A Winter-Ready Entry

This is our fourth winter here, in Edmonton. And this year is the latest winter has ever arrived for us. It (read: the snow) came on Monday, the 23rd of November! We have been spoiled. But it’s here now, so the back entry is once again my least favourite corner of the house.

We have a detached garage which means jackets and boots must be worn every time we leave the house, even if we won’t be leaving the vehicle. Then when we return, the boots come tromping back inside leaving behind muddy puddles of melted snow mixed with road gravel. The gloves and hats get discarded where it’s convenient. The jackets maybe get handed to me to get hung up. The result is a very messy and cluttered entry way. Especially when you’ve only got about 8 square feet, a closet and three doorways coming off of it.


these photos were all taken on panorama, hence the wonkyness

IMG_2711It’s a big ol’ mess which doesn’t make it any easier to get out the door. One thing I am thankful for in this space are the few steps up into the kitchen. The boys can sit there in one spot while I get their boots and gloves and everything on.

So this afternoon I took 15 minutes and cleaned it up. Hopefully in a way that encourages keeping it tidy. The boys’ boots and gloves and hats in a place where they can easily reach to put them away. All out of season items on the top shelf or in a different closet. IMG_2714 And a little side-by-side, because who doesn’t like a good “before and after”?Image-1Side note: is there a chunk of the population who secretly hates scarves? I feel like everybody and their cat loves scarves, but I can’t stand them, and I can’t be the only one, right? One of those baskets on the top shelf is full of pretty scarves I never wear. They are stuffy and scratchy and make me sweaty. Hats are the same story. How on earth do people like them so much?!

If this were our forever home, I think I would do a little renovation back here. Because of the steps up into the kitchen, the ceiling is at least 10 feet tall, meaning there is a ton of unused space hiding in the top of this closet. I would open the whole thing up (take out the side lips where the door would go, and the wall above where the door would go), and build shelving all the way up to store out of season things and stuff. I just think this space could be used a little more wisely.

Rearranging the House

A handful of months ago, Tim was able to turn a hobby of his into a paying job. In short, he collects stats and writes articles for professional eSports, for the game League of Legends. Because of this, we have been able to stop being landlords and have reign over our entire house! This has had a domino effect on a number of rooms in our house.

First of all, our main motivation, the living space of the suite has become our playroom!


pictured here, in its natural state

With three kids now, it is a huge blessing to be able to have this space, especially through the winter. And I am very happy that it was painted two summers ago. It’s a dark basement, but the light colours really help.

We have also gained a bedroom! The suite bedroom is almost 3 times the size of our old guest room, so we moved the guest room down there. Because of the space, we were able to upgrade the bed from a double to a queen. You’re welcome, guests!
IMG_2697 The bedroom even provided space for a piano! Our friends who are moving were looking to get rid of theirs, so voila! I have pulled out some of my old music and played a tiny bit. I just have to say that muscle memory is an amazing thing. I haven’t had a piano in 7.5 years, and most of the music just comes right back. My fingers just know where to go.IMG_2699 The next domino is the boys’ sleeping arrangements. Since the double bed was no longer a guest bed, I decided to tear down Victor’s crib and switch it, along with Calvin’s toddler bed, with the double mattress for them to share. It has been working okay. I mean, isn’t this the cutest?IMG_2484 IMG_2539It was actually the most helpful for a couple days after the time change. They woke up at 5:30, but I crawled into their bed and they lay back down and slept for another hour with me! The cuddles possible in a big, shared bed are wonderful.

But it has actually proven to be kind of a bad idea. It has almost wrecked nap time. We have had to now have Calvin nap in our bed because they would just not fall asleep when they are together, and they both still need naps. And we’ve had to experiment with bedtime too, in order to get them settled and relaxed enough. So, my idea turned out not to be as brilliant as I thought. We are now trying to decide if we should get them bunk beds (will the physical separation help with the distractions?), or put Calvin in the old guest room, and get each boy a new twin sized bed? Unfortunately, if we decide the latter, we can’t do it right away because it currently looks like this:IMG_2696 It contains the contents of our linen closet and entry closet because I am painting. And painting takes me a long time. Another factor in the decision is this guy:IMG_2654When he gets kicked out of our room, should he have his own space (if the boys continue to share a room), or should he share with Victor (if Calvin moves out)?

