Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My little girl is two

Another year has passed and you are still my favorite little girl in the whole entire universe. You are full of life and the definition of feisty, which you already know is very cute on a girl, especially one in striped tights. You greet me every evening at the door with a toy or two as welcome gifts, and you run around saying "momma" and trying to show me everything that you lay your eyes on, excited to share your discoveries with me. You started daycare in September and are already running the place, having wrapped several of the teachers around your tiny pink fingers. You love bugs, and bananas, and your daddy, although maybe not in that order. You have games of chase with your brother in which you catch him and drag him to the ground with a bear hug, and you've finally started speaking and when we hand you things we now hear a melodic little "thank you" that makes us smile. You are perfect in every way and I cannot imagine my life without you in it, especially when you hug me with your whole body and I melt from sheer joy. You are the best treat I ever got on Halloween - Momma loves you Nomi-noo, happy birthday!

tree

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

and now you are 4

Well you blink and another year has gone by! How is it possible that you are 4? I still remember feeling your little kicks, and how you used to put your hand over your head and tickle me under the ribcage before you were born. I had no idea what to expect back then, I didn't know that you were a boy, that you would show up three weeks early, that you would charm the nurses into holding you all night long, that you could make sleep deprivation so lovely, that you hate bananas, that you love cake, that you would become such a great big brother, that you won't wear anything that we haven't pitched as a superhero costume, that you would ever stop requesting The Wiggles, that you would love music, and animals, and swimming, potato chips, and your Buddy as much as you do, that everyone you meet is still charmed and drawn to your beautiful, gentle, nature, and I had no idea that I could love one person so incredibly much. You are my favorite little boy in the whole, wide world. Happy birthday Booboo!
Love, Momma
Momma & Ben

Thursday, July 12, 2007

countdown to party 4 Ben

It's Ben's fourth birthday party this Saturday and it's going to be a blast! We handed out invitations to the kids in his daycare group and no one got back to us, until two days ago. I figured that everyone was busy or on vacation so I could just get back to planning for the usual guests, but now we have a bonified kid's party, and I'm suddenly wondering if I have what it takes to impress a 4 year old. That seems kinda pathetic. We're doing a superman/hero theme. I'm making a superman cake, we have party favours, etc. I am making capes for all the kids (there will be 7 guests + Ben + his sister). Steve is handling the games and general child herding. In the happy fog that I was in because I was so happy that Ben would have his friends there, I completely forgot that this would also mean at least one adult per friend, maybe two if they had nothing else to do. With the usual suspects, family members, kids, and their parents, we're now up over 30. I need to make a bigger cake and pray it doesn't rain because we'll never get that many people in our house.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Worst kept secret in the world

One of the big articles advertised on the cover of Cosmo this month is "Secrets of Male Arousal".
They're kidding, right?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

It's 5:30 and I've just had a chance to post! Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes - you rawk the casbah :-)
I've been spoiled rotten and had to sit through the first of four days of TCP/IP training - all in all, I think that evens out.
Highlight of party this weekend: my cool friends who came to celebrate with me, awesome gifties, and cupcakes decorated with little Daniel Craigs - my husband is the best (but that doesn't mean he gets Willow or Veronica Mars cakes :-)
Smoochies and love to you all,
Dina

Friday, June 08, 2007

ADD in the afternoon

I am having the worst time concentrating today. For the first time in a week we have sunshine outside and it's hot enough to be sleeveless. I went out at lunch, but that just convinced me that I should be outside and not inside trying to wrap my head around access networks. Ben is getting on with his therapist, Sarah, and today he will meet the therapist who will work with him Wednesdays and Saturdays. I think that he will start appreciating his Sundays a little more with all the work he's going to be doing. Mornings have been a bit rough, he's had a freakout on the way to the daycare or just after we get there every day this week. I think that it's just because he has to adapt to a new schedule, so he's extra sensitive to transitions. Luckily after he's at the daycare he seems to have very productive mornings. Today was his shadow's birthday and I made chai cupcakes for the adults and a chocolate cake for the kids. The ladies at the daycare also bought a cake for Bea and there's another birthday cake for one of the kids this afternoon. Those kids are going to be so strung up on sugar by 5.
We have a lot of party prep to do tomorrow and Ben has a party for one of his classmates. This is his second party and it's at the same place as the first one, so he'll probably remember the drill.
So far I have two new pairs of shoes as birthday treats - hooray for shoes! I'm spoiled rotten :-)
Ok, babble is over - now back to work.

Friday, June 01, 2007

therapy begins!

