregnancies (so far!) I have experienced very little sickness with the exception of an unpleasant incident in the parking lot of preschool when I vomited violently without warning with Ben in my arms (all the while yelling "Ohhhh Noooo Mommy!! In case there was someone who had not yet noticed my public puking...)Fortunately this was the exception and not something that became the norm. I have no real base for complaint although I did feel extremely tired some days earlier on and we spent more then one day camped out on the couch while I introduced my then televionsless child to the wonders of such entertaining characters as Thomas the Train and Little Bear. This was fortunately short lived and I am BACK (with Thomas a constant fixture in our day...) I woke up on the morn of my second trimester last week at 6 am with energy to spare and am proud to say have given up my afternoon naps (to be resumed shortly after Christmas while I store up energy for the grand finally/premier)! Once again we are the proud owners of clean clothes, dinners that don't involve breakfast cereal and hair that is washed more then thrice weekly!

I do love the second trimester...I am fortunate to feel my best (I would stay five months pregnant for the rest of my life!) during my favorite half of the year!

Our Nights are Numbered

With my quickly expanding tummy I am finding it more and more difficult to comfortable hold Ben. It is not as obvious to anyone but me that he needs to be shifted a little further back on my hip and I am continually maneuvering him down off my stomach onto my legs when he sits on my lap. Ben enjoys being held, he prefers to be carried and he is officially still one year old and so I will appease this desire as long as I am able to hoist up his sturdy thirty pound build.

With the addition of our new bedroom this week I am thinking of how to furnish and decorate it. I would imagine that Ben's rocking chair will be transferred there. This rocking chair that forged our bond in midnight rocking. This chair that measured his growth as he went from the crook of my arm to his legs dangling to my knees. This chair with a creek if you don't rock just so and a comfortable moan as I let my dead tired weight fall into it. The chair I chanted rhymes, sang songs, quietly hummed when I couldn't remember the words and read five million stories in. In passing this chair down the hall it is more then a transition of furniture, it is a transition of time and place. Ben will give this chair to our new baby and with it all the rights and privileges that accompany the passage of infancy. Ben no longer needs rocked, he doesn't wake during the night and would prefer the empty floor space for playing.

When I look in on Ben at night before we go to bed, I touch his chest (just to make sure...) and stroke his forehead. I picture the screaming little face of his infancy red with rage and frustration at being so small and awakened with insult at an empty tiny tummy. I pick up his long relaxed body, cradle his head against my chest and feel his body weight soak against me. He stirs and falls deeper into sleep. He is most comfortable in my arms, I want to hold him as long as I can before I cannot. Before our new baby grows into my lap and nudges Ben gently into childhood.

I rock him slowly back and forth back and forth and know just what another Mother felt when she sang;

I love you forever
I like you for always
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

To Remember

At the risk of being repetitive I wanted to document this amazing time of growth in our little baby/toddler/boy/man as he assumes a different maturity level in each moment it would seem lately. His amazing burst of vocabulary leaves me stunned most days, recently most so. He has taken on this unique third person extension of Mommy type of speech when he is "alone". I can hear him muttering things to himself and when I tune in a little closer this is the sort of thing I hear;

"Do Benny touch? Nooooo Benny! Hot" (The parts I would say has a slight falsetto in honour of me...)

"Good boy Benny (I adore that he refers to himself as "Benny") yaaaaaaa! Benny good boy! (It is his tone really that gets me...)

"Benny do dat? YES! Benny do dat...Benny good boy!" (insert falsetto)

"Benny hurt toe...kiss? Yeah, okay!" (Proceeds to kiss his own stubbed toe...)

This running dialogue is enormously entertaining and I feel a flutter when I hear his self praise or glimpses of confidence and positively forming self image. They are my words...the words he is really hearing. They matter.

We don't watch television anymore...we watch "Benny".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Ben has begun using terms of endearment he has overheard albeit inapropriatly and thus humorously...

"Ben say "goodbye" to the nice recpetion lady".
"Bye Little Lady" and flashes a grin... (he may have also winked...)

As Kristie was getting out to open a gate so we could pull the van through Ben grew increasingly upset at her absence.


