Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just Because....

When Brendan was born, we had this idea that we didn't want to change our lifestyle. Activities such as walking, canoeing, going out for dinners and so on where still important to us. As a result, Siobhan, Brendan and I had many adventures including trips to the Isle of Arran, Loch Lomond and so on. We had a saying to keep us challenged, 'Just Because'.

Now that Tadhg has arrived, we are striving to do the same. On Monday, all six of us went out to the Irving Nature Park down towards Saint John, NB on the Fundy Coast. It is a nature reserve set up to protect an environmentally significant and endangered area.

With Brendan strapped into the backpack carrier on Paddy's back and Tadhg in the Baby Bjorn with me, all six of us hit the trails. The walk itself was icy so we had to take it slow. As you can see the temperature was pleasant and the winds were relatively calm as I'm wearing a ball cap.

By the end of the afternoon, we did 3.2km (about halfway to the point), saw small animals (squirrels and birds) and managed to grab 3 geocaches.

Edit by Siobhan: I can't get my head around this... big, evil corporations doing good things. Seems totally hypocritical and selfish to me. Any effort to protect and conserve natural habitats is obviously a good thing, but when I think about their motivation behind it I just cringe. Is a good deed any less good because the motivation behind it is questionable??
My first thought was to take off that logo so as not to give the Irving corporation any credit, but I'll just throw out that question instead.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big Kids Never Grow Up

With a bit of fresh snow and a need to get out for a stretch, I decided that I'd build Brendan another snow fort since the last one was more or less washed away in the rain earlier last week.

After about 20 minutes, I realized that assistance would be required so I called in a reinforcement, Uncle Paddy. More than happy to assist, both Paddy and I where able to work off some of the Holiday feed coma.

In no time, we had a snow fort constructed which included a entrance with snow statue, a two tier seat, a lounge, an observation post, a maze and the makings of a 3 foot tower.

Towards the end of the project, Brendan came out to inspect his new establishment. At first he didn't seem very interested and just kept on ordering me to pull him in his toboggan "Daddy Faster Daddy". At one point, I told him that we had to go in and all of a sudden, he refused to leave the snow fort. Brendan kept running up to his observation post.

The only silly thing about the whole thing was that I should have looked at the weather forecast. It has melted away yet again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Boxing Day is here which marks then end of this year's Christmas.

It started off with the arrival of Siobhan's brother, Paddy. He flew into Fredericton on Dec 23 where Brendan and I picked him up. Brendan was great until the last 10 minutes when Paddy had to see the Air Canada desk in order to sort out his delayed baggage. Due to the weather, there where delays all over Canada. The next day was relatively quiet. We did some shopping in town, enjoyed a homemade curry and Paddy cooked up an awesome spaghetti and meatball supper.

The big surprise for Siobhan was Caitlin's plan to fly in. Everything was going great. Paddy and I had a cover plan to get out of the house in order to pick her up but that all changed when she missed her Montreal connection to Fredericton due to weather yet again. We had to let Siobhan know what was going on because I had to drive to Saint John on Christmas eve in fog, heavy winds and freezing rain to pick her up. It was all worth it.

On Christmas Day, we all got to watch Brendan run into the living room to see all the presents (which he didn't really understand at first), a homemade tool box with some second hand Home Depot tools and the brand new doll house from Granny & Grand Dad. As for gifts, we spent the better part of the morning unwrapping gifts and watching Brendan. By then end of it, Brendan finally figured out the fun of ripping the paper off. After a slow start, we got out for a quick walk around the sub-division. Apparently I didn't dress Brendan well enough. Oops, my bad. I guess it was pretty cold at +2 degrees.
That afternoon, we all pitched in to make the dinner. By the end of it, we had all eaten too much. Our meal included a small organic chicken with homemade stuffing, roasted potatoes, mashed turnip & sweet potato, brussel sprouts, carrots in white sauce, parsnips coated with maple syrup, bread rolls, homemade cranberry sauce and gravy. Oh ya, forgot about Paddy's tasty salad with fried apples and homemade dressing. Yum-Yum! To finish off, we played a quick round of Hoopla then I crashed.
As for Tadhg, he's doing great. Sleeping, eating and poohing... the life of a baby. We've already been suiting him up in his new Christmas duds.

Boxing day started slowly. After loafing around the house, we had some homemade chicken soup. Caitlin, Siobhan, Brendan and Tadhg went out shopping but nothing was open so they went to Read's magazine and coffee shop. As for Paddy and I, we went for a walk through the UNB Woodlot and did some Geocaching followed by a coffee at Read's. Here's a picture of Paddy in a lean-to we came across in the Woodlot.

Before I forget Siobhan, Brendan, Tadhg and I would like to thank everyone for the great gifts and cards. We'll be in touch soon and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let It Snow - Let It Snow - Let It Snow

Talkin' about crazy or what. We had a big snow storm roll through here a few days back. Here are some pictures. It took me just over 2hrs to shovel out the driveway.

Here's a picture of the snow fort I was building for Brendan. The recent rainfall washed it out. Oh well, I have to wait for the next storm to build him one.

A Gingerbread House Tradition

Today, Siobhan and I had the opportunity to take part in a friend's Christmas tradition which they've been doing for the past 15yrs, their Gingerbread House Tradition.

Steve's wife Liola prepared from scratch the walls, roof, windows and door for 3 ginger bread houses. There were three families and each one received a house neatly stacked just like it was just delivered by Beaver Lumber to build and decorate.

When we showed up, we handed over our contribution of candy and icing sugar where Liola and her sister Pam got to work mixing up the icing mortar. Soon, we were all assembling our respective house. This is only a portion of the candy available for decorating.

Once complete, we had about an hour of down time so that the icing could harden. Steve and Liola served up a realyl yummy spread of finger foods.

With full bellies and icing mortar set as hard as cement, we got to decorating. Jujube, candy sprinkles, jelly beans and licorice... there was more than enough, even for little ones. I don't think Brendan has had that much candy in one go. He seemed to have something new in his hand every time I looked at him. I think Steve's youngest, Rene, was sneaking him a candy here and there.

Overall, the whole experience took 6 hours and was such a pleasure, I think we might steal this excellent Christmas idea for next year. Here's a picture of our finished gingerbread house. Thanks Steve and Liola.

On a closing note, the drive home was awful. We didn't drive any faster than 55kph because of the blowing snow and reduced visibility. I guess Siobhan's brother Paddy will get his white Christmas!

Gaining Weight & Out Like A Light

Good morning;

It is 1:50am and I just woke up after falling asleep with Brendan. The wind is howling outside and the snow is blowing pretty hard from what I can see, the snow drifts are already above the side mirrors of the people carrier. Here is the current weather forecast for Fredericton airport CYFC 220539Z 2206/2218 04020G40KT 1/4SM +SN BLSN VV002 TEMPO 2206/2208 3/4SM -SN BLSN VV006. In a nut shell, it is crazy outside and it wouldn't surprise me if we lost power this morning.

As for Brendan and his sleep routine, it's going very well. Like clockwork, I brush his teeth followed by an inspection of the pearly whites by Siobhan. After a good night kiss and a hug, he usually grabs a book from the living room and runs to his bedroom. Once there, Brendan and I read the book once or twice. I then unplug the big bedroom light. This is when he puts the book beside his bed for the morning. He lies back, I sing a quick song and before you know it, he's asleep. The only problem with this whole bed routine is that I fall fast asleep with him as well.
Here's a quick picture of Brendan out for the count. He was watching the television and when we looked over, he was fast asleep.

And as for Tadhg, he's doing great. Our midwife, Kate, came for her last postnatalvisit. Mom and baby are doing great from her perspective. Believe it or not, Tadhg has already surpassed his birth weight in only 8 days. He weighed in at 10lbs 1oz. It's amazing how things can be so different between Brendan and Tadhg's birth experience.

