Saturday, September 29, 2012

"hi" - avery

avery's favourite (and only) word to say is "hi".  she says it to us all day long.  sometimes, we even get a crazy wave with the hi.

the other day, we were in the grocery store and avery was sitting in the cart.  she did not want to be in the cart so she was yelling, whining, and holding her arms out so that i'd take her out.  i can't carry her and push the cart so i had to leave her in there.

she'd be yelling and half crying until we passed a person in the aisle.  she would stop, smile at them, and say, "hi". when the person had passed, she'd resume whining for me to take her out.  stop, smile, "hi"...whine, whine, whine.

it was pretty funny.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the debit card that is a visa

i lost my debit card the other day - probably at a grocery store somewhere.  i went to the bank and they gave me my new card.  the teller explained that it's a debit card but can function like a visa.  if i go to the states, i can use it anywhere but the money comes straight from our chequing account.  i can use it to buy things online but there's no visa bill to pay afterwards.


this is the greatest.  i'm SO pumped!  no more surprise credit card bills on which i had forgotten that i'd charged something!  it's all coming out of the bank account!  love. it.  if you bank TD, go get yours too!

no.  no one paid me to write this commercial.  i'm just THAT excited. haha.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

one year later

a year ago, avery was born.  oh, how that girl has changed over this last year.  it took us a couple months to figure out that her need to sleep was greater than her need to eat.  she was slow to smile and even slower to laugh but by five or six months, she was one content little girlie.  i remember saying to people, "if i could keep her this age forever, i would - she's so perfect!" avery was so content that she just sat for months, watching ben or playing with whatever we set in front of her.  she didn't begin crawling until she was into her 9th month.  we joke that she has a turbo boost - she puts her head down and crawls double speed.  she's so fast, i don't know why she'd bother learning to walk but she does love when anyone holds her hands and helps her walk.

if we had her in bed at naps and bedtime, she was a happy girl and even the rare days that we let her stay up late, she managed like a trooper.  despite needing a lot of sleep, avery's never been one to sleep much in her carseat and she's hit or miss on the playpen sleep, however, the couple trips that we've taken (to the island and to whistler), she's slept great in her playpen.  in her crib at home, she sleeps with her soother, hugging her bunny or blanket.

avery took forever to begin feeding herself finger foods but now she's eating almost whole meals of finger food.  she has started refusing anything green and when she does try a new food, if she doesn't like it, she just opens her mouth and lets it fall out.  her favourite foods are bread, cheese, potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, and any kind of dessert that you're willing to share.  if she sees you eating ice cream, she stands next to you screaming and shouting until you give her a taste.

i switched avery from formula to milk right on the day she turned one.  she never blinked - no big deal.  she's always been difficult to feed a bottle to, squirmy and wiggly.  i remember one night thinking that i should film myself feeding her because she was steadily drinking but both legs were kicking and arms were waving around.  i figured it would be fairly easy to ween her off her 4 bottle feeds and already we're down to about 2 bottles a day.

when avery was content and still all the time, i worried just a little that she wasn't going to have much personality but oh, was i wrong to be worried.  this little girl has a mind of her own.  she loves her brother and her grandparents.  when we laugh at something she does, she tries to do more things that will make us laugh.  she loves bracelets and can put them on herself - she's often seen crawling around with those stacking rings around her wrists.  when you put shoes or a hat on her at the store then take them off her, she screams because she wants to keep them on.  she loves it when i pretend to drop her but she doesn't like being thrown up in the air.  she loves to go down the slide and does it on her own.  she tries to get any adult to pick her up - even strangers - but she doesn't love it when big kids get too close to her face.  she doesn't mind being dirty and is desperate to follow ben outside even though she's not a big fan of crawling on the grass.

Sleeping in her new big girl car seat on the way to Whistler

we haven't quite figured out the hair yet - with a barrette, it stays in place better!  :)
Not afraid to get dirty!
we cannot imagine our family without this hilarious little girl.  her smile is contagious and she's an easy laugh when you tickle her.  ben says to her at least once a day, "i really love you, avery."  and so do we - we really love you, avery and we can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

so i have this job...

my facebook friends (and i guess real friends and family) know that i got this new job back in april but i was looking back through the blog and i don't think i posted about it.  this will be one of those posts that most people don't care to have this much information but i feel like my aunt laurie will be interested to know what i'm doing.  ;)  i have literally been on the computer all day and evening for weeks and have barely fb-ed, blogged, or pinterest-ed(?).  however, today i have shipped one kiddo off with grams and the other is napping so i'll take this prime work opportunity to procrastinate/blog about this job and what i actually DO.

