Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crying Baby

Riley is a rare cryer. When he wakes up from a nap, he generally lies in his bed looking at things until he gets lonely, when he 'calls out' for me (and I do mean me) to come get him. His call out sounds like a 'mah!' and will accelerate into a cry if ignored for more than 4 or 5 minutes. He's always hungry when he wakes up, that's why he wants me.
When he is hungry and I'm holding him, he leans over sideways and wiggles himself into a nursing position, when I generally pull out my boob and feed him (if I miss this cue, he will start to cry pretty quickly...within thirty seconds, let's say).
When he is hungry at night he grunts really loud. He generally can't muster up the energy to cry at night, because he's half asleep and just wants boob. (Brent says so does he, but he doesn't get the same treatment. He's stumped as to why not.)
When he is lonely in his chair, he calls us. "Mah!"
When he's tired, he whimpers. "Mwah!" or "Hnh-hn-hn" or a single syllable cry "Wah!" And he rubs his eyes and looks grouchy.

Seriously, he could make it through an entire day without crying AT ALL (though most days he doesn't). He's so easy.
The odd time he has had a cranky ten minutes, or thirty minutes, or an hour. He freaks out if in the evening he wants me and I'm not there; no one else will do except daddy (and sometimes he even gets mad at daddy).
He only sort of had the purple crying, but not fully what they describe because he was never really inconsolable. A bath would always do the trick. Boob sometimes did the trick. A walk, a song, or a cuddle would generally work. Maybe his purple crying was so short he'd get over it in five or ten minutes and then be consolable again? He DOES cry, I must admit, at least 50% of the time that he is placed in his carseat. He dislikes that thing intensely. This lasts until the car starts rolling, and then he generally quiets down.
Yes, I am blessed. He has needs but he doesn't cry about them unless his other cues are missed by a long shot.
However, when he DOES freak out, it makes it all the more stressful, because he is usually so quiet!

Last night was one of those times. He cried for THREE AND A HALF HOURS, pretty much inconsolable, between 9pm and 12:30. It got to the point where I took off his clothes and his diaper so I could check to see if one of his bones was broken or his diaper too tight or a thread was wrapped around a body part or something! Lots of babies cry for this length of time and it is perfectly normal, but it is not normal for Riley! I was wondering if he had an ear infection or something?
He finally, finally fell asleep on my lap at half past midnight.
The trigger?
He woke up from a nap while I was out at Blockbuster. After 15 minutes of full on freak out mode, and after using all the tricks in his considerably large parenting toolbox, Brent called me. I was blissfully wandering around Blockbuster, browsing for movies, and enjoying my solitude. I answered the phone and Brent said nothing; he just held the phone up to Riley.
"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!"
Then he came on the phone. "Your son wants to talk to you."
Ack! I drove home very fast.
But we figure that by the time I got home he was so beside himself that he was beyond help. He wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep, didn't want his soother, wouldn't lie down, didn't want to cuddle, and TOTALLY didn't want to be anywhere but attached to me.

Poor poopsie.
Poor us!
Jeepers.
Props to parents with colicky babies, man. I know I'm spoilt. I know it, I know it. I DO appreciate him. And props to you.

I must also delineate that Riley, although quiet and happy, is pretty particular. He likes his own home, his own bed, his own mom, his own dad, his own brothers, and his own cat. He doesn't tolerate it well when we travel, when other people hold him for very long, when he gets passed around a roomful of people, missing naps (which he does almost every day because he will ONLY sleep in his own or our bed, with the lights off and minimal noise), or long separations from me.
I'm a bit worried about the Doula course I signed up and paid for this weekend. My mom is flying down to look after Riley while I am in class, and she will bring him to me when he needs to eat and then take him out again. This seemed like an okay plan until last night's freakout: now I'm prepared for the possibility of ditching the course this weekend if he freaks out. Yikes! I hope not. For his sake and mine. No one likes to be in a freak out, they are not pleasant, especially when you are a baby and you don't know what's going on. And I don't want to walk away from this course!
Pray if you think of us, and hopefully everything will go well.
In my experience with Riley he doesn't freak out during the day. Only at night. But eight hours of just seeing me for feedings might be a shock on his system, since we're extensions of each other at the moment!

Here's hoping! And being willing to be flexible. Baby first.

[I'm excited about becoming a doula. Woot! Woot! Superduper. AND I've decided to learn to crochet...my friend says it's really easy and she makes toys! Super cute! Like this one:]


My favourite is the amigurumi style:


Super cool. I was looking for ideas of what to give doula (and eventually midwife) clients as a gift, and I think I've found it! A bit artistic, creative, crafty, home made with love...perfect.
I'm going to buy some stuff to start this new hobby tomorrow! Or maybe tonight. We'll have to see how late Michael's is open.
[will this hobby go the long lost road of the guitar playing hobby of last year? we've yet to see...]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

insomnia

I can't sleep.
This is getting ridunkulous.
My man is at work, my three boys are sleeping like the dead, and I'm staring at the ceiling above my bed, wide awake.

I have been feeling a bit blogboring lately. Get ready for another round.

Yesterday I went for my second run since Riley's birth. Same deal: run 1 minute, walk 4 minutes, six times. This time I pushed Riley in the stroller so Brent could nap and Ayden and Matthew could watch a movie. I bundled Riley up really well because it was SO COLD! It was a gorgeous day, though, and I had to take advantage of the sun (watery though it was). It felt great! Endorphin city, batman. Love those endorphins.
I used to be a ballet dancer (for those of you who have known me for less than five years). Not belly dancer. BALLET dancer. Haha. When I danced, I pushed myself really hard and achieved some amazing stuff with my physical body. I loved it. I loved expressing my whole self all at once, and experiencing that in community (in groups of dancers or with an audience). Well, I have a leftover tendency to want to push my body's physicality beyond what is balanced. I used to be in stellar shape, and was super aware of my body, but not all that responsive to it. You know, it would tell me to stop but I wouldn't? Incidentally this extended to food: I ate because I had to, not because I was responding to feeling hungry or full per se, and definitely not because I enjoyed food. I remember one of my (bitch skinny) fellow dancers/friends used to describe herself as 'in love with food,' and I thought she was alien in this regard. I'd just as soon have eaten once a month if it was possible. Suffice it to say, I have a much better relationship with food now than I did then, and am trying to learn to have the same regard for my physical body when it comes to exercise. Rather than push and push and push, I am trying to take things slowly. On Sunday when I ran I was sorely tempted to run for longer periods of time, or for an extra 5 or 10 minutes, but I decided rather to allow myself to keep to the original plan: run 1/walk 4, x 6.
I'm glad I did. I could feel my pelvic floor muscles fatiguing by the end of my last walk 4, and I'd have surely peed my pants if I went any longer. (my new measure of how far to push myself is whether or not I've peed my pants! Awesome! So classy).
My goal this year is to run in the Sun Run (10 K), and to run the entire distance. After that, I'm entering a mini triathlon with my mom and sister (my mom is the World's Slowest Runner, btw, and she hates to swim. But she's signing up!). This will necessitate me buying a bike.
It's about time I had a bicycle.
Anyways, I figure if I take it slow and don't rush things and get injured or disenfranchised with the whole thing, I should be able to do it (it will be my fourth Sun Run, but my first Mini Triathlon).

Another thing about food: I made a wicked supper tonight. BBQ chicken with Thai peanut sauce on it, garlic mashed potatoes, baked squash, salad, and rosemary olive oil bread (bought, not made. I don't go so far as to bake bread. Yet). DROOOOOL. I'm so good.