I'm off to find some candles just in case. Ciao everyone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tadhg's birth story

Edited to add a warning: This story is VERY LONG and DETAILED. Mostly for the benefit of some of friends and family who are into reading this kind of thing. :)

Ok, I'll try to keep it brief. Might be hard as I'm still so excited about it all and when I get started I can't shut up!

Contractions started on Tuesday evening. They weren't too uncomfortable- just definitely stronger than they had been so I was keeping my fingers crossed that it was the real thing. At 9.30pm I decided it would be polite to call and give the midwife a heads up before everyone went to bed. In accordance with Murphy's Law, Melissa had just had a call from her other client (best friend) who was also in early labour. So I called Kate too.

So I slept lightly from about 10pm to midnight, then from midnight to 2am I listened to a hypnosis CD and then the radio before deciding I needed better music. So from 2am to about 4am I sat in front of the computer making playlists for my ipod. I started with chill out type music without words but soon found that each contraction (now much stronger) was easier to cope with if there was a cheesy, boppy pop song on that I could dance to. So a second playlist was made which turned out to be indispensible.

From 4am to 7am I slept between contractions while sitting up in a nest I made on my favourite sofa. It felt good to be doing it on my own and letting Steve and Brendan sleep. Last time Steve was up most of the night with me and I complained and made sure he knew how much it hurt etc. :) This time I was calm and just practiced breathing and coping with each contraction knowing they were going to get much stronger. I think my mindset was just different this time. I wasn't thinking about pain so they weren't really painful. I was thinking about what was happening and that it was a good thing- things were happening!

At 7am I noisily peeked in on Steve so he got up. We had breakfast and then I made a cheesecake (a proper one that you bake) and at 8.30am I tried Melissa to find she was attending the other birth, so I called Kate and told her about the night and that contractions were strong but only 6 minutes apart so maybe it was too early. She said she should come soon and see how things are. We had previously discussed that because I had had a previous C-section I should go to the hospital but that she was happy for me to stay at home until 8cm provided that progress and the baby's heart rate were both good.

Kate arrived at 9.30am, just as Emily also arrived to pick up Brendan- conveniently it was a Wednesday which is Emily's day off so she didn't have to skive off work.
Kate stayed till 11am checking the baby's heartrate and timing some contractions. They weren't getting any more regular so she went into town for a couple of hours and suggested that privacy and nipple stimulation might do the trick. She said that it is possible to go all the way with contractions never more often than 6 minutes apart but it is rare- more normally they would get closer- so I should call when things picked up a bit. I spent the time on the sofa listening to music through headphones with contractions getting stronger but remaining at 6 minutes apart. Kate called at 1pm and came back anyway and did my first internal check. I was worried that nothing was happening so when she said "and I'm touching your baby's head" and you're "a good 5cm" I was over the moon! Over the next two hours they got stronger and we tried the ball for a bit and then standing leaning on Steve. Listening to music and dancing a bit was great. Kate and Steve both put some counter pressure on my back and reminded me to relax all my muscles and breathe steadily. It never once occured to me that I might need something for the pain- I was so excited and happy- the 6 minute spacing continued which left lots of time to relax and enjoy between each one. I kept smiling after each contraction finished. :)

Two hours later at 3.30 Kate checked again and I was at 7 cm!! She said the membranes were intact but bulging so she suggested we go to the hospital because if the membranes suddenly break the last bit can be much quicker. I called the hospital to have the nurse say I was booked in for a C-section so I said uh, no, I am not, thanks... She said oh, sorry, my mistake... So we gathered stuff, got dressed, waited for another contraction to pass then got in the car. Even the contraction in the car wasn't nearly as bad as last time when we went to the hospital in a taxi when I was only three cms!

Kate waited downstairs and followed us up 5 minutes later (remember she was a "secret" midwife and we didn't want the hospital staff knowing she had been supporting us at home because of the current climate surrounding the introduction of midwifery in the province). So we went straight to a room and met our nurse, Carol. She put us on the monitor and I was worrying already that my contractions had eased off since we arrived at the hospital (this was a worry as it was what happened last time). I asked Steve to give her my birth plan and she took it out of the room with her. Kate and Steve played with all the lights to find a dim one and the monitor was annoying me so Steve just turned the volume off and told me to ignore it so I did.
Anyway, Carol came back in and asked a bunch of medical questions and then told me the issues with my birth plan. They recommended an IV just incase for VBACs so I had to refuse. She said they wouldn't get me to sign a refusal for that but I would have to sign one if I didn't agree to the continuous monitoring. I was already successfully ignoring it so I agreed to leave it on but said if it annoys me I'm taking it off. She also said that they don't like allowing a natural third stage and recommended I accept the oxytocin injection right after the birth. I said no thanks again but she brought it up again later.

Anyway, we got on with it for a couple of hours. Dr Adam popped in and said he wasn't sticking around so I was pretty happy about that. The monitor turned out not to be a big deal at all. I continued to listen to music while I leaned on Steve and Kate put counterpressure on my back. I mostly stood up and then tried kneeling over the back of the bed. Suddenly my body started to push and I couldn't breathe properly anymore. Dr Mills arrived around then and I had to really concentrate to look at her face as she introduced herself. So in the room there was now me, Steve, Kate, Carol, Dr Mills and a resident doctor called Dr. Bobby who looked about 16 years old. They were talking about how I sounded like I was pushing so Dr Bobby checked and said I still had a lip of cervix in the way so I should try not to push. Now that is easier said than done!! Whatever my brain said my body was pushing on its own so with Kate's help I tried to breathe through the pushing sensation and try not to help it. I was swearing a bit and told Steve he didn't have a clue how this felt. I was rude to Carol who was trying to tell me about the oxytocin injection and saying if I had excessive bleeding I'd end with IV drugs or something like that so I just said ok, just give it to me, I don't care... She also told me that I couldn't have both the baby on my chest AND leave the cord to stop pulsing- it was one or the other. I told her that was "rubbish" then apologised for being rude. She explained that the doctor would only let the cord stop pulsing if the baby remained at the level of the placenta and wasn't lifted higher. She said if I delivered lying on my side then the baby could be put right up next to me on the bed and we could leave the cord. I had wanted to deliver kneeling but after trying one or two contractions on the loo I lay on my side for Dr. Mills to check again and she said that I could push so I just stayed on my side and started pushing immediately. So suddenly things changed again and pushing felt like such a relief and really good compared to the last half hour or however long transition was. It felt like one long contraction and I was grateful that there was hardly any break between them as I just wanted to get on with it. At some point Kate started to hold a warm compress on my perineum and told me to stop pushing and breathe my baby out. I definitely felt a burning sensation and had Johnny Cash singing "ring of fire" in my head. It was so exciting and I remember them telling Steve he could look and see the baby's head and then Kate said I could reach and feel it and I felt a ridge like shape and said "what's that?" :) So his head was out and I looked down and remember thinking his head looked really small ?!? It seemed like a really short pause and then I was pushing again and he plopped out and was put up next to me. Steve says I basically rolled over on top of him and cuddled him and kept everyone else off him. I was totally over the moon, can't describe it. It wasn't long before the cord stopped pulsing and Steve clamped and cut it, and then I lifted him up onto my chest and a blanket was put over us and a wee hat put on his head. The placenta came out shortly after with a little push and we had a good look at it. Then Dr. Bobby put two stitches in a small tear. Carol's shift was ending so she introduced Bridget(?). Tadhg was beautifully awake and alert and took to the boob really well. Kate helped- it is really strange trying to feed a newborn again after being used to feeding a toddler (Brendan stopped at 16 months) Then all the medical people left and Kate left for a few minutes too and it was just the three of us cuddling and Steve cried and I cried some more and it was just perfect. I was so enthralled by Tadhg but also so happy to have managed the natural birth that had been so important to me. Steve and Kate were full of praise too and I was just floating on a cloud- incredible.

