Monday, August 31, 2009

Time Travelling

During Gabriel's ultrasound (the first person who calls him GabriELLE is going to get a kick in the shin...I am training Ben now...) I felt like I had travelled in time two and half year ago. He looks so much like his brother...(Ben is top and Gabe is the bottom both at 20 weeks). I wonder how many similarites they will have, I wonder what will make him unique. I wonder what colour his eyes will be and if he will have hair. Will he be calm or spirited, big or small? I wonder if the next 19 weeks could go any slower!

Proud to Introduce...

We have known the gender of our second little bundle for over a week now. The delay in introduction has no reflection on our excitement level but more to do with the name negotiations. In the end it seems a detailed description of the birthing process I am voluntarily enduring for the second time swayed things to my side and bought me some bargaining power...

This is Ben's little BROTHER!!!!!

Gabriel Jonathan

ETA January 15th 2010

Because little Gabriel was quite comfortable in a position not conducive to clear ultrasound measurements the technician took almost an hour trying to get the necessary images. Finally she had to give up and went to get Jon so we could have a look together before re booking another appointment. She told me I could jump, wiggle, dance and touch my toes to encourage him to flip around while she was gone. It was successful and when she turned the monitor on was able to get the images of his abdomen and heart that she needed. Generally about 10 minutes is reserved at the end for us to watch the baby together and otherwise the duration of the appointment has the screen turned away from us. She kindly let us watch for the next forty five minutes and described each image that came on the screen. We could actually make him out quite clearly and he looks identical to Ben. He is very active and we feel like we got to know him through our little glimpse into his world. The only note the technician wrote for my midwife to give us on the report was "One normal healthy male fetus measuring 20 weeks". It was the most wonderful thing I have ever read! He is gorgeous and we can't wait to meet him!!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tuesday Morning

We can't go anywhere on Tuesdays before the recycling truck comes. Ben waits by the window when he hears the distant sound of the truck making it's way to the top of our street. He dashes out the front door where the recycling man gives Ben a sticker and "Go Green" crayons. Ben stands watching him, star struck as he dumps the bins in the truck. He pauses to give the wide eyed Ben a high five and a "see you next week Buddy". Ben proudly wears his sticker on his chest all day. It is the highlight of his week. Mommy is more diligently saving our boxes and cans!

Santa's Visit

Begining in June Ben began telling us that Santa claus was coming for his birthday. We thought he would have forgotton this by the end of August. He didnt. The week of his birthday I tried to explain to him that Santa only comes at Christmas time (which of course he has no memory of and where this obsession with Santa clause came from still bewilders us...). He cried. Santa came for his birthday.

Thankfully Ben was apeased by his quick visit that came over nap time. The jolly red guy was kind enough to leave Ben a new lawn mower, a tractor and a letter. Whew!

Ben's Party

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ben's Birthday Letter 2009

Benjamin Alexander, you turned two years old today. Because you are two it means you eat with a metal fork now, you tell mommy you need to poop in the potty (but never actually do…) and play for hours in your sandbox. You say “ I lube you” and melt our hearts. You know the names of all your dinky cars and construction and farm vehicles including the difference between a combine harvester and a grader. Mommy does too, thanks to you. You are getting used to people telling you at every turn how sweet, adorable, brilliant and beautiful you are, you always look at Mommy because you know I will be beaming.

Because you are two you get time outs for throwing blocks and love Thomas the Tank engine and Spot the dog. You can hop and dance and sing the wheels on the bus, and You are My Sunshine. You can sit through church without screaming now (if I bring enough snacks..). You love Apple butter on everything and dip your grapes in ketchup. You count to eleven and know most of your alphabet. You love to do puzzles and can swing in a swing as long as someone will push you. You fix things with your tool box and need Mommy to kiss your head when you bump it. The highlight of your week is when the garbage man gives you a sticker…12:45 Tuesday mornings…we can’t miss it. You love anything with an engine and have recently discovered on a new level that Daddy is the most fun person in the whole world.

Because you are two you don’t have any arm rolls left. Your hands are not as chubby and you have a full head of blond curls. You have conversations with your broad and impressive vocabulary with Mommy at 2 am about things that go through your little head. I hope you always feel you can talk to me this way. Your feelings get hurt easily and your laugh is contagious. You are very ticklish and love to be chased. You can climb the big ladders at the park now and go down the tallest slides. You are so happy.

Because you are two you understand a lot, sometimes more then we realize. You wake up every morning with a smile on your face. You are very polite and always remember your manners, You are sensitive to the feelings of those around you and are quick to apologize without prompting when you make a mistake, this shows strength of character you know… You have compassion and empathy at times I did not know possible in a boy your age. You are a good friend. You are loving, sweet and affectionate.

