Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Allison Butler came into the world on a beautiful warm August day in 1972 and has been like a ray of sunshine ever since. She had an indomitable spirit, so strong that nothing this world would send her way could suppress her smile.

Alli was an athletic, intelligent, imaginative girl who loved life. She was a fantastic older sister, daughter and friend. Her self-confidence and humour drew people to her at an early age and she became a centre of her family and community.

The accident in 1983 brought a lot of pain and suffering to Alli and those in her life. And yet, through this tragedy Alli's irrepressable spirit shone on and found a way to touch many people's lives. People who knew nothing of the gregarious, beautiful little girl who Alli had been found themselves touched by her. They recognized and admired Alli's strength, courage and love of life, which allowed her to live another 24 years.

Perhaps nothing displayed the strength of Alli's spirit more than the way she died early Tuesday morning. While losing a battle with a chest infection, Alli had to fight hard just to breath a couple of times a minute. With sheer will and determination, Alli held on for hours until all of her family could be around to say goodbye. Minutes after this happened, she just let go. Alli had a difficult journey but it wasn't in vain. She left behind a wake of energy in the lives of many people. Her strength, happiness, and love of life will live on through her family and friends.

I am proud she was my big sister.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So, I guess the plague is contagious

I learned two new things about the flu this last week.
1. It is contagious. I guess I knew that but our house has been like a mini science experiment and we are all contaminated petri dishes.
2. The flu does different things to different people.

I learned three things about my children.

1. Finny gets ear infections. She gets this from my brother who routinely went down with ear infections as a child. Oh boy, did he ever cry like a baby (to be fair, he was a baby...)
2. Molly is a puker. She gets this from me. I have always been great friends with Ralph. I sat her down and let her know where this beautiful genetic gift came from. I taught her the lessons of The Puker. The negative part of this vomitous predisposition is that you will spend a lot of time puking (that seems obvious). The benefit is that you become so inured to it that you become that seemingly impossible thing: the graceful puker. That's right. Instead of freaking out or crying, I (and soon Molly too) can just lean over, sweep my hair out of the way and technicolour yawn like nobody's business. I then delicately wipe my face and help myself to another burrito. This skill comes in handy during the university years, although I didn't impart that to Molly just yet...
3. Lukey is a trooper. His inability to breathe through his nose finally made him upset, but only when it got the point of panic when he couldn't really draw a breath. I had him at Children's hospital on Friday on the advice of our family doctor. They were also impressed with his friendly disposition, particularly given his level of discomfort. He almost broke the nurse's heart when he smiled up at her right before she suctioned his nose. FYI, that looks like an uncomfortable procedure.

Eric has also semi-succumbed to the bug but I keep telling him that he hasn't seen the half of it yet. It's a fun game because every time he complains, I roll my eyes and tell him he had better enjoy this stage because it gets worse before it gets better. I love the stricken expression he rewards me with each time I say it. I however, am on the mend. There's a little glimmer of hope for those of you coming down with the flu...a quick three weeks and you'll be right back in the game.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The plague, the plague!

Before you send the health authorities over to forcefully quarantine our house, it MIGHT not be the ACTUAL plague. It might just be the flu. But it has hit Finny hard. Last night I was downstairs enriching my mind watching Studio 60 (apparently I am the only one that does...) when I heard a delusional little voice protesting, "Me not a baby. Not a baby. Me not..." I went upstairs to investigate and found Finny thrashing around on the floor, every single hair on her head stuck to her face with sweat. Her fever was over 103. Remember when you were a little kid and you felt sick or had a midnight confession to make? You go downstairs to another world...a tidier, quieter grown-up world. So I brought Finny down into my peaceful calm. We poured her some Gatorade, with a straw of course. Made her a nest on the couch. Mopped her wet brow and talked crazy late night talk. It was kind of fun.

I placed a quick call to Mr. First-Aid (Eric) who was at work, just to make sure that I shouldn't be rushing her to the hospital. You always have that vision in your know, of the inquest after everything goes wrong: "You are telling me, Ms. McKnight, that you TRULY thought GATORADE would cure meningitis? Well, you can think over the wisdom of that course of action IN PRISON..."

Eventually we all went up to my bed where Lukey and I slept in Finny's salty puddle o' sweat. She appears to be on the mend today. As I type, she is using the toilet roll holder (you know the thing with the spring that goes through the roll?) to stir pretend soup. So I guess the next illness will be the bacterial infection that she gets from touching that disgusting thing.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

E- Recycling on a whole different scale!

Posts written by Eric will have an "E" in the title...

This is a picture that Colin Jones, a friend who I work with, took of Vancouver. The original photo, in high resolution, is one of the best I have seen of the city.

Speaking of this beautiful city, we seem to have a number of friends who are thinking of moving away to the quiet of the Gulf Islands or the Sunshine Coast. One of the draw -backs is the cost of trying to build in such remote locations. This company,Nickel Brothers , that our neighbour works for has a unique solution to this problem that is a great example of a win-win-win situation. They take old houses otherwise slated for demolition, put them on a flatbed before shipping them by barge to the final destination. The owner of the original home owner is happy because he has saved on demolition costs. The new owner gets a perfectly good house for as little as $30,000, a fraction of what it would cost to build in these locations. The company makes some good money, all the while saving tons of materials from the landfill.

Friday, