Wednesday, December 28, 2016

travelling with kids today was hard

Here is how my Canadian airport security experience went today:  we have to stop halfway to Vancouver (which is a three hour flight) and go through the airport security in Prince George.  The waiting in line through security sucks enough, given that the two kids want to go in separate directions all the time, and the concept of a line up is not something that Daniel gets just yet.  We took off our bag packs, our lunch bags, our computers, our camera, my belt, our coats, and cellphones.  We went through the screening gate, and waited for the stuff to arrive.  The kids hands were swabbed and screened for explosives (yep).  Then my camera was swabbed and screened.  Then my computer was swabbed and screened.  Then, at the very end, the kids bag packs came through, and I forgot that they had two water bottles with some water on the bottom.  The airport security guy told me that I had two choices now, "surrender" the bottles (yes, he really said that) or go back outside, empty them and go through security again.  I thought about how hard it is to get kids water bottles in my home town, and how I really wanted to keep those two, that I had to order off amazon.  I said I would go back out to empty them.  I then noticed that the lineup to security looked about half an hour long, and asked whether I needed to wait in the lineup again.  I was told that of course yes.  I pointed out that my kids were inside the airport already, and was not comfortable leaving them there for so long without me, and they told me that I should take the kids with me in the lineup again.

I got so angry that I lost it.  I told the guy that he is lacking civility and basic courtesy.  I am a travelling mother, with small kids, one of which is 2 and in all reality needs his water bottle as he is still not good at drinking from a cup without spilling.  I was ok with going back out and emptying it, as I knew I could fill it again once inside, but being told that I had to line up for a second time, without much consideration of the fact that the kids are small and would not do well lining up or waiting without me was upsetting.

If anybody wants to feel better about their day, think about me raising my voice in frustration at the airport security guy and asking him directly "do you have any idea what it is like to travel with kids aged 2 and 5?"  Clearly, the answer is no, and knowing that should have given me a hint that the question was going to fall on clueless ears anyway, so the simple fact that I asked it shows my extreme frustration.

They gave me a 1800 number to call and complain, and I left a message on that number with the full story.  Will they ever call me back? who knows.  Gone are the days of "I would like to speak to your supervisor" when something seemed amiss.  Nowadays you get a card with a number to call, where a machine answers and you can leave a message.  NICE JOB, Canadian Airport Security!  Good work making mothers with children feel welcome and supported.  And good job listening to my concerns.  Talking to the machine was very therapeutic.  Thank you!
Ps. I called the 1800 number and was told that that is indeed the correct way, making me line up a second time. Also the CATSA agent confirmed that no concessions are to be made for women travelling with children as far as shortening the lining up time for the little ones. This seems a basic lack of civility to me, but I guess if that is the way it is, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I am going to start by writing short and easy posts about little things that go through my head during the day.  This is a bit like the short, easy runs that someone would start when they first take up running.  It takes a long time for my brain to concoct longer posts, so I am warming up.  If I never get there, that's ok too, but this is a nice place to start, with one or two paragraphs every couple of days.

Winter holiday has started for Emma, who is now in Kindergarten.  Since my daycare lady is off on Tuesday, I ended up taking four whole days off, and it feels like a mini holiday.  Today we had a fully indoors day, since Emma is ill and I do not want to take her outside in the cold.

I realize that I have not had a full day indoors in a VERY long time.  A day in which I do nothing, the kids do nothing, and we watch a whole lot of TV, clean and cook.  It was GREAT.  We did absolutely nothing purposeful the whole day.  Any cleaning that happened was a happy byproduct of my boredom and inability to sit still.  And it was the more exotic variety of cleaning, like pressure steaming the T-fal indoor grill, and vacuuming the inside of the cutlery drawer.

At the end of the day, the house was pretty, it smelled good, it looked lived in and it had a different energy level than it usually does when we all roll in at 6 pm after work and after school activities.  There is something to be said about staying at home versus working:  for me, staying at home has always lead to a cleaner house that smells better, feels warmer and more inviting, and just plain feels lived in by the kids.  I notice that they also feel more "at home", more relaxed, that they explore corners where they do not normally go in the few hours between dinner and bedtime.

I am a working mother, so no, this is in no way a debate for me between staying at home mom versus working mom.  I work because it is the-way-I-do-things.  However, I find it useful to note these little nuances, and maybe indulge in these simple pleasures once in a while: vacuuming at 10 am, watering the plants at noon, looking at little details that make my space more pleasing to the eye, diffusing peppermint essential oil in every corner.  It does not happen often that I can, so when I do, of course I wonder how my life and my kids lives would be different if I did that every day.

