And if Not

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last year my brother made my mom this decorative shelf that has the words "and if not" in raised relief along the front edge. I've been meaning to type out the meaning of it for a while and make it into an attractive presentation for mom to mount near the shelf, so people can figure out what it means. I finally got around to that and was impacted anew by the story behind it.

One of the most dramatic moments of the Second World War occurred when the British army was helplessly stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. When the German army had launched its surprise offensive into western Europe, the British had little choice but to dispatch their ill-prepared expeditionary force. Unable to stop or even slow the German advance, the tattered British force was quickly pushed across mainland until they were cornered on the shores of France. With the sea at their backs and the unstoppable Germans at their front, the British were facing certain slaughter. Desperately the expeditionary force radioed London to request an emergency rescue, but the Royal Navy simply did not have enough ships to retrieve them. It appeared that the British army would be all but wiped out before the war had really begun. Upon hearing the news, the expeditionary force radioed back a response. Three cryptic words beamed repeatedly across the English channel:

-and if not-

To the eavesdropping Germans, the message probably made little sense, but in London , they knew exactly what the words meant: “Even if we are not rescued from Hitler’s army, we will stand strong and unbowed”. The words came from Daniel 3:16-18 when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced down the trial of the fiery furnace. Rather than giving up and conceding to Nebuchadnezzar, they steadfastly proclaimed:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defence
to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the furnace blazing with fire and out of
your hand O King, let Him deliver us. And if not, be it
known that to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods
but we will…worship our God anyway”.

Thankfully there was no fiery furnace for the British that day. Upon hearing the predicament of their troops, the British people themselves responded by taking of across the channel in anything that could float, from steamers and freighters to fishing boats and row boats. Nearly 350, 000 British and Allied soldiers were delivered that day, and the event has gone down in history as the miracle of Dunkirk. All the same, those three words-their message of defiant faith-remain today as an example for all the faithful who stand steadfast in the face of tribulation.

'Lookit me, lookit me, look at what I'm drippin' with....LI-TTLE GIRLS........!'

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hello Family and Friends:

Jairus, Honour and Verity's little sister is lookin' good!!

That's right my friends, Miss Hannigan and I shall soon have something in common...dripping little girls!!

My ultrasound this morning went great. The baby was very cooperative and the tech got lots of wonderful shots, all showing a healthy little girl who already has the same cute little button nose like her sisters and brother. I'll have to see how well my picture scans in and post it perhaps.

Thank you so much to everyone who was praying and emailed with words of love and encouragement. I had a great night (free of any kiddies waking me!---the kids stayed at my parents) and was a little nervous this morning, but it was hard to tell how much was nerves and how much was full bladder! (Sorry TMI ;-)

So now my thoughts adjust, as some of you knew we thought this was a boy. Well, James thought it was a boy, I was leaning towards boy but still rather unsure. So now the name search begins! Ideas welcome.....


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I thought I would feel different. I worried that perhaps I'd feel down, depressed, mired in memories.

But.....I don't.

A year ago today, Hayden Jack was born. Even though I know that he had gone home long before I birthed him, for some reason, I still think of him as being 1 today. I wonder what I'll feel like when April 17th comes, his due date. That day didn't seem to have as much meaning when I passed it this year, as today does.

The baby kicks. And I smile.

The Great Escape

Friday, November 23, 2007

I've decided to do it. I'm leaving.

I can't take the pressure, the guilt, the lack of attention to the really important things in my life.

I'll give it a few days, allow people to get in touch with me one last time, and, click...delete. My profile will be gone.

Now that I've hopefully freaked you out, I'm talking about Facebook. :-D

I've considered this move a few times in the past couple months, but not yet had the will power or been 100% sure of my decision. I'm pretty close to 100% now.

It's hard to go against the flow, though. I have SO many friends---and family for that matter, that are on Facebook. It's the cool thing to do! I'm 33 years old and I still want to be cool!

A few people have already expressed their dismay, but they've also been supportive and understanding. Most of them admit it's an addiction for them as well. I've certainly not been on as often or as long as I was in the spring, but I'm still on too much.

And to tell you the truth, I've just gotten tired of it. I still get the odd new friend request, and connect with someone I haven't seen for years, but overall, I'm a little bored with it. The application requests were piling up and I just didn't have the time to investigate each one and decide if I wanted to add them to my profile. I was trying to keep my profile fairly fuss-free, but I was slowly losing the battle.

On the flip side of being bored, I find Facebook overwhelming. It's a huge world and becoming huge-er by the day. Just the sheer amount of groups, discussions in those groups and posts in those discussions was becoming mind boggling. I was looking the other day at a breastfeeding group I'm in and found an interesting discussion that had hundreds of responses over the course of 3-4 days. I started reading and quickly realized it would take me at least an hour to read them all. As much as I wanted to comment on the issue, I was usure I could do so intelligently without having read all the responses. Who has an hour suddenly to sit and read though a discussion like that?

I've come to the conclusion the Facebook creates an unnatural social situation for the average person. While I can't deny the fun of catching up with a myriad of people from the last 25 years or so of my life, it quickly becomes a losing battle to actually keep up with 252 of these people. Let's consider it:
Think about how many people you actually interact with on a daily basis. Now think about on a weekly basis. Monthly? Annually?
If you're like me, the daily basis group is fairly small. Hubby, kids, perhaps parents, perhaps siblings. Weekly? Add a few more friends and most definitely the parents and siblings. Monthly? A few more friends and some extended family.
Furthermore, these groups of friends or family tend to fall into sub-groups. Close family. Extended family. Friends from work. Friends from school, church, perhaps an activity group. Sometimes they naturally fall into a rotation of connection in your life that could be weeks or months apart. I see Jamies family roughly every summer and every Christmas. I see some of my co-workers weekly, but some monthly, and then others around once per season. I think many of us are able to handle this rotation because it's not as though we see, or may feel obligated to contact ALL those people every day.

I'm just saying that I have trouble keeping up with good friends who are local, never mind mere acquaintances that I haven't seen in 10 years.

So for these and perhaps a few more minor reasons, I'm signing out of the world of Facebook. I'm not going to discount the possibility that perhaps I'll go back sometime, but that seems like it would be alot of hassle.

I'm looking forward to this small act of simplification. It's not like I'm off the internet entirely (omgsh, that could NEVER happen), I'm still here, and hopefully a little more often.

It's good to be home!

The Circle of Life

Friday, October 12, 2007

I've got a whole lot of things to update, yet not one thing in particular. I just noticed that it's been about 6 weeks since I wrote last and that's just not good for blog readership. I'll admit, part of the problem is Facebook. Maybe I should start a Facebook fast.....