Also, after much hunting, a serious consideration of giving up, and a near miss when I arrived at her office and couldn't get in the building, I've found a counsellor! I really was two hairs away from getting back in my car and driving away when I couldn't get in her building. I LIKE her. I'm so glad I like her. The previous one was a bit weird. Okay, a lot weird.
I have horrible dreams, like one where Ayden crawled in a campfire pit and I watched him burn from the top of a camper where I was breastfeeding Riley so I couldn't leap down and save him, or else it would jar Riley too much and possibly injure him, and I lost my voice so I couldn't scream at anyone else to get help.
Or I am searching and searching for something really important and then find a little boy ouside in a cold pond on a freezing winter day (that drowned baby I took care of last February).
Or my dad cheats on my mom and I'm furious and searching for him to tell him off and can't find him?

I'm just now figuring out why my subconscious might not want to fall asleep sometimes?! Ah, insomnia. You save me from my dreams.

I don't have these dreams every night, but maybe once a week or so? And I fight off some anxiety sometimes still, too. So i thought a counsellor might help me, but couldn't find a good one, until last Thursday. Hooray! She gets me and she's so good I feel like she reads my mind.
"I sense you have some fear regarding loss in your life."
Ya think?
"Do you have any theories as to why?"
Dang, she's good.
She's fantastic because she simultaneously validates my feelings AND debunks the myths behind my anxiety. And listens well.


Today I had a Carbon Emissions Reduced day. :-) For years I have HATED public buses in Canada. In Europe, everyone takes the bus all the time, but here you get lotsa drunks, scrubbies, and a smattering of factory workers. Plus, the bus passes the bus stop once every half hour, so if you miss one (and they are forever coming up to ten minutes EARLY) you are stuck waiting for a long time.
However. I want to change my transportation habits somewhat, and include riding the bus in my transportation options toolbox. Especially around our little section of town, because we have a Community Shuttle which is quite clean and small and on which I've never seen a drunk or scrubby.
Today, I walked the big boys to school, walked the rest of the way to the public library, and took the bus home.
It was almost a disaster because I checked online for the library bus stop schedule but accidentally looked at the Southbound instead of the Northbound times. I emerged from the gas station with my fare saver bus tickets in hand to see my bus go whistling past my stop, half a block West of me. SHIT! Now I'd have to wait HALF AN HOUR, or I could just walk the rest of the way home but I was wearing Riley and I could feel myself getting tired, and the timing was off. Either I walk all the way home (2.5 Km) and turn around and walk back to pick up the boys from school, or I walk to the school and wait because I would be half an hour early.
I sat down on the bus stop bench to eat my snack, rest, and try to decide what to do.
Before I decided, along came another bus! Cool.

Emissions reduced.
And bus trip successful on clean bus, with no scrubbies.

I hardly recognize myself! All this healthy growth! I better have a meltdown or something to offset things.

My cousin Sara can't sleep because her baby Ryen likes to keep her up all night.
Ironically, my baby sleeps like a dream child and I can't sleep.
Ye gods have it in for us.

Here are some nice pix:








My fave? The gorilla breastfeeding with the extend-a-nipple. I can relate!
photos

Um, no!

No, the martini glass thing by Matthew is a salad dressing decanter. I bought it at Ikea for $3 or something and use it 4 or 5 times a week?! I make my own salad dressing and mix it in there. The black thing is the rubber stopper for the top, so you can shake the container to mix up the dressing ingredients.
Too funny!
Glad we sorted that one out!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Follow up on Addie

Addison is home now, and her breathing is fine.
:-)

Martini glass question

Jenna asked regarding what looks like a martini glass with a candle in it in picture #3...
it is a tealight in a baby food jar covered with glue and tissue paper, behind our glass salad bowl!
:-)
To satisfy your curiousity.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

prayers for Addison

Sam and Torie took baby Addie home from the hospital today, but are now back because she developed a wheezing in her lungs. Sam says she sounds like a pidgeon, which is pretty loud for a newborn wheeze, but isn't blue or distressed at all.
The doctor says she's likely more mucousy than average because she came out so quickly and wasn't squeezed as much as normal as a result, and is keeping her overnight for observation.
So, if you could, set aside some of your prayers for Addison tonight.
Little pumpkin! Poor poopsie.

thanks!

holy Ikea batman!