Anyway, Kate came back and asked if we wanted to go home. I said I'd love to but thought they'd say no, but you don't know if you don't ask, so when Bridget came back in I asked, she checked with Dr Mills and said no problem, we just had to see the paediatrician first. 1 hour and 15 minutes after he was born, Steve took Tadhg to get weighed and checked over while I went for a shower. When he told me that he weighed 9lb 12 oz I was surprised- I had been sure he was smaller than Brendan (9lb 4oz)

Kate stayed with us for a while before going home at 9 ish, then Steve left to get the car seat. I just rested and cuddled Tadhg. We saw the paediatrician at 11pm, left straight after and we were curled up in our own bed by midnight. And I can't finish without including Brendan. Emily brought him home at about 7.30 in the morning and he went through to the bedroom to meet his new baby brother. He held him and stroked him and poked him a bit, pointing out and naming body parts but all in all he seemed to like him!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's my birthday!

Today, I turned 37yrs old and it was an awesome day. To start, my wonderful wife Siobhan reminded me that it was my birthday. Between the birth of our second son Tadhg only 6 days ago and trying to satisfy Brendan, our busy 22 month old boy, I pretty much forgot. The day seemed to go by very quickly. A good portion of my work day was taken up by the Squadron's Soldier Appreciation Dinner. This is where the Officers and Senior NCMs have a chance to thank the NCMs for their hard work over the year by serving them an excellent Christmas turkey dinner. After a few presentations, I even got a birthday card and had Happy Birthday sung to me by the Squadron. When I got home, Siobhan was busy making me an awesome Victoria Sponge Cake with butter icing. After blowing out the candles, I got a homemade birthday card which Brendan helped to draw up and a very nice text book on wood working. All I need is about $5000 to buy all the tools and set up my shop.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two boys means twice as busy

Well, Tadhg is now 5 days old and talking about changes on the home front. Not one but two boys essentially doubles the work.

Mum is doing well but tired and Tadhg is just adorable. A few small feeding problems but coming along. Some of Tadhg's characteristics includes not willing to sleep on his back, loves to nestle into the small of your neck, gulps a pint of milk like his Dad gulp's a pint of beer and doesn't seem to fuss that much when he gets wacked.

That's the next interesting change, trying to satisfy a two year old. Brendan's doing pretty good so far. He is playing up a little bit but it is to be expected. One minute he's giving Tadhg a gentle cuddle or pat, next he's trying to dump him out of the baby seat or wacking him with a round house. Right now he's running between Siobhan who's making supper and I with Tadhg curled up in my arms saying "Come On".

I just got back in from doing a brake job on the front of the Jeep in the driveway. The ground was a bit wet but the temperature was a nice balmy 6 degrees.

Today, Brendan and I made bread. Brendan was most helpful throwing flour all over the kitchen while sampling the raw bread dough every few minutes. I had to knead the bread a little faster than usual so maybe that's why it didn't rise very well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Introducing Tadhg

Tadhg Patrick Riff was born last night, 10th December, at 7pm. We had a wonderful birth experience- a perfect day that went just how we had hoped. Our midwife was fantastic and the hospital wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared. We were only in the hospital for three hours before he arrived and got home 4 hours later. We were all tucked up in our own bed by midnight.
Here's a photo or two and tomorrow we'll add a (probably very detailed) birth story.

Monday, December 8, 2008

high bit of the roller coaster

This really is a roller coaster of a ride! Feeling great today. Had an appointment with the doctor- I am sure he has some sort of multiple personality disorder as a I never quite know what to expect. He wasn't "Dr Aggro" today (as a friend of mine calls him) and he actually seemed supportive and took some pressure off. He said that he should really get me to do the paperwork for a C-section on Monday but as he knows that's not what I want then he'll go along with whatever. He skimmed over the risks of waiting longer, and actually admitted they were still tiny anyway, then, get this... he implied that the main reason for agreeing to an elective section on Monday was for convenience:- because if I wait till later in the week and don't have a slot "booked" then I might have to wait in the hospital and fast for hours until they can "squeeze me in". He was suggesting that was reason enough to volunteer for a surgical birth- and this when he knows how important it is to me to avoid it as I've told him multiple times. I can only guess that some people would actually decide for that reason but for the life of me I can't understand why !?!

