Friday, March 27, 2015

Piano!

Hanna loves her piano lessons. She looks forward to it all week long, and she's really doing great! She has a great ear for it, and even tries to learn songs on her own. 
She came home from working with my mom one day and couldn't wait to show us that they turned "Twinkle Twinkle" into "The Alphabet Song". 
I asked her to play it for me again so I could take video and show all of my friends, and she said "I'm too shy for that!" 
But, I talked her into it. 
Enjoy!
video

Sunday, March 15, 2015

at the zoo

My girlfriend, Crystal and her husband Jim surprised Matt and I with a full year family membership to one of the local zoos. 
It was such a nice surprise, and I'm still trying to figure out what makes us so special to get such a nice gift! 
It was so greatly appreciated though, and we will make great use of it this year. 
We decided to go with them for our first time in years, and it was a perfect day for it. 
It was about 45 degrees and the sun was shining. This meant the animals were active too! 
 First thing we did was hit up the butterfly sanctuary. It was nice and warm in there while we waited for the sun. :)





 Everyone loved the underwater exhibit. We got to watch the seals swim over us. The polar bear was hanging out in the sun, so we missed him swimming around.





 Hanna loved the giraffes. She got a nice good look at them. Probably the only animal she really saw all day. 
They were active and there was even a baby.
 Gracie and Makayla.
 Juice boxes are such a treat!
 The giant wagon really came in handy. We could fit four kids in it at a time, or haul around coats and bags if the kids wanted to walk. It worked out well.
 Hailey was "tying Makayla's shoe".
 These three walked around hand-in-hand all day. So darn cute.
 Ben didn't quite make it to see the penguins or the reptiles. 

We had a great day. The last time we were at a zoo was when Hanna first started to be seen at SickKids, and we needed a distraction. Gracie was the only one who even remembered it, so this was a perfect day. Especially because there was absolutely no other reason to go, than just wanting to.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

potty training #4

I've been putting off potty training my Benny. 
He's my baby. My last one. 
(Unless the big man upstairs has other plans) 
But it's hard. No more diapers...
We're officially on our way out of the "baby stage". 
It's kind of a sad day...
But at the same time, exciting!
We're now on day 2. He's had no accidents today, and he's doing great! 
By the time his birthday comes in May, he'll be a pro. 
He looks pretty cute in his little briefs, and I know he's much more comfortable.
Gracie's quite the helper too. 
  He's such a big boy now. :(

Monday, March 9, 2015

goodnight kisses

Probably my favourite thing that little Benny does is the very last thing of the day. 
He comes into the girls' room so we can all read a story, and then helps me tuck everyone in. 
He starts on the bottom with Hanna and Hailey by climbing right on top of them and giving a huge, right-on-the-lips smooch. 
He leaves Gracie for last because she's the most work. This is my favourite part. 
I made sure I had the camera handy this time, to capture it. 
This one's a keeper.
 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

things

There's a lot of exciting things happening right now. 
To start off, Hanna is starting to read. 
YAY!
I've been struggling with her in school. She's a smart little thing, but her attention is horrible. Unless, I find things that are completely interesting and fun, she gives me a hard time. This is like most kids her age, so I'm not surprised. It just makes things a bit harder not knowing what the kid can see! She may not be enjoying something because she's working to hard to see it. It's frustrating.  
I thought of everything under the sun to help her with phonics. She didn't enjoy anything I did! Then I saw a nice sale on Hooked on Phonics. What the heck. I'm willing to try anything.
First, know that I am in no way writing a review or adding affiliate links to this post. This is purely my own experience with the program. 
It. Is. Awesome. 
I bought the kit that starts at preschool and goes up to grade 2. 
Gracie has been using the grade 2 kit and Hanna has been using the kindergarten. We've only done one lesson, and she's reading every "at" word thrown at her. 
She loves watching the DVD and it's so vision-friendly for her. 
The work book is a little small for her to read, so I'll have to start magnifying it for her. The huge deal though is that she loves it! 
She asks to do "Hooked on phonics. Learn to read!" every morning. That alone, makes it worth every penny. 
Half the struggle is finding something that will work for her. Seeing results is the rest, and we're even seeing results. 
I'm thrilled beyond words. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spring is just around the corner. 
We're  looking forward to spring this year. I'm especially excited because I've found a new hobby. Beekeeping! 
My hives are on the way as I type this, and I'm pumped. The kids will definitely be involved, and I'm looking forward to it being educational for all of us along with gardening, since the two work together. I have some great things planned. Also, who can resist a bunch of adorable kids selling honey at the road? I'm seeing dollar signs for the kiddos. ;)
We also have some small renovation plans for the house, and we're trying to figure out long term plans for the other house. The tenants in there now gave us a scare, but we're figuring it out, and we're going to propose something to them that may or may not work out. We'll see.
We'd love to just sell the place, and carry on with the plans we have for our forever home. We have some big plans. Big dreams. Not sure they will ever happen, but selling that darn house will be a start!
Spring also means that soon it will be time to clean out the animal enclosure and let them free to run around! We've had such a cold winter. We had to bring in bales of straw just to block the wind and make sure they survived the season. It got to the point that I was moving around frozen solid bales of straw and hay. I can't even estimate how much they weighed, but it was horrible. Matt has taken over animal duty until the spring because it got so hard for me. The season isn't over yet, but we're starting to get a few days that are only a couple degrees below freezing, as opposed to a few nights of a windchill of almost -40 with average temp of -12 degrees celcius (about 10 degrees F) in February. It's a nice break from worrying that they wont survive the night.
We've had pipes burst under the house as a result of the bitter cold as well. It's been quite the winter ride! 
We're enjoying it though, and will appreciate the warmer temps when they start to stick around! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