We (Brent) are refinishing our kitchen cabinets. This is one of those jobs that always creates more jobs, in a seemingly endless string until months have passed and you want to kill your spouse every time you look at it.
Anyways.
Months ago, Brent took the doors off the cupboards, cleaned, and sanded them to be restained.
He has not touched them since, and is now spending hours preparing the cupboards themselves for cleaning and sanding. He took off the range hood and ranted about how dirty it was and how he wanted to purchase a new one rather than put that old one back up. Granted, it was gross. One look and I agreed. New range hood in our near future. Price tag? $150. Okay.
So we went to Ikea for a few odds and ends, stocking stuffers for the boys (they have awesome masks for the boys' dress up box) and new bowls for their snacks (metal! Won't break OR leech plastic grossies into snacks). So we were wandering leisurely past the kitchen area (the big boys were in Smalland...how much do WE love Ikea? Free babysitting, thanks!), when we noticed that they had a stainless steel and black, large, fancy microwave WITH A RANGE HOOD ATTACHED!! We're in the market for a new microwave, too. Hmmm....
Price tag? $350. We'll think it over. Save up. Come back in a few months, maybe? Okay.

And THEN we went to the As Is section, because who doesn't?
In the As Is section what do we see? A silver and black microwave with range hood attached, for $250. What's wrong with it? The box has a rip in it. Seriously!!! $100 off because the box has a rip in it! Whoever was on duty the day this one came in had their head screwed on backwards, but we'll take it! It was like that Ikea commercial where the wife gets in the car and yells at her husband to "DRIVE! DRIVE!" because she thinks her bill is so low someone must have made a mistake and given her some of her stuff for free!

Smokin' deal, folks.

Now, if my husband ever gets his gear in order and installs the thing....(first would come the refinishing of the cupboards)...

Addison (not sure on the spelling!)

I'm SO sorry, in my excitement to get the boys off to school so I could go visit Torie/Sam/Addison at the hospital yesterday, I forgot my camera!!!
She's delicious!
And I was incorrect in my calculations yesterday-
Addie was born at 12:41 so Torie went from 6 cm to baby out in an hour and forty minutes!! Holy crapola! Apparantly Bennett's birth was very fast (so why she had an episiotomy, I don't know??) so they were expecting a quick delivery this time as well, which added to the frustration of being in early labour for 24 hours, I'm sure.
Addison weighs 7 lbs 12 oz, born at 12:41 a.m. on Nov. 21st (I believe I guessed the 21st in the baby pool?!).
Yesterday they were closely watching her blood sugar, waiting until it stablized before sending her and Torie home.
Addie is breastfeeding well. I changed a poopy diaper while I was there, so that is good!
Torie is tired and sore, but happy to be a mommy again!

Hopefully I didn't ruin anything for S & T announcement-wise, but I knew that the nerdettes who read my blog would be dying to know details. And for the rest of you, my friends, I'm sure you will be celebrating too!
Healthy baby girl! Hooray!

p.s. She's got lots of hair! Sam says she takes after him and looks like a gorilla, but I beg to differ. She DOES look a bit like Sam and a bit like Torie, but she's much prettier than any gorilla! You could almost make ponytails in her hair already! I'll go to visit again in the next few days when they get home and I'll REMEMBER MY CAMERA!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

baby girl!!

Torie's baby made her entrance! At 2:12 a.m. i got a text from Sam, saying 'baby born!' Yippee!!!!! She went from 5 to 6 cm in 5 hours, and then from 6 to baby out in 3 hours! Addison Grace.
Will post pix later! Going to visit now!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

torie update

apparantly torie's contractions were regular and 2 minutes apart for quite a few hours, and then totally stopped. that was the last update I got, sometime this afternoon. such a long journey, this birthing thing! sometimes the body needs to get things organized before starting a consistent labour pattern (baby is in a less than optimal position, or uterine muscles need some conditioning...). tiring, but so necessary!
often, physicians get in the way of this natural process and act impatiently, breaking waters or augmenting with pitocin, when the body is doing what is needed before it's truly time to give birth to that baby. sometimes, labour stops. frustrating, but natural. i think physicians sometimes cause babies to descend in less than optimal positions because they don't understand WHY labour stops. they generally think of it as 'stalled,' or think of a woman's body as knowing less than they do how to birth her baby...dangerous territory, people. dangerous territory. why don't we respect nature more? she has her reasons. very good reasons!
wasn't it a few generations ago that physicians thought processed, dehydrated cow's milk with added vitamins was more nutritious than breastmilk? sometimes we don't respect nature enough.

rant.
rant.

anyways, the latest.
i'll let you know more as i know it!
xo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

prayers for torie

My friend Torie has gone into labour with baby #2!
Can't wait to meet you, princess!
The first nerdette in awhile...

HOORAY!!

Prayers for a smooth, easy, empowering, positive labour, and a healthy baby.

batman mask and gorgeous day


Riley's batman mask was so tight on his face that he couldn't open his eyes properly, so no, he wasn't making fun batman faces in my previous post pix. He was royally pissed off!

Today was gorgeous. Just gorgeous! Oh I'm so grateful. Yesterday was sunny, but today was sunny and warm--15 degrees at noon! SO...I ventured out for a run. It was my first run since Riley was born. Wow did that feel fantastic! I mean, I ran for a minute and walked for four minutes, six times, but still! I felt awesome. I even left Riley at home with Brent so I was totally alone for half an hour. I ignored everyone I passed on my run because I was relishing the solitude of not having to pay attention to ANYONE or anything but the sky, my thoughts, and the air in my lungs.
I love to run.
I love the sun!

belated halloween pix






Snack-o-lantern (Brent's favourite of Riley's shirts)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Riley is three months old now!

August 14th


September 14th


October 14th


November 14th

another advantage

another great thing about my cloth diapers?
My son is a famous poonami producer. The cloth diapers with fleece on the inside (the part that touches the baby) which happy nappy provides are the ONLY diapers that will contain a riley poonami. I've only had one or two poo leaks with these diapers, and the fleece wisks away moisture like nobody's business.
I actually am finding the happynappy diaper dealio to be easier than either washing my own cloth OR using disposable diapers, because with disposables one always has the stinky garbage to deal with. These diapers are seriously easier than pampers, IMO.

I mentioned before that I was thinking of maybe doing some EC with this baby (elimination communication). I have not, thus far. I think I am just shy of topping the charts for feeling pretty busy, so learning a new way of taking care of baby waste seemed a bit too challenging when it came right down to it. I have been paying attention to some elimination cues, so one of these days I just might pop him on the toilet and see how it goes! We'll see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

diapers

I just recieved an email from my diaper service with some interesting specs! I had felt when I signed up for the diaper service that my environmental impact was greater because of the vehicles used to pick up and drop off our diapers each week. However, it may be slightly offset by the fact that the service is able to wash the diapers in larger loads, and using industrial washers! Here's the email:

Each baby using disposable diapers consumes over 2900 diapers per year. At 49 cents per diaper not only does the cost add up but our land fills fill up.

I know many of you have converted from using your own cloth diapers so I wanted to also share some information we received early this week on the Mom Show. Comparing those that wash their own cloth diapers to a diaper service, those that wash their own utilize 33% more energy and 1/3 more water. A diaper service is able to wash with industrial washers and save on the energy and water from washing in bulk. So congratulations for not only using cloth but for using a cloth diaper delivery service!!!

Thank You again for your commitment to us. We are all making a difference together!

