Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blast from the past

I am not a saver. When it comes to things, that is. Back when we lived in our tiny apartment, and James stubbornly insisted he get half of the closet space (what?) I had a firm, one in one out rule. Anytime I was buying myself something new, I had to figure out what was getting thrown away. And twice a year I  go through my closet and clean out anything that hadn't been worn in a year.

But every once in a while there is something that you just can't bring yourself to part with. It's not quite your style, doesn't quite go with anything you own, but it's too beautiful to let go. And once in a while, it pays off.

I've been re-reading old blog posts and just stumbled upon this one. These shoes were a total impulse buy. I think I wore them once back in 2009 then nothing, until this year when I have worn them multiple times! So thanks past Alyssa, for not getting rid of those shoes. They totally match our summer 2013 party dress.

That's our boy!

From me - he gets the crazy face I make in pictures. I think I'm going for 'I'm so fun and excited'. Often it looks like I'm trying to eat my co-subjects.

From James - he gets his love of naps. This picture cracks me up every time.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A rundown

1. day at the beach 2. paddling at Manning Park 3. this guy is the best 4. curls!

What I'm doing these days…
Recovering from the worst cold I've had in ages. Remind me never to get sick again, it really doesn't agree with me.

Experimenting with no heat curls AND the sock bun. My hairdo IQ has literally doubled in the past couple months, thank you internets. You know, for all the ways in which I wouldn't want to be a kid growing up now, it really would have helped my sense of style as a kid to just be able to look up how to do all the stylish things you saw others doing. I mean, back in the day, unless you had a cool friend or older sibling to show you how to make the perfect pair of cutoff shorts or lace up your chucks (both things I have googled) you were on your own.

Remembering the fun that was our camping trip last weekend. It went really well, but two nights was totally the right amount of time.

What is H doing these days…
Waking up sososo early. We've been feeling like 'what is up with this kid and the 5:30 am start to the day?' But his daycare recently changed their sign in sheet so you can put down what time your kid woke up, and it turns out it's all of them. I never thought I'd be looking forward to the dark days of winter in July, but I'm hoping that will be a return to 7 am wake ups.

What H is saying these days…
'No' - the answer to all questions
'I bunny, hop hop' - also I'm a fish, I'm a whale, this kid is into the make believe
'The PEOPLE!!! Hi people!' - when looking out the window at the street

And if you're really lucky ...
'I love you' - said while hugging himself a la ASL sign for love (according to Sesame Street at least)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Life Changing

I have made a discovery that has, literally, changed my life. No, this is not an exaggeration. And when I tell you it has to do with dinner, please don't make the mistake of thinking this is some superficial change. Oh no, this change in our dinners has nearly been a religious experience for me. I've been saved y'all! Saved from ever having to plan my own meals! Well, at least for five nights a week.

But first, can we all agree that dinners are the worst? I mean, why do they have to come every. single. day? And why do they always come at the worst part of the day, when everyone is cranky and tired and just wants to lay down for an hour or two after a busy day at work. And why does my child think the best place to hangout when I'm trying to cook is right between my legs and the hot stove covered in boiling liquids? Anyway, you get the picture. Dinners were not going well.

So for a while, we just got takeout. And that worked fine, but eventually I was feeling like I needed to be feeding H some better food. After all, these are the precious months before the dreaded two year food pickiness kicks in, shouldn't I be maximizing his openness to try new foods by serving him something other than a variation of cheese on bread? And while he's eating better, shouldn't we be eating better too?

I figured that the solution was meal planning. I even made a half hearted attempt when I returned to work to start doing that. But while I have no problem following through on meal plans, that whole 'planning' part was the kicker. I hated it. Sitting down to plan a week's worth of food, all the recipes I know would suddenly fly out of my head. And even if you managed to come up with some ideas, then you have to make a grocery list? This was too much work for my precious days off. I mean, couldn't I just pay someone to do this for me?

Turns out yes, yes I can.

I discovered while randomly scrolling through a blogger I follow's instagram feed. For $5 a month ( A MONTH!) you get weekly meal plans complete with a grocery list. I could go on and on. It's based on 20 main ingredients, and all the meals overlap so that you use up everything by the end of the week (no more wasted food!). And it's all based on fresh ingredients so less processed foods than we'd been eating. And the food is GOOD. We've been doing this for almost 6 weeks now, and there have only been a handful of meals that were so-so. Most are delicious.

So yeah, maybe this will become less exciting with time or we'll fall of the wagon. But six weeks is a long time to maintain this level enthusiasm. And so far I still can't wait for Friday (when new menu's are posted) to find out what we'll be eating next week!

Monday, April 29, 2013

H says...