Ben met the ABA therapist yesterday. She came over to our house where we will be doing the sessions because the daycare doesn't have the free space. This means that one of us has to pick up Ben at the daycare at noon everyday and bring him home for a 1-4 session. This kinda sucks because Steve was hoping to be able to work full time in September after Naomi starts daycare, and also because we will now be paying for full days of daycare for Ben and Naomi, and only using 3.5 hours of it for Ben everyday. Anyway, back to his therapist: Sarah is really nice and Ben seems to like her a great deal. We met the director as well. She went to the daycare earlier this week and she jumped in with advice where I thought that she should have been just observing. She meant well, but she doesn't know Ben and totally underestimated how stubborn he can be. Anyway, she's not the therapist who seems like she'll be great. She told us that she's never worked with a student this high functioning, she was amazed that he says "please", "thank you", and "sorry". It's nice to hear things like that. Steve related the comments to Ben's teacher and shadow who were really pleased - a lot of what he is now is due to their efforts. Sarah will be spending the first couple of weeks just hanging out with Ben and getting to know him and playing before the real work begins.
In other news, we've booked our plane tickets to Vancouver in August and we're really looking forward to visiting friends and family and enjoying a real beach. Woohoo!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

we're just not that into him

The ladies in the dept were going to go out looking for Brad Pitt this noon hour, but called it off because it's raining, which would not be good for hair, clothing, and shoes. Sorry Brad, maybe next time?

Friday, May 25, 2007

poop the party, kill the joy

Since January, I have staged a few attacks on colleague's offices for fun and enjoyment. I work at a very ... conservative company, the kind that chooses people of a very reserved character. I assume that I got in as part of a rehabilitation program or perhaps just managed to fool them long enough to sign the papers. Anyway, I find that breaking in to someone's office and "My Little Ponying" it or filling it with balloons and streamers is my idea of fun and a good way to get my department together in a united front of mischief. My latest attack was supposed to be for a colleague's birthday. Instead of his office, I wanted to decorate his car to mix it up a bit. Yesterday, the day before we were supposed to do it, everyone chickened out and decided that we're going out for pizza - sigh. I will save the idea and pull it on someone else in the future. I'm not giving up on the party poopers!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BIG news

We just heard today that Ben is finally going to start his ABA therapy in a couple of weeks. We just have to get the location and the therapist organized. We have been waiting over a year for this and we are so excited to get started. He's eligible for 20hrs/week, but right now they have us slotted 1-4pm Monday-Friday. That's enough for us - way to wait in line! Hooray!
Ben

Monday, May 14, 2007

We didn't tiptoe

What a great weekend! A belated happy mother's day to everyone of the mom persuasion!
Saturday we drove to Ottawa to see Steve's mom, had a nice lunch, and went to the tulip festival.
tulip
The kids loved the tulips, but they were both in need of naps, so there was the usual demonic behaviour when we wouldn't let them wander through the flowers or pick them, or, in some cases, eat them.
tasting the tulips
smells good
If there's one thing that a tulip festival brings out, it's the photographers. I had some severe camera envy watching the supreme camera geeks wielding their expensive DSLRs with humongous lenses on sleek carbon tripods.
On Sunday I got to sleep in and I got flowers, a new cookbook, and Cirque du Soleil tickets for next weekend! After a pancake breakfast, I chatted on the phone with an old mommy friend (she's not that old), and when Ben and Steve got back from swimming, we had lunch, changed our clothes, and headed up the street for our friends' daughter's christening party. The kids ran around the backyard and we enjoyed some yummy food and good company. We had chinese food for supper and after the kdis were in bed, we watched some tv and enjoyed the evening. Perfect!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What do you think?
(via Melissa)
Your Birthdate: June 12

You're a dynamic, charismatic person who's possibly headed for fame.
You tend to charm strangers easily. And you usually can get what you want from them.
Verbally talented, you tend to persuade people with your speaking and writing.
You are affectionate and loving, but it's hard for you to commit to any one relationship.