Anyway, the appointment went well, and today for the first time I've actually felt that labour might be imminent. I was running around this morning doing last minute things: sorting nappies, repacking the hospital bag, making a wipe solution, tidying up the spare bedroom... Steve is working a long shift today as he's flying tonight and won't be back till midnight ish. The house was tidy when he left but Brendan and I have managed to trash the place since then again. I might try to tidy up a bit before we go to bed. But then again I might just write him a loving note and ask him not to notice the mess :)
Here's a photo of the bag I finished today. Well I still plan to add a felt flower or some other decoration to it before giving it someone for christmas. It's made from an old wool jumper bought at a charity shop and felted by hot washing and drying. Also finished a birthday present for Brendan's friend, Mya, and will probably put a photo on here after her birthday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An artist?

Just a quick one to share this. I love watching Brendan experiment with drawing things. The photo above shows his current habit of using the colours one at a time and placing each one that he has used over to his left before putting a lot of thought into choosing another one. He draws a couple of times everyday, usually while waiting for a meal, and today's "new thing" is drawing circles (of sorts).

41 weeks and snow

So when I said I thought the baby would come before the snow I was meaning the permanent snow- the snowfall that is here to stay until Spring! So we can't say if I was right or wrong until we see if this snow melts :)

It's been snowing all day and is really beautiful outside. Brendan has been going on about snowmen for a while now but then seemed particularly uninterested as Steve built a great wee snowman this morning- he much preferred being pulled along in the sled. (Here's a photo of him giving the snowman a shifty look).

Anyway, still hanging in there. Sometimes finding it hard to not to worry about what might happen if the baby decides to stay in the obviously comfy warmth of my belly for much longer. But most of the time I'm still positive and looking forward to a great birth experience.

Going to the cinema this afternoon for a little escapism to take our minds off the waiting game.
Oh, and here's a photo of the belly for a laugh.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

overdue update

So today is 40 weeks + 3 days. I'll get the negative stuff out of the way first...

Had an appointment with the obstetrician yesterday that didn't go very well and left me feeling annoyed and a little pushed around again. Basically he made it obvious that he didn't have the time for me, didn't like the fact that I was asking questions and didn't agree with my decisions, or even support my right to decide I suppose.
He knows we want a medically hands-off approach unless there is a problem but only offers superficial support. My midwife agrees that he most likely just isn't used to dealing with women who want to be informed and question his control.
Anyway, the result is I've put off his interference until next week instead of this week but I'm still annoyed because next Monday is still only 41 weeks and too early to intervene based on my last pregnancy of 42 weeks. He basically ordered me to go to the hospital for checks on Tuesday instead of Thursday as I had asked. So now I desperately want to go into labour myself before he starts poking and prodding and measuring and scanning and stepping up his talk of "straight to delivery by C-section" (which he keeps saying as if to scare me into compliance :) )

Anyway, I'm happy I'm standing up for myself so far but not looking forward to the fight that might ensue should he start getting more pushy. In case anyone doesn't understand where I'm coming from or my determination to do this the natural way I can assure you that at the first sign of a problem I'll be up to the hospital in a flash- it's just the looking for problems much earlier than is healthy and jumping to medical interventions unnecessarily that gets my goat.