ocular update

So, even before going to the optometrist, we decided to cancel Hanna's EUA at SickKids. 
She (receptionist)  didn't even make me question our decision, and instead told us to call them when we're ready for it. 
Awesome. 
You know what? I was so thrilled that we didn't have to bother Hanna with appointments and travel to SickKids this year. It's an entire year free until next May when we go for her cardiology check up and ECHO. 
I was so happy to cancel this EUA. It's just not necessary right now. 

Gracie and Hanna were both due for their eye checkup, and Matt was able to come this time because my mom offered to watch the two youngest. I was happy to have him come for once. 
Gracie did well. She's a little farsighted, which is normal for kids, but she's a little more than average. We'll cross that road when it's necessary. Right now it's not. 

Hanna did awesome. He got a great look into both eyes. Her "good" eye is the right one. If you remember, they basically wrote off her left eye. He got the best look in the left eye this time and said everything looks the same. Great news.
The right eye he said doesn't even have the same "stalks" in it as the left. These stalks are what makes the retinal detachment risk so great, so if they're not even as big of a concern in her good eye, that is awesome news!! 
He was going to try his retina cam this time, but the machine was down. Darnit! 
Next time we'll do it and hopefully get some good images. 

He did tell us that he would continue to put off the EUA as well, if it was his decision. He's keeping an eye on her and can see that nothing is a concern right now. If something changes, then he will get us rushed into SickKids to see what can be done. It's the best route to take. He takes great care of Hanna, and I trust that nothing more is necessary at this point. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

this is one result

...of Ben's constant chair maneuvering.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

sneaky

After giving Ben heck over and over for bringing a chair to the counter and going after the goodies up there, he waited until he thought the coast was clear, and proceeded to do the army crawl into the kitchen to attempt it again. 
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

EUA, or not?

I got a call yesterday from the Eye Clinic at SickKids. They have Hanna booked in the operating room for March 13 to have an eye exam under anesthesia (EUA) done.
I kept the appointment. 
For now. 
We also have an appointment with our optometrist this Monday. 
He has a technology in his office that allows him to see the retina with great detail, as long as Hanna is still enough. Her nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) could make it a little difficult, but I'm hoping for the best. 
Our plan is to see what kind of images he can get first, and go from there, and decide whether or not to proceed with the EUA. We could even just post-pone it.
I'm a fan of leaving well enough alone. I'm so afraid of them disrupting something that is fine right now. 
We'll see, and I'll stay posted.

Monday, February 23, 2015

picture of the day

Someone's happy to have his daddy home.

Friday, February 20, 2015

my ben

My beautiful boy. 
 He is so good. So pleasant. 
And I'm not just saying that because he's mine. 
He seriously is the happiest kid. 
He just goes with the flow...
 If he's crabby, you know he needs something, or something isn't right. 
He says "heeey!" if you take something away that he shouldn't have. 
And if you tell him not to do something, he responds with "why?!"
 I think one of my favourite times is when he first wakes up after his nap. That's when all these photos were taken. I wanted to capture his messy hair and sleepy eyes. 
He's wakes up happy, and ready to run. 
If I get a chance to sit down, he comes over and jumps right into my lap, makes himself comfortable, and grabs my face and presses my cheek against his. Usually with a sweet little smile and a "mum." as if he's making sure I know that he reserved the spot and no one was allowed to join us.
He is a handful, and gets into everything. He pulls around furniture to get on top of things, and I've once had a kitchen chair pulled into the bathroom because he thought he was going to brush his teeth.
I think his mouth is made up entirely of sweet teeth.  (While we're on the subject of teeth.)
He's climbed into my bed with chocolate more times than I can count, with most of those times being the result of sneaking it out of the cupboard. 
He knows his "peet" (please) and "dat you"s (thanks yous) and he knows how to win over everyone around him. 
I think this little man is definitely a keeper.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

sledding!