"Good morning Ben"
Good Morning Sweetie"

One that is newly acquired and fortunatly cannot ever be said innapropriatly...

"I love you Mommy".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Different Kind Of Grateful

Ben had an appointment with his Allergy specialist last week to get an immunization. Because this particular one can have egg in it it must be done in the hospital in the specialist unit. I am, shall we say, a little nervous to the days leading up (by this of course I mean heart palpitations and cold sweats...). My nerves kick in the moment we pull into view of the monstrous building. This is a facility we are so blessed to have available to us and is one of the largest children hospitals in the province. I try to remember that as I loath being there. As we walked into the building this time my senses were peaked, perhaps out of nerves, pregancy hormones or simple intuition. I could sense the suffering in the walls. Heartbreak, anguish and despair radiated from the thick brightly painted brick. Miniature cots, stretchers and IV pols lining the halls serving as tragic reminders of why this building is here. Tragic in the worst of ways. We walked past an empty courtyard with toys scattered about. I willed my eyes not to well as I considered the two options; there were no children to play or they were two sick to do so. I wished badly on the first but feared the latter. My own busy boy, an example of robust health squealed at the miniature ride ons. "TOYS TOYS!" I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude then. We would be leaving with our precious child in a few short hours. Many Parents within heartache sensing distance would not be. They would be leaving their babies on one of those little beds and forced to walk past the empty courtyard with empty arms. I can't imagine anything worse, even if I let my mind travel in the dark rooms of fear, of watching your child suffer. That degree of helplessness and sadness is made for one stronger then I.

As we entered the Allergy wing I breathed deeply. Even as we left with a diagnosis of two newly developed allergies (dairy and dogs) and an explanation that he could continue to grow into more I felt....grateful. So profoundly grateful that this is our challenge. I would not trade it as I know what alternatives are available.

I had previously felt as though we had been sentences to this life with allergies. It dictates when, where and what we can do. Ben cannot touch a dog now or eat an ice cream cone...but he can run and play and laugh and thank God, we get to bring him home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

O Canada

I love this country for so many reasons. The greatest blessing in the lives of all Canadians is the fact we call this great country home.

As a Canadian you are free as a result to worship how you will, educate as you see fit, raise your children with the morals you value, say what you feel, travel where you please, plan your families in the way and the number you wish and have the security to know you are safe in your homes and on the streets. If you are a Canadian you will never go without food, quality medical care, or housing. You believe in tolerance, diversity, respect and compassion.

If you are fortunate enough to call yourself a Canadian you can wittness a beautiful change in scenery every three months of the calender year. From a burst of orange, yellow and red to mark the end of the long days, to the white blanketed ground, into the budding season of warmth and finally to a full and green season and back again.

In this country you can ski some of the biggest moutains, swim in some of the largest bodies of water and find every colour of skin, from every country on the globe. You can taste the flavors of the world in one city, you can ride a dog sled, camp with bears, find friends around every corner, live in cities of millions rich with culture and cuisine, you can enjoy small towns or rural stretches rich in harvest and tradition.

If you are granted the most blessed title of Canadian you would never want to be anything else.

***photograph by Diane Owens

Ben To the Rescue!

We went to the year end celebration at the early years center last week. We had firetrucks, ambulances and police cars there. Ben accepted his plastic fire chief hat very seriously as well as his police chief sticker. He continues to adjust and readjust his hat the whole time we were there, making certain it was on just so.

I was shocked when he couldn't get up in the drivers seat of the firetruck fast enough. He is usually a little shy when introduced to new situations or experiences. It always takes him a few moments to warm up to the idea of something. Not this time! He was telling the firefighter the parts of the truck (he had memorized from a pop up firetruck we read at home...no less then 5 million times). He drove the steering wheel and pounded the horn all the while singing "Weeeeeeeee oooooohhhhh Weeeeeee ooooohhhhhh" The firefighters sure though he was something...

he reached hysterics at the prospect of getting out of the truck when the line of children waiting for a turn started growing. Fortunately there was an ambulance and a police car waiting to be explored.
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