Friday, November 30, 2012

This moment - baking cupcakes

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another session of ballet lessons

On Saturday was Annika's last ballet class.  She did another 8 (or was it 9?) week session through the city's Leisure Guide, and she seemed to enjoy it.  It always seems a bit hard to tell - at home she says she's excited to go to dance class and she loves dancing around and being silly, but at class she always looks so serious and half-interested (but maybe that's just her nature - she's always quite serious and quiet in public).

Anyway, she did well, learned a few new moves (she took level 2 this time) and listened well to her teachers.  I find the teachers for the Leisure Guide ballet programs to be really hit and miss.  The first time she did a ballet class I really liked the teacher and found that she had a really good balance between fun and learning in the class (and she seemed to be quite aware of what to expect from a group of 3-5 year olds).  Last session (same class) I thought that the teachers seemed to be far too concerned with teaching actual ballet moves and didn't seem to realize that little girls also need some time to just twirl and have fun.  They also didn't seem to have much experience with little kids.  This time around the teachers were good with the kids, but it seemed like there wasn't much actual ballet teaching happening (which I found odd, since this was a Level 2 class) - they played a lot of games and learned about different kind of movement, but they hardly ever did plies or talked about feet positions, arm positions, etc (things that the previous teachers had spent a lot of time on).  Oh well, I guess you can't expect too much from an 8-week class. :P

Now we have 2 weeks of swimming left (I'm kind of sad that Annika missed the past 2 weeks due to illness, since she has really been improving this session), and then a little break until the new year.  In January we're planning to put her in skating lessons - it will be her first time skating!  I guess we'll see how that goes!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting the party started...

Emmett's birthday is coming up in a week, but since my family won't all be around on the actual day, we started celebrating a little early on Friday evening.

Concentrating SO HARD to blow out those candles!

Sneaking a taste of the cake (an ice cream cake from Marble Slab - delicious!!)

Opening his present, very carefully

Looking forward to more birthday celebrations next week!  I can't believe my baby is 2 already!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This moment - making smoothies

"A Friday (or Saturday!) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Deep thoughts from snowman-making

Yesterday the weather was perfect for making snowmen, so Annika and I went outside while Emmett was napping and Carey was watching football.

I had a lot of fun playing outside with Annika, and I came to a realization - a bad sleep does not necessarily lead to a bad day (I had had a rough night on Saturday night and didn't get a lot of sleep).  After my last post about my insomnia, things seemed to be looking up and getting better.  However, last week took a turn for the worse and I had a few really bad nights (which meant some not-great days).  It was really discouraging for me, as it seems like the melatonin doesn't seem to be working so well anymore.  I'm so frustrated, and not sure what else I can be doing, but Sunday afternoon really encouraged me.  I can still have good days (or even just good moments in an otherwise hard day), even when I'm not getting a perfect 8 hours of sleep.  If you've ever dealt with insomnia you know that one of the thoughts that starts spinning around your head when you can't fall asleep is "I'm going to be so tired tomorrow.  How will I function?  Tomorrow is gonna suck..." - which of course doesn't make it any easier to fall asleep!  However, maybe if I can keep this day in mind, this moment, it can be a reminder to me that there are bright moments even when all seems dark.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Insomnia update

The past 2 months have been difficult for me, since, as you know, I've been dealing with chronic insomnia.  I've tried lots of different things to help me sleep (unfortunately that de-stress bath only worked once - I tried it a few other times with no help to my sleep), including prescription sleep pills and melatonin pills.  This past week I saw my doctor, and he encouraged me to simply keep taking the melatonin pills (I had tried not to take them continually, but couldn't sleep well without them) and get back into a good sleep routine.  He said that my body wouldn't get addicted to them, and it was fine to take them for 6 months to a year.  He did recommend taking as low of a dose as possible, though.  At one point I was taking only 1/4 of a pill (about 1.25mg), but after a few bad nights this week, I've gone back up to a higher dose.  I'm hoping to get back down to 1/4 of a pill, and then to stick with that.