Because you are two your personality is beginning to shine even brighter. You are an amazing person. Because you are two you are going to be a big brother. Your baby is so lucky. You are not too old to give your old mom a good cuddle. You say things that make Daddy and I laugh long after you have gone to bed. Your favourite foods are raspberry’s, fruit freezies and toast.

Because you are two you wear two piece pyjamas now but still sleep with your “blankie” in a crib because you didn’t want a bed (we asked). Because you are two you are very independent at times and love to let us know when "Ben dood it”! You also know when you need Mommy and Daddy (MommyDaddy MommyDaddy I NEED you”!) You still have that big dimple in your cheek and eyes I cannot stop staring into while I try to make up a name for the stunning shade of green blue they are.

Everyday I thank God for you. Every day you make me happy.

Happy Birthday Beautiful Ben.

I love every inch of you and every moment of being your Mother,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Family Portrait

I went to a friends house after school frequently when I was in grade school. On the wall leading upstairs was a family history of portraits beginning with her parents wedding photograph. Every year the changes in the families size and growth was well documented on this wall. Her Mother made certain they were all wearing matching outfits for these professionally shot memories. They were in black frames and hung in chronological order. I remembered thinking I would have a wall of memories in my home one day.

I am failing.

This year there was a free photo session at the market. You could pick up your shot and in return if you were happy with it, the photographer simply asked you to pass along her name (which of course I forget entirely...). I am afraid this picture with my windblown hair, our clashing outfits and our embarrassed smiles as 20 some people looked on is going to mark the portrait of 2009.

Half Baked!

The Newest addition, at 20 weeks old has come to life in that last few weeks. The punches a little stronger, the kicks a little more obvious and a tummy much more rounded. I really enjoy being pregnant. It is the only time I am not overly critical of my body but fully supportive of it and the mission it is accomplishing so capably. I am proud that it can do this. So proud in fact that I don't even really mind the stretch marks, bloat and swollen ankles that come with it. I feel tired a lot of the time but good heaven's I am growing a person! Why wouldn't I feel tired. I think I could do this ten more times...but Jon says he will NOT drive one of those super vans, okay fine I get that. Our van will seat 8 though...I'm just saying as long as they keep turning out so great I say we not put a cap on numbers now shall we? The first time I experience morning sickness though...I have a feeling that will be a deal breaker.

In two days we will find out if we are having a he or a she. Please don't sigh and say "But you are ruining the surprise!!!" We are indeed very excited to be surprised...on Friday. Today we don't know...Friday we will...SURPRISE! I just like getting my surprise at the halfway mark. I enjoy decorating the bedroom, thinking about this baby more accurately and know with clothes because babies NEED 700 outfits to get them through their first year. I read that somewhere. I swear. Because we are preparing Ben to be a big brother I think it would help him know if he will have a sister or a brother. Without exception when asked he says we are having a "guuul baby". We shall see...

Ben actually understands far more then we realized. He used to insist that the baby was in Mommy's arm but he has finally accepted that babies grow in Mommy's tummy (actually we taught him to say uterus because it makes us laugh...). When I was having a 2 am chat (when he decided the hours between 11pm until 4:30 am were no longer for sleeping...?!) with Benny the other night we were discussing this very thing. It went like this;

"Are you excited to be a big brother?"
"Where is the baby now?"
"There" Pointing to Mommy's tummy.
"What is the baby doing"?
"Swimming"! (We had not told him this)
"Very good Ben! You are right! Who told you that?"

I had better intentions of keeping up with belly shots but this is probably going to be as good as it is going to get; a self portrait in the bathroom with an automatic flash I don't know how to turn off...

Ho Hum Harvest

Well it looks like we would not be making it through the winter of 2009 had we had to rely on our fall harvest to see us through. By the grace of God it IS in fact 2009 and we live a short walk away from Sobeys. They carry cartloads of produce from more successful and experienced farmers. This year I am more thankful then ever. I will ask at the market next time we are there if they have any hateful gophers and bunnies? We do. We blame ourselves however because in early spring we let our animal loving toddler throw handfuls of baby carrots over the deck to the bunnies below. We took pity on her then, with her three adorable offspring. For our kindness we have been re payed with striped raspberry, blueberry and strawberry bushes. They didn't leave us one...not one. They ate the radishes, onions herbs, lettuce and beets. Evidently they do not enjoy tomatoes or corn. That is all we have left. Jon and I hate tomatoes. I don't even know why we grew them. I think I optimistically thought I would make it into sauce (which we love)...sauce from our 4 tomatoes... Did you know sobeys sells Ragu for 79 cents a bottle... We also planted sunflowers in a garden along the fence. They were tall and beautiful and then...they were gone. Jon saw the gopher skulking around late one evening looking for one last flower to steel. Maybe we weren't meant to be gardeners...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I have a confession... I am getting sick of summer.