But the main question out of all of this is do we buy two single beds or a bunk bed?

I apologize for all the awful iPhone photos taken of dark rooms. 

Calvin Quips

It’s been quiet around here the past few months, but I have a few posts brewing in my mind. While I gather thoughts for those, here are some little things Calvin has said over the past year or so (some are obviously from a younger Calvin). He doesn’t often have witty remarks or clever observations, but sometimes he sure does make us laugh!IMG_2685-0

C “Let’s play go fish!”
Me “We just played go fish and you didn’t play it very well. You need to learn it better.”
C – takes cards in his hands a looks at them “learn learn learn. I learn-Ed now, mommy!”

Me “victor, say thank you to Calvin”
Victor signs thank you.
Me “Calvin, say you’re welcome”
C “I welcome, victor!”

“That not sense!” (That doesn’t make sense!)
“What you got for?” (What did you forget?)

“I am so hot. I need a book to warm me up!”
One of the things that make you think about how he thinks. Warm is cooler than hot, but “warm up” is the term he knows with warm. I had been cooling myself down by flapping a book in my face.

Playing with my hair.
“Hum hum hum. I’m just tangling your hair. Hum hum hum!”

C “Jesus put mud on his eyes!”
Me “Wow! So he could see?”
C “Yeah! Jesus help him. And Jesus help me!”
Me “What does Jesus help you with?”
C “He put mud on my eyes.”
Me “Why does he put mud on your eyes?”
C “Because, to make me look nice!”

C “Please feed Victor”
Me “I already did feed him”
C “Can I feed Victor?”
Me “How would you feed him?”
C “With my armpits!”

“Topart” is the opposite of together

Driving through Saskatchewan:
“I saw a tree!”

Talking with Aunty Michelle about chickens laying eggs.
C “If there are 5 chickens, they lay 5 eggs! If there are 5 dogs, they lay 5 eggs!”
M “Dogs don’t lay eggs!”
C “Dogs lay poop!”

“These are the rules” as he counts off on his fingers. “Don’t eat toilet paper, don’t eat poop, don’t eat pee. Those as the rules. And don’t eat kids.”

[fridge makes quick knocking sounds]
“What’s that mommy?”
“The fridge”
“I don’t see it”
“See what?”
“The freeze bubbler”

Sits on toilet.
“Pee delivery!”

“I love you mommy”
“I love you too! Do you love me as much as I love you?”
“Yeah! And daddy. And Amber.” (Grandpa’s dog)IMG_2686


I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot lately. My friendships of the past, present and future. And I am attempting to get my thoughts down to create some sort of order to them. So here begins my rambling.

A few months ago I was thinking about the term “best friend”. Whenever I think of who mine are, I immediately think of my best friends of my youth. But I really can’t say that they are my best friends anymore. When did that happen? And who are my best friends now? My biggest insecurity is in my relationships with my friends, not feeling like they are as close to me as I want to be with them, or that we don’t have enough in common. Going through my history of friendships, I can see where that comes from.

My early friendships were with church friends, one in particular with whom our friendship ran in our blood, since our moms were friends in highschool. She became my best friend #1.

Best Friend #1

Best Friend #1


In early elementary school, I went to a school that was not in my neighbourhood, but in grade 6 I changed schools to one close by. I knew only one girl in the entire school, besides my sister, and she was friends with the cool girls, so naturally I hung out with them. But they didn’t like me. So I went through that year with no good friend. Then in grade 7, a new girl started coming and I befriended her. She became my best friend #2.

Best Friend #2

Best Friend #2


High school was pretty great, contrary to many people’s experiences. I was going to highschool with a bunch of my church friends (with the exception of the private school kids who were too cool for us; but we smartened up in grade 10 and became a big, happy bunch). In grade 11, another new girl came along. She became best friend #3.

Best Friend #3

Best Friend #3


After graduation, all my friends went to school. I did not. They all started making new university friends and having shared university experiences, and I was feeling left out, even though nobody was leaving me out on purpose. I was able to support best friend #3 through a cancer diagnosis and treatment which made me feel solid in our friendship, but I felt distanced from the other two.