He also recommended daily exercise, which I've been doing pretty well with so far.  For the past while I've only exercised maybe once or twice a week, but so far I've gone on the treadmill 5 times in the last 6 days.  Hopefully I can keep this up.  I've made it a priority to do it first thing after dropping off Annika at school (she goes 3 afternoons a week) and putting Emmett down for his nap, and it feels good.  I feel good.  I love the feeling of running - where you just have to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  Just keep going.  Don't worry about anything else - no fancy moves or tricky exercises - just simply move your feet.  And I think the exercise is good for my head - my mood, my stress levels - as well as my body.  :)  I'm also trying to avoid caffeine and alcohol (not too hard), as well as limit the amount of sugar I eat (which is really hard - I have a major sweet tooth!).

Anyway, just wanted to give a little update with where I'm at, as well as share with you a few blessings and things to be thankful for that I've discovered during this difficult time:
  • God-given strength to get through the days that I didn't think I could manage - "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
  • Health - the kids have been taking turns being sick and I thought for sure I would also get sick since I'm not getting the rest I normally would, but I've managed to avoid it (so far...  knock on wood...)
  • Help and support from family and friends - this has been a BIGGIE.  I couldn't have done it on my own.
  • Access to doctors and counselors and medications to help me physically and emotionally.
  • A husband who is a deep sleeper - I'm sure I've disturbed him to some degree with my tossing and turning and getting up, but I think overall he's still been sleeping okay.
  • The promise of rest - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
 (1000 gifts #215-220)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My baby and his baby

Yesterday I wrote about Emmett and his love of puzzles and all things that "fit together" and so today I thought I'd write about another one of his interests - his baby.  Well, technically it's Annika's baby, but he has adopted her and loves her dearly.

He keeps her swaddled in a piece of green fabric (or rather, he insists I swaddle her, several times a day), and he will hug her, rock her, shush her, feed her, etc.  It's really sweet to see, and I treasure it because I know it's a "limited time only" kind of thing.  It won't be long before he realizes that there are "girls' toys" and "boys' toys", and a doll is NOT a "boy's toy."  So for now, I love seeing this little glimpse of his more tender, empathetic side, and I hope that it still remains in some form, even when he no longer plays with dolls.

On a related note, Annika has recently taken an interest in the shows "Handy Manny" and "Bob the Builder" - we're bending the gender stereotypes all over the place!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Allow me to brag for just a moment???  Thanks. ;)

Emmett just put this puzzle together ALL BY HIMSELF!  Granted, we've probably done it together with him about a million times, but now he's doing it all on his own (and it says it's for ages 3+).  What a smartie pants. :)

He's so cute when he's doing a puzzle - he'll pick up a piece and while he's trying to figure out where it goes, he says "no... no... no..." until he finds the right spot.  And when he finishes the puzzle, he raises both his hands and cheers for himself. :)

He really likes puzzles right now (even Annika's princess puzzles), and other things that "fit together" like Lego blocks or the Tupperware shape ball (where you put the different shapes through the matching holes in the ball).  So neat to watch him learn and develop his own interests.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween 2012

A few days late, but better late than never, right??

Our pumpkin (we're no carving pros over here)

Carey (the head carver) and his helpers.  My job is to roast the seeds.

Emmett's getting into character

Snow White

The cutest construction worker ever (sorry Carey!)

Ready to go!!

Checking out the "haul"

"What to eat first???"

This black goopy stuff (for playing, not eating) was the hit of the evening.

The kids had a blast trick or treating, and we had about 80-85 kids come by our place.  Some of them really impressed me (like the kid dressed as a mime who wordlessly stayed in character the whole time, even tipping his hat to me to "say" thank you), and others made me question why I hand out candy at all (like the teenagers who were on their cell phones while holding out their bags, or the woman who totally looked like a mom who was collecting her own bag of candy - she was in costume though...). 

Anyways, now it's done for another year, and there's just the question of what to do with all the candy.  In the past I've rationed it out slowly to Annika, and it's lasted for far too long.  This year I've decided to take a different approach, and will let the kids eat all the candy they want (within reason, and at reasonable times) until Monday, and then whatever is left is leaving the house (a friend of mine is taking it to her daughter's Brownie group to donate to Ronald McDonald House).  The kids don't need to be eating all that junk (especially Emmett, who is a very picky eater and would much rather eat junk than real food), and honestly Carey and I don't need to be eating it either.  Next year I'm thinking about doing a "buy back" or swap for the candy - let them have their candy for a day and then offer to trade them the candy for a new toy or something like that.