What I remember right afterwards, of course, is that I love my work as much as I have loved any hobby, and that I would do it for free most likely.  That it gives a meaning to my existence beyond being a mom and a wife, that I would miss it.

I think I should be able to do both, but until we can create clones of ourselves, we will always have to make choices.  I feel like my choice is clear, but were my job less rewarding, less of a "calling", I would probably have a hard time not being a home body.

Trying to write

I am trying to restart writing.  This has been an ongoing dance for me most of my life: writing and pausing, then writing again, then taking another break.  I don't know why I occasionally let writing fall to the side, in favour of more physical activities, but I think it has to do with the elusive balance that I am striving for in life.

In any case, it is winter now, I am indoors a lot, given that outdoors it is frequently -30 C (that's -22F), so the parks are a bit chilly.  Indoors activities are not as exciting as they sound: knitting, writing, playing piano and preventing my kids from hurting each other with sharp objects.  Therefore, here I am. 

I was debating whether it might be time for me to start another blog.  One day, on a cold outdoors run, I was thinking of calling my new blog "lotsakids".  Not because I have lots of kids, I only have the two, but they sure feel like lots more, most of the time.  However, every time I hit the stats button on this blog, I realize that despite me completely disappearing off the map for several months, people still come here (or maybe it is just automated search engines? I have no idea...but if it is real people, could you just comment something like "hi I am not a machine"for my peace of mind..), so I have a hard time leaving this space. 

So here I start again...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Another bone hits the dust

Just as my life was becoming slightly more routine, with me getting around and doing housework on my iwalk 2.0 and chasing after the kids on my knee scooter, life threw me another curveball.

Emma had soccer camp this morning, so we had a rushed day, trying to get there on time. My knee scooter and the grass are not good friends, but I hopped around reasonably well and got lots of help from the other moms. One of them even took Daniel potty, all of four times that he has to go during the morning session. We came home, and I realized that Emma only had one shoe. I looked everywhere for its pair, and I mean Everywhere, as it is her last pair of runners and she has soccer all week. The previous pair dwindled down to one shoe a few days ago.

Given that I am still non weight bearing on the right foot, my balance is not great. I was carrying two bags and thinking about the shoe, and somehow rested my hand on the garage door hinge. It closed automatically and crushed my middle finger. I tried to turn around to reach the knob, but it took me a while, during which time I felt it. The unmistakeable crack of another broken bone. My middle finger of the right hand.

The nail popped off partially, so I called my husband for help as I was once again in a lot of pain. I went to ER, saw the broken bone and decided that F@ck it, I have nine other fingers and I am not going to let this injury cramp my style. Sure, I cannot have my hand in water anymore for 2 weeks, so there goes kayaking and arms only swimming (at which, I might add, I was becoming pretty good).  Sure, we might get some take out 'cause I suck at doing dishes with one hand. And yeah, it hurts like a miniature bomb exploded in my distal phalanx.

However, my good leg and nine good fingers are going to organize a great birthday party for Emma tomorrow. And, despite everyone else thinking I am crazy, on Thursday I am going to the gym to hit the weights, even if I have to use my elbows.

My friend who watched the kids while I went to ER wondered whether this is God's way of slowing me down.  I know that this is a common belief, that God somehow tries to communicate with us through misfortunes and injuries. I can see the appeal of the thought behind it, that the broken bones are for my own good, to teach me something.  I cannot however believe that God who loves me would choose this method to communicate. Hey, beloved child, I will break your foot to slow you down. Didn't catch my drift? Ok then, let me break your finger next. Still not?  I will break every bone in your body until you get it.

See, it just does not add up to the image of God that I carry in my heart. Can good things come out of my injury? Sure, good things come out of every misfortune. Is my husband emptying the dishwasher regularly? Yes, courtesy of broken bones. Are my kids putting their clothes in the laundry basket? Ditto. However, this is what I think:  bad luck caused me to jump and land at an angle, snapping my foot bone and the ankle ligament.  Thereafter, being injured lead to me needing to hold onto the door frame for balance, which caused my finger to be crushed.

I am a bit worried, yes, and at times wonder what is next in store for me. But as a bonus perk that will come out of this injury, I am going to sharpen my "F@ck it" mindset and concentrate on the remaining limbs in working order that I have left to make the most out of the next month.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

non weight bearing

I asked the surgeon how long I should be non weight bearing (NWB), and he said six weeks.  Then I asked whether he means I can start weight bearing a bit when it feels better, like around four weeks.  "Nope" was the answer.  Then I asked whether I can do some water running, and he said no.  Just do nothing, and don't weight bear.