I'm still slogging away at the speech problem for my son. I'm waiting to hear from the CCAC to see if he'll be approved for therapy. It's unlikely. Here's what else I'm looking into....maybe if I list it all, it'll help me keep working on them all uniformly.
  • Special Services at Home: This program will give us funding that I think I could use to have a part time EA come into our home and help implement my homeschooling program. To supplement the preschool curriculum I'm using, I'm ordering a home speech therapy program from a really great site called NATHHAN. It's a wonderful resource with tonnes of articles about home educating your special needs child. Of course, I'll have to assess if the program is suitable for Jairus when it arrives. I might have to seek out some help with that.
  • Tomatis: A friend took her daughter to this highly expensive and intensive therapy in Toronto that helps with audio processing disorders and many other disfunctions that Jairus shows. I'm considering applying to PC Children's Charities to see if they'll fund it for us. Otherwise, it's about 4 grand which is unmanagable for us.
  • The Gregory School: This private school for "Exceptional Learners" is not far from us in Ancaster. I spoke with the principal a couple weeks ago and scheduled a visit, however, that was postponed and I haven't heard back about a new appointment. He would only attend part-time, but this school is extremely expensive. Again I thought of PC Children's Charities, but I don't think it would work for a school.
  • I'm still after the CCAC and the Homeschool Legal Defence Agency may be of help. The fact is, all homeschooled children are afforded the same therapies as a public schooled child and I'm not sure where the CCAC gets off drawing a line in the sand and saying that some children can have it and some can't.
  • Private therapy: I have names for two highly recommended therapists. With the money we receive for Jairus from the Association for Children with Severe Disabilities, we could swing a couple sessions a month I think. However, I wanted to use that money for a few other things for Jairus too---his cranial sacral therapy, chiropractic/Turners therapy, a special swim class and a gymnastics class. It just won't stretch.
So that's the update for Jairus.
Our dog Gideon died. Somewhat suddenly, he became ill, lost his strength and 2.5 days later died at the emergency vet clinic in downtown Hamilton. We're not sure what happened, although there's a few theories: an immune system problem where it went into 'overdrive' and started destroying his red blood cells---this could have been triggered by an infection, a virus, a reaction to antibiotics or cancer. The vet also wondered if he could have gotten into rat poison because of some markings he found on Gideons tummy. That made me wonder about his food, as we were using a brand that was part of that big recall in the spring, just not the same form. I think we'll probably never know what happened. He was eight, which was somewhat old for a Newfoundland dog, and he lived a pretty good life I think.
I'm pregnant again. I've told alot of people, so that they'll pray. I'm ten weeks, almost ll now and things seem ok. I'll see my midwife next week, so I'm looking forward to that.
Homeschooling is going not too bad. We're still not getting a full 5 days in a week. Something always seems to come up---holidays, appointments. I'm not really concerned because it is just a preschool program, which alot of homeschoolers don't even bother with. But Honour is 4 now and quite keen on learning everything. I think I'll start looking into a kindergarten program to move her up. It'll take some rearranging of the routine we've gotten used to during our schooling segments, but I suppose it'll always been changing like that as the kids grow.
James starts his first weekend away with his Basic Military Qualifications, or BMQ for short. I've not been looking forward to this. He'll leave tonight--we probably won't see him after work and he'll be gone until around lunch on Sunday, I believe. I'm not sure, but I might just go to my moms for the day tomorrow. Don't really have the gas for that though. I've just been so tired and at times, depressed with this pregnancy. I have some good days where I get alot accomplished, but many days I do nothing. The next two days look like a bleak desert stretching ahead of me.
Still trying to toilet train Jairus. He IS improving, but slowly. He can often stay dry, but bowel movements are another story. And try cleaning poop out of training pants when you're 2.5 months pregnant. Ohh yeah, it's bad. I gave up on Verity. I just couldn't do them both at once, and she was doing worse then Jairus. Makes me feel like a heel when her cousin who's a) a boy and b) a week older then her has been trained for close to a year.

Very Upset

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You know when you get into a confrontational situation and afterwards, you're just shaking like a leaf?
When you're angry and upset and trying to keep your cool when really you could just throw something hard?

Last year around this time, I was enrolling Jairus in a special speech school in Burlington. After meeting with the director, who used to run a speech camp that my brother Ben went to years ago, I was really pleased and felt, after much searching for the right place for Jairus, that this was it. It was very expensive, but thanks to Mvelopes, I had been able to isolate the money we recieve for Jairus' special needs and put it completely towards this endeavour. It would be just enough.
A few days after the meeting and the directors verbal assent to Jairus enrolling, I happen to remember that the topic of his lack of toilet training hadn't come up. I thought I'd better cover my bases. I emailed and mentioned that Jairus was still in diapers.

To my dismay, I got a response shortly after that they have a policy of only working with toilet trained children.
At this point, Jairus was five. He had about 5 words that he could say and be recognized. He was psych-ed assessed shortly after and appeared to be functioning at a 2.5-3 year old level. Toilet training wasn't even on the horizon. The director told me that once he was trained, we could resume the process.
I began immediately, but saw no progress. I have to admit, I could have been more diligent, but inside, I felt he was not capable at that point. It seemed a pointless battle. I hoped he would have it together by the new year....but he didn't.
I recieved one more email from the director throughout the year asking how it was going. I appreciated that she remembered but I was a little frustrated by the school's stance. Children with the kind of speech difficulties that they apparently specialized in, often have more delays then just speech. I wasn't the only one who noticed this incongruity. Other therapists and health professionals throughout the year voiced the exact same sentiment when the topic was broached. But I didn't question the school.
As summer approached, I was inspired to try again. Summer is always said to be the best time to toilet train and an entire two months would surely do the trick. I dove in with gusto. I bought more training pants. I bought a kitchen timer. I bought M&M's.

And I've been pleased to see slow but steady progress. Here we are at the end of the summer, and yesterday Jairus was dry all day long. He's even started to tell me when he needs to go, using a verbal approximation that sounds like 'Gooo'. (Lovely...)

After a few weeks of training, when I had seen enough progress to realistically hope that he'd be ready for September, I sent off an email to the school. Reminded them who I was. Talked about Jairus' progress with toilet training. Asked what program he could enroll in and what the cost was.
I heard nothing back.
After a few weeks, maybe two, I called to find out why I hadn't heard. Their voicemail message said they were away until August 27th. I was extremely disappointed, but figured that I could wait. I couldn't understand how they could run a school and not be back until so late in August. It never dawned on me that this could pose a problem.

August 27th came and went and no phone call. August 28th. On the afternoon of August 29th, I decided to call again. This time, the director hurriedly answered and insisted on calling me back as she was in meetings all day. Before she got off though, she told me that they were not offering the kindergarten program from last year and the grade 1 program was already full. She would phone me back the next day, regardless.

I got off the phone and slowly walked up to my room, kicking a blow up water ring as I went and crying from my bellybutton. My last hope for Jairus withered and died, as the air leaked out of that water ring.

By the time James got home, I was angry. How early should I have been calling to be sure he'd have a position for the fall? Was he now going to be denied for a second year?

Today, the director called me back and stated exactly the same thing she had on the phone yesterday. I had harboured a small hope that because she thought we should talk more about the issue, that perhaps they had some other kind of program he could be in. She did not. I expressed, in fairly calm tones, my frustration with the entire situation: the toilet trained policy, the long wait for a response. I asked when the class had filled up (read: if you had answered my email in July, would there have been room then?) She couldn't tell me when. She had perfectly reasonable excuses--that they had been on holiday all summer and didn't check emails (always a good practice when you're running a business), they don't have someone in the office to take care of calls and emails (and who's choice is that? Are you saying your exorbitant prices aren't enough to hire a secretary?), their daughter had a baby so they didn't come in until the 28th (ok, fine) and it had only been one day after that when I called (a day and a half).
She offered to call if anything changed and Jairus could have a spot.

I told her not to bother.

Two Parter

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A little over a week week ago we came back from Camp Glenhuron, near Goderich on the shores of....indeed, Lake Huron. This year, we did music camp.

It was the first time I had been to music camp in about twenty years. Oh yes, I can say that. I was about 12 or 13 when I went to Camp Selkirk and attended the Salvation Army's Southern Ontario Divisional music camp. At least, I think that was the title....

I have some good memories of that. I did, of course, the vocal music track and sang in choirs, competed in the solo competitions. I've got a bunch of trophies and plaques sitting in a box somewhere. Honour discovered them recently and was quite proud of me. I was surprised she knew what they represented.

There's of course a few not-so-good memories of music camp. That age is so awkward and I was such a moron in alot of ways. Of course, I'm talking about boys. And that's as far as I'll go....

I was quite surprised actually to get the email a few months back asking me to be the guest vocal director for the week. It was a combined Junior and Senior music camp, which meant there would be kids from about 8 up to 18. And Selkirk was long ago sold so now it was to take place at Glenhuron. I'd never been there but the name had a vague familiarity.

I started preparations a number of weeks before the camp, gathering music from the HCC's library and scouting around for a few other pieces that would work. I was also in charge of finding and leading the 'camp chorus'---a nice song for everyone to sing as a big mass goodbye. What I didn't realize when I was looking for this song was that Glenhuron has also been sold (see the facebook group named something like "Those against camp closings" for more details). This would be the last music camp. The last camp chorus.

I was a little nervous heading into the week. I'd never been there, wouldn't know my way around. I knew a few people that would be on faculty with me, but figured there'd be alot I didn't know. And as always in the Salvation Army, I suspected there would be alot of people whom I had once known, maybe more than twenty years ago. People that I should remember, but probably wouldn't. I hate that feeling.

We left bright and early on Saturday the 28th. I had to be there for a 10am meeting and we figured it was at least a 3 hour drive. We had almost everything packed up the night before and loaded into the van. The drive was pleasantly about 1/2 an hour less, which was great because, of course we didn't leave on time.

I don't want to make a huge post here by detailing every moment of the week, so I'll skip around was an awesome week. I knew, or knew of alot of the faculty, and those I met soon felt like I'd always known them. A few acquaintences are now much closer to friend status. I reconnected with a few people I've known for years but just don't have the opportunities to see or talk with them.

I worked with a group of 13 young women and 3 faculty ladies who composed a quite satisfying womens choir. We tackled 6 pieces over the course of the week, one which we sang the morning after we got there after one rehearsal, two by midweek at an old fashioned open-air meeting and then the final three at the closing program. They were lovely and mature, talented and altogether a pleasure to work with. I invited them all to come join the HCC (!)

I ended up using a piece for the mass number by Chris Rice called Go Light Your World. I came to really love it, especially the version he himself recorded as opposed to the Kathy Troccoli version. It so happened (well, she was the one who suggested it) that my friend Sonia had many copies I could borrow. I really enjoyed teaching it---I had 30 minutes every day to work with all 120 campers and 50 someodd faculty. It was a simple enough piece and, not to be biased, but Salvation Army kids are generally superior musicians so they picked it up quickly. In four parts, no less.
It seemed a perfect ending song for camp and also for Glenhuron. But I was the outsider here. I was the newbie, the stranger in camp. And I came in bringing this was difficult to get a feel for how everyone was taking it. Did they all think it was as perfect a song as I did? They all did quite well at the final program. My husband said the audience was quite....emotional. I had my back to them, so I didn't know.
But then, we went to Mountain Citadel yesterday and I had a woman come up to me and tell me how beautiful the song was. Guess she was there. It was a nice feeling.

James had a great week with the kids as I ran around from rehearsals to theory to elective classes. Once they were into a predictable little routine (eat, trampoline, eat, swimming, eat----that was pretty much their days) they did just fine.

And it was You know that atmosphere? That different-world feeling? That how-will-I-ever-go-back-to-my-life-of-laundry-toilet-training (oh yes, still there)and-breaking-up-fights feeling? Well, I'm back.

It's not so bad.

Part II

After spending two and a half days at home, I packed the kids up and went to Fair Havens. Mom and dad and the kids were up and James had gone to Owen Sound to do a job for the rest of the week. While I was there, I read this book....

I've been interested in natural health stuff for a while. I think it started when I met a midwife in Chicago. That's when I first learned about homebirthing and then everything progressed from there. A while after Jairus was born, I started looking around for more that could help him. When I think about it, the Lord has really placed alot of people and resources in my life pointing towards natural health. It's too long to get into now however....

This book was by a doctor named De Haan and it's called "We Don't Die---We're killing ourselves". Now, I've read a fair bit about natural nutrition over the past few years. I've read all about the pesticides and hormones/chemicals in our food, the lack of vitamins and minerals in our soils leading to devitalized fruits and veggies, the dangers of sugars, dairy, white flour. I've heard about and considered a number of natural supplements, even tried some of them. For a while there in Brantford, I was visiting the natural health store and buying reverse-osmosis water by the jugful. This was why we splurged on a water softener and r/o system in our new house. I would also buy whole wheat and grind it myself, making bread in my breadmaker. It was good, if a little crunchy. I haven't done that since we moved, so that makes it over a year.

And then a few months ago I took Honour to the family doctor. She'd been complaining of stomach pains on and off for a long while. He couldn't find anything wrong, but we suspected lactose intolerance, so we took her off regular milk and bought lactose free for her. It's hard to say if it really helped. She doesn't complain much now....unless we're in the car. She complains almost everytime we get in the car, even after only 30 seconds---much too quickly for car sickness, in my opinion. But she also has had a number of skin issues over the past year, and along with the dark circles under her eyes that my mom has always pointed out, it seems suspicious of some kind of allergy.

So back to the book. This guy De Haan encourages a complete ban on dairy and grains, with a few exceptions. I've heard the milk issue before, but not ALL of dairy. And I've never heard the grains one. I thought when I was grinding up my own flour I was doing the best possible thing. He says that 75% of the population is allergic to dairy and gluten. His suggestion is to use spelt, which is fine, I can do that. And his suggestion for milk is to use goat milk. So I picked up a litre of it last week (at $2.99) (for a litre). Jairus and Verity didn't notice. Honour didn't like it. I didn't like it.

The funny thing is that I've been seeing a naturopath in Brantford for an issue he's known to deal with quite well. He gave me his 'nutrition 101' shpeil at my last appointment and he got talking about some of the very ideas regarding the acidity and alkalinity of food that Dr. De Haan did in his book. Before that I'd never heard about it.

Sigh. I know I'm not being real clear here, and kind of jumping around. There's just too much to get into in a single post, specially since this one is already SO long! The bottom line is I should make some changes but I'm not sure I have the courage, diligence or tenacity to do any of it.

And that's where I'll stop for now.

I would rather give birth again....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

....then toilet train.

But then that would mean that 2 years down the road, I would be doing this all over again.

Of all the parent responsibilities, I think I can truly say that I hate toilet training the worst. I'm not sure, but I think it's the ambiguity of not knowing when it will ever end. Everyone says, well they won't head off to highschool in a diaper....they say that because you can't say that the kid won't head off to kindergarten in a diaper. Because that's my kid. But this is besides the point.