“The Happy Nappy Family”

PS
We found some quick literature below from an interesting web site Earth Easy (www.eartheasy.com) that you may find interesting, Enjoy!
“Diapers may not be an important part of most peoples' lives, and even parents with young children deal with diapers for only a few years. The environmental impact of the vastly popular disposable diaper, however, affects us all and is a problem which won't go away.
It 's estimated that 10,000 tons of disposable diapers are tossed into landfills each day. They can take up to 500 years to decompose! The manufacture of disposables uses over 1 million metric tons of wood pulp and 75,000 metric tons of plastic each year. Disposables are the diaper of choice for over 80% of North American parents.

Benefits of Cloth Diapers
Healthier. .Disposables are laden with chemicals which have been associated with many physical problems. Diaper rash also increases with disposable diaper use due to allergies to chemicals, poor air flow and longer time spent in wet diapers which feel dry when wet.

Benefits the environment. Cloth diapers are reusable. Quality cotton diapers will hold up for 75 - 100 washings (at minimum), and can be saved for the next child. Although energy is required for washing the diapers, it is a fraction of the energy used for disposables. Cloth diapers are also recyclable.

Less expensive. Many studies have compared the costs of disposables diapers versus cloth washed at home, and cloth diapers provided by commercial diaper services. Results vary, but most agree that the cost of cloth diapers, home laundered, is considerably lower than buying disposables. Estimates range from $800 - $1600 in savings over the 2 1/2 years, and 6000 diaper changes, of diaper use. Using a commercial diaper service, depending on which study you consult, is either comparable to, or a little less expensive, than using disposables.”


"Our Business begins where your baby's business ends"

HAPPY NAPPY Diaper Service



Super cool.

I have to give this company a plug. Only 23.95 per week!
www.happynappy.ca

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grandma Kadie remembered


Grandma's funeral was yesterday. The church was full. Her family integrated ours into the entire day, honouring the depth of our relationship with her to a degree we did not expect or ask for, which makes us deeply grateful. We were invited to the family only graveside service, to gather with the family before the memorial service and to walk in and also to sit with them in the reserved family seating at the church, and to a family dinner that evening. We were mentioned in the eulogy and included in the slide show.
We knew we were family because of how much we loved her, and how much she cared for us. It was nice to have it recognized by those around us, and by her biological family as well. We had told them repeatedly that we did not want to impose on their family time during Grandma's last days, but that we would like to be there to support her and them whenever they needed it. To have been embraced in return was good to a degree that cannot be expressed in the word 'good.' It was good for my soul.
It seemed fitting that her funeral was in November. The grey weather and scattered leaves matched my feelings perfectly. Grandma's daughter led us in singing several hymns at the graveside service, and her pastor broke down in tears as he spoke about her. She was remarkable.