"Wowie, wowie!" meaning "Flower, flower!"

Also, all cars are now called 'busss', except for anything big which is a 'trac-tur'.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time to brag some more!

At H's 18 month check up yesterday his doctor asked how many words he can say and I responded around 20. I had thought this was pretty low, but in her experience this was high. She said he is "slightly advanced"! It feels so good to know that all our hard work is paying off. Way to go kiddo!

Oh, and I added it up today and actually it's more like 30 (40 if you count animal sounds etc.)

We took a trip

It was a couple weeks ago now, so of course all the warm memories have been washed away by days and days of rain. So in a desperate attempt to hold onto some memories of sun, I thought I'd share a bit of our trip.

It has been a pretty busy winter, so with reading break coming up we decided to make a break for it. With an active toddler (yay walking!) the idea of a long plane trip was not appealing, so we chose California again - this time heading to Palm Springs. I had been there once before and had been entranced by the crazyness of hanging out poolside in a lush oasis surrounded by desert and rock. And thanks to guides like these from A Cup Of Jo, I was able to convince James that it wasn't all old people and golf courses. The town is full of trendy spots for the LA hipsters to come hang out, and it was fun lying poolside at the Ace Hotel pretending we belonged to that group.

And in a stroke of luck, my dear dear friends were heading to California at the same time and allowed themselves to be talked into joining us. Score! And having two couples allowed us to rent this amazing house in an older, very cool neighbourhood in Palm Springs. Double score! I absolutely love the mid century modern vibe of Palm Springs, and this house definitely fit right in with that.

At YVR waiting for our flights

The only thing that was a bit sad was that it wasn't quite warm enough to lay poolside every day thanks to an Alaskan Low that decided to drop south right in the middle of my vacation. But we still saw the sun every day and being the crazy canucks that we are, managed to swim every days as well. We didn't pay to heat that pool for nothing!

Travelling with a toddler meant hauling a lot more stuff and a lot more running around compared to our last family vacation. My perception of the trip was that it felt like as much work as last spring in Venice Beach, but now when I think back on that trip when H was a stationary 8 month old who didn't even eat -  all I can think of is how much easier it was! Why did I think it was any work at all? Oh my, I think my mommy brain may just be whitewashing that trip a tiny bit.

Speaking of Venice Beach, we even managed to fit in an afternoon on the boardwalk. Since flights out of LAX were much cheaper, we decided to drive from LA to Palm Springs. It was fun to go back to some of our favourite places, and we even grabbed dinner for the flight from the Whole Foods where we ate - a lot - last year.

And now a few pictures...

The yard at the amazing place we rented... I loved this pool.

Roadside In 'n Out!

Rocking our stripes at the Ace Hotel. I love this pic of me and H.

Getting ready to ride the Tram, which takes you to the top of the mountains surrounding Palm Springs. Not for those who are scared of heights.

Desert photo shoot. This trail was at the Living Desert Zoo, which was pretty amazing. Also, to a toddler the desert is just one giant sand box. H never wanted to leave.

Breaking out the Ergo again, this time at Joshua Tree National Park. We mainly just drove through, but managed to take a quick walk through the desert. It was cold (still snow on the ground in some places) but magical.

This guy. What a fun boy to travel with. Also, these pots and pans were toddler  heaven. 

Back at Venice Beach.

*Updated: Apparently when I write on my phone I don't know the difference between dessert and desert. Yes, I'm going to go ahead and blame that on my phone...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

About time for a little update...

I was shocked when I realized that H has had his hearing aids for less than 3 weeks now. It feels like it's been much longer. I'm happy to report that he is (fingers crossed, knock on wood) doing really great with them. He seems OK with letting us put them in (and we are getting much better at this), he rarely pulls them out, and he hasn't been showing any signs that they bother him even when he's in really noisy situations.

Before we got them, I had given myself a one month time frame before I assumed we could notice any real benefits. After his ear tubes were put in, this was the amount of time it took for us to say 'wow, what a difference'. I don't know if it was a coincidence, or all due to the hearing aids, but it seems as though within days of getting them H's language has started to take off. He has started saying two syllable words (da-ddy, do-ggy) and two word sentences (down please, open door)! He has started imitating us waaay more than before, and even said his name the other day, 'Hu-ley'. We were talking about apples and all of a sudden he pipes up 'a-pple'. It's amazing.

I sat down yesterday and wrote out the words he says routinely now. I think we're up to 20 if we count some very rough approximations like 'gah' for 'grapes'. 20 is the bare minimum number words an 18 month old should say, they should have more like 50 to 100, but seeing as he has more than doubled his words in the last couple weeks who knows where we'll be a couple weeks from now?

