Saturday, April 25, 2015

pictures of the day

 Kalli loves bubbles...
Benny loves tractors!

Friday, April 24, 2015

emissions test...and some change

Our van. 
We bought it used with low kms, and it's now got 310,000 kms under it's belt, among other little problems. 
It doesn't owe us anything. We haven't had to do any repairs, aside from some new tires a few years back. 
Last week, it was time to do the dreaded emissions test before we could renew our plates. 
Crap. 
Multiple codes were popping up on the reader before we even attempted the test, and clearing the codes wasn't working. 
Matt scheduled an appointment at a shop to get it all fixed up to pass the test, and they quoted us at about $500. 
Yuck. 
But, it's better than shelling out a bunch more for another (new to us) van. 
Matt took it home, and did some more investigating, and it turned out to be all electrical. Some of the wires above the dash were very corroded and causing all of the codes! 
He did some magic, and replaced a small $30 part, and the codes were gone. 
He brought the van back to the shop for our scheduled service appointment, and they didn't know what he did to fix it. 
Kind of scary that they were going to charge us so much money to fix something that wasn't even broken!

After passing the e-test, Matt called me up and said he was so excited that it was a much cheaper day than he thought, so he decided to replace our radio in the van. He found one on clearance, and came home to install it right away. 

Turns out, the reason our CD player stopped working about two and half years ago, is because some little trouble maker (I'm guessing Hailey) was using it as a money bank. 
The ashtray was full of coins again after taking it apart. That explains it.

Two mysteries solved in one day. 
We're on a roll!
 :)
 
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

date night!

Date nights don't happen much. 
Actually, they happen about three times a year - our birthdays, and Anniversary. 
This night was my birthday date! 
Matt took me shopping and out for dinner and dessert. 
My mom and dad watched the kids for us, and we were able to take our time. 

He didn't give me a birthday gift, because he wanted to get me a fancy lens for my camera, that had an even fancier price tag. 
I didn't let him get it. 
 Instead, he took me to the camera store and we would look together for some accessories. 

Turns out, he ordered me that fancy lens anyway!
What a guy. 

After we shopped, we went to eat, and then got a couple groceries. I couldn't help but grab a couple things for the kids while we were out, and then we stopped again for dessert!
 Oh boy. 
We ate more than we could handle. 
:)
This is the best shot of us we could mange to get. 
We tried! 
I'm thankful for our few and far between date nights! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

the wake up kiss

 Ben is such a riot. 
He's so happy, all the time, and loves playing. If the girls are laughing at something he starts this extremely fake, and over-the-top laugh that makes everyone laugh even harder. Even if he has no idea what they're laughing at!
I wish I could just sit around all day and document every second of every day. These pictures were five minutes of watching. Ben and Matt were playing while Matt was trying to just relax and try to get a little cat nap in. Here's when he {tried} to close his eyes. 
Ben kept kissing him and kissing him until he got back up. It was pretty funny.
This little boy has us all completely wrapped around his finger.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

food intolerance test

Hanna's reflux flared back up for a few days, and it really worried us. We're always afraid of the unknown with this kid. Who knows what her little body is doing in there, where we can't see. It's scary. 

She's been off her Prevacid now for almost a year, so what a disappointment when she started getting sick again. The amount that comes out of her little body is frightening.
But.
We do what we can. And I feel good knowing that we're doing everything we can to figure her out. 
It came to our attention that there's a test available for testing for food intolerances. (Thanks Uncle Dave!) 
It's not an allergy test, but an intolerance test. Just a blood test. 
A doctor has to give permission to have the test done, so I brought Hanna in to see our family doctor. He recommended a different test. One that doesn't just test the foods, but tests the chemicals and additives in the foods as well. I think this is where Hanna's problem lies, so there was no question whether to have this test done or not.
We got her in the same day, and she was rockstar with the blood test. Now, we just wait. We'll hear from them in about a week, and depending on what the results show, we will start working with her doctor to get her on the right vitamins, supplements, or medications depending on what kind of foods have to be eliminated or prepared differently. 
I'm praying for the results to show something.

