Sunday, March 9, 2014

Claire turns 5

Where did the time go? March 10th marks the fifth birthday of our oldest daughter, Claire. I cannot believe that its been five years since she was born in her own way on her own terms. I should have known then, that she would be a girl with a mind of her own.

On the one hand, she is a loving little girl, who loves her baby dolls and playing "Mommy" and "house", on the other hand, she is a strong-willed, determined little girl, who, argues when things are not fair and tries to keep up with her big brother. She loves to perform songs; right now "Frozen" up in her room, singing at the top of her lungs with such abandon that she doesn't care who is listening. I love that about her.

Claire and I often find ourselves in a kind of "battle of wills", something I'm told is because we are two sides of the same coin. I, of course, deny this. Of all my three children, I am told that Claire resembles me the most, both in looks and personality. Part of that is true, but the part where we differ is the ability to talk. While I am more the introvert, observer, speak when spoken to, Claire will talk non-stop. I do mean non stop. When she was 18 months old, she wasn't talking and it was suggested that we take her to a speech therapist to have her checked out. We chalked it up to her having an older brother who spoke for her and put it out of our mind. Sure enough, two weeks later, Claire started talking and hasn't stopped since. She will talk from the moment her eyes open in the morning, till they close at night. She talks through movies, offering a running commentary for those watching with her, talks as she walks to the store. So far, the only place that I think she is quiet is the hairdresser's chair. She speaks nary a word while in the chair, but as soon as we leave the salon, the talking starts again.

Claire's world revolves around her Daddy. Anywhere he goes, she wants to go. She is up and ready to go anytime and anywhere he is going and is right put off when he says he needs to go alone. I love the relationship that they have and hope it never changes.

Claire has brought such joy, love and laughter to our lives. Thank you Claire, for being you.

Happy Birthday, Claire! I love you.
Claire at one month

Claire at one month

Claire as a newborn

Claire in November 2013

Claire (and Emily) in February 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Another Check Off the List

For the past year, I have been waiting for breast reduction surgery to help alleviate the back, shoulder and neck pain that has plagued me since my children were born. I was on the wait list for a year and at the end of January I received a  call saying that a date had come up for February 7th. Two weeks. I took the date, afraid that I'd wait indefinitely for another date to come up and I didn't want to wait. Up until this point, I was taking ibuprofen every night to deal with the pain in my next, back and shoulders. So, I got prepared for surgery. Informed my principal and the school board, filled out all the necessary paperwork and planned for my replacement. It was a whirlwind two weeks, but it got done and early on Friday, February 7th, I went to Abbotsford Hospital for my day surgery and the first step in reclaiming my health.

It's been almost three weeks since I had the surgery and I am recovery well. One side, my left is healing better than the other, but that is because I do most things with my right hand and arm. Its to be expected. I'm still not supposed to lift anything over 10lbs (meaning my children)and reaching up high is on the "no" list. My incisions are still tender, particularly underneath, meaning that I am not able to wear a bra; just a gauze wrap bandage and support padding. I am glad that I did this, not only for the pain issues, but also to help my body image. I still tire easily, but try to get out and walk for both exercise and fresh air. I have to admit that I like being home and could get used to this. I get to walk Nicholas to school every day, which I really love and read more than a chapter of a book during the day.

This is another thing checked off my list. Next up? Getting ready to do a "walk to run" program. By this time next year, I hope to be a healthier version of myself. But right now I'm just taking one day at a  time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Good bye 2013, Hello 2014

At the end of every month, Nicholas and I do a ritual. We turn the page on the calendar and say, with expression "Goodbye(name of the outgoing month), hello (incoming month)." On January 1st, we change the calendar and say "Good bye 2013, hello 2014". It sounds so cliche, but on every New Years Eve, I do what most people do and reflect on the year that is ending and think about the year ahead.

Overall, 2013 was a good year. I worked my second year at the same school, (albeit yet another grade change, but I've learned to appreciate the fact that I have a job) and moved from the portable to a classroom inside the school building. Nicholas had a great first year of school and started off Grade One on a high point. Blair had a good year in his work and we got ourselves back on a good financial track. Claire is becoming her own person, strong, not so brave, but independent. I am so proud of the person she is. Emily is growing like a weed and trying her hardest to keep up with her brother and sister. As I write this, she is playing a letter game on the ipad and actually recognizes some letters. Did I mention she's just 2 years old? I am so curious to see how she will change this next year.
On the "not so good" of 2013, there were things that I had wished I'd handled better, but as with everything, I have learned from them. I hope to do better in 2014. To quote Oprah " are responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

As we begin 2014, I think ahead to what's in store for us. First of all, this year, Claire turns 5 and heads to Kindergarten in the Fall. That, in itself is HUGE. How did that happen? How did I become the mom of two school aged children?? Not only will Claire start school, but she will also start soccer and so begins our weekends on the soccer pitch. I will officially become a soccer mom....with the mini van to match. One hope I have for this year is that I get a job at our local school. To be able to walk to school with my children and have them come to my class at the end of the day, is something both I and our bank account will be grateful for.

This is also the year that I hope to put an end to my back and shoulder pain with a much needed surgery. After four pregnancies and three children in six years, my body has been put through the ringer and need of some TLC. I hope that this surgery will help to get my physical life back on track. With my body back on the right track, I hope that my body image will improve and I can be a positive role model for my two young daughters.

I have a lot of hope for this year and as I reflect on the year that was, I am grateful for the lessons I've learned and, as I look ahead to the future, I am hopeful. 

