Saturday, November 26, 2011


After a cold, wet and very busy September we were pleasantly surprised to have a delightfully beautiful, warm thanksgiving weekend.  So warm that we actually had our thanksgiving supper outside … it was simply beautiful.

On Sunday after an early supper we headed down to the school to check out the trail on the school property.  The kids often run the trail for gym or go for walks to study specific science things, or in grade 4 they get to take care of the birdhouses … making birdhouses, putting them up and then monitoring what kind of birds come and how many eggs they get … there is nothing like hands on experience to truly understand the beauty of nature.  So given that the kids have often been on the trail we thought it would be nice to check it out.  It has been very nicely done, and it being the leaf changing season it was a beautiful walk.

Marietta had the camera … and when Marietta has the camera she takes pictures of every leaf, blade and stick in sight.  We have to keep reminding her to keep up …. but she does have a talent for capturing some of the beauty around us … as much is possible on a photo

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Obviously Marietta did not take these ones … she wanted pictures of her ringlet hair


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hernia Repairs

September 6th arrived and it was the first day of school for the girls.  Marietta headed off to Grade 6 and Rebecca to Grade 4.  And Matthew was left at home for another year.  While the girls headed out the door to the bus Matthew prepped for a day at the hospital to have his hernia’s repaired.

We had not talked much about the procedure.  He had been put on the surgery waiting list in February and since you only get a 1-2 week notice before the surgery we never said anything to him.  His belly did not hurt him so there was no use prepping and making him worry about something he could not understand.  It was much different from when Marietta went for her hernia repair.  Marietta was three and a half  and had been in pain for quite some time and finally we were able to convince them to repair her hernia since it would need to be repaired eventually anyways and we suspected that to be the problem.  She counted down the day until her surgery so that her tummy pain could be fixed … only to have the first surgery cancelled when she developed an cold and ear infection.  So she counted down the days again until she finally went in for the repair … just on time because only the day before her surgery the hernia area tore increasing the size of the hernia and making it fairly large … the doctor was quite surprised when he completed the surgery how large it was.  Marietta’s pain took about 6 month to get better after the hernia, causing us to see various doctors and have various tests as they thought maybe there was something else wrong … but in the end she just needed time to heal.

Now for Matthew we didn’t tell him about the surgery until about a week before … more because he overheard a conversation about it.  Not wanting him to worry for days about what they were going to do I just didn’t say anything and figured I’d prep him the day before or so.  Well even though he found out the week before it did not fizzle him much.  He declared he was getting his belly button fixed and away he went.  He had no pain so the concept of pain or the pain that would come from the surgery was foreign.  He just knew they would fix his belly button so it wouldn’t stick out anymore.  We explained some basic stuff, as he does have some vague memory of when he got his arm casted after he broke it.  But he didn’t seem to concerned either way.

Matthew also had two hernia’s.  We were not 100% sure of the second one until he went into surgery but it was suspected he had an inguinal hernia as well as an umbilical hernia.  The plan was to go in laparoscopically through the incision in the umbilical area to see if there was another hernia and then if there was a hernia to proceed to repair it.

Matthew’s surgery was schedule for 2pm, which meant no eating since 12am.  He was allowed to drink  first thing in the morning so we encouraged him to drink as much as he could to tie him over.  He did well.  We left for Hamilton earlier on to keep him distracted and went to the library so he could play for a bit and pick out some videos to watch after his surgery.

We had to be at the hospital at 12pm … thankfully there was a TV at the waiting room to distract him and that did pretty good. 



Just before the surgery you get a chance to talk to the people involved in the surgery, including the doctor.  At this time we found out that they DID NOT have him scheduled for the inguinal hernia check and repair, but only for the umbilical repair (even though I had discussed this at pre-op to make sure he was scheduled for both).  In order to do the inguinal repair they need the proper laparoscopic equipment and the time to do the actual repair if it was needed.  It was a little bit of time of frustration … some things just never change!! It being a minor surgery I wasn’t too worked up about the need for the surgery, just the frustration with the system and how they never get it right.  I was not going to have them do the umbilical hernia repair if they could not check for the inguinal and have time to repair it … minor surgeries or not we weren’t going to do anaesthetic more then we had to.  Thankfully it all came together and they were able to get the equipment needed … and rather quickly too … so we were able to proceed as planned.

Here you can see his nerves acting up … as well as his lack of food I’m sure.  This is just before he went into surgery … he refused to look at the camera or the people who came to talk to use before the surgery.


Everything went well with the surgery, he did indeed have a moderate size inguinal hernia which they repaired.  They had to make an incision near his groin area to do this, but now he’s all fixed up.