i work at a school that homeschooling families register with so that they can have a teacher work with them at monitoring their curriculum and do assessments (aka. report cards).  this way, when their child graduates from grade 12, they'll be issued a BC Dogwood diploma whereas if you are a traditional homeschooler (no teacher), i don't think you get a diploma.  you also have access to a grant from the government which they use for paying for curriculum but also they can use it to pay for gymnastics lessons or art classes - whatever relates to their learning. 

i've watched my friend, kara, do this job for 3 years and another friend, heidi, do it for a couple years also.  yes, two of my close friends work for this school.  it seemed ideal.  almost all from home except for 3 - 4 meetings a year for planning and assessment.  when kara and her family decided to move to northern bc, she put in a good word for me and i was hired to take over her job.  the school happened to be looking for abbotsford/chilliwack teachers in order to expand more into this area.  i was SO pumped to get this job.  

so what has made me so busy over the last few weeks?  i'd had many of my family meetings back in july and talked with moms about the curriculum that they were going to use - i was ready to write their Student Learning Plans (SLP).  but they weren't due until the end of september, so i let them hang over my head all summer and didn't do anything.  this was one of the reasons i thought that i might not be the greatest at this job.  i procrastinate.  but i procrastinate mostly when i don't know what to do. at the end of august, i bit the bullet and wrote my first SLP.  basically, i break down the resources into their course categories and figure out how i will assess them (scan two samples per week, present at home visit, etc).  it sounds simple but not every parent wants to use a textbook for every course....of course!  that would kind of go against the point of homeschooling.  SO figuring out how they're going to teach each thing can be daunting.  once i finished one SLP, it was like, "ahh...this is how it works!"  i worked non-stop all of labour day weekend and managed to have all 17 students' SLPs finished in rough copy and sent to parents.  

at the same time as working on SLPs, emailing back and forth with parents and my vice principal, i was coming up with ideas for other things i could write.  one parent asked about an author of the month study - i said, "i can write one for you every month!"  another parent didn't have any ideas for Health and Career Education so i said, "i'll create some assignments for you!"  my VP said, "this student doesn't have much in the SLP that relates to his passions and interests - come up with something related to cars."  "sure, i can do that!"  and these extras seem never ending.  families new to homeschooling like lots of input.  families who have been homeschooling forever generally like working on their own. each student takes a different amount of time.  it was estimated that each student takes about 45 minutes per week.  i just got three new students last week so now i'm sitting at 20 students.  that's (at a minimum) almost 20 hours a week!  no wonder i'm feeling like i'm glued to the computer. 

throughout the year, (ideally) parents email me weekly logs that let me know what their child(ren) have been doing the past week.  i keep track of that info so that i'm prepared for the assessment meeting in november (and then again in march, and again in june) which helps me write report cards. 

also, each term, i'll be teaching a 4 - 6week once-a-week class for grade 4-7.  this term, i'm teaching electricity.  i'm also signed up to teach a book club but few kids have signed up so far so it might not fly.  

the nice thing about this job is that it's turning out to be great  i got over the difficult start with the planning and i'm running with it now.  the relationship with parents is very different than when you're a classroom teacher so i've enjoyed meeting all these families and am enjoying working with the moms who are excited about teaching their children.  i am remembering how much i liked coming up with ideas for teaching and writing units - i get to search online for ideas and gather them together but don't have to teach them.  ;)  if i can get through september, i'm hoping it will be less daily work until report card season.  

my view from the office : ben painting at the little table over there - see him?
i have been feeling badly that i'm spending so much time on the computer while ben plays on his own or with avery and i was saying this to my mom the other day.  her response was, "you have a job but you're home with them.  you're still there to make lunch, to give avery her bottle before her nap, and to hug and kiss them when they get hurt."  this has given me some perspective this last week and encouraged me that this has been a good decision for us.  i'm still involved in what i love to do - both for work and with my kids.  i'm feeling very, very blessed for all that i have.  

