Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chatham, Birthday, Christmas, etc.

So we're into the thick of the Christmas Holidays and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. I cannot remember the last time that Christmas Holidays actually truly meant holidays. Prior to the kids being in school there was no need to focus on such things. For the first few years we were married Rob did have from Christmas to New Years off ... so I suppose I do remember the last time we actually truly had holidays, it was when Marietta was about six months old and we went for a snowmobiling trip up north. After that farm life did not allow for such holidays and school life allowed for it even less as Rob worked whenever possible to make as many pennies as possible. With Rob relaxing this time around and not working (except the occasional day) it's rather nice to actually have the type of holidays where you don't feel like there's a 100 things hanging over your shoulders needing to be done and you just relax ... I even got to sleep in until 9:30 this morning without feeling guilty!!

As soon as school was over on Friday we hopped in the van and off we head to Chatham. An extremely overdue trip, and what an enjoyable trip it was. It was a busy several days as we moved from one place to the next catching up with old friends, but it was also relazing. The kids have many memories of our time in Chatham and although young it's amazing how many things are "familiar" to them. It was not until we were on our way home last night that it once again hit more deeply as to the reason why this trip had been more enjoyable. I did realize throughout the trip that things were easier because the kids are older now and we did not have James and all his equipment to take with us, we did not have to try figure out how to fit his schedule into our schedule, someone was not constantly chasing after him with his feeding pump, etc. This reality is always with us, but when we sit back quietly and really start to think about it, it all comes back and hits us again.

But this is not meant to be a sad post, for we had a lovely time. I always enjoyed these trips, even the hectic ones. Sometimes it's easier not to go, because then we slowly set into our lives here and don't miss our old life as much. But whatever the case, this is our life now and we are enjoying it as much as we enjoyed farm life. As the girls rekindled old friendships, Matthew made new friends. Here he shares a blanket with Keegan, who is a month older then him. And the girls enjoy some late night colouring time. Somehow kids always realize as it gets later it's better to be a bit quieter or mom and dad are going to want to leave sooner.

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday ... just like old times ... where we stayed at church between services for lunch. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this custom, this stems from the fact that we lived 45 minutes from church and so it was easier and much more relaxing for those who lived further away to pack a lunch and stay). We had a nice sizes group and this gave us more opportunity to catch up with those who we don't always have a chance to visit with. It felt like we had never left.

Monday afternoon/evening brought us to the end of our time in Chatham and we headed to family to spend the night there. On our way we made a stop at the cemetery where Justin was buried. We had already planned to make a stop here during our trip, but surprisingly it was the girls who asked to stop before we even made mention of it. Even more surprising was the fact that Rebecca (who was 2.5 years when we moved) was able to tell us how to get to the cemetery.

Tuesday brought us to London where we had a family get-together with Rob's side of the family. Once again we had an enjoyable time of fellowship with family that we have not seen much of in the past year. During the afternoon we all went skating together. It's neat to see how the girls are starting to get the hang of it now that they've had an opportunity to go skating a few times in the past couple weeks. We hope to keep up this habit this winter and maybe by the end of the winter they'll actually be good enough to get some more enjoyment out of it (although they seem to enjoy it plenty even though it's still quite challenging).

We arrived home last night to find 30 snowmen on our front porch. Someone apparently had too much time on their hands and couldn't think of anything better to do with it, for I'm sure these snowmen took some time to put together, each with their hats on, eyes, mouth and nose individually added. I hope these little elves enjoyed themselves in the process of alerting everyone to my birthday!! :) So as much as I tried not to say a whole lot, it appears my 30th birthday did not go unnoticed. Also in Chatham I received birthday wishes wherever we went ... and although I tried to get away with the tradition of singing during Sunday lunch, I just didn't make the cut, for someone suddenly remembered about 5 minutes before church started. We spent a couple of our nights staying at Opa and Oma K. and she was even so kind as to make a birthday cake. Since the girls were already in bed by cake time on Sunday, we decided to wait until Monday morning so they could also enjoy cake ... and yes, one more opportunity to sing Happy Birthday. We had actually already celebrated at home on Thursday night, since we knew we were going to be gone for the weekend. The girls had great fun picking out my birthday cake ... oh, and the perfect candles to go on it!! So all in all it was a rather drawn out birthday affair.