I was expecting a miserable boy, thrashing, crying and throwing himself around after the surgery, but he was calm and sleepy.   No complaint about pain, if you asked him if it hurt he said no.  Recovery room was slow when we got there and so they let me just crawl up on the bed and snooze with him for a while.  After a while they encouraged him to wake up a bit by letting him have a popiscle … actually three popsicles.  Before the surgery the nurse had told him that his hospital band meant he could have FREE popsicles.   He understood this to mean THREE popsicles and he was going to hold them to this.  He inhaled those three popsicles and then was moved over to Same Day Surgery recovery … where he received another popsicles.   Here also they were not the busy and were completely encouraging about letting him sleep for a while, so we snuggled up on the bed again and had another snooze.  Around 6pm we decided to wake him a bit and see how he was doing and if he was ready to go home.  By this time the morphine would be wearing off, but he still said it didn’t hurt, until he tried to get dressed, then he realize he had some pain.  What a trooper!

Wheelchair ride to the van … not so thrilling when you’re not feeling well.


We made a bed on the couch in the living room with a view to the TV


For the next few days he had free access to the TV … and if you know Matthew, you know what this means.  Surprisingly even Matthew gets tired of TV and stops watching from time to time.


Recovery went amazingly quickly compared to what we expected.  For Marietta it took some time before she could get up and walk or do stairs.  Matthew on the other hand surprised us by crawling up the stairs that same night while I was busy putting the girls to bed.  Proud as a peacock he showed us how he could walk and crawl up the stairs.  A few days of tylenol and within a few days you would never have guessed that he just had surgery … that weekend we headed off to Chatham and he was playing like normal, we had to remind him that he had to be careful, walk slowly, don’t run and jump, no trampoline, etc.  Picking him up and carrying him had to be done careful but overall he was mended.

The old belly button


The new belly button … they did an excellent job of hiding the incision in the folds.  He doesn’t have a nice innie now, but it definitely looks better and we’ll see with time how it develops.  The other incision is low in the groin area and healed up nicely, which I’m sure over the years will fade to almost not being noticeable.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Summer Project

At the end of each school year the girls usually receive a small gift and we go out for ice cream.  This year my small gift turned out to be a rather large gift, since I did not do my research beforehand to find out the cost of the project … a sure sign that I am not a sewer!!

The girls have been learning some basic sewing from their Aunt Jess and since they love acting as pioneers and were busy building a pioneer fort in the barn I thought it would be neat if they could make themselves pioneer dresses and so when patterns were on sale I bought one for each of them.   This was wrapped with a (homemade) gift certificate to purchase the material and items needed to sew the dresses.

So off we went one day to Fabricland … shock of all shocks when we discovered the price of cotton and gingham and such.  The kind sales lady finally directed us to the upholstery section, telling us that many custom makers use this instead because it’s cheapers.  At a third of the price as the original cottons and such that we were looking at we were able to get material and such … needless to say, far more then I had wished to spend, but a lesson to do my research first next time.   It is no wonder people do not sew anymore, even the cheaper material is waayy to expensive.  This play custom ended up being much more then I would spend on a Sunday dress for the girls.

Marietta’s pick


Rebecca’s pick


All things purchased came to …


ouch … (should have just searched online for some pre-made customs)


The idea of this gift was to give them a project to work on during the summer.  Needless to say the summer was so busy that they hardly had time to work on it and it’s still not done.  But in September they were able to get the main dress done … now just the pinafore and bonnet is left to get done.  The problem is also that I do not sew and we need guidance from Aunt Jess as when I read the pattern it feels like I’m reading a different language and I have no clue what it’s saying. 

We worked together on the project.  I would usually work along side Rebecca with our machine and Jess would work with Marietta on her machine.  Hopefully this way I can learn a bit and maybe the next time around we can do it without as much guidance.

Cutting out the pattern


Cutting out the material



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What we accomplished after our first afternoon together


Another afternoon together and we were able to get the dress done … except for the buttons and the hem, which the girls have since completed.

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I had purchased a size 10/12 and a size 14 pattern thinking that way they could make two different sizes so they had lots of room to grow.  Once we had a look at the pattern we ended up going with the smaller size and even so it’s still quite big.  So some day we might actually get around to putting together the pinafore and bonnet and completing the project.

After spending all that money on 4 pieces of material (okay to be fair half the money was spent on the notions) I found all this material on Kijiji for $7.  Plenty of pieces large enough to make dresses.  Maybe the girls will figure out how to do it on their own with time and be able to do some more projects, regardless they got lots to work with without having to be worried about how much money is wasted if they make a mistake  … if they could just find the time.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Port Burwell 2011

On Saturday night we had a storm roll through and Sunday was a cool and windy day.  We could hear the waves crashing onto the shore from our campsite in the morning, but did not have time to go down to the beach and have a peak, so we promised the kids we would do it after the second service.  Our kids have never actually seen the waters wavy.  Their idea of waves are my idea of calm if I recall the time we would spend as kids swimming at Knights Beach with the huge waves crashing in on us.

By time we got home in the afternoon we could no longer hear the waves from our campsite, so they didn’t get to see the really big waves, but they did get a sense of what it looks like when it’s more wavy.  We spent some time walking the beach, jumping the shore waves and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation around us.


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On Monday before we left we had to make sure that we took some pictures on this log.  Whenever we see this log I think all of us have the same photos in our mind (see below)


Matthew refusing to smile


Some assistance from his sisters to get him to smile


Okay, they’re all smiling now

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Wow, I just can’t get over how small they are on these pictures.

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James at six and a half months.  Such a little cutie … who would have thought …

James Port Burwell 1995

Oh … and since I’m posting some old pictures her are the girls with Brent and Mitchell that same year … they’ve done some growing too!   The kids always would talk about the huge deep hole they found when they were at Port Burwell and how they sat in it with Brent and Mitchell.  Funny how what they imagined and what it really was is not the same.  When they seen the picture again they were like “it wasn’t really that big”.  Ah well, it gave them thrills at the time.

Port Burwell 1995 4

Labour Day Weekend

Another long weekend … the one that signified the end of the summer holidays and the beginning of another school year.  It’s one of those happy/sad weekends.

We survived the July long weekend with almost no rain, but we went into this long weekend excepting rain and unfortunately we did receive it too.  We hum-hawed on Saturday whether to pack up before the rain and call it a weekend or weather to stick it out.  The decision was to stick it out …. without grumping (that comment was especially pointed at me)!!   It actually didn’t put too huge of a damper on the weekend, but it did bring in colder weather and that meant swimming was out and sweaters and long pants were in.  We had a cold end of August and so we arrived with our sweaters and pants and warm sleeping gear expecting to be cold and snuggled under the blankets at night …. wrong!  Wow, it was hot and humid at nights and the cold didn’t really come until Monday when we packed up to go home.

All smiles … we’re finally on our way!!


The kids were very excited when they received visitors on Friday.  We did not say anything to them since Dave and Ange did not know for sure if they were coming or not.  And then we figured we would just surprise them.  The kids were off at the park when they arrived and even though Brent, Mitchell and Slater said hi on the walkie-talkies the girls did not clue in until we showed up at the park. 

After a walk and some lunch it was off to the beach for the afternoon …. we had a lovely afternoon for hanging out at the beach.




Mmmmmmm ….. sandchips


Protective and helper Matthew helping Vivian put on a bike helment


“I think your hair is in the way” … something he’s certainly not used to


Supper time

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Each night we had a rainbow fire for a little bit.  This is made by putting a piece of nylon garden hose in a copper tube and throwing it in the fire.  It would make a lovely array of colours for about 15 minutes.

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And of course, what’s a fire with spiders and marshmallows.


We ended the evening with sparklers.  Unfortunately it was a bad ending to the evening when Vivian grabbed the wrong end of the sparkler and burned herself.  But she was a brave little girl who still wanted to enjoy a sparkler and so she tried …

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but needed some ice and mom’s help to finish the sparkler


Matthew loved camping and now still months afterwards he asks if we will go camping again in the summer.  He loved being able to ride his bike on paved roads and was so proud of how fast he could go.  At home he doesn’t even touch his bike … gravel is to much of a challenge in his opinion, he rather just wait until the next camping trip.


Rob is the morning chef when we are camping, he loves cooking on the hotplate over the fire … that is when he can get a fire going … wet firewood is a pretty common thing when camping, so here he resorted to using the air mattress pump to blow air and get the flames going so the wood would finally get hot enough to catch.


Okay, so not really sure what Rob’s doing here, but we’re enjoyed the chef’s cooking


Fun at the park.  The girls are getting bigger, so the park does not hold as much interest for them anymore.  It’s fun when they have a group of kids to play with, but not so fun when it’s just our kids, although sometimes they can have lots of fun with Matthew.


Our bitter sweet weekend ended off cool, a sure sign that fall was on it’s way and it was time to get back to the book.  It’s always sad to see the summer go, but yet the kids do enjoy school and it’s nice to have routine back in one’s life … it’s a nice balance.  We had a busy and enjoyable summer which flew by unbelievably fast … but then, so does the school years, as here we are already two and a half months into another year and listening to talks of Christmas and what we’ll be doing for the Christmas holidays (just a big sign that I’m way to far behind on my blog).