Why curly-heads should not have bangs.

Why curly-heads should not have bangs.

IMG_2472 IMG_2465

With my move to Victoria when I was 21 came a refresh. This was my first ever move, and it felt daunting to make new friends. Looking back, this is when I started making new best friends, but never gave them that label. I guess in my mind that title was sacred, so my new good friends became Friends. The room mate of the girl I subletted from during my first summer in Victoria became Friend #4. But she is the kind of person who is friendly with a lot of people, so I questioned how much of a Friend she was, until she told me she wanted to live with me in my one-bedroom place.

Friend #4

Friend #4

#1 through #4 plus my sister (Rosie, sister-friends trump peer-friends, and I am glad to have you in my life :) )

#1 through #4 plus my sister (Rosie, sister-friends trump peer-friends, and I am glad to have you in my life :) )

The rest of my Victoria friends were all from the church I was attending. A bunch of them were childhood friends, and the remaining were university students, so again, I felt a little left out of some things, but it was okay since I never had a relationship with them before. At some point, I was invited to an exclusive Saturday morning breakfast club (that soon after turned into an open invitation thing) by one girl who eventually became Friend #5.

Friend #5

Friend #5

Friend #4 moved away and I became closer to Friend #5, only to be swept off to Alberta. In Alberta, once I found a church, I defaulted to being friends with the other moms, since I now had a child of my own. It’s hard to be the new person, when everybody else already has existing relationships. Adding to that, most other people have their own family in town and we don’t, so we have lots of free time where other people have family events and activities. But after we had been here for about a year, a new face showed up and joined our new small group. She became my Friend #6, and the rest of the small group were our better friends too.

Our small group, including Friend #6

Our small group, including Friend #6

That brings us to present day, when our small group has disbanded. One couple started getting more involved in a new church, another couple is moving out of province on Friday, and the last couple is moving out of town at the end of the year. I am losing my friends, and I am sad about that, which is why I have started thinking about all this so much.

I am thinking about my insecurities again. They manifest in a few ways: I hate being late for things (what if I miss something?), I don’t like it when people are late for my things (do they even care?), and I over share (I just want to be understood!), as demonstrated with this post. :)

Am I going to find another Friend here? Should I bother trying since we don’t want to be here for ever? I could try and convince myself that I don’t need a Friend, that the general community I have through our church is enough, but I don’t think that’s true. When we do eventually move back to BC, will I have my old friends back, or will I make new friends? How will I make new friends? There is something to be said for having a Friend that you share a history with. You just know everything, and that is a wonderful gift.

That’s another thing. It’s hard for me to make friends. I’m not outgoing. I’m better at communicating with my two thumbs than with my two lips. So thankful for emojis! feel like I am too different from most people to be good friends with them. But maybe that is what makes me a good friend.

So when did my best friends stop being my best friends? I think when I got new best friends. And who are my new best friends? I would classify them as the two people I text with on an almost daily basis. Yes, I define my levels of friendship on how much I text with them.

I don’t think I really accomplished anything with this post. I probably don’t really need to publish it, but I will anyway. I love all my friends of my past – the ones who can tell a crazy story about me for half a dozen years and not tell me it was made up until my wedding day, and present – the ones who will volunteer to watch my boys after a bad day, and am excited about the ones of my future.

The Allergy

Victor is allergic to peanuts.


I have suspected it for quite some time. When he first started eating peanut butter, he would get red around his mouth and on his hands where he touched it. I didn’t worry about it too much, as per my nature. It wasn’t affecting his breathing or anything. But when it escalated into a reaction with hives, I thought it might be a bit more serious. Friends and family with experience told me that peanut allergy reactions can worsen and worsen over time, so I stopped feeding him peanut stuff until I could get a test done. Well, me being me, I didn’t want to make an appointment just for that, so I waited a few months until his 18 month check up to get a referral to an allergist. And of course it was months after that before I could actually get in.