However, a lot of recovery protocols on the internet allow for some weight bearing after screw insertion, some as early as tolerated.  That of course will keep the ankle joint and the rest of the foot in a better mood to weight bear when time comes.  So, I asked surgeon no 2 whether the NWB protocol is correct, and he said yeah, six weeks.  I guess they are both in the very conservative camp.

I am still having a hard time accepting the six weeks of NWB but I will probably stick to it mostly, and maybe do some 20% partial weight bearing around week five if the foot is completely non painful.

Obviously, as with all losses, I am in the bargaining stage.  I wonder if I can skip straight to acceptance.  In the meantime, my balance on the left leg has improved a lot, I can stand and even briefly sweep the floor with the right leg balanced in the air.  The problem is mostly my right hip, the hamstrings are giving me a hard time, and thank God for MrH that gave me a massage, so that I can move again, because I was so sore that I could hardly sleep last night.  The abnormal body mechanics cause a lot of imbalances.

On Monday, I will be seeing the massage therapist and then the chiropractor.  I am hoping that they can balance me out.  I don't ever go to massage, and only went to the chiropractor once, when my mid back was out of whack after my second pregnancy, probably a sequela of bedrest. It is expensive, but for this injury I think it might be worth a try.

I have noticed that in the US people describe having to pay several thousands for this operation, and hence deciding for the conservative treatment because of attempting to save money.  At least I am happy that in Canada I only have to decide if I can afford the auxiliary treatments, like physiotherapy and massage, but not so much the main therapy that affects the outcome in a significant way.  I can only imagine how difficult it is to mix these important decisions (do I want surgery, or do I want to wait it out in a cast?) with the bank account.

Will update soon.  In the meantime, I am going to dress the kids.  On my butt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Do these crutches make me look fat?

Leave it to me to worry about whether I look good on crutches or not. I take it as a sign that my stress level is improving. When I get stressed, I function on the bare necessities and no more: no make up, basic clothing that is loose and easily washed, limited food choices that require minimal prep. In fact, I undereat as well. I am pretty sure that with the foot ordeal I lost some weight.

Tonight I am developping an infection in my operated foot. It is red and hot and painful. I phoned the surgeon, who said to take antibiotics. I am taking clindamycin and hoping for the best. It is not the first time I develop a post op wound infection, it is the third time, but I am somewhat nervous every time. In the past it has been a brief two day affair, so I am hoping that it will be better by tomorrow.

Anyway, back to how to look good on crutches. I think crutches can be an awesome accessory, and they go well with an oversized accent piece such as a cast on the right foot. Make sure to hold head up high and walk straight and with good posture.  It might interfere with your balance and with scanning the ground for potholes, but looking good is important. Also, do not forget to wear a great heeled shoe on the left foot. So what if it makes hobbling difficult? Looks are important (see above).

Good luck and be chic ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

surgery done

I had my surgery yesterday.  It was done in Prince George, which is a long way from home, but it is the closest place where I could get in quickly.  I had a screw placed in my fifth metatarsal to keep the bones together.  Today I am resting with my foot up to help with the swelling, and finally I have time to blog a little.

I must say, it is always interesting trying to answer the questions of the anesthesiologist about my otherwise medical history.  I have had so many things happen to me, that I feel if I were to disclose them all, he would kind of blank out and think I am either crazy or overly dramatic.  So I am always giving people the abbreviated version:  I had a few abdominal surgeries, all for obstetrical or gyne reasons, lost the uterus, some blood transfusions, and a pneumothorax after one of my surgeries.  This is as abbreviated as I could get the past eight years of my life.

The surgeon informed me that I cannot put the foot down at all, except to lightly rest it on the ground, for the next six weeks.  Likewise, I cannot drive, given that it is my right foot that is in the Aircast boot.  Given these limitations, it is weird to me that people think I am still able to work.  I have to drive back and forth to the hospital to deal with emergencies.  Not to mention that putting casts on people while on crutches is a bit hard too.

Given that I did not work when I was pregnant, from about 20 weeks until the babies were 5 months old, I already know that six weeks is a very short time to take off, and that the world can cope very well without me.  I am not indispensable.  Therefore I am taking off, and keeping my foot safe from harm.