And that brings us to today ... where we slept in, unpacked and just relaxed. The girls loved eating by candlelight the last time we did it (here), so I told them they could set the table for a fancier dinner and they went right to it ... amazingly without any fighting. And for the next few days the girls and I will spend some quiet time at home catching up on some sleep before another busy few days hits us, while Rob works, and Matthew tries to recuperate for a very nasty cold that is making it difficult for him to eat. He's been sleeping better then we expected, given how congested he is. He's has also vomitted a few times, several in relation to coughing, but tonight just out of the blue. So hopefully he gets over this quickly.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Surprise Santa

Last night around 9pm there was a knock on our door. I arrived at the door to find a man wearing a Santa hat and telling me he had presents for our girls. I feel a bit sheepish when I say that I'm not really 100% where the man came from, where the presents came for, or how it's all connected. I asked him twice and when I still didn't totally catch it all I decided I'd just let it be and probably find something in the bags telling me more. The man said they had presents for the girls from the Christmas Wish Program, but I'm also quite sure he told me he was from a radio station, but I didn't recognize that name. I didn't find anything in the bags and the internet supplied me with an overabudance of sites when it came to Christmas Wish Programs. I did end up findinga radio station in Toronto that does a Christmas Wish Program but I can't be sure that this is where it came from, so now I 'm just have left guessing. It would appear that people call in to tell of a situation where they feel such gifts would be warrants. The man said he gets all the calls and then screens them to determine in the end where the gifts go. Gifts are collected at various locations in malls, stores, etc. The person who called in on our behalf would like to remain anonymous, so we have no idea where this stemmed from ... but the girls (and we) say thank-you to whoever it was.

Since we already had Santa a couple weeks ago and will be busy over the next few days we decided to just give the gifts to the girls right away. So this morning the girls each woke up to find a big huge stuffed "teddy" (a polar bear for Rebecca and a snowman for Marietta) in their bed. Actually Rebecca tells us she rolled over in the middle of the night and it scared her. She must have fallen back to asleep rather quickly for we heard nothing about it at the time. After exclaiming over the teddy's they found in their beds they stumbled into the dining room to find even more things.

The received a lot of things, here are a few of them:

scarfts, mitts, and ear warmers.


charm braclets


Princess Lucianna of Barbie the Island Princess, along with matching dresses for the girls to wear


Horses and cart for their Princess Lucianna Barbies


Needless to say the girls were busy playing with their new things after school

Added at a later date: We found out some time later that the gifts came through the Christmas Tree of Hope Charity which is done by the local radio stations CHML AM 900 and Y108

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

James' Story

On Saturday as most of you know I wrote the final blog entry for James' Story. I spent the morning loading the pictures in and getting very frustrated because Blogger is so annoying when it comes to pictures, and on top of that it was so sllllllooooooowwwwwwww!!! Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper, and finally just gave up, hit Publish and walked away. So hence the reason it ended rather upbruptly. If my basic DSL was having trouble loading the site I can only imagine how it was for dial-up users and this also frustrated me. Never mind the fact that the whole thing just didn't come together as I had thought or imagined. So needless to say I wasn't all that happy with the situation.

Well ... yesterday I had to send some pictures via e-mail and came to realize that the program I was using to downsize my pictures was not working properly ... and so my pictures were not being downsized. A big huge lightbulb went on in my small head!! This explained my troubles on Saturday ... and sure enough, I had thought all my pictures were downsized, when indeed they were still huge files. So back I went to my dear blog and reloaded all the pictures in a smaller size. I won't comment on the fact that this time blogger decided that anywhere I put an extra enter (to leave a blank line) it decided to take them out ... and so we have lovely periods throughout the entire blog ... can never win with this program. My basic DSL is no longer having trouble loading the blog and I hope that dial-up users will now have a bit better luck as well ... it's still a lot of pictures, but hopefully it will work now.

I figure the majority of the readers of James' Story are now reading this and so I'd just post a note, especially for those of dial-up to apologize and hopefully you can all read it a bit easier now. Not that you have to read it again if you were already able to .... not much has changed, I just add a few more pics and now it doesn't end quite so abruptly.