In this past week as her family gathered around her and as we were allowed to gather with them, I learned so much about Grandma that I never knew. I filled in so many pieces to the story I knew only fragments of before. And everything I learned made me realize how remarkable she was.
She was born in Poland to German parents, the second of thirteen children. Her older brother died as a young child, so she became the 'oldest' in the sense of responsibility and all that being the oldest entails. As a young child she devoted herself to God and became a born again Christian. She was steadfast and strong in her belief, prayed daily, and leaned on God for comfort and guidance all her life. Her life was not easy. She was a woman of great faith and courage. She contracted Rheumatic Fever as a young child and her family and doctors thought she would die of it, but she pulled through. She had heart valve damage from the Rheumatic Fever that lasted all her life. Her mother gave birth to six more children (one set of twins) after Kadie, and all six died of various causes. The next to survive was Martha, five years younger than Kadie (who was called Lodzia, pronounced Lod-ya, by her family...my mother was the one who gave her the short name 'Kadie' when she met Grandma 28 years ago) , Edward, who was eight years younger, and then Bernard, Irwin, and Gertrude (called Trudy). During the war a thirteenth baby was born, but it froze to death during the evacuation of the German people from Poland in 1943.
Grandma's parents were farmers. I remember her telling me stories about her parents' farm, and a white horse she rode around the farm and to town on errands.
She loved all of her siblings and her parents deeply and left school after sixth grade to help care for them and to help on the farm.
When she was seventeen she fell in love with Julius, reportedly a handsome Bible School student who treated her wonderfully and loved her very much. They married, she got pregnant with her daughter Gertrude (also called Trudy), and then Julius was drafted into the army and left before his daughter was born. They were separated for five years.
When Grandma had her daughter, she lived some distance away from her parents' farm, and she and her mother gave birth to daughters within three months of each other, and named them both Gertrude. So my Grandma's daughter and her sister were the same age and both named Trudy! By the time they realized it, both Trudys had been registered, so both remained Trudy.
When the Trudys were three and Grandma was twenty, all Germans were evacuated from Poland with 24 hours notice, in January of the coldest winter in decades. Grandma, not knowing if Julius was dead or alive, or where in Europe he was fighting, packed up her five siblings and her three year old daughter in an open air wagon, hitched their two horses to it, and travelled three weeks in the cold to East Germany. Her father, mother, and grandmother stayed behind because the grandmother was in the hospital with an illness, and her mother Emma was in the hospital giving birth to her thirteenth child, Grandma's youngest sibling. The hospital was later evacuated by coal train, which is where that youngest baby died.
During that three week trip Grandma, who was very shy, begged a soldier for studs for her wagon wheels as the autobahn was covered in a slick sheet of ice. She had to stay alert, and drive the wagon, twenty four hours a day because once a wagon got off the road it was impossible to get back on it. (I'm not sure if this was because of the ice on the road, or the massive caravan of people on the autobahn at the time, or because of the snowdrifts). Once she fell asleep while driving and woke up in the middle of the forest, in the dark, with a wagon full of crying children and two horses galloping in a frenzy. And the reins had fallen off the front of the wagon and were dragging along on the ground between the horses, unreachable.
She prayed, leaped down from the wagon, calmed the horses, and turned them around. They were lost in an unknown forest, somewhere in Europe, in the coldest winter she had ever experienced.
Can you imagine? Alone at twenty, responsible for the lives of six children, with advancing Russian troops at your heels? She was so brave.
Again, she prayed. And started walking. And found the road again, with all its travelling caravan of people fleeing the Russian army.

At twenty I liked to go dancing at clubs. Flirt with boys. Read books and philosophize with my friends late at night while eating junk food. I wasn't trekking through forests, begging for food or studs for my wagon.

She made it to East Germany, where they stayed several years with a family in Brandenburg. During their stay, the Russian army occupied the area and she and her sister Martha and several other young women hid in the attic to keep from being raped by the soldiers. One night they had been revealed by someone and the soldiers came to the house, shouting and searching. The woman who owned the farm (who must have been too old to be appealing to the soldiers) managed to warn Grandma and the women in the attic, and they removed a roof tile, escaped out the hole, jumped from the roof, and hid in a nearby corn field all night.
Grandma's mother Emma, father Wilhelm, and grandmother managed to be reunited with Grandma and her siblings while in Brandenburg. A few weeks later, Grandma's brothers Edward (12 years old) and Bernard (9 or 10) were playing in a nearby field with several neighbour boys and were killed by a grenade.
Having given birth to thirteen children, Emma and Wilhelm now only had four children who were still alive. Grandma Leokadia, Martha, Irwin, and Trudy. So much tragedy.
Julius was captured by the Russian army and placed in a P.O.W. camp, where he was so destituted and hungry that he resorted to eating grass to survive. He escaped from this camp a few months before the end of the war, and was reuinted with Grandma in Brandenburg.
Through all of this, Grandma depended on God's protection and provision, and had an unwavering faith.
Many of us would have been embittered, but she was not.
Julius orchestrated an escape from East Germany as the Berlin wall was being built, and all of Grandma's remaining family, as well as neighbours and friends, evacuated to West Germany, past armed guards in the middle of the night. They had bribed Russian soldiers with what few possessions they had left.
Soon after settling in West Germany it became apparant that the economic situation in Europe was going to take years to stablize. Julius was also cognizent that history had the potential to repeat itself, and that another dictator could be in Germany's near future, so he applied to immigrate to North America.
They applied to both the United States and to Canada, and Canada accepted them first, so that is where they went.
Grandma, Julius, and Trudy immigrated to Canada in 1951. They were extremely poor, Grandma spoke little English, and it was a difficult transition for them. Grandma would say, of immigrating, "In those early years, if I could have walked on water, I would have walked back to Europe, I hated it here that much!"
In 1952, Julius and Grandma sponsored her sister Martha and her husband to immigrate to Canada, and in 1953 they sponsored Emma, Wilhelm, Irwin, and Trudy. So eventually Grandma's entire family were in Vernon with her, and she slowly learned English, so she started to settle in.
In approximately 1955, she had an ectopic pregnancy and had surgery to remove her fallopian tube and one ovary, and was told that other children would be impossible for her.
In 1960, she defied her surgeon by giving birth to a baby boy, named Glen. Her daughter Trudy was 18 when Glen was born, and the entire extended family doted on him. He was the beloved miracle baby. Grandma Kadie was 37.
Glen was an outgoing, articulate, cheerful child who surprised everyone with his intelligence and affable smile. When he was two and a half, he choked on a piece of corn and died. For years after Glen's death, grandma was very sad. She had a picture of him in her bedroom and we Smith kids knew who the little boy in the picture was, but Grandma never talked about him. When Ayden was born I asked her about him, and she told me some details but it was still very difficult for her, so I didn't push. It wasn't until last week that I was able to find out what Glen was like, or even what his name was. I asked her sister Trudy and brother Irwin for details, as well as her daughter Trudy.
A year later, in 1963, Granma's mother Emma also died. In 1970, her beloved husband Julius died of cancer at age 50. Her father Wilhelm died seven years later.