I wonder if I really can run on it in the future.  It has a big a** screw inside my fifth metatarsal, and I just cannot visualize how I can put the pressure of running 20 km on a bionic foot without breaking something.  The surgeon did say that I can remove the screw if I want to, and it is a simple procedure, so hopefully once it is healed, this fifth metatarsal will disappear from my conscious awareness, the same as the other 205 bones in my body.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

broken foot

OMG it has been a long time since I have posted.

July 1st we went on a family holiday, that lasted exactly 13 days, until I broke my foot.  It was a wonderful holiday though, I am not complaining, and I am hoping to do the same itinerary next year, when the kids are older and my foot is better.  We drove from Northern Town where we live, to Jasper and Banff, in the beautiful national park setting where the mountains and the lakes are breathtaking.  We then went to the Okanagan Valley and swam in the warm Skaha lake.  We ended the trip in Vancouver, when I broke my foot on our first day of attempting to sail on the Pacific.  I wrote the story down for a potential submission to a cruising magazine, so if I do not submit it, then I will post it here.

I have a Jones' fracture, that is a fracture of the fifth metatarsal (outer area of the right foot).  It is a bad area for healing, both because of the blood supply being poor, and because of the strong tendons that pull on the outer area of the foot.  Runners tend to heal poorly too because of high rates of re-fracture.  So, I have chosen to have a screw inserted.  It will be done in two days.  In the meantime, I am hobbling on crutches, and will have to do so for the next six weeks.  I have an Air Cast boot on, and cannot say that life is as easy as it was three days ago.

I must say, though, that compared to being on bedrest, this situation is 100% better.  The major downsides are the blisters I am getting on my torso from the crutches, and the fact that my left leg is pretty sore from all the hopping.  I feel like I have done 2000 single leg squats today.  My arms are feeling the love as well.  I think the term MAN ARMS is going to be pretty suitable soon.

So I thought that the hardest part about this situation was not being able to run.  Boy, was I wrong.  The hardest part is that I cannot pick up Daniel.  That means that I cannot take him away from the place he is choosing to have a tantrum in public.  Like the restaurant the other day, where he decided to lie down in the middle between the tables (where unsuspecting innocent people were eating) and kick the ground while screaming.  I have tried to talk him out of it, but we all know how that goes.  I picked him up, but he struggled some more, and I had to put him down because I can only do so much on one foot.  I asked one of the waitresses to help me take him outside, but she said she is not comfortable because he is so upset.  I then asked for a phone to call my husband, but the phone was behind the counter.  She let me call on her cell phone, but he did not answer, so in the end, the restaurant manager picked him up and helped me by carrying him down to the marina, where the boat was.  I have cried so much that it was embarrassing.  I have never felt that I have failed as hard at this parenting gig as that day.

That was two days ago.  I now have realized that I can fail in many more ways:  cannot chase after him to change his diaper, cannot keep up with him when he runs away, cannot (yet) cook food or go shopping for food for the kids or myself, and cannot force him to put a seat belt on the way I used to when he refuses.  Hence, for the next six weeks, I don't actually know if I can take him anywhere safely, unless my husband or a friend can come along.  Which is a bit difficult because it is summer and we all like to be outside.  I am hoping that he will adapt, and that things will improve a bit with his attitude as well, but he is a strong willed 2 year old that wants to have his way or he gets mad.

By the time I am out of this cast, it will be snowing.  That is the part that probably sucks the most.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I got the kids a doll house, since they never had one, and I think Emma might be old enough to enjoy pretend play of this nature.  It is this one as it is the only one available in our town.

Anyway, instead of playing with the house, the most interesting part of the day for them was playing with the wrapping paper that the doll furniture came in.  Probably because it took me three hours to assemble the darn thing.  It did not help that I did it completely wrong the first time and had to take it apart, screws and all.

Here is Emma, pretending to be Cinderella, with a paper bag on her head.  In the background, her brother is eating watermelon in his high chair, and is upset that he is not being photographed.  Hence he got photographed as well, watermelon and all.

In addition, my hubby bought me a quad that everybody got very excited about.  The excitement had nothing to do with the actual quad, but rather with the goggles that one wears while riding it.
Emma is into playing "baby" so she likes to suck on a soother, which greatly enhances her charm and beauty.