Right after getting his hearing aids, I spent some time at H's daycare as I wanted to show his teachers how to use them. His infant program has 12 kids, and almost all of them are within a month or two of each other. It was the first time I really noticed that H's language was starting to fall quite a bit behind the other kids, and it made me so sad. But seeing how much he has progressed over such a short time is really encouraging. We've got a lot of catching up to do - six months or more where he was missing so much of what was said - but I'm hopeful we'll get there.

His favourite toy at our rental in Palm Springs - everything ended up in those pots!

Friday, February 08, 2013

A request

You may have picked up from my last post that I have been struggling a bit now that H's hearing aids have gone from 'someday in the future' to a reality. Partly it was just the unknown of it all. All our routines were going to need to adjusted to make way for this new life of a toddler with hearing aids. How was he going to react to them? How much of a hastle would they be? We had reached a comfortable holding place and finally having hearing aids was going to change that.

But there was something else there too. With hearing aids on, I could no longer pretend to strangers on the street. Everyone would be able to see that he wasn't like 'typical' kids. It surprised me that this was my reaction, since I didn't think I really cared. After all, I'm the mom who opted for zebra striped hearing aids rather than beige or blond. I'm the mom who always said it's better for people see the hearing aids so that no one thinks H is just ignoring them (even if he maybe is ignoring them). So where did all this come from?

Coincidentally, or not coincidentally depending on your beliefs, I have been reading Kelle Hampton's book Bloom, about the first year with her daughter with Down Syndrom. I read Kelle's blog, her daughter is now almost 3 and their family is much more about living life rather than grief or disability. But to go back to those first few weeks after her daughter's birth has been really moving. I know hearing loss does not equal Down Syndrom, not at all. But as I was reading about her reluctance to take her new daughter out into the world, it hit me what was bothering me so much.

I'm not afraid that people will see H's hearing aids, I’m afraid they will only see his hearing aids. H loves to make new friends, and is forever charming strangers into playing games of peek-a-boo, waving and shaking hands, and making them laugh. Will people stop smiling at him now? Or will their smiles be full of pity? Will they stop trying to talk to him? Will they freeze when they realize the boy they thought was normal has tubes sticking into his ears?

I’m not worried about other kids (not yet at least). They might run up, point at his ears and ask 'what's that?'. No, it's the parents who might rush up, tell their kid it's rude to point, and then quickly move them away from the little boy who is different. Are these people going to teach my son that he's different, and being different is bad?

Of course none of this has happened yet, and I'm continually surprised by the kindness of strangers so maybe I will be surprised again. And goodness knows I've stared at every kid with hearing aids for the past few months and it's only because I've been trying to figure out a non-creepy way of saying 'Hi, how do you like those things? My little boy is getting them soon'.

But if you should see a slightly frazzled looking mom out and about with a blond boy with zebra hearing aids, could you do me a favour? He can hear you just fine, he would love to be your friend. Please come say hi and while you're here, care for a game of peek-a-boo?

Monday, January 28, 2013

It Worked!

Last Wednesday we brought our hungry, sleepy boy to BC Children's hospital for our 5th (yes - FIFTH!) sedated hearing test appointment and an amazing thing happened. The test. It happened. And, AND… it worked!

The test confirmed the results from the booth a week earlier. H still has moderate-severe hearing loss in his left ear and now has mild hearing loss in his right ear.

My immediate reaction was relief and joy that this chapter was finally coming to a close. We can now move on with hearing aids, and very likely we'll never need to drug H up to test his hearing again. Thank goodness.

But here I am a week later, sinking into sadness a bit because while I'm so excited to get H his hearing aids, H is getting hearing aids. You know? And that sucks. Can I just take a moment to say that? I work, work, work, so hard, all the time, to remind myself of all the good in this situation. That his hearing loss was caught early. That we have so much support. That the outcomes are so good these days. That the technology is so amazing. And I try never to compare our situation with anyone else, because everyone has struggles. And it could just be so much worse. If I didn't already know that, my many hours spent at Children's Hospital have drilled that into my heart.

Still, as I face the next hurdle of learing about hearing aids and trying to get a busy toddler to actually wear hearing aids, all I can feel right now is, this sucks. And so I'm going to give myself this week, to kick and scream and drag my heels and whine 'But I don't want to doooooooooo this'. And then somehow, I'm going to turn that off. Because you had better believe that when I get those zebra striped devices in my hands there will only be joy and excitement on my face for H to see. No doubt, he will have his own moments of 'this sucks'. Probably he'll have quite a few. And it's my deepest hope that it won't be such hard work for him to see the bright side.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

And now, for a little bit of bragging…

Last night while giving H a bath, this conversation took place.