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

As usual, Christmas in the King household is always busy. December began with the arrival of our elf, Oliver, who watches over us and reports back to Santa. Unlike some elves, who get into mischief, Oliver just watches, listens and moves around to a different location each night. All three kids were excited to find where Oliver was and to open their advent calendars...LEGO, of course.

Once school was over, we baked cookies, decorated the house inside and out to get ready for the arrival of Santa Claus. There is something to be said for a house full of children at Christmas. On the excitement scale, its about a twenty, with everyone hoping for their wish list to be fulfilled and one child in particular, making sure that everyone has the same number of presents. With a houseful of family here on Christmas Day, we enjoyed a turkey and ham dinner, wine and good company. Merry Christmas!

Here are a few memories from our Christmas:
At Port Kells Nursery with Mrs. Claus

Decorating our tree

Shoveling snow

Oliver, our North Pole Scout Elf

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Emily Meredith Turns Two

Oh, where did the time go?

Two years ago on November 7th, Blair and I welcomed our second daughter and third child into our family and life has never been the same.

Emily is a spirited little girl, full of smiles, giggles and hugs. She has changed from a tiny, dependent baby to a wobbly-legged infant, into a toddler running to catch up to her bother and sister and talking a blue streak to anyone who will listen.

She amazes us each and every day with her increasing vocabulary, phrases and ability to do something naughty while looking cute doing it. She is the book-end to our family and I cannot imagine our family without her in it.

To my sweet little girl: I love your smile, your "mad scientist" giggle and the way your green eyes sparkle. I love the feel of your hugs in the morning and the kiss before bedtime. I love the way your hand feels in mine when you need my help and the way you run independently when you don't need my help. I love you forever and for always, my Emily Meredith. Happy 2nd Birthday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Busy Fall and Giving Thanks

My last blog entry focused on leaving summer behind and heading back to work. I can't believe that was almost two months ago. My days are now filled with early mornings, long days with thirty hormonal pre-teens, and afternoons and evenings prepping for the next day. It seems that I am "on the go" from 6:30am til 7:30pm when the kids go to bed. Oh, how I miss summer holidays.

We are in the full swing of fall. My calendar is full of parent meetings, staff meetings, swimming lessons, gymnastics class and soccer practice. There have been a few weeks in which we've had something every night of the week. I am highly "list oriented" and a planner. I write everything down on the calendar, down to our weekly meals. It's the only way I know how to do it without going insane.

 I am lucky to have a great support system around me. Blair is great. He takes off work early on Tuesdays to pick up Nicholas from school and will make dinner a couple of nights a week. My friend, Karleigh picks Nicholas two to three days a week and takes him back to her house until I pick him up. Last, but certainly not least, Doreen provides daycare for Claire and Emily four days a week.

This year, while better than last year's is still a challenging class. It is this year, that I am certain beyond a doubt that I need to leave upper intermediate behind and find a lower grade to teach. I am not "into" putting up with hormonal pre-teens who think they can "talk back" when they don't like something that I am teaching. Now, to find the class. This, I hope will happen next year, when Claire begins Kindergarten at our neighbourhood school. Not only will it be good for my bank account, but more importantly, it will be good for my well-being. Fingers crossed.

Now, for the giving thanks. I am grateful for many things: health and happiness, a loving family and great group of friends and a great love, who calms me when I get crazy amongst the chaos and encourages me when I doubt myself and what I can do. To my family and friends, thank you for helping me navigate the crazy "life in the toddler lane".

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

This is always the first thing that I get my students to talk about when we return to school. I always preface it by saying "Now don't just say, 'I did nothing'. I know that you had to have done something". Well, if you were to ask me what I did on my summer vacation, my answer would seem to be "nothing", I didn't go anywhere, except for two weekends away with extended family. For most of the summer, Blair worked and I stayed home with Nicholas, Claire and Emily. We played in the pool and sprinkler in the back yard, had a few play dates with friends, we went to the Fort Langley Outdoor Pool a handful of times when July was really hot and went to the zoo once.

It was great! As I wrote in a previous post, I was burnt out from the school year and really needed time to relax, reconnect and rejuvenate. And that's exactly what I did. This was the best summer that I've had in a long time. I loved getting up in the morning to the sun instead of an alarm, enjoying a cup of coffee without it being in a travel mug and having it taste stale by the time I got around to drinking it, spending the days with my kids outside or baking with them, reading with them, just being "Mommy", drinking wine at night with Blair because I enjoy a glass of wine, not because I needed to "de-stress" from my day spent amongst thirty hormonal pre-teens.

During quiet time, I started to do something that I haven't done in years, and I do mean years....I started writing again. There was a period of my life when I wrote, and wrote, all the time. I have a chest full of coil ring books full of my writing because I had so many stories and characters waiting to be written. It was something that I loved to do, but it got lost along the way with the busy-ness of life that comes with being a working mom. I got to re-ignite that part of me and this summer I was writing two to three hours a day. It was my "me" time. Something that I had forgotten I needed to do....give myself time to "just be me".

I even joined an on-line fitness challenge group where exercises were emailed to me each day. Thirty days of taking thirty minutes to do exercise to help me get my body back into shape, something I've let fall to the wayside, much like my writing. It was hard work, but I always felt better after doing it. I hope to continue to do some form of exercise, but I know it will have to be "scheduled in" or it won't get done.

Now, as I prepare to go back to work and organize the busy-ness of back to school, I am grieving a bit for the end of summer and what I've had the time to do and what I've found. I'm going to try very hard to carve out time to do something that I love to do every day.So, if my students ask me, "Mrs. King, what did you do on summer vacation?",  I spent time doing things that I love with the people that I love. I had the best summer ever!