 Well, today was that day. He had the dots of stuff put on his back and sure enough, he got red around the peanut one. It doesn’t seem like too serious of an allergy. The doctor said the rest of us can still eat peanut butter and stuff. So that’s good. And we got an epi pen prescription. That seems serious. I mean, it’s a tool used for saving lives! And I have to carry this around with me? 

This evening Tim had the brilliant idea to celebrate the news with a peanut-shaped cake. Because any excuse for a cake, right? And if you can’t eat peanuts, you may as well eat something that looks (kind of) like a peanut! And of course I slathered it with Nutella frosting because other nuts are fair game!

 I have weird feelings about this diagnosis. If you know me well, you know I do what I can to stay away from pop culture. I have neither read nor seen any Harry Potter. I do not know any One Direction songs. And I was hoping to stay clear of one of the most “popular” allergies. I know this is an awful way to look at it, since it really truly affects people’s lives and can result in death for a lot of people, and I know I will get over it. After all, I did eventually give in and go see movies at the big theater that opened up in our neighbourhood when I was in high school that everybody was going to all the time…two years after the fact. But right now I just feel like another mom of a kid with a peanut allergy. 

A little side note: the doctor said that continuing giving him peanuts after first noticing a reaction was the best thing I could have done, but that Victor just didn’t read the manual and decided to be allergic anyway. :) I’ll probably introduce Patrick as early and as often as I can.

Victor also had a reaction to cats during the tests. That’s a little sad since I like cats and would have loved to have one some day. But oh well.

Two Weeks

2 weeks 1It has been two weeks since Patrick’s arrival into our lives. Already two weeks since heading to the hospital not sure if we would be staying or not. It was another short stay, leaving mid-afternoon the day after he was born. It was fun to have the older boys come and meet Patrick, although they were more interested in sharing my breakfast with me than getting to know their new little brother. 2 weeks 2

We’ve had a great time with both sets of our parents visiting for a handful of days each. I’d say one of the only positives of living away from family is that when they come to visit, they are devoted entirely to you. They cook, clean, do yard work, fix things, take the older boys away to do things. It is really quite special, and I am so thankful for it. My sister-in-law, who lives within walking distance from both sets of her parents, said she was trying to think of how different it would be with in-home help and someone to cook; I know no different! I think we need to finish having our children here, before moving back closer to family. :)2 weeks 3

It has been fun watching Calvin and Victor with Patrick. They are, for the most part, so gentle with him. I’m excited to see their relationships grow as the years go by. I can’t say that the older boys have been perfect through this transition though. Calvin has been giving us lots more attitude, which I think Victor picks up on and copies to a degree. Victor has also been getting some eye teeth in, so he’s not always happy. And you can also throw in the coming-off-the-grandparents-visiting-high. I’ve had a handful of bad moments when I wish it was easier to communicate with toddlers and preschoolers and that discipline actually works and works instantly. But I know that these transitional times will be gone before I know it.2 weeks 4

Patrick himself is a trooper. It’s amazing what an infant can sleep through! He’s actually quite a sleepy baby. He slept through his hospital bath. He slept for about 8 hours on his first Sunday morning, without me being able to even rouse him to eat. And he sleeps fairly well at night, and can go 5 hours in his first stretch, and last night he even did 6 hours! This is a nice change from his brothers who weren’t so great. I think it’s because he’s a big baby. Slower metabolism. Lots of chub. He’s able to hibernate. However, he has difficulty with nursing sometimes. If he is tired, it can take upwards of 10 minutes to get a good latch. But he doesn’t get frustrated, and he knows when he has a bad latch, so he just comes off and tries again until we get it. And he nurses well once he gets going. It will come naturally to him soon. For a while I was thinking that there may have been something physically wrong with him, since I had no troubles nursing the other two, and I should know better, but he doesn’t know better, and he has to figure it out. 2 weeks 5

Currently we are in the midst of being blessed by our church community. For every baby born, they set up a meal train and we have meals delivered for a week! I highly recommend this for any community – church or otherwise. It is such a blessing to a family with a newborn, or any other life event like a move or family illness, to have a plan for people to bring meals. When our week is up, my sister will come for the following week, and then we are all heading off to BC together. Yet another blessing for us in this time; my sister will be there to help us on our first road trip with three kids! Can’t wait!