Saturday, September 01, 2012


it took me a few weeks to figure out that it was eggs making me feel sick.  eggs in baking, eggs in salad dressing, eggs in pancakes, etc.  as it turns out, it hasn't been too hard to cut out - overall, i just eat less dessert.  and i've had lovely friends and family who have searched out eggless caesar dressing, baked me things with flaxseed substitute, or found me recipes with no eggs at all so really, i've had just as much dessert as usual probably.  so when i went to the doctor in march and he booked the first available appointment with an the end of didn't seem SO bad as i figured out how to avoid eggs.  every so often, i would think to myself, i'm not allergic to eggs - this is stupid, eat something with eggs, and be curled up on my bed with terrible stomach pain for the next 4 - 5hours.  it seemed pretty clear that eggs were my allergy.

this past week, i finally had my appointment with the allergist.  the nurse came in to ask me questions and i talked about my eggs allergy.
her - "any other allergies?"
me - "nope."
her - "what about your parents?"
me - "my dad's allergic to nuts.  and cats.  and probably some kind of pollen... oh wait, actually, i'm really stuffed up and sneezy in the spring.  and actually, my eyes get all watery when i'm around cats..." her - "okay, so more than just an egg allergy."
me - "uh, yeah, i guess so."
i had to blow into this apparatus that tested my lung capacity, i guess.  i seemed to be really bad at it.  but i never did feel like i was doing it correctly.

next, the allergist came in.
him - "how's your nose today?
me - "good."
he looks up my nose with a light.
him - "so one nostril completely blocked and the other partially blocked is good?"
me - "umm...i guess so."
him - "two clear nostrils would be a miracle?"
me - "yeah, i guess...."
him - "you are obviously so used to being stuffed up that you are living with no good and terrible and have no idea what clear breathing would feel like."
he must have thought i was so brain-dead but this was like, total epiphany.  i'd never thought to much about being stuffed up all the time, especially in the mornings when i woke up.

so, my arms had 40 pin-pricks and 40 drops of stuff i might be allergic to based on my description of my allergy symptoms.  then i sat while the my arms got itchier and itchier.  when they wiped off the drops, i had huge welts on my arm that had "environmental allergens" and nothing on my "food allergens" arm.  my environmental arm was SO itchy.  they rate the allergies on a +1 to +4 scale with 1 being minorly allergic to 4 being severly allergic.

here were my results:
house dust mites
sesame seed
house dust
old world mites (what?)
wet molds

WHAT?  I tried to ask questions about the egg thing but i really didn't get any real answers.  he said that probably increased the allergy by eating so many eggs (i was eating a lot every morning when i was doing weight watchers) and if i cut them out completely for a couple years (!), i might be able to eat them again in small doses.  corn, wheat, bananas, etc sounds ridiculous that i'm allergic to them.  especially that they're the same or higher than eggs.  i still don't get it.  but i guess women are most susceptible to developing more severe allergies 2 - 4 years after their second pregnancy.  so he encouraged me to avoid these foods because of that but give me a break.  that's not even possible for me to avoid things like wheat and corn.  augh.  THEN, with all these pollens and grasses and dust and mold allergies...well of course!  isn't mold and dust bad for EVERYONE?  seriously - is there anyone reading my blog who has had an allergy test before?  if you have, were you allergic to dust?  augh.
he also told me that my lung capacity should be 140 (something...i can't remember the unit) and i'm breathing at 96.  exercise could help this, he explained, if i started exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day.  yep...that could pretty much help EVERYTHING.

i was so frustrated on the drive home from this test.  i felt like i really didn't get any answers.  since then, however, i have been more aware of my breathing.  now, i'm just super annoyed that i'm so stuffed up instead of just being content with terrible.  so i'm suppsed to get rid of my feather duvet, put my pillow, duvet, mattress in allergen-proof encasings, wipe the blinds in my room once a week, remove carpets (but we don't have any in our room anyways), and get an air filter.  when the nurse was telling me this, i felt like saying, "maybe i should just start sweeping under my bed more often..."  haha.  and wash my curtains every month?  i'm pretty sure they've only been washed once since we moved in.  w're just going to remove those altogether.  haha.  AUGH.  also, i should stay inside and close all the windows when the grass is cut.  haha...yeah, right.

SO, i think i'll start trying to keep things less dusty in our room and i'll probably invest in some allergen-proof cases for my feather duvet (because i refuse to give it up! haha) and pillows.  my brother in law says that his ionic hepa filter is amazing and worth getting so maybe i'll look into that.  but what about EGGS?  that's what started all of this?  maybe i'll try eating something eggy this week...but there's never a good time to feel sick.  so who knows?

"so that's what happened." - allan macdonald