(excuse me while I duck to avoid the newly ripened peaches being thrown at my head...if only virtually).

I know!!! I waited all winter for the long days of August and here I am counting them down. I feel their are some reasons for this poor attitude of a seasonal ingratitude. Primarily my new "worked my butt literally off" figure was able to adorn much more fashionable looks last summer. It was a small bit saddening after my hard work to pack them in a box this year called "I will miss you!" and drag out a box marked boldly and menacingly "MAT CLOTHES". Hmm. Goodbye cute t's hello flowing mu mu's... don't get me wrong I am THRILLED to be pregnant but I was a little discouraged to be in maternity clothes just about ten minutes into said pregnancy.

Secondly I am hot. Even when it is 22 degrees in the coolest summer I can remember I. AM. HOT. It must have something to do with the whole two people in one body thing.

Finally I do love the fall. I really love the harvest fruit and vegetables, apples and turnip and those mini squash that invoke in me a love of the root vegetables (an ode to the place of my birth perhaps? I understand you can take a newf out of the rock but you can't take the rock out of the newf...).

I generally start neglecting my summer flowers by now so they will die in time for Mums from the market. I love the orange and burgundy of these fall flowers, depressing as it is watching them take their final frost before the snow finally hits. I love apple pie and pumpkin everything! I love Halloween and my little boy who will be overjoyed at the ritual this year. I love thanksgiving and stuffing. Oh how I love stuffing(Can stuffing alone be one's favorite food?). I enjoy the ritual of the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard. I love putting on a sweater in the evening and the crisp smell of leaves burning somewhere down the street. I can't help but anticipate the first morning I put on jeans (albeit the elastic waist kind...not the size 8's I so proudly zipped up last year...) and put Ben in socks with shoes, taking one last look at his sandal tan. I love getting the duvet out and fluffing it over our bed for those crisp nights in October where you just never know.

And the trees. Oh the trees! The first morning I look out the back door to the forest behind and see that hint of red is a filling one for me. In the days and weeks to come that red will spread and explode into Autumn wonderment. Of course it never lasts long enough. But then it wouldn't be anything special would it? I have to say I don't mind covering up the BBQ finally for the next few months and replacing it with a crock pot permanently affixed to the fall counter top in readiness for soups and stews.

I have enjoyed my summer with Ben. We have played hard and got dirty. We have visited every park in the city and have become splash park aficionado's. We have walked the stroller out and eaten our share of Vita Mix sorbet. I am ready to settle down now...ready for a slower pace and shorter day. I am ready to wear socks again.

In the last days of Autumn when the final leaves are clinging to branches fighting a swirling wind and the deck is baron of patio furniture tucked away in the shed we can curl up in front of the fire, sip apple cider and remember the summer that went too fast and the long winter that looms ahead. I will curse my past self then for writing what I do now, but since I have the taste of stuffing in my head and I have no regrets!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Talking with Ben

Ben developed a phobia of bugs at grammie and Grandad's house because there were so many more there then at our house. We don't have any bugs because of the large population of bull frogs in our pond behind our house. I didn't realize this until Ben started having a fit every time a fly got close to him. "BEEEEEE!!!" he would scream. "KILL IT!!!" What?? how does he even know what that means? Although this does sound kind of familiar as my reaction to a spider...

We tried to teach him instead to say "Shoo fly, stop bugging me". In a nicer voice (rather then screeching a death order). His interpretation is to say "shoo buggin me" in this funny falsetto. I recorded it for blog entertainment.


remember to turn your volume on full.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Something Lovely To Think About

I realize this is a little late... as it has been over two years now that I have been writing about life, love, insights, observations and longings. Okay I may have made a post here and there on those things. The truth is that WAS the point of the blog. I wanted to write short prose and clever inserts. Instead it became a blog of it's own, it's life force being a little boy we all know and love by this point. Yes this is Ben's blog. No two ways about it. I will not excuse it or apologize for it but I will explain it. Many times I will sit down in front of my lap top with an inspired insight reeling in my thoughts. It may have come from a news story, a social interaction, a recent conversation or an article I read. I sit for a moment and reflect on what I want to say, what is the tone I want to use? The feelings or thoughts I want to inspire? Then my mind wanders a little further back around again to the soft head I just kissed goodnight and the funny thing he said before I did. I panic at the thought of that fleeting moment. Precious and undocumented. I will forget. Quickly, I think, I will just jot down a quick blog entry sharing the moment. It will be here for all time, locked in cyberspace. Then, I think, I can get down to business...writing about bigger things. It seems though that I don't get to the big things very often. Not nearly as often as intended. It is the small things however, that make up my big things. My small boy who makes up my big purpose. After I write about Ben, nothing else seems as important. My inspiration on another subject passes.