Other than that, we're keeping busy and getting on with preparing for christmas. Cutting back on TV watching is going well- the TVs both have a "special blanket" covering them that we make a big deal out of and seems to help. The only thing we've watched in the last few days is the Snowman which Brendan just loves. Still making a few presents that I can't show on here- managing a little bit of crafting on most days. Steve has flown three times in the last couple of days and has put a load of things we don't use up for sale on the local selling website- extra money to pay for the work that needs done on the jeep! He's been fantastic and met us at lunchtime twice to look after Brendan while I had a massage and saw a naturopathic doctor. He really is the most supportive and wonderful husband anyone could wish for.

Just adding a picture taken from our back deck on the gorgeous day we had a couple of days ago. Just waiting for the snow now. Baby first or snow first? I'm betting baby... watch this space!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December has arrived

The last week has gone by really quickly. Today was our due date but I've always been betting on the 6th or around there- so this weekend hopefully.

We've been getting into the christmas spirit. Steve and I had our annual debate about when christmas decorating should begin and I caved in early this year. I reasoned that at least a week will be written off with having a baby and a short babymoon so it's really more like December the 8th today. Even so that's still too early for a tree for me but, well, we've been to a couple of christmas craft markets and Steve is like a little boy when it comes to getting ready for Christmas! So our tree is up, the lights are up and I've done another tree of sorts made of birch branches from the back garden.

We went to a community christmas fair on Saturday with some friends. We saw a couple of people we know performing on stage, ate chili and various sweet things, Brendan saw Santa and played with lots of other kids and we bought a handmade woollen baby blanket to support a local artisan (I couldn't resist the colours!)

On Sunday we went to "Christmas in the village" at Gagetown Village- a small village on the Saint John River where lots of artists and artisans live and work. All the studios, galleries, shops, churches and some people's houses were open to the public. It was alright but as always it was all about shopping and spending money. The other things like wagon rides and a puppet show were on Saturday only so we missed them.

Talking of shopping, it is crazy in town already. I don't know how the shops sell so much "stuff" in such a small city. And plastic, plastic, everywhere... Mind you, I remember the first bin day after Christmas last year- all that packaging blowing about in the wind. We like the idea of working towards a greener christmas every year. This year our efforts are mainly around making presents- and not wrapping them in paper. Steve is making a few wooden things and I'm still going with the sewing machine.
Just took this photo of Steve in the garage. He's making a tool box for Brendan to hold the toy tools I picked up in a charity shop the other day. It will be one of his main christmas presents- we'll see the finished product later :)

Anyway, time to get the wee man to bed. We'll keep you posted on the baby front.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finished my first blanket!

A photo of this in daylight would have been much better but I'm really excited about it and couldn't wait! Here is the blanket I have just finished making for the baby. The front patchwork includes a couple of fabrics with memories attached for me. I followed a tutorial on someone's blog and it only took a couple of days.
I really enjoyed it but the downside is that I relied on the TV to keep Brendan occupied far more than I would normally like! I never intended for him to watch TV much but it's such an easy habit to slip into. We've decided to limit it before he turns into a telly addict. The other day we made a big deal of covering the TV with a blanket for a "no TV day". It seemed to work for a few hours :) And anyway, as we don't actually have TV channels and rely on a small number of DVDs we are all getting a little bored with the repetition!

Oh and here's a picture of Brendan helping with some baking. Our brownies were a disaster- Steve and I chewed on a couple but had to bin the rest. I know what I did wrong though so will try again soon.
So we are in the 40th week of pregnancy. The midwife came today and we had a great chat. All I have to do now is pack a bag and then keep busy making more things and doing stuff with Brendan. Steve's cold is getting better and we are all ready for launch day. Come on baby!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Polar Bear Splash!

Three of us in the first heavy snowfall(22nd November). Quite deep so it might be here to stay.

The weekend has arrived and it started off pretty good. I was released from work a day early so I actually got back to Fredericton on Friday night. Siobhan and Brendan were at Caroline's house. Due to the fact that Siobhan couldn't find her keys and so was staying the night, I decided to surprise her and stop in for the night too. I had a bad sleep but had the joy of waking up to a little busy body in the kitchen. Amandine, who is 5 years old, had decided to make us breakfast in bed. She got all the bowls, plates and cutlery out and served up a wonderful yogurt and apple sauce mix with apple juice to wash it down. I was appointed as the butler who had to carry it upstairs at 7:00am. After that, once we got going, I got to take care of some chores. I fixed the dishwasher and got to feed the chickens, open up their run for the day and even pulled out 5 eggs. I want some chickens!