I am off to bed.  It is late and I am so tired.  I ran 17 km today, of which the last 5 km were a high school fundraiser race, so rather faster than I would have liked to.  Next week we are supposed to be running a half marathon, just for fun (not an actual race, mind you, because we cannot afford to go to the Vancouver BMO Marathon on May 1 so we will just pretend we are there).   I will try to find some medal substitutes at the dollar store too :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

a new project

I have precious little time nowadays, but I would like to try a new project that might motivate me to take more photos of the kids:  for the next few months (i.e over the summer) I would like to take some photos of the kids or anything else that is interesting and post them on the blog, along with a paragraph of writing.  It is not much, but I would like to do it daily or at least every other day if possible.  Kind of like project 365 but with some writing, and not quite 365 because I am not that disciplined.

Speaking of discipline, I was swimming tonight in my adult swim class (it is a bit like master's swim club) and complained to the ladies that I did not feel like coming to the pool at 7 pm.  In fact, I almost never do, as it is late and I am tired, and the workouts are hard.  Another lady who teaches Physical Education at the local high school (and is very fit, and has two kids around the same ages as mine) said that once something is in her schedule, like this class, there is no possible option to skip it.  I drew a blank there.  I rewrite my schedule every five minutes.  In fact, I hardly have a schedule at all, other than the various classes that Emma and I go to, and work, and her preschool.  That is about it.  It is pretty hectic as it is though, and I would love to simplify it somewhat.  If I feel overwhelmed on some days, I definitely "rewrite" the schedule on the spot and scrap the class.

I guess that is why this lady is a lot faster in the pool (and, incidentally, on the running track) than I am.  Oh well.  Mental sanity comes first, and I am not as resilient as some other iron ladies.

So, on with today's pictures we go:  

The kids decided to play "explorer" in the  morning, at 7 am.  They woke up, had a shower and a bath (my kids like to wash, what can I say) and then Emma decided that they must put on hats and "explore".  She gathered some things that she felt that explorers must have in their purse, like my measuring tape, and my lipstick, and my Hermes vintage watch (tsk tsk, I took that one back) and went on gathering bird feathers as part of a great exploration project. 

I love them so much!  and they are a great team lately, playing all sorts of pretend games that I think might be the focus of my future photography. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Daniel is two!

My little man has turned two!  My, how time flies around here!
I don't remember time going quite so fast with Emma.  I feel like this time around, I have missed a lot of his growing up.  Or maybe I just don't remember it.  With Emma, I felt like her baby stage lasted a long time, a very enjoyable time that I almost felt was permanent.  With Daniel, one moment he was a baby, and then he wasn't.

That being said, he is happy and healthy, and that is what really matters.  I divide my attention between two kids, so I probably spread myself thinner than I was when Emma was the only slice of bread.  He is talking up a storm, and has started having fewer tantrums, particularly since we went on holidays last month.  Spending all that time together as a family was good for us all, and brought us so much closer together.  I loved the all inclusive aspect of no cooking and no dishes too :)

As soon as we got back, the nanny was no longer available for a short while, and I put the kids in daycare.  They loved it, so we stayed with the daycare and I gave the nanny a generous severance allowance.  She was very good for us while we needed her, but at the moment Daniel needs stimulation, and he is thriving in the new environment.

Summer has come in our neck of the woods, i.e. although there is still a thick layer of snow on the ground, it will be gone next week, and the week after, although it will snow again, it probably will be short lived.  In another week, the trees will start budding leaves, and three days later they will look like they do all summer long, green and lush.  Half a day later the mosquitoes will appear, and five minutes later the sun will be up until midnight (so called midnight, but not quite night anymore).  The birds will be back, and the bears will wake up.  And then I won't be able to run in the forest anymore without my 1 lb bear spray banging into my thigh.  It will be a small price to pay for shedding the four layers of clothing for one simple tank top.

This weekend we are having a small birthday party for Daniel.  Both kids are getting their bicycles (if the local bike shop manages to order them in by then), and he is also getting a bag pack and a lunch box for daycare.  I am much more relaxed about kids' birthday parties.  I used to make everything from scratch, and now I buy hot dogs and order a cake and we have a good time anyway.  Much less stress, and less opportunity to lick icing, all of which should help my mental sanity.

As I am getting older, I find that I accept things as they are much more often.  I have less to prove, less to worry about.  I take life as it is, and try to learn from mistakes and move on.  I enjoy the moments of peace and closeness, without worrying much about what comes next.  I like being older.

Hopefully Daniel does too! Happy birthday dear sweet little man!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Adrian-January 2, 2010

My little man,
You are very loved.  I will never forget you.  I have lived my life fully, just like I promised I would.  Your sister would love you to bits.  Your brother would be so happy to follow you around and to play with you.  Your daddy and I love you and are very happy that you came into our lives.

So sad you are not here, but so full of love for you.
May you rest in peace, my love,