I told myself that I would do this once summer hit and I had a week or two I could devote to it without racing off to appointments or whatever. Well, so far, such a week had not presented itself----in fact, I seemed to have had more appointments the last few weeks than normal.

So finally, yesterday I faced the fact that I was not going to get a week or two without leaving the house, and summer was quickly getting away from me, so I decided I had to do it. I bought a dollar store kitchen timer (which doesn't seem to be working ALL the time) to help in the process. My problem before has been that I start off well first thing in the morning, but then suddenly lunch is there and I haven't taken the kid back to the bathroom. We've been buying pull-ups for a while (part of the self-delusion that I've been working on this) so out they came. Good thing they fit a little two year old bum as well as a six.

And so now it's after lunch, my time. I make the kids lunch, clean up while they eat and then put two down for naps and one down for a 'quiet time'. Then I make my own lunch and sit and do computer stuff while I eat. I need this time. It's my refueling time, in more ways then one.

Today I look back on the mornings attempts. About 5-6 stickers doled out--one for every dry pull-up and another if the deed gets done in the toilet. Both kids went through 2 pull ups. One kid did the deed.

I try to recall the morning I started Honour. I had figured one trip to the bathroom per hour would be sufficient (beginners ignorance). And I immediately pulled out the waffleware. Blunder number 2. She went through all 7 pairs in less then an hour. The rest of her training is a blur in my mind---she might have done it herself for all I know.

I'm trying to keep in mind that as soon as we've conquered this, we'll be saving 80 bucks per month. We need that to go to the furnace we bought and the air conditioner I bet we'll have to add to the package, as our current one appears to have turned into the worlds ugliest lawn ornament. That's all rather annoying too. If I knew the extra money could be going towards, oh, the Ikea pantry unit we've been waiting over a year to buy, that might be a little more motivating.

And frankly, knowing that this won't last forever is just not helping matters. I feel like I'm standing in a desert, staring off over hills and valleys of sand....with no end in sight.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Another post on my Facebook experience.....

First, for those who aren't ON, once you sign up, you can join 'groups'. These are special interest groups, generally speaking. It's another way to connect up with people you have things in common with. For instance, I am on a Fair Haven's staff alumni group, a Hamilton Children's Choir group, and I started a Pierre Robin Group myself. It's still small, but I'm sure it'll slowly grow. I already had an interesting chat with a teenage boy who deals with many effects of PRS. Gives me an idea of what Jairus might encounter....

There are THOUSANDS of groups. There are wonderful, heartwarming groups. There are funny, sarcastic groups. There are groups of mommies, groups of teens, groups of soldiers, groups of students. There are rude, crude groups. There are groups with one person in them. There are groups with 10,000 people in them. You could, like with the friend lists, spend HOURS browsing through the groups and reading discussions.

Recently I spotted a group on a friends profile that I checked out. It was called something like 'The Holy Spirit is using my soul, so I can't take the Challenge'.

"Hmmm, what's this challenge?" I thought.

It turns out that some group of atheists out there put forth a challenge inviting people to denounce the Holy Spirit on tape and post it on Youtube. I won't get into my thoughts on the original challenge right now.
This 'I can't take the challenge' group originated at Liberty University, of which the late Jerry Falwell was the founder. Many of the group members are students there....and a few who are definitely not students there.
From what I could read, it seemed that there were a few young men who had joined the group just to mock, humilate, taunt, deride....I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point. They were often crude and used profanity (knowing this would likely bother or offend the group members).

Many heartfelt members of the group tried valiently to defend their position and answer the many arguments the debaters put forth. It gained them nothing. The debaters were not there to be 'won over'. Likewise, any 'witnessing' attempts were fruitless and cyber-spat upon.

The whole thing was just very sad and disturbing.

However, the one positive thing I noticed was that as far as I read (and there were many, many disussion topics I didn't get to---it would have taken me days) the christians on this site never once returned the caustic wit aimed at them. There were many posts that talked about love and acceptance, that they would be praying for the debaters and what seemed to be sincere expressions of caring.

On to another group....

I don't know where I found this one, but it's name was something like 'No Abstinence only Sex Ed'. Like the Challenge group, this one had dozens, maybe even hundreds of discussions. I can't remember how many people were in this group, but it was large.
Quite obviously, the people in this group feel that abstinence only sex ed should be banned. They claim it's inneffective, been foisted upon us all for way too long, George Bush is an idiot for throwing more money at the many 'religious' organizations that teach abstinence (I think many in this group are American) and anyone who supports abstinence only is backward, naive, and afflicted with ostrich syndrome. The members of this group hold that many studies uphold their position.

In order to say anything on the discussions, I would have had to become a member. This was a problem for me. I have always been a terrible practical joker. I just can't stand for someone to think I am tricking them, even for a split second. I can't even feign forgetfulness for a quick moment, just to see the look on my husbands face when he asks me if I remembered to pay the internet bill. In the same way, I couldn't abide with having anyone (especially my friends) think that I would support or be a part of such a group. Even if it was for a brief time until they messaged me to get the scoop. Or worse, that some friends who don't know me very well wouldn't ask, and just assume that I was a part of that group because I agree with it.

So, I decided to use my blog here instead. It won't get quite the same response. I doubt any of those anti-abstinencers would look here. But all the better. I'm really not a very good debater and don't care to get into it.

Besides, it's not so much the issue that prompted me to write here. Although, I was pleased to run across a study just today that blows their foundations out of the water, in my opinion.
(, by Dr. Stan Reed of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, Salt Lake City).

It was the tenor of the group. I wouldn't have wanted to be a part of that group, even if I did agree with their premise. What originally looked to be a group of intelligent, educated people, putting forth their mature opinions on an important social issue was actually not that at all. Unlike the Challenge group, the members of anti-abstinence were intolerant and derisive of any opinion posted that had even a scent of disagreement. Name calling and profanity-laced insults were common. Sarcasm filled monologues that did nothing to enlighten my apparently dull brain, but brow-beat me with peer-pressure tactics of humiliation.
The pictures posted were a collection of mocking cross-stitched statements completely unlike what you would expect to see sewed on a canvas with pretty flowers entwined. Rude bumper stickers, in your face political cartoons, mock-ups of 50's style advertisments with 21st century sentiments instead. These were the illustrations meaningful to this group.

I think what struck me the most though, was the attitude toward 'foreigners'. Whereas the Challenge members more or less embraced the questioners and engaged them in lively, earnest debate, these Anti-abstinenters completely lambasted posters who had even a slightly differing opinion. They held to very narrow views of what the 'opposition' apparently thought and took every opportunity to look down from this misconception.

I guess when it comes down to it, I'm an agree-er.
(as well as a maker-up of silly english)
I would like to see everyone agree. One of the cliches I find most frustrating is 'You can't please all the people, all the time'. Don't get me wrong, I don't think of myself as a pleaser. I know that it would seem that a world where everyone agrees would get pretty boring (however, I'm not sure I agree with that :-), I would still like to see it. And I believe that day will come.

Whether you agree with me, or not.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A long while back, I posted this on my first blog, which I subsequently turned into a blog about my son and his condition. Allow me to paste it in....