Her daughter Trudy got married and had two daughters, Cindy and Christy. I remember them very well, as they were just a few years older than I, and we often played together. When they were teenagers, both girls babysat us Smith kids.
Cindy had two daughters, Avery and Hayden, who were Grandma Kadie's great granddaughters and the delight of her life. Christy is pregnant with her first baby, and had hoped Grandma could live to meet her third great grandchild, but it wasn't possible.

You heard the story of how we met her in my previous post. I just wanted to flesh out the details of her early life, and show you a small slice of how remarkable she was.
But see, the things she went through were not the final marker of what made her remarkable: it was the fact that she went through all life offered her and remained gentle, loving, giving, open, kind, softhearted, invested in people, and never once holding back love. And steadfast in faith in a loving, just God.

A beautiful woman.
Oh, how we loved her.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some stuff

So a few weeks ago we bought a pasta maker on sale at London Drugs for $17. Yippee! I cannot believe I am now at the point where I am comfortable in my cooking enough to MAKE PASTA. This always seemed a strange, unnecessary, foreign activity to me. One I would mock. Make pasta? Because the store might one day run out of pasta? Jeepers.
At a friend's mom's place a few years ago I age homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade NOODLES in it, and I've had a desire to make it ever since. Especially since Matthew came and I delved into the dietary side of allergy reduction (namely, avoid refined sugars and preservatives, both of which are in store bought chicken noodle soup). Seriously, people. Homemade NOODLES!
I bought the ingredients but couldn't quite bring myself to make it, until I figured out that I was insecure about teaching myself to make BOTH noodles AND chicken soup in the same night. So, I enlisted my family (it was more like a draft, really. There was no choice in the matter. Luckily everyone was enthusiastic) and we MADE NOODLES and MADE SOUP from scratch (with a little help from my favourite organic soup base) and it was delicious. The pasta was remarkably easy and tasted fantastic, and didn't puff up in the soup like bought noodles would have. We had enough leftover noodles to have spaghetti and meatballs the following night.
Hooray for culinary ingenuity, risk, and success!
Here are some photogs.




Here, also, is Matthew after he requested to hold Riley today(so, so cute)



And some photos of our trip to Victoria the weekend before last, to meet my cousin Sara's latest baby, Ryen