This last blog entry took a while to write and it didn't come out the way I wanted it to. Joyce, James' home nurse, presented us with a gift on Saturday that she had put together. It was a little booklet she had written titled "How I will Remember James". We laugh and cried when we read it for it helped us to remember so many of those details from when he was still home, that we seem to have already forgotten. From each of those details came more memories, it was just great. I spoke to Joyce after and she told me that it just hadn't come together as she had expected ... the very same feeling I had about the blog. I guess you just can't put memories into words, for there's so much to remember and so little words to explain it all. We did not even have three full years with James, but yet there are so many memories and so many little things about him ... I'm afraid we will lose a lot of these memories as times goes on ... already it seems like the little details are beginning to fade. But no matter how many small details fade we will already remember the big picture and only a short time of watching home videos brings back so many things.

So that's my babble for today ... and now I must get some work done.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Remembering James

Today would have been James 3rd birthday. Since I've already written plenty about James today on James' Story I won't write anymore here.

It's hard to believe it's already been three weeks since James passed away. These past weeks have definitely been different in our house. There are so many simple things we've been enjoying, just because they're simple.

We've been able to get out and do some visiting and each time before we leave I stand at the door thinking "are you sure we got everything, do I really only need one diaper bag?" And I used to think that going out with a baby was a pain ... you know, you have to pack the diaper bag - throw in a few diapers, a change of clothes, a few toys, a couple bottles and don't forget the soother. That's it!! One bag, a few things, done in a minute ... wow!!

Just socializing is something new to us again, we are no longer housebound. The kids are enjoying going out a bit more, we're enjoying renewing old friendships and building new ones. I have the extra luxury that Rob is around and a bit more available then normal and so I can just run out ... yup, all that requires is a purse, funny feeling indeed ... and do some errands, even some visiting without taking the kids. It's a weird feeling not to have to worry constantly while I'm out that I should get back because Rob needs to get back to his studies and can't tend to James that long.

We're noticing the difference at home as well. I find we're more relaxed and have more time for the kids. After school tea-time doesn't feel so rushed and like I'm wasting my precious little time. I can relax and enjoy this time with the kids. Supper time is less hectic ... I even end up having supper ready early most nights. I start at the same time as I used to, but have less distractions ... no more calling everyone to supper and then realizing I forgot to prep James' medications, or get fresh formula ready, or run after the monitor so we can see how he's doing while we eat, etc. We also feel this more relax lifestyle is having it's effect on the girls. They have been doing really well lately (besides the fact that they still fight like cats and dogs) on the behavioural side of things. I now have time for them to help me in the kitchen, which they love to do. So after some fighting it was decided they could take turns helping make the salad or something of that assort for supper. I'm sure the novelties will wear off, but I'm enjoying that I simply am able to take out the time for them now.

We miss James dearly. I'm not sure the ache has lessened, but the guilt has a bit. As we adjust to this new way of life we feel so thankful the Lord has allowed us this time with our other children. James was high maintenance from the day he was born, but really during the last 20 months of his life I felt like I never had the time to focus on the girls. I hope our appreciation for this time will not wear off and that we don't end up finding other ways to get caught up in life, they are only young once and they grow up so fast!!

We decided to just have a quiet family day today. We had explained to the kids a few times already that it was not James' birthday today, for he is not here anymore and will never celebrate his third birthday. We want them to be clear that we can't celebrate a life that is no longer, but at the same time we can still set aside this day as a day to remember the life that did exist. So there was some focus on James and some focus on family today.

This morning we presented each of the girls with a gift. I put together a photo album for each of them with pictures of James and themselves with James. Often they sit at the computer watching the pictures on the screen saver and so we felt this way they could look at the picture they wanted when they wanted. I did not put any writing with the pictures for I feel they will draw their own memories from them and already the ones they don't quite remember they have asked about. We hope that they will carry these books with them for many years to come so that those days will never be forgotten for them either.

During the afternoon we decided to go skating, we hope to do this more often so that the kids will actually learn to skate seeing as twice a year with the school really doesn't build much talent. The girls fought like cats and dogs all morning but it's so neat to see how they really do love each other as they helped each other skate, Marietta especially seeing as she's the oldest and know how to skate better ;)

Matthew came along for the ride. He enjoyed himself until he simply became to tired (was during nap time).