I'm so Glad no one says retarded anymore....

Because I'm afraid that's what my son would get called.

No, now they say 'developmentally delayed'. I suppose that doesn't feel like a kick in the gut. But I thought of this yesterday--how when I was a kid, the word used was retarded.
I went to pick up Jairus from preschool and the cutest little girl kept saying 'bye' to him. Of course, Jairus didn't say anything back, didn't even really register any acknowledgement that anyone was speaking to him. Finally I asked the teacher what the little girls name was. I think it was Abby or something.

I said, "Jairus, Abby is saying bye to you".

He looked at Abby and went over and gave her a hug. Slightly embarrassed, I said,

"Oh, look, he's saying good-bye too".

The teacher said something about how nice that was. I don't think Abby concurred.
Then he spotted another little girl behind Abby and started towards her too. Now, you have to imagine this. My little boy tends to drool a little, has Harry Potter glasses that are always smudged, and wipes his nose all over his clothes. Not such a pretty picture. I think this other little girl concurred. Oh, the look on her face.

The teacher quickly said, 'Oh, Jairus, I don't think everyone wants a hug'. I pulled him away.

As we left, another little girl was leaving. Many kids were yelling out goodbyes as her and her mom walked out the door.

She waved.

I can't remember if this was a year ago or two years ago. It was when we were living in Brantford, for sure. So now Jairus--and Honour, go to a couple mornings of preschool at a co-op place near us. They really seem to enjoy it. When I pulled up today, the kids were outside, playing in the enclosed outdoors play area. I gathered them up with their paraphernalia and fastened them all into their seats.

I started to back out and ease my way across the parking lot to leave. A little boy in the same class and his grandma were just heading to their car. They passed along the right hand side of my van as I was inching along, wary of all the tiny ones around.

The little boy looked in the van and saw Jairus in his seat. He waved enthusiastically and yelled "Bye Jairus!".

I quickly turned to bring the little friend to Jairus' attention and instruct him to wave bye and perhaps try to say bye, too.

"Jairus, loo---", was barely out of my mouth before I realized that he was way ahead of me. He had already spotted his friend, and was waving back.

"Gye!" he hollered.

(Happy sigh)

Carolynn's Magic

Monday, May 21, 2007

Leslie is....on Facebook

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

So, I've been on Facebook.

It' However, I don't feel quite the same about it as a fellow blogger who wrote tongue in cheek, "She meets my needs", as an excuse for not blogging so much anymore. It But....welll....

It's quite addictive. Everyone who's on says that. It's getting kind of tiresome to read, actually. Someone on just about everyone's wall says something about being addicted. For those not ON, it's not like you can just log in, check your messages, answer a few and log out. You could/can spend hours (as I have) scrolling through list after list of faces, looking for those you recognize. Hours and hours looking at hundreds of pictures of people you don't know, checking through groups to see if you fit in anywhere, updating your own profile info and pictures, so that everyone you've connected with can see how great you're doing.

It is fun. In almost 3 weeks, I've got a list of 'friends' around the 60 or 70 mark. Friends....hmmm.
People I haven't seen for 10 plus years. People I'm related to, people I go to church with, people I used to go to church with, people I work with, people, people, people. Here's a snapshot of a few things I've learned about this myriad of people:

  • Pete Rainford is a really good photographer. Like, he should be in magazines.
  • Pieter VanHiel is a really good writer. Witty, humorous, dry. Just the way I like it.
  • Some people my age are divorced. Very sad.
  • Some people haven't changed a bit. Very funny.
  • Some people only have the same name; everything else is different.

And I've often mused how difficult it is to keep up with the people currently in my life.

But still, it's provided me a interesting glance into a few people's lives whom I was genuinely interested to discover what they've done with their lives. But then there's a few who haven't responded to a message sent, or a comment left on their wall. And so I ponder....'Are they too busy to respond? Do they not remember me? Perhaps they do remember me and don't like what they remember...'. A little paranoia, I suppose. I know I was annoying in elementary school, but I thought I had smoothed that out fairly well by highschool.

And the whole 'friend' first it was reminiscent of grade two...a note passed in class...'Will you be my friend? (check boxes, yes and no)
Would anyone actually say no? With every friend request has come a fleeting spark of 'feel-goodness'. Someone likes me. Someone wants to see how I'm doing. Someone remembers me and wants to reconnect.
But recently, that's been quickly followed with....'or maybe they just feel obligated because I poked them....'.

And then there's the paranoia that I might be offending someone by not issuing a friend request. I know they see my face on the screens of those we have in common, they might be people I went to school with, but didn't know terribly well. I, let's say, have decided that I don't want to take the chance that they don't remember me, or don't really care either way, so I just...ignore them. But what if I'm wrong? What if they're just waiting for a poke from me?--a little, 'hey, how's it going' message?

And then (how many paragraphs have I started with that...!) there's the information debate. How much do I include on this billboard of my life? How many people do I allow into my otherwise carefully guarded existence? I struggled with whether to leave the pictures of Hayden's gravestone, and his little handprints. Why should I put them there? So people can feel sorry for me? Well, no. Unfortunately, some might think that. But I put them there because I was posting pics of my family and he is my son. Even though he only lived a short time, people should know that he existed. That is his right.

I tried to blog on there. They have function for that. But it just wasn't the same. I felt compelled to return to my first love....;-) There's just something different about blogging my heart out with the vague knowledge that someone I know might read it. I click on publish and out my thoughts go, into the vast web world....
But on Facebook, the webby world seems much smaller. I know that once I click post, my thoughts are being directly deposited into the screens of 70 odd people, if I've got my privacy settings figured out right.
I tried importing this blog, so that I could just write once and have it in both places. But it imported ALLLL my posts, from the beginning. Who wants to read all that on my profile?!?

Through facebook, I've violated a cardinal rule for myself: never let the students see you sweat. In otherwords, even though I send my bloggy thoughts out for the world to see, I've been assuming that my choir kids likely would not find them. Why would they look?
I soon realized on Facebook, that I had opened myself up to the gathering of HCC and Allmen youths in my virtual backyard. So far, this is....ok, I think. I'm hoping I won't regret clicking confirm for those requests. I just couldn't say no and make them understand....I just want to maintain an air of professionalism and respect. That's why they call me Mrs. Kent, when only a few years ago, they were calling me Leslie.

So that's another reason why I return here to my Leslife-morelife. I have to guard what I write on Facebook because.....I don't know. I just do.

Besides, my home here is much prettier....

Our God is an Awesome God

Saturday, May 5, 2007

I found out some GREAT news today.

My friend Karen received the results from her operation to remove the breast cancer. They got all of it out, and none of her lymph nodes were affected. This was a stage III carcinoma, the most aggressive type, but it had not spread to anywhere else on her.

How amazing is that!!!

She'll still have to have some treatment--chemo or radiation, but I think things are looking up!

Number four's the charm

Monday, April 16, 2007

What kind of delinquent auntie am I, that I go on for weeks about my SIL and then forget to post when the baby's born!?!?

A thousand apologies my lord.