Cross your fingers that this gives us some answers!  
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

dirt dont hurt

He just looked so cute in the duck pen, playing with the bunny, so I grabbed the camera. He walked over to the oh so nasty duck water, and I said to him "What are you doing...??" and he gave me this face. 
Looks like trouble to me...
Oh yeah. 
There it is. 
Why, Benny!
Why? 
:)

Friday, April 10, 2015

eight

Eight years ago today we welcomed Gracie Lynn into our lives. 
It was the best day. Our lives changed so much in that instant, and every night I thank God for giving me such an amazing little girl to have in our lives. 
 She's the most caring, and thoughtful kid I know. 
She's never just thinking of herself.
 She's extremely goofy, and has a hilarious sense of humour. She's always coming up with riddles, or jokes, and always making us laugh.
 She is wise beyond her years. Some days I feel like she has an old soul. She thinks alot about everything going on around her, and has always acted very mature for her age.
 At the same time though, she's still very young at heart. She's gullible, and trusts that what she's being told is the truth. 
Bubbles are her favourite thing to do outside, and she collects, collects, collects! She collects anything that she thinks is "rare" or very "unique".
She's a good girl.
 Some days she'd rather draw by herself, or make up a game to play with props and everything instead of playing with her sisters. Of course they're all invited to play when she's done, but she enjoys the planning, putting things together, and coming up with all of the genius ideas all on her own.
 She's extremely sensitive. 
She takes friendships very seriously, and nothing breaks her heart more than knowing she's disappointed someone.
 
 She's a very grateful kid. 
She is always the first to thank us after a day out, or after dinner, and even appreciates just a sunny day. 
She loves life.
Her prayers every night include thanking God for the sun to light our days. (This is a prime example of where the old soul comes in.)

 She had a great today, and got calls from family, and even got to go shopping with my mom. Just the two of them. What a treat!
She deserves it.
 We made her wait until after dinner to open her gift from us, and boy, was it painful for her to wait!
 After opening up a strap first, then some picks, and lastly some strings...
 We revealed a new guitar! 
Like, a real guitar. A nice one. 
She is so excited, and Matt has been at it teaching her the ways since she opened it. 
 Happy Birthday sweet, sweet girl. 
We love you!! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

what a cold

We had a cold go around the house, that only seemed to target the kids. Hailey started with it, and passed it to Hanna, who then passed it to Gracie and Ben. 
Gracie and Ben seemed to get the brunt of it. The fever hung around for almost 3 days, only letting up while on Tylenol. 
Gracie was happy to hang out, be lazy, and let it pass, but poor Ben was not happy - at all. 

He spent most of the past 2 days sleeping, which isn't like him at all. 
Although the fever was gone, he still obviously wasn't right. 

Today, he woke up happy. 
Very happy! He responded with a big "yeah!" and smile when I asked him if he wanted to eat breakfast. 
I think he's the cutest little thing when he wakes up. 
I don't know if it's the sleepy eyes, or the messy hair, or his big plump lips, but man, the kid is cute!
 I'm glad everyone's back to normal! 
I will also mention that I always forget how big of a help Gracie is until she's on sick leave. 
Don't know what I'd do without her.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

W Ross Education Consultaion

Today Matt and I took Hanna to the CNIB office to have a meeting with Lanna, a specialty teacher from W Ross School for the Blind. Last year we met with her, and she had some pretty interesting things to say and it was very helpful to me, giving me teaching technique ideas for home. When we had the opportunity to meet her again, I jumped at it.
Today, it was very informative as well. 
Hanna's braille teacher, Maryse, has been working with her for some time now, and we have a morning routine that we've gotten pretty comfortable with, going with all of the instruction from Maryse. 
Turns out though, Maryse has been going about it the wrong way. She usually works with adults, and older kids, and so her teaching methods are different. She's been teaching it in a way that includes print. So, for example, her spelling words are printed onto a sheet of paper nice and big, and then we braille over the words so Hanna has exposure to both at the same time. I would assume that this is the best way to go about it too. Maryse is also blind, so she obviously was trying to teach Hanna the best way she thought to teach it.
Turns out, teaching it that way is going to slow her down because instead of learning the shapes of the braille letters, she's memorizing the number dots and counting the dots and placement of dots of each letter. Sounds pretty time-consuming. 
Totally makes sense to me now, and we will be changing our routine now to teach braille in a totally new way. I have to do everything I can to not let her look at the braille letters/words. We will work on print letters and words in the mornings, and then when she gets visually fatigued, we will move onto the braille lesson so she wont want to use her vision.

We also learned today that large print (size 20-24 font) is too small for her. At that size, she has to bring her face so close to the paper (her nose literally touches it) to even make it out, so reading comfortably, for any length of time, likely wont happen. Any documents, or stories will definitely be in braille for her.

I may be able to borrow equipment or textbooks from the company who supplies W Ross, which is so great to know as well! 
Lanna was impressed with Hanna's printing, and her braille writing. Her concept development isn't a question anymore, and now we're full-fledged literacy bound! It's an exciting time! Hanna has her work cut out for her, but we all know she will do great! She always does.
 

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.