 Lately, we've been lucky enough to get lots of snow and it's even sticking around with more and more coming down to keep it nice and fluffy.
 We're very spoiled, and have our (almost) very own sledding hill, basically in our backyard!
 This year is perfect for all of us to sled. I'm not expecting a baby, and there's no tiny babies anymore. Everyone is capable, and everyone loves it!
 This was Ben's first time on a sled, and he had such a blast! He would've been happy to go down right from the top, but I kept him only a few feet from the bottom. 
 Hailey was very cautious. She wanted to stay half-way up, because it was going to fast for her. I was happy with that. 
Hanna was thrilled to be able to go all the way down this year! She was happy as long as the snow didn't come up and get her in the face. She quickly learned that if she kept her feet up, no snow would fly.
 We were lucky to have some mild days for sledding, so we took advantage of those days and stayed out as long as we could.
 Now, we're stuck in the house. Frigid temps and record breaking wind chills have lead to cabin fever. We can't wait to get back out. 
Ritz was actually stuck to the ground the other day because of the cold. His belly was stuck and we had to pour hot water under him to get him up. He's okay though. I think he learned his lesson and will be staying in his hut from now on!
 
We're loving this winter. 
Matt's shut down has begun, so it will be nice to have a warm up so we can tackle some outdoor jobs, although I'm not wishing time away. I'm just enjoying every day and looking forward to the ones to come.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

poor ritz

 Poor guy is lonely since Triscuit was killed. I feel bad for him. I'm completely sold on the idea of getting him some ducklings in the Spring, but for now, we just love him. Today he was very happy to sit with Gracie for a little while out of the pen. I've been nervous to take him out, and honestly, I think he's nervous too. Gracie lost her handle on him at one point, and he went right back into the pen. At least I know he wont try to take off. I think he's just happy to be with us at this point, and hopefully is getting enough activity with the cats.
I'm looking forward to the Spring when he can come out and hang in the yard with the kids. 
I really do recommend ducks as pets. They are very loyal! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

cruise. wait...what?!

Yeah. 
A cruise! 
From my mother. 
My mom treated Kristyn, Michelle, and myself, to an all inclusive cruise to the Bahamas. 
Although, it would've been much better if she came with us, we had a great time. 
I got a few photos, but I enjoyed the laziness so much, I barely even lifted my camera from my bag. 
 In the airport we had a bagel and a coffee. 
And didn't have to share it.
 We also had margaritas. 
At 8 am. 
My dad's advice. :)
 On the plane!
 On the ship! 
Everyone looked at us like we were aliens when we left our rooms in our robes. We figured it was easier than bringing towels...
Canadian thing, maybe.
:)
 Hot tub all to ourselves on the first night! Nothing beats that!
 Ah. 
Nothing to see, but the sea.
 This is where we parked ourselves. On the top of the ship with nothing but the sunshine.
 Yeah...the robe thing. They even wanted our picture...
Told us to pose "sassy" and later called us "the spice girls" 
 So weird.
 I needed a photo of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head for the kids.
 Bahamas. 
 Pretty water.
 Not so pretty dancer...
And honestly, a very scary straw market. 
A woman actually grabbed my hand as I was walking by and tied a bracelet onto my wrist telling me it was a souvenir. She didn't let me go demanding I give her at least a $5 tip. She got her 5 bucks and I ran. Kristyn and Michelle were also victims to this woman. 
Ugh. We all had mini meltdowns once we finally got to the beach. I've never felt so unsafe in my life.
 Check out his head phones!

 Our ship!
 Elegant night on the ship! Of course no photo of me...
You'll have to imagine how beautiful I looked. Ha Ha. 
 We needed a drink in the sky photo. Of course.

 Our car rental after returning to Florida. We had a whole day to just wander around.
 We found some gators.
 And pretty scenery.

 And got off the airplane to find our car like this. 

We did a lot of hanging out. We sat in the sun, and just took advantage of having nothing to do. We sang some karaoke one night, and enjoyed all of our meals being ready whenever we wanted them. I felt pretty spoiled.
It was an amazing trip with my sisters, and I'm so thankful we were able to do it. 
Even more thankful to my parents for sending us.
I still wish you came Mom, but I hope you know how much we appreciated the break, and the sun, and mostly, the thought.  
I never expected to ever be able to do something like this, and it was a trip that I will never forget.