Your strength: Your charm

Your weakness: Your extreme manipulation tactics

Your power color: Indigo

Your power symbol: Four leaf clover

Your power month: December

Monday, April 30, 2007

March in April

We did an autism march with the ATEDM on Saturday. The weather was not good for marching - cold and rainy - but we had an amazing troupe of drummers playing us along and the organizers provided colourful red and green hats for the hatless. April is (was) autism awareness month, we'll have to keep that in mind for next year :-)
Autism march
Autism march
drummers
Ben loved "walking with the people" and jumping in the puddles. The most bizarre part of the march was that we went through mostly residential streets on the Plateau at 10:30 in the morning, so tons of locals came out of doors and stood on balconies in their jammies to watch us go by. There was a Radio Canada team there and they briefly interviewed Steve so he was on the news! Amidst all the drumming and hubbub, Naomi fell asleep. It felt good to participate, I have a feeling that we'll be doing more of it...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

stop when you hear the crunch

After living with back pain for the past 18 months, I finally decided to do something about it and booked an appointment with an osteopath. The trouble all started a month after Naomi was born. I would wake up at night and have to pile all the pillows up so that I was nearly vertical to get enough relief to go back to sleep. The pain has dulled significantly over the year and a half, but I still wake up somewhat sore, and that ain't right. A friend recommended her osteopath who has done a good job on her, so I swallowed my fear of all people who manipulate your body and went in. I'm not sure what I was expecting (cracking, breaking, crunching), but she was really nice and figured out that the problem is probably that my hips weren't aligned, not uncommon after birth, especially one that's so freakin' speedy (thanks again, Naomi). I felt fine right after, but now my hip is achy. It would be great if this gets me back to normal, and I'm not afraid anymore! Well, of her anyway.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

bunnies and surgery

My Easter weekend was much better than my sister in law's. On Friday, they drove to my folks' place from Toronto. she jumped out of the truck and ran to the house because she had to pee, and as she rounded the corner she fell and broke her ankle in two places. The ambulance took her to Sherbrooke, an hour away, and she ended up having surgery to fix the break with plates and pins on Sunday. Blah!
Saturday we had Steve's folks and brother over for Easter festivities and a roast dinner. The kids were spoiled and happy to see everyone.
Sunday we drove up to see the folks and celebrate my dad's birthday. My nieces stayed for lunch and then my dad drove them to the bus station and they took the bus back to Toronto. The kids were spoiled there too, as expected. They ran around the house and entertained us all.
Monday was nice and quiet. I didn't get enough done, but that's ok for a holiday.
Yesterday I wandered in to Fabricville and saw some adorable fabric, so I found a pattern, and now I'm determined to use my sewing machine! I will! I will actually start a sewing project and finish it. Of course, this particular dress only has four pieces and about four steps. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 06, 2007

posting at my post

Today is Good Friday, but I decided to come in and work today so that I could have Monday off instead. While the majority of people are taking the day off, shopping, or lugging large crosses around, I am sitting here enjoying the silence that is an office without people. The other pluses are no traffic, good parking, and open access to the photocopier. Life is grand and I got so much more done than normal due to the fact I didn't have to listen to my officemate talk to her friends on the phone all day about her aches and pains.
Have to get back to my surfing work now!

Petting zoos a plenty

It's Easter, so every mall now has a petting zoo with all the basics: sheep, goats, llamas, ducks, piggies, bunnies, and chickens. The kids just love the animals, and the animals love the food from those little dispensers. Ben figured out that a whole bunch gets dropped, and he diligently picked up the pellets and fed them to the sheep - smart boy!
petting zoo
Steve took Naomi out with the playgroup to another mall on Wednesday, but Naomi was far more excited about the indoor play structure than the animals this time.
slide
She's also discovered that climbing up slides is fun. She's been a bit hard on Steve lately; she's very busy and now seems to have a penchant for extreme toddler sports, like climbing on to the kitchen table and rolling off and jumping up and down on the toilet. Living with a small Knieval is tiring because it's a constant race to protect her from herself. Even when she falls she's not deterred. We are very happy that the weather is getting warmer and the park is now an option for running off some energy for both kids. They love the park more than they love us, and possibly more than their Uncle Scott, although that could be an exaggeration.
queen of all she surveys
gotcha!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Should have been The Deaf Assassin

Blue Met is on at the end of the month. As interesting as this event is, I have to point out that they've chosen perhaps the worst reader of her own work, the Atwood, for opening night. For $50, you too can discover that listening to Margaret Atwood read her work and talk about it is actually worse than having your ears chewed off by coyotes or listening to Vogon poetry. If you go and they offer those translating headphones, take them and listen to the translator. You will thank me later.