Micah Grace arrived on the day I said she was going to pop (I think. Yeah, I'm a bad auntie). Everything was good, Rhonda's water broke at home but she made it to the hospital in the nick of time. There was a small issue with the baby's blood sugar, but it was resolved by morning, so they hustled home quickfast. Her three big brothers are quite thrilled. (OK, one's a little jealous)

I had an alarming phonecall today.

This is my friend Karen, her hubby John and their kiddies. Isaiah is the tall one with glasses, Noah is on the right, Reuben is in the middle and John is holding wee Hannah. I've been friends with Karen for a number of years; we used to teach together at the Stoney Creek Alliance school of Music. She studied voice at Redeemer. She's 29 years old.

And she has breast cancer.

She told me a few weeks ago that she was going in to have a lump checked out, but I don't think that she, nor I , or her doctor for that matter, thought anything would come of it. But it did. So please pray for this family as they deal with this. She'll be having surgery in 2 weeks and then the usual therapies to follow up.

Please pray hard.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

I've been hearing about this story in Montreal the last week or so, about the young soccer player who was asked to remove her head scarf in order to play in a tournament. She refused, the coach pulled the team, and apparently 5 other teams pulled out as well, in response. Today I read this follow-up story:

Egypt calling Canada Racist

This is starting to annoy me now. First, let me say that I think there have been some really courageous people in this situation. The girl--quite young to be standing up for her religious beliefs, I applaud. The ref, who made a very difficult call, I also see as brave to have taken on this religiously coloured sporting issue. The coach, who chose to pull his team, and inspired 5 other coaches to do the same, is to be applauded for supporting his girl like that. (oops, assuming the coach is a man....)

What I'm annoyed about is how it's being viewed on the world screen. Canada racist!?! Look here Egypt, I've lived in the States where racism can be felt like a hot, wet blanket. I'm not going to naively assume that we've gotten away from the moral depravity of racism, but this is NOT an issue that illustrates what racism does exist in Canada.

Look at the last line of the article---there's your issue right there. The MUSLIM ref was concerned for that girls' safety on the field and I have to say I quite agree. It's unfortunate that this girl has to make a choice between displaying her faith and playing soccer, but I have to say this is the price one pays for being true to your religion. Sometimes you have to give something up.

So then, last night at choir, we were rehearsing a piece from our repertoire called "Down by the Riverside". As a community choir, we don't generally sing 'religious' pieces, but as part of our mandate to expose children to different styles, we will often look to Black Spirituals for good quality, meaningful musical expression. Part of the song had one part singing the word Hallelujah.

Having grown up in the Salvation Army, I was never familiar with the practice of Lent. My first real exposure was when an older sister of a guy I dated in highschool gave up chocolate for Lent. I realized that the SA schedules 'Self Denial' roughly around the time of Lent, so I guess that was Mr. Booths equivilent. However, I never realized how far some denominations go....

This little girl approached me after practice and said that she couldn't sing that part because it had the word Hallelujah, and she was not allowed to say that until after Easter.


I was a) very impressed, b) newly educated and c) really proud of her. I told her to sing la-la-la until after Easter. Oh, the things I learn from my kids.....

What a Week

Friday, March 2, 2007

I'm glad it's over.

I think the stresses started a week ago today. We had gotten a flyer in the mail from Direct Energy. Now, those guys bug me. When we lived in Brantford, one of those idiots were knocking on our door, asking to "check" my gas bill every other week it seemed. We did look into their service, but James was always suspicious of them (anyone use them? I would like to know if anyone is finding an advantage using them).

But this flyer drew me in because it was advertising new furnaces with a 14 month deferment. We've been in our house about 8 months now, and we had an inspection done before we bought it. That gentlemen kindly informed us that the furnace was ORIGINAL to the house, which would make it about as old as ME. Holy shmoly.
We had wanted to replace it upon moving in, but the funds....disappeared. And the inspector assured us that even though the furnace was old, it was in good shape and would last us a few more years. Probably.
So upon spotting this flyer, I was tempted. And so I called-just to ask.
Heh, heh.

So last Friday, 'Jeff'' spends an hour or two at our dining room table and convinces us to buy a brand new-shiny-state-of-the-art-all-the-bells-and-whistles-last-us-a-million-years-furnace.

Well, he didn't quite convince us. We decided to think on it, and get another guy in for a second opinion.

Monday comes, and with it, 'Agostino' arrives an hour late at my front door. He spent half the time and offered us a furnace at half the cost with less than half the deferment time that Direct Energy did.
We still weren't completely convinced though. It's really hard to commit to laying out that kind of money when what you've got is technically still working. But the advantages--financially and other, to having a new furnace were a big draw. Still, we decided to pray and leave it overnight.

The next day, Tuesday, I got the kids up and out for pre-school. I had an ambitious morning planned--Jairus had a specialist appointment at 9:45, so I was going to drop Honour off at school for 9:15 , get to my aunt and uncles near Mac who let me park in their driveway for 9:30, walk to Mac, have the appointment, and get back in time to pick up Honour at 11:40.

The first problem was that Jairus just could not understand why he wasn't staying for school. I should have just left him and Verity in the van while I took Honour in, but for sure someone would call the CAS on me, so I didn't. And he got very upset and no amount of explaining was helping.
I got back out to the van, got littlest and biggest into their seats, pulled out of the church parking lot and promptly stalled in the middle of Stone Church Road. Traffic dove to the right and left to avoid me. I tried starting it a few more times, and the situation grew more grim. I soon realized that I had to get my children out of the middle of morning rush traffic on a busy street. So I got them out and we trooped back in to the preschool. Jairus was ecstatic. The teachers were confused. Verity started pulling her shy act. I started phoning people. OK, my dad.
I went back out and tried the van again, but now I was just getting clicking.

To make a long story short (TOO LATE!) me and Verity had a ride in a tow truck (no girly pictures in this one, mom!) over to Beech Tire, thankfully only 5 minutes down the road. They diagnosed a bad battery and we dug into our summer savings to take care of it....drat.

You can imagine what this did to our furnace plans. A sign from God?

Actually, no. We decided to go for it. Called Jeff. Signed our lives away.

So then, a stressful Wednesday with choir---In addition to my training choir rehearsal and boy's choir rehearsal, I was leading a rehearsal for a group of kids recently chosen to sing in Opera Ontario's production of 'Tosca'. I love that one. Actually, I was one of those kids...gulp...17 years ago. Holy cashmoly.

And this morning the kids had pre-school again. Again, we hustled out the door and over to the preschool.....took the older two in, got them settled, back out with plans to get to the nearest scrapbooking store....

I was out of gas. Right there in the parking lot.

So Verity and I had another bonding experience hiking over to the Esso where we paid a grotesque amount for a gas can and 5 litres of gas.

And to round the day off, our furnace stopped working.

(OK, I really wanted to end it like that just to be terribly ironic, but it's not entirely truthful. They came and cleaned our ducts ("Do they quack, Mommy?"--Honour) in preparation for the new furnace and the guy forgot to turn the furnace back on, which I didn't notice until our house was 18 degrees. OK 19. Point 6. It's working now)

Cow Crossing

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So now, what would you think if you saw this headline?

Canadian cows crossing US border without proper papers

Border patrol: Excuse me, Mrs. Cow, can I see some ID?

Clarabell Cow: mmmmmmMMMRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr(dong, dong)

BP: Oh I see, you're going to school. Can I see your F1?

CC:MMMMMMMmmmmRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr (dong)

BP: No, I'm afraid your bell doesn't fit the requirements. Follow me please....


BP: (into radio) Can I get some back up for a possible illegal bovine immigrant , repeat illegal bovine....

Babies, Hayden and my other Kids

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The twins are doing well. Rhonda called last week to say that they were going to send them home to Barrie, but ran into some being that when beds come free, they only come one at a time, and they obviously need two. Also, they do seem to be having some kind of difficulty with tolerating their ng-tube feeds, but I'm unsure of the details there. They are taking breastmilk fine, but only a certain way (either gravity or 'gavage' feeds, or with a pump, I'm not sure)
Speaking of babies, Rhonda herself could pop anytime. She's 37 weeks along right now and is due for induction next Wednesday. She was having some pretty serious labour on the weekend though and less I get too graphic, let's just say that things are ready for baby to come. I can't wait to see if the ultrasounds are right----a new girl cousin for my two girlies!

And finally, notice the new link on my sidebar. Since my posts about Hayden will soon move down and out of view, I wanted to gather them all and make a little spot for him permanently. It's not quite finished, as I plan to add some photos of the items in his memory box, but the posts are there. Thanks.

We've started homeschooling! It's fun. Well, it's preschool-homeschooling so of course it's fun! We sing, we dance, we act, we glue, we paint, we trace, we do lots of creative stuff from a great book I bought called 'Little Hands to Heaven'. We finished week 1 today!!
Still struggling with Jairus' therapy though. It's looking more and more like there's nothing available for him as a homeschooled special needs child. That really sucks.

Anyway, I have a new home schedule to keep us on track, and this is not my blogging time, so off I go!!

Holding Their Own

Monday, January 22, 2007

I went to Mac on Saturday morning to see Erin and the babies. Rhonda and Tim (and Isaiah) came down, so I met them. We had put together a basket of goodies to bring her.

When Jairus was born and we were in hospital for SO long, it was the first experience I'd really had with hospitals. His birth was the first time I'd ever been admitted. The only other times I remembered any significant hospital encounters (other than emergency room visits) were when my grandfather and great-grandfather died, a few friends gave birth, a foster child got the croup and my dad had a couple surgeries (gall bladder and apendix, I think). All this to say, that I had no idea how much a hospital stay turns your life upside down.

Of course, lots of people came to visit me and Jairus in the hospital. We got lots of flowers, baby gifts--usually clothes. One friend thought to give me some nice 'pampering' things, and a couple others called in advance and asked me if I had any cravings for food (I think they brought me pizza and cheesecake). Some people came and didn't bring anything. Perfectly fine.
But I tell you, I will never forget a visit from the pastor of the church that we had left the previous year. He and a few others from the church came and gave us....a parking pass.
When the OB and the geneticist told us halfway through the pregnancy that Jairus would have to stay in hospital for a bit, parking was the last thing on our minds. It came quickly to the front, when I was suddenly in hospital for 5 days, and Jairus for 2 months. We really didn't understand what Jairus' problems meant--we had thought that he would need extra oxygen when he was born, and then we'd go home. Since we hadn't yet taken control of our finances, that was alot of money to spend on our car, expecially when we hadn't even considered we'd need to do that. But someone at that church really put their brain to the task and figured out what could be a tremendous help to us. Flowers are nice, clothes certainly are needed too, but that parking pass was Christ's love in action.

Since then, I've endeavoured to be thoughtful and sensitive to families in need. I'm sure I've overlooked plenty of opportunities, but I know I've taken a few too. Having been in Erin's shoes, I thought of a few things she might need and enjoy. Rhonda and Tim and a few other friends of Erin and Kevin helped out too. I hope it'll make the next many weeks a little easier for them.

So we went up and found Erin returning to her room after visiting the babies. She was looking well and we all headed back to the NICU, as Erin said we could go see. Unfortunately, the usual hospital politics and lack of communication reared their ugly heads, and Erin was unable to bring us in, as brusquely stated by the highly attentive front desk worker. Bummer. But we saw polaroids. It was hard to tell exactly how big the girls were, because the pictures lacked a point of reference, but they did look a good size. Erin said their little feet are barely 2 inches long.

I couldn't help but think of Hayden when I looked at those pictures. Sometimes I wished I had seen him. But I have a pretty vivid imagination.

So the twins seem to be doing well. They're being fed by NG tube (through their noses) and Erin is pumping breastmilk for them. (You GO girl!) They might be able to start nursing in3-4 weeks. If they are still doing well by 32 weeks, they could be transfered back to Barrie until they're up to enough weight to go home.

Good--no, GREAT News!

Friday, January 19, 2007

I talked to Rhonda this morning. The girls came in at a whopping 2.5 pounds each! Yes, I know, that sounds tiny, but that's amazing for 28 weeks twins!!

They've been called Gwen, short for Gwenivere (I have no idea of spelling and that looks wrong to me) and Meg, short for Margaret.

Even more amazing is that they are both OFF THEIR RESPIRATORS!

Ooo, I hope this keeps up. Very encouraging indeed. And even though mom had to have the second one by emergency c-section, she's doing really well, says Rhonda.

Keep up the praying!!

---Oh, and if you'd like to do something more tangible than pray, than drop me a line--A bunch of us are putting together some gift cards and such to food places near Mac and the more the better!

Early Girls

Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Monday, I was talking to my sister-in-law, Rhonda, who's one of my best friends. Her and Tim live in Barrie, they've got 3 little boys (Elijah, Josh and Isaiah) and little girl Micah should be joining the family in about 6 weeks....

Their church does small groups and Tim and Rhonda always speak highly of the little gatherings. They seem to become really close friends with all the families in their group and even keep in touch with those who move away. Right now, there seems to be a plethora of pregnant ladies in their group, and one of them was Erin.

I can say was, because she gave birth yesterday. This past weekend, she was about 28 weeks along with twin girls when the signs of labour began. She went to the local hospital, but they warned her that they were not equipped to deliver these babies before 32 weeks. (What would they have done if the babies had just come out?) To further complicate the problem, the hospital was reporting that no other major hospitals in the province were able to take her (too full?). The proberbial rock and a hard place.

I'm not sure what changed, but sometime on Monday or Tuesday, McMaster became a possibility. So Erin was transfered on Tuesday. Things were looking good labour wise--contractions had slowed down, but Erin was told that she would not go home before these babies were born, and they hoped she could make it to 34 weeks. If the babies came earlier, then they would have to stay for a number of weeks in the NICU, so either way, Mac was now their new home for a couple months.

It's always difficult when an unexpected hospitalization occurs...specially if one is self employed, which Kevin is. They were looking at the prospect of many weeks of Erin and/or baby girls in the hospital, unable to care for the other two children and 1.5 hours away from home--and he doesn't exactly get sick leave. It was looking like he'd be spending alot of time on the road between Barrie and Hamilton...

Last night when I got home from choir, James told me that Rhonda had called: the girls came yesterday. I don't know how big, or their names or anything, but apparently they are doing alright. I believe their chances are good--around 80%, but this family still needs much prayer.