This evening we sat down together to watch the movie Babe. During the last two weeks of James' life we watch this movie more times then we can count ... it pretty much played continously. James loved the movie and didn't want to watch anything else, we love the movie too and so we didn't complain much when all he ever wanted to watch was "Pig". James received a singing toy pig as a gift while in ICU and even though James himself was a little scared of this singing animal we ourselves fell in love with it and named him Babe.
Since the girls were not allowed in ICU until the very end they never got to watch Babe. When they did come to visit we put the TV away so James could focus on them. They have heard much about this movie we love so dearly and so tonight we sat down to watch it with them. We had to stop it plenty of times to explain how it all fit together, and even so, I don't think Rebecca really got the whole idea, but they both got enough to now know what the movie Babe is about.
And so after a relaxing bath the day ends and I'm heading off to bed nice and early to get a good night sleep. It's funny how once your body gets a little taste of sleep it thinks it's so wonderful it wants more and more of it. I still love this idea of how I can go to bed at midnight and even if Matthew wakes up early (6am) I still am able to get a whole full six hours of continous sleep!! Of course I no longer have any excuse for going to bed that late. Before the days were so busy and full that it seemed the only time I ever actually got anything done was from 9pm-12am (technically 11pm since usually James started having troubles around 11pm). The lack of sleep at night meant I had to take a nap each day, even though I so dearly want to skip it and try get something done, but you never knew what the night was going to bring and so any time available for sleep was taken.
Anyways, I said I was going to bed! :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Busy with Life

The other day someone told me they were glad that I started another blog because they missed the daily updates. Well as you can see, they aren't so daily anymore, weekly will be more like it.

It appears Rob has become the stay-at-home dad while I'm the galavanting mother :) The past couple weeks have been busy with visiting, shopping (for Santa which is done now), errands, doctor and dentist visits etc. All those things that got put on the backburner the last months. After getting the worst of the items cleaned up around the house it seems the rest will just have to wait until next year while I keep busy just socializing and getting back into things again, as well as the basic things to run a house of course :)

This week I was excited to be able to attended Book Club and Women Society again for the first time in a long time. I sure missed going and it's so uplifting to sit together again and discuss what is so important to our everyday lives - God's Word.

Yesterday I took James' medical equipment and supplies to the hopsital so they can disburse it to those who need it. I had wanted the equipment to help someone out in some way, but seeing as most people have covered I didn't know where would be the best place to donate it. I even checked out e-bay to see if I could sell it to people in the States, figuring they don't have insurance and coverages as we do. Well, that was a wake-up when it reinforce what I already knew ... our medical system is a rip-off. We are overcharged by AT LEAST 100%. We have had all our equipment covered by the ADP plan and ASCD and what I learned yesterday was that there is actually a limit on the money you get from the ADP plan. Thankfully we never ran out, but it would appear we were getting close ... and no wonder. I looked at the cost of a brand new Kangaroo Feeding Pump, identical to the one James has. We (or the plan) paid $1050 for it, on e-bay it sells for $595. Each feeding bag we use would cost $9.31, on e-bay they can be purchased for $1 a bag. I looked at the cost of his Mic-Key button where "we" paid $186 and the most expensive one on e-bay was $40. And the list goes on. So needless to say it wouldn't be worth my efforts to sell my equipment at what I thought was a low price in order to help someone else out. That being said, I contact the various people we dealt at the hospital and decided to donate the equipment and supplies to them. The equipment will either be put in a loaner program, the same as we had for our SATs monitor, or given to a family with no funding and needing assistance. As I know the individuals that I gave the items to I am confident that it will indeed be put to good use and help various individuals in some way.

While I was at the hospital I went to visit Kevin and Amy and little Micah. I'm so glad that Micah is doing so well after his surgery. Micah was a little scared of me and rather I stayed far away for fear I might be a nurse coming to poke and prod at him. The fear in his eyes reminded me so much of James.

So besides a dentist visits, some grocery shopping and a few cups of teas (oh and hot chocolate once :) with visitors that's about the sum of what I've been up to. And Rob ... he's busy filling in for me and trying to study inbetween. We may not be together all the time, but it's sure nice to feel like a real family again.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Today Rob and I went off together for an airride. Nope, not the kind where you zoom through the sky at an amazingly fast speed ... this was the kind where you bump up and down in a transport truck, thankful for your airride seats.