Monday, March 26, 2007

weekend rounddown

Wheh! Busy weekend!
It was supposed to be even busier, but our Sunday plans were cancelled. On Saturday we drove up to Ottawa to celebrate Steve's folks' birthdays (they're both this week). While there, Steve's mom and I popped over to the store she works at and the mall. We picked up a few things for the kids, including new rubber boots for the kids. Naomi's boots are especially cute, she tried them out yesterday at the park:
playing at the park
I just found out that they're available in women's sizes - woo woo!
I also discovered that the body shop has brought back their pink grapefruit line of products. I have been looking for pink grapefruit-scented stuff for ages, and now it's back! I got a body wash and a lip balm.
It just doesn't get any better than that, and of course it didn't because we had to drive home in a snowstorm, bleh!
Sunday we were supposed to have our friend Sauline over and some of the old gang to celebrate Sauline's almost being a mommy, but she cancelled because she was 4cm dilated and her doctor thought that she was going to go into labour at any minute. The bad is that we don't get to watch her waddle around and laugh at her, the good is that the next time I see her, I get to cuddle a new baby - sigh! We took advantage of the less busy day and got some errands and chores done and rested a bit and went over and played in the park. It was a gorgeous day and the kids were excited to be running around outside and not sinking knee-deep into the snow.
playing at the park
playing at the park

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Smell you later

It's a drag that by the time you realise that you forgot to use deodorant in the morning, it's far too late to do anything about it.
Quick tip: You cannot fix the situation using cucumber-melon hand sanitizer, in fact, it really only makes it worse.

Cleanup in office 6078

Can someone please explain to me how someone who complains about the smell of handcream and the smell of fresh paint two floors down can clean her desk with Hertel and then tell me I'm a baby when I complain about the fumes? Grrrrrr.....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just one of those days

I caught the end of a documentary called Virus Hunters last night. They were talking about bird flu, then it shifted to autism and how it's a widely-held idea that autism is somehow caused/activated by viruses. I hate seeing stuff like this, not because I'm not interested, but because they always make me agonize over what I could have done differently to make Ben normal. It's a low day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Adventures in Photoshop

I've been playing around in Photoshop lately and experimenting with some different techniques I've found on Flickr. Here is my first result:
before_after
I adjusted the colours in Lab colour and then did something called an eye pop. I think it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Movies!

I almost never remember to do reviews, but last week I went to see Children of Men, and last night we watched Stranger Than Fiction, and they were both very good, and so completely different that my brain feels a bit warped. Children of Men has the yummy Clive Owen. I could watch this man read the back of Cheerios box and enjoy it, he's that good. In fact, if I could ever combine my favorite breakfast cereal and Clive Owen that would be about the best thing ever, aside from my kids and husband I suppose (who am I kidding?)
Children of Men is wonderful and visually so complete that it captures the emotion of the film brilliantly. It is bleak, wayyyyyyy bleak, so don't go thinking that you'll get out feeling happy. The movie takes place in 2027, 18 years after the world has stopped producing children. Just stopped. Britain has become a scary place. It's interesting to see the impact of a world with no children. The schools are abandoned, people dress their pets in designer outfits, and compassion is practically non-existent. Despite the heavy theme, there are some wonderful light and touching moments as well to break up the darkness. I normally can't watch this kind of film, but I'm glad that I did. The movie is still getting to me, especially after the next day when the paper was talking about all the environmental doom that is about to hit us. See it if you get the chance, the acting is top notch.
Stranger Than Fiction, in contrast, is a pretty happy film, but with a nice bit of depth. The main character, Harold Crick, discovers that he is the main character in a novel by an author who is known for killing off her characters at the end of the story. He's now in a race to try and find the author to change her mind, and change his life, which up to now has been a bit of a snore. The bit that I liked the most was the visual effects used to show how Harold's OCD mind counts, contains, and interprets his world. The film also has Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson being fantastic. And there's a nice love story. This is the perfect movie to see after Children of Men to take your mind off the bad stuff.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who do they think they are? Hallmark?

I recently noticed that my sanitary napkins have a paper label with "Have a nice period" printed on it. Whoever thought this up may have sincerely thought that it was a great idea, but frankly, I think that the sentiment seems out of place. It's like your mom leaving a note in your lunchbox, but you're in the bathroom, so it's kind of freaky.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hooray for Ben