Patrick’s Birth

Birth Story 2Patrick John
August 7, 2015 – 11:10PM
9lbs4oz – 21″

Our baby’s due date was August 3/4. For some reason I truly thought I would be early this time, but it wasn’t to be. On August 4th, I didn’t have another OB appointment booked until the 7th, but I wanted to see if she could get things going with a sweep like she did last time. I called to see if they happened to have a cancellation that day, and they did! I got my sweep, and although it made me lose a bunch of mucous over the next few days, it didn’t do much. I was only about 2cm dilated and my cervix was still fairly long and hard.

On Thursday, the 6th, I began to feel very minor cramping at really random times during the day. So minor I didn’t even mention it to anybody until the end of the day. On Friday, the 7th, those cramps became a bit stronger in the afternoon, but still very manageable; easy to ignore. I mentioned at supper time to Tim and my mom that I was feeling stuff. After supper we were watching a movie and I got up off the couch to get popcorn around 7:00pm. I felt a little something gush from me so I went to the bathroom and passed a blood clot. That didn’t seem quite normal to me so I called labour and delivery and they had me come in to be checked.

We got there around 7:30 and I was hooked up to the monitors. Baby was doing well but I was still bleeding a tiny bit. The OB checked me and found me to be about 3-4cm. She decided it would be best to induce me, just out of precaution. They didn’t really know what could be wrong, if anything, but I was feeling up for having a baby that night, so I agreed!

I was hooked up to the oxytocin at 9:00pm, on the very lowest setting. I was continuing to get my manageable cramps regularly. At 9:30 the OB broke my water and the first cramp after that was noticeably no longer just a cramp. I was having real contractions! They probably could have done just that, without putting me on the drip! According to my history, I have short labours and the breaking of my water is followed fairly quickly by delivery. So I was pretty much expecting to have a Friday baby yet.

The contractions started to become stronger and I changed positions. I had been on my hands and knees with Tim applying pressure to my back during contractions since that’s where I was feeling all my pain. But at some point I flipped onto my back and I started to feel the pain in the front. Soon after, I asked for the gas. I don’t know how much it actually helps for the pain or just gives me something to focus on, but for me the gas is pretty helpful. The OB came in probably just before 11 to check to see where I was at since she had a c-section getting ready to go. I was only 7cm, so off she went. With my very next contraction I started to feel more pressure, and after the next contraction after that, the nurse checked me again and I was 8cm! One more contraction brought me to 9cm and I was really wanting to push! I heard the OB ask to hold off on the spinal for the section, but upon hearing that it was already in, I think I heard her utter a small curse word. Apparently there were 4 births happening all at once! I was very ready to push this baby out of me, and thought the resident was the one there, telling me when to push and when to stop, but later Tim told me that the OB was actually there. Just in and out super quick. I heard voices telling me to push, big one, small ones, then I heard “we have a shoulder!”. Apparently the shoulder got stuck. And apparently my nurse jumped on me to help it out. I had no clue until she apologized after the fact. Birth is the one and only time you can be jumped on by a person and not even realize it.Birth Story 1

He surprised us all by being 9lb4oz. His brothers were 7lb3oz and 7lb10oz, so I was not expecting that! Because of his size, he got his shoulder a little stuck and caused some second degree tearing.

Looking back at all my labours, I can say that I felt the most aware and alert between contractions during this one. I think I talked and maybe even laughed at little jokes. I don’t remember anything between contractions of my other births. I did realize, though, that I keep my eyes shut during the entire thing. Too much effort to keep them open! Smiling, yes. Opening my eyes, no.

It’s a little alarming, thinking about a 4th birth. I now have three pieces of data to form a pattern of my labours, and it is this: first was 6 hours, second was 4, third was 2. Fourth is…0?!?Birth Story 3

Patrick is just a name we liked that happened to follow a little “hard C” pattern of the other boys’ names. John is Tim’s dad’s middle name (Calvin’s middle name is William – shared with Tim; Victor’s middle name is James – shared with my dad).

If you are curious about my other births, find them here:
Calvin’s Birth Story
Victor’s Birth Story