Last week Rob was requested to do a run since they did not have enough drivers for today. He was quite giddy to get a chance to exercise his foot on the pedal again, until he realized he wouldn't be driving his "own" truck. His giddiness returned upon realizing the truck he would be driving has two seats (the others all only have one) and this meant he could take a passenger. And who is the lucky individual he picked ... me!! :)

Well given I have no excuses anymore ... I'm not nursing and I'm not tied down to James, what could I say but "yes". So this morning we dropped off Matthew, sent the kids off to school and off we went. And true trucking style, we didn't make our scheduled time of arriving home again before school let out, but oh well, the girls didn't mind going away for a bit after school.

This trip gave me a bit of an eye into what Rob does when working. It would have actually been nicer to go with for a float job to see how the float works, but that's okay a wheeled unit was a good start anyways. Rob works for a company that mostly hauls modular office trailers, which are all wide loads ... which is what makes the job so exciting :) Rob's job for today was to pick up a Tim Horton's unit and return it to the Timmy's yard. These units are portable Tim Horton's stores, which are used to keep business going while they are renovating the actual store.

Clearing snow off the roof

Driver Rob

Dropping off at the yard.

Hooked up and ready to go - take note of how low the unit sits to the ground.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Santa came to town on Thursday night while we were all sleeping. Amazingly we are still able to convince our children that Santa exists, although Marietta is having some very serious doubts about the matter. I'm thinking she hasn't gathered enough proof yet to confirm there is no such thing as Santa, and at the same time there may just be a little fear that if she doesn't believe in Santa she won't get presents anymore. I'm sure this is the last year we've managed to pull off the Santa idea and it's probably easier just to tell her that the kids at school are right ... Santa is just your parents.

Grandma supposedly invited us for supper, so we packed up the presents and took them down to Grandpa and Grandma's last night, where we joined the rest of the family for an evening of fellowship. The kids had a wonderful time and were once again royally spoiled. Rob and I had a chance to sit back and relax, unfortunately this relaxation actually made the evening more difficult. The last couple weeks have been very busy, and right now we like business. Sitting down to relax is not something we're all that used to anymore. And for myself, if I do, I feel guilty ... why am I able to relax? Because there is a little boy missing who normally we would have to run after, untangling cords, helping to move around, etc. And then you begin to think about how he would have enjoyed to be there, and you forget about how happy he already is at his new home. It's a guilty feeling to know that our lives our easier now because James is gone. We decided to stay overnight ... since we now could easily do that ... and staying overnight only took a couple minutes to pack for and one small suitcase, compared to before when each small trip it seemed we had to pack a whole van full. So although it was nice to get out and see family, sit back and enjoy ourselves, it was also a difficult night ... but we survived it, just like we'll survive each difficult day that is still to come.

Rebecca received a Cotton Candy Making Machine, being the sweet tooth she is this present went over very well :)

Marietta loves to "play" paino. Whenever we go to someones house with a panio she likes to sit and tinker at it. Since we have no room for a piano we thought we'd see how long she keeps her interest by giving her a roll-up paino that she can tinker on for a bit.

Bloggin' Again

After spending a year blogging about James' Story I found that I rather enjoyed blogging. I was never a blog fan before, and still have some reserves about blogs, but I thought I might miss sitting behind my computer and babbling away ... or reading my babble months later to bring back memories. While there are many things that I miss right now which I can't do anything about this is one thing that I can still do. I'm afraid that blogging won't be the same though, and to be honest, I really have no idea what I will blog about, as I'm hoping our lives will become really boring from now on :) But I figure I can always stop if I don't enjoy it anymore.

I'm figuring no introductions are necessary, since whoever reads this will have read or heard James' Story ... and if you haven't you can click on the link to read the very long version of James' time in our lives. We miss our dear boy dearly, but Life Goes On, and so we must also. Although James is no longer in our lives, I don't doubt that he will continue to resurface in our blog for some time, for it seems everywhere we turn there are reminders of our happy, cheerful, every-loving, little guy.

Now, this blog obviously has a different purpose then our previous blog ... I'm not quite sure what that purpose is yet :) I'm thinking it's more a journal, for myself and my children, to look back on one day and remember all those little things we forget so quickly. I've always been a journal writer, which I'm so thankful for, as I look back through the kids journals and especially James' journal ... but my journal writing skills got put on the backburner the past couple years ... and so I suppose this will be the new way to keep up.