Cheese
It has been a year since Ben was diagnosed with autism and the yearly assessments have started. This month we have about six appointments with researchers to obtain data on Ben's progress. The first one was last Monday with his favorite researcher and the psychiatrist, and Ben knocked their socks off. The psychiatrist is very happy with the progress he's made with the limited help we've been able to offer him. The combination of the daycare, shadow, us at home, and the recent addition of a one-hour speech therapy session every two weeks has produced some great results, and the psychiatrist thinks that he could do even better if we can just get him into the 20-hour/week therapy program that we're waiting for. We are going to start getting more agressive and send them a letter from the psychiatrist in hopes that this gets him into the program sooner. She feels that he will probably be able to go to mainstream schools, with some assistance, if he continues on at this rate. We've come so far over this year, and it's still hard for me to talk about, but this assessment have given us a lot of hope.
We went to a Kids' CBC show this weekend, Ben got very excited about it and was only a little freaked about the large cartoon characters. Naomi was cranky and spent most of the show with Steve running around the lobby.
Mark, Curious George, Lunar Jim, and Joyce

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's a nice day for a white winter

Finally the snow has arrived! We have been living in a land of yellow grass and mud since the beginning of the year. I hate my boots as much as the next person, but come on, it's January in Quebec. The kids have only been out on the sled once this year, and they love playing in the snow. There's a bit of a cold snap, but it's supposed to warm up a bit by the weekend so hopefully we can go out and sled in the park and make a snow duck or two.
One of Ben Christmas presents was a child's guitar. A music teacher comes in once a week at daycare and she plays the guitar and sings. Ben loves her guitar, and so we figured that he would love one of his own. We were right! We brought it in for show-and-tell a couple of weeks ago. It took Ben a few tries, but he finally shared it with his group. He sat on a chair and played and sang the ABC song.
Ben, in concert
When we heard this and saw the photographic proof, we were floored.

It's hard to know what Ben will be able to do when he gets older. Most autistic adults that I've heard of don't have careers, just limited jobs that aren't long-term. Wouldn't it be nice if he could become a musician and do something that he loves?

My hypochodriac officemate returned to work last week. I haven't seen her since before I left for mat leave, and she's just as much an energy-sucking life force as ever. We had a disagreement about the lighting (I finally had someone rip out the flourescents from above my desk) on day one. Last Tuesday she was already here when I arrived. She told me that she used my hand cream (it was sitting on my desk, no big deal), and then complained to me that she didn't like the way it smelled. This pretty much sums her up. I am staying optimistic and looking forward to many more funny incidents like this to pad my pathetic blog.

Resolution update: No juggling practise, but we made waffles last weekend and had enough to freeze for Ben's breakfasts this week. I put all my friends' names in a hat and will be pulling one out for writing to this week. I'm also back on track with the weight thing - yay me!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Goals and Schemes

I don't do resolutions for the new year, it always seems a bit pushy of myself to impose something to "fix" or make myself "better" than the year before. Really, what the hell is wrong with the me I am now? This year, I have goals. They are mostly silly, but should keep me entertained for the year:
  • Learn to juggle - I've always wanted to be able to juggle, but I'm lazy and you can't just start juggling stuff without practising. This year, I am going to practise and learn this useless skill. I have some balls and have already started trying to throw one back and forth from hand to hand and catch it consistently. It's not going to be a quick process, hence the whole year thing. 2008? Chainsaws!
  • Make more waffles - I bought a waffle maker in November. Ben eats a waffle every morning with reasonable consistency. If I make them, I can start slipping some nutrition in them on the sly so we can wean him off those supermarket freezer waffles with the nutrition of cardboard. And who doesn't want more waffles in their lives?
  • Keep losing weight - This is a classic, but I've been pretty good so far, and since I started last year, it's just a continuation of something I already started, more of a goalette, really.
  • Appreciating my friends - This is something that you can't do enough of. My friend Libby started sending me handwritten notes last year and it really impressed upon me how much more it says than sending an email. I shall be sending sneak-attack notes to people, be prepared, my handwriting kinda sucks and I tend to babble. No, really.
That's it, four things is really quite enough, and that juggling one is really going to take up a lot of my free time.
Wish me luck everyone! What are you gonna do?

Back

It was a great holiday, but not in the restful kind of way. Christmas was wonderful, everyone packed into our very tiny place for cheer and into our tinier diningroom for a feast. There were way too many presents, but we loved them all. We had snow the day after Christmas and over the holiday we had some fun playing outside.
pulling Naomi
Ben
riding
The snow didn't last though, and now it's back to green and brown with a projected high this weekend of 16C and rain. It's just wacky.
Ben is back at daycare. Yesterday was his first day with a new shadow. Bea is very nice and I think that Ben will do well with her. He only took one nap the entire holiday, so it was no surprise that he didn't nap, but he did wake up everyone else which isn't good.
Work is really slow this week, a lot of people won't be back until next week. On the bright side, it took me 18 minutes to get from the daycare to my office chair.