I am so happy in hindsight that I have documented his life, all those fleeting moments of precious innocence and love that shaped him into the person he is but which I didn't necessarily file away in a long term memory vault. Not for lack of want, but perhaps for lack of sleep. Morbidly I can't help but think this is insurance of sorts. If I were to die suddenly, prematurely, my children and husband would know how deeply and desperately I loved them. For every second of their lives they would know this. They could read about these moments and know how I tried, every moment I tried. They would know how much I adored being my husbands wife and how motherhood brought me purpose. Because it is all here.
Morbid...I know. But it is just a thought, that justifies why that news story doesn't make me feel as much as it did a moment ago, or how that conversation I was about to write about lost significance because nothing else really matters as much, feels as good, makes me happier or seems as worthwhile as writting about Ben. I fear it will only become more so as we welcome another inspiration into our lives. So I offer this explanation now as I give up on trying for something else and accept the lovely thing that is.

If It's Got An Engine, It's Good

Ben LOVES vehicles. He is not particular, as long as it has an engine and wheels he has interest. I now know more about diggers, bulldozers, fire engines, tractors, combine harvesters, trains, buses, transport trucks, motorcycles and race cars then I ever thought I would. It is the large majority of book topics we read (again and again and again...) the puzzles he wants to do and the toys he wants to play with. This means it has also been the theme of our summer. Ben and I walk to the nearest construction site or road work location and watch the machines at work. He will sit completely still and in awe as he watches them work. (I have been known to bring a magazine...) We have visited a farm and sat in a tractor, follow the garbage truck around the block on Tuesday mornings, rode a steam engine train, sat on diggers, climbed in a firetruck and gone on a ride in a transport truck. Of course now that he has had an up close and personal look at so many vehicles every time he sees one parked he declares "Ben drive it now!"

If I were to predict his future occupation based on his passion at age twenty three months old I would have to say he will be a garbage truck driver by morning, a delivery truck driver by afternoon, a snow plow operator by winter and a firefighter on the weekends. Of course if we were committed to our career choices as toddlers I imagine there would be many more cowboys, princess's and astronauts then we could handle.

Time Out

Ben doesn't need punished very often. He is naturally eager to please and loves to hear us praise and applaud his positive efforts. He is easily entertained and responds well to humor to get him out of a funk. This being said Ben is almost 2. With this new territory we are treading deeper in the waters of discipline... We don't use physical punishment and try not to raise our voices unless his immediate safety is in jeopardy, it is a method called "gentle discipline" and seems to be working very effectively with Ben who listens well and knows where the boundaries are...He is too sensitive to use more forecful measures. This method is rooted in creating mutual and earned respect. I wouldn't expect anything different from him then I would from myself. What we use as consequence then most often if a natural consequence is not relevant is time outs- more accurately "time in's" because we don't send him away or isolate necessarily but sit with him quietly for a few moments until we have a chat about what naughty thing has transpired. This is still a negative consequence as we have ended the activity that got him in trouble, he knows he has done something wrong and is being called on it.

He bawls his eyes out before I start talking to him followed by him clinging to me while we talk about what has happened. This is how it usually goes;
"Ben, look at Mommy". He reluctantly keeps eye contact for a moment before dropping his eyes again.
"Ben, do we hit each other in our family?"
"NOOOOOO"! he says this as though the mere suggestion is horrifying even though a moment earlier it was in fact he who took a swat at me.
"He rubs his hand over the the place where he hit (bit, pinched...) me and looks at it sadly.
"Sowwy Mommy, Sowwy." he says softly. "I kiss it now?"
"Yes Ben, you can give Mommy a kiss now".
"All better now, Mommy?"
"Yes Ben, all better now".

And he's off again. I do feel sad for him most times as I know he doesn't mean to be aggressive, but as he learns self control his impulse gets the better of him sometimes. He does seem to be genuinely remorseful afterwards which makes me think that this whole "gently discipline" think many just be doing the trick. Of course we will see what the "terrific two's" bring along...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Early Birthday Present

Gramma and Grammpa bought Ben a pretend house for his birthday. It is a little difficult to hide so he got it early. He loves it, as we suspected he would and eats most of his meals out there, rain or shine. He managed to get Daddy in there to play but was discouraged at his lack of space as a result. Good thing Daddy is such a good sport as it made for some cute photo op's!

It Must Be Sunday

Ben is looking dapper and on his way to church. He loves to go oddly enough and asks most days the week if he can go to "noooosuwy" (nursery) today.
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