Mystery Solved

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Over the last few months, I've had a few people say they've tried to leave a comment on my blog, but it wouldn't show up. And I'd be confused because I get an email whenever someone leaves a comment on my blog and then I can decide if I want to post it and I hadn't gotten any such emails....

Well, I guess with the changes blogger has made, that's no longer the way it works. I finally got around to switching to the 'new' blogger and lo and behold!! All these comments waiting for me to moderate them!!

So, my apologies to everyone who's left comments and thought I was ignoring you. Not the case! It was rather exciting to read all these lovely comments....even if they were a few months old. Hopefully that won't happen now that I've upgraded.

And even though I said I wasn't going to post anymore about the baby, I thought I should just add one P.S. My comments last post were not in any way to guilt anyone who hadn't expressed their condolences. I've had wonderful support from 99.9 percent of the people in my life and it's helped immensely. I just know that figuring out what to say to people in pain is a hard thing, and now that I've been on the other side, I thought I'd offer some suggestions.

And speaking of pain, James lost his grandma over the holidays. She was quite old (96 years) and had really gone downhill the last few years since she lost her husband, so it was in some ways, a relief. And to know that she's with him, and the two sons she lost--one at six years old to polio, one at 3 days and whom I named Jairus (Donovan) for, is really nice. And I have to admit, it was another nice feeling to think she's with Hayden, maybe holding him...

(OK, so maybe I can't stop posting about him...!)

Well, I've just learned that a children's choir I'd been asked to take on in Grimsby is not going to go forward. So disappointing....

We got SO much done over the holidays!! When we first moved, we bought new laminate flooring from Home Depot because it was on sale, and we wanted to put down new floor in the kids' rooms and the room James will be using as his studio/office. We got it laid in the girls' room soon after we moved. (30 year old Cookie Monster blue carpet was really clashing with the Princess Purple walls...!) but then we ran out of underlay to do the other rooms and didn't have the extra money to go buy it. We got a Home Depot gift card for Christmas from Jamie's grandma, so off we went to buy underlay. James and my brother Paul (home from basic training for the holidays) got Jairus' floor down on the Friday before New Years, and the next day, James and I did the office. It looks SOOO much just had stick on tile before, but the worst was that it had become the catch-all room for all the boxes we hadn't unpacked. No, we're really not terrible procrastinators....we just need more bookshelves, and half the boxes were James' studio equipment, so they just needed a space to be organized in. Plus we had set up the extra bed in there--a temporary measure as we'd had a fairly consistant stream of guests over the past 6 months who needed a place to sleep.
It's such a GREAT feeling to get organized and accomplish some of the plans we have for our house. Next we're hoping to get the basement finished off because we're starting homeschool soon....

Oh yes, we're really going to do it. I've thought highly of homeschooling for many years. When I was in Chicago, I met a few homeschooling families there and I just loved the way they operated. I saw in their families many positive traits that a) Seemed directly correlated to the fact that they homeschooled, and b) Were things I wanted to see developed in my family.

As Jairus got older, I started doubting that homeschooling would be the best route for him. I didn't want my own desires to homeschool to overshadow what was best for him. But after about a year and half of lots of thinking, research, reading and talking with friends, family, and others who would know, I've decided that home is the best place for him. I'm real excited! I've started gathering the books and materials I'll need to get started. My friend Karen loaned me a great book on scheduling in the home and my mom bought me a huge 'get-started' book that is positively overloaded with, I think, all the info I'll need. I've been thinking about what method of homeschooling I'd like to do: you'd never guess there's so many ways to do it!

And so back to the basement....Since the kids' toys and the new little Ikea table and chairs are down there, I think I'd like to make it our main homeschooling room. I salvaged a Little Tykes art easel from my parents' house that we put down there, so that the kids can do painting and chalking, just like at preschool! We already have a million and one we just need walls and a ceiling, and a floor. What's there will do for now, but it'll be nice to make it into a cosy, well organized room that we'll accomplish lots in.

So that's what I'm working on now!

A week ago yesterday

Thursday, January 4, 2007

We buried Hayden in Simcoe.

At first, I didn't want to do that. At the hospital, the social worker talked to us about our options for his care. The thought of a grave, a stone, a cemetary....too much. We thought we would just leave it to the hospital.

But a week or so later, James was doing a service call at a funeral home in Jarvis, just minutes outside of Simcoe. Jamie's family is from Simcoe, in fact, he lived there for much of his childhood. He got talking with the funeral directors, members of the Salvation Army there, and asked them about how they dealt with miscarriages---if they dealt with them.
They said that they did have families in a few times a year, asking for help with the burial of an early lost baby. As it turns out, they don't charge for any of the services, because "if we have to make our money off of babies, we're getting out of this business". James was really pleased with alot of what they said. There is already a family plot in a cemetary in Simcoe and we got permission to use a small part of it....

So we contacted the hospital and found out that it wasn't too late. We could still have Hayden.
Everything seemed to fall into place....I had a beautiful sense of peace that the Lord was setting this up for us. I was finishing up my Christmas shopping and I went into the General Store at Eastgate. There, in a gardening booth in the back, I found a flat stone with a poem carved on it:

So after I stood there bawling for a moment, I snapped it up and bought it. I took it to the monument place down the road and they engraved his name and the date on it.

And on Wednesday, Dec. 27th, James and I, my parents, his parents and an aunt from the area traveled to Simcoe and laid him to rest. Jamie's dad said a nice prayer and we placed him right next to the big Kent stone already there. It felt nice to see his place next to that grand stone with his last name already on it.

I don't want to spend alot of time posting about this, because I know that it's sad for people to read; hard to read for those who've gone through it....but perhaps helpful as well. I've learned that not everyone is treated as well as we were. If they went through the emergency room, or if they were earlier in their pregnancies...hospitals just aren't as sensitive as they should be.

But I wanted to just say a few more things, and then that should be it. It's about that often wondered question: What to say?

What to say to your friend or co-worker, your family member or whomever, who has just lost a baby?

Perhaps others would say differently, but I feel very strongly now about the answer. Just say something. Don't assume that nothing will be better than a bungled condolence. It's totally not. When you say nothing, the grieving mom or dad hears the message that sends: You're not really suffering anything worth my saying something.

The social worker in the hospital pointed out that my choir kids needed to be told something. They knew I was pregnant and to bypass an explanation for my absence would have been cruel and insensitive to them. Plus then I would have been left to deal with questions when I returned; questions that might have been hard to answer. She also gave me a 'sample script' to be passed along to the children. Once they knew, the kids would have been compelled to say something to express their sadness for me, but often they would not know how, so a simple thing to do was to give them some words. Her suggestion was, "I'm sorry this has happened to you, Mrs. Kent". I thought that was a good idea and to my knowledge, that's what was done.

It's not only children that sometimes need a script. Want to say something? Don't know what to say?

I'm so sorry this happened to you.

That's all you need to say. That tells me that you know this is awful, you would feel awful too. That tells me that you recognize that Hayden was a person, he was loved and will be remembered. That I have a right to grieve, because he was more than a bunch of cells, a blob of tissue, a fetus.

He was my baby.

Another one won't take his place. Because people are not replaceable. My other children have made this process somewhat easier, and caused me to treasure them even more, but it's not 'ok' because I already have three.

Just a few tips, in case you were wondering.