Me: "Where is your head?" (he points to his head)
Me: "Where is your ear?" (he points to his ear)
Me: "What sound does a monkey make?"
H: "Ee ee ee"
Me: "what sound does a dog make?
H: "oof oof"
Me: "What sound does a sheep make"
H: long pause "BAA!"

Probably for most 16 months olds this is no big deal. But I feel like throwing a parade! This week H also started walking and saying hi and bye. It feels like he transformed from a baby to a toddler in the span of a week.

It has now been just over a month since H had ear tube surgery to drain the fluid from his ears that was making it so that we could't move on with hearing tests and aids. I had reached my breaking point, literally, three hours before the phone call came that they had a spot for him in surgery in TWO DAYS! Never doubt the power of a mother's tears, I say.

We knew it was quite likely that the fluid was making his hearing worse, but it wasn't immediately noticible that he was hearing better after surgery. However, little by little he started reacting to ambient noise - the dishwasher, coffee grinder, a leaf blower next door. And now he's started responding to questions and adding new words.

H also had a booth hearing test which he completely rocked. Seriously, he gave very consistent results (though unfortunately not complete - we go back for what is *fingers crossed* our last sedated test this week). The news seems to be that right now his 'good ear' is at a mild loss. It was really interesting to be in the booth with him and see what he does and doesn't react to. He responded to very quiet talking, but the 'Shhhh' static-y noise had to be quite loud before he would react.

I can't tell you what a relief it is to know that he hears me when I speak to him in a normal talking voice, even if he might be missing sounds here and there. That was something I didn't even realize I was missing. I had completed a questionnaire when he first started speech therapy where I could only say for sure that he understood one word, ball, because that was all he said. I didn't even know if he knew his name. Well, he definitely knows it now. I can't wait until he gets his hearing aids and we can finally know that he is hearing all that he can.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


Oh resolutions. I have so many this year. Cut down on my coffee intake, which I confess has gotten a bit out of hand (she says while sipping her third cup of coffee of the morning, ahem). Start taking my own lunch to work instead of buying stuff (0/3 on that one). Cut back on sugary foods (so far there hasn't yet been a baking free day of '13). Clean out my drawer. You know that drawer? The one where you shove every semi-important letter and whoseamawhatsit.

So, with all this failure there is one resolution that I'm super pumped about. I'm going to run the Sun Run. So far I've gone on two runs and I'm loving it! I'm doing this program, which I used a few years ago when I ran the 10K. The great thing about it is that it starts out suuuper slow, so that you end every run feeling like 'I want to do more'. What I figured out about running last time I did it was that I used to push myself too fast/too soon and so it was painful to run. I need to slow my pace way down and take it easy, then it's actually enjoyable. And somehow, after doing this program I ended up being able to run 10K in just over an hour, which for me was amazing.

Now, it's disclaimer time. I did have this resolution last year and it was a flop. I gave up after one run and just walked the 10K. I was expecting the first run to feel similar to last year, when every step made it feel like I had to pee/my insides were going to fall out. Turns out there's a big difference to running when you're 4 months postpartum to 16 months postpartum. It felt great just to be outside, taking a break from the grind of daily life. I hope I can keep it up.

I want to hold your hand

Well, my hopes that H would be walking independently by Christmas were not to be. That's not to say that he's not getting better. I've witnessed him walk across a room when we direct him to, and once or twice he's even chosen to do it himself. But his preferred method of getting around is to walk while holding onto someone's hand. Over the holidays, when there was always a grandparent nearby, he managed to do pretty well with this. But now that we're back home and it's just us parents, well, I feel like it's been a rough few days with him. Because, you guys, I’m just done with it. I don't mind if he isn't ready to walk, but when he collapses into a heap and wails just because I had to let go of his hand, well it's all I can do not to roll my eyes and yell 'come ON'.

I know that I shouldn't be too bothered. Walking around will make some things more difficult, and babies grow up so fast that I shouldn't be too worried about pre-toddlerhood lasting a few months longer. 

It's hard though. H is such a bright, inquisitive, funny boy. But none of that seems to translate into milestones. When measured by sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, he is always the slow one. The one who isn't quite there yet. And again, so what? We know he has issues with hearing and speech, we're addressing them and he will get there. He's making slow (very slow) progress with walking, but it's still progress. Still, it really hurts to feel like your child is always behind. And I worry that this will translate into the rest of his life. I guess watching his peers literally run away from him while he struggles to catch up hits me hard in that sore spot in my mama heart, and I get impatient for him stand up and run with them. That, or I'm just getting a hump in my back from being bent over all the time. Either way, I hope independent walking is coming soon.