As for Sunday, this is the chilly part. Just before I left for Quebec, we got a lot of rain and I didn't have a chance to sort out the pool. As a result, I had to go and drain off some water but there was about 6 inches of ice. I pulled out the axe and started working it out. Once I cut through to the water and set up a drain line, I started chopping around the ladder but suddenly the ice gave way and I plunged in. At least I can say I got in my polar bear dip for the season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not a bad week really

Often when Steve is away Brendan and I get a bit fed up with each other and my tiredness by the end of the week. Not so, this week. We've been very busy with all sorts if things and I'm all excited about the baby coming. Due date is a week on Monday so I really should think about packing a hospital bag. I've got as far as washing the baby's first clothes and nappies and laying an open bag on the spare bed, ready to be filled with stuff.
Anyway, this week... Brendan's cold is dragging on but that didn't stop him enjoying the first snowfall of the year on Wednesday. It wasn't a lot but he got very excited and immediately started asking for a snowman.
On Thursday we had a few friends round to do some painting on canvas bags as Christmas presents for grandparents. Here are some of the creations drying. We painted, had lunch and then had a short circle time and did 5 little speckled frogs using the recently finished felt pieces. They all loved taking their turn to come to the board and move the pieces!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Murphy's Law

Brendan is never ill. Until Steve is away and I am heavily pregnant and very tired and finding it painful to move around and carry him! :) I'm not complaining really, I actually like all the extra cuddles and wonder why I'm not this gentle and loving with him all the time! Last night he vomited three times before bed and then tossed and turned all night, one minute I had his feet in my face and the next he was climbing over me and trying to curl up across my neck like a ferret. At one point he rolled over and yelled "noddy bop" at the top of his voice (his favourite song, lollipop) completely asleep- I laughed for ages.

Bundled up on the sofa with runny nose.
He seemed a bit better this morning so we went to toddler story time at the library, then did some shopping for craft supplies for our Thursday morning get together with all the girls to make christmas presents.

Appointment with the doctor was non eventful yesterday. I don't see the point really. It just seems silly that obstetricians spend so much time dealing with women who have no problems and doing things that a midwife would be much better at. In case anyone is wondering, here in New Brunswick midwifery has only just been accepted and legislated for but it will be another year at least before any regulations are in place and midwives can practice in the hospital. So at the moment they are neither legal nor illegal and so can offer home births only. But that isn't possible for me as my midwife is going by the Ontario regulations which state that a first birth after a Caesarian should take place in hospital. Nevermind. Fingers crossed for a good birth experience that lets me have a homebirth next time- if there is a next time :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rainy weather

When Brendan and I got up at about 9ish I knew that today was not a day for going outside. Even with wet weather gear on we would have been soaked through. What can you do on such horrible days? So when a friend called to ask if we wanted to go bowling we had our answer.
In retrospect, bowling when 9 months pregnant is perhaps not such a great idea, apart from being guaranteed a rubbish score (I do normally play better, honest:) ), I've been very stiff and sore for the rest of the day.

We are really enjoying our afternoon naps together at the moment- long may they continue! When we got up I made Brendan a set of felt shapes to tell the story of Ruby and the Hippo. I picked up the book at a secondhand shop and didn't really like it at first but it is one of his favourites so that's fine. We've just been playing with it before bed- he was already acting out the story but I was amazed at how he moved the pieces about himself. Smartypants!Going to do five little speckled frogs this week sometime I think.

One last thing... here is a picture of a few of the plain newborn baby items I livened up a bit. They are alright but were a bit rushed so I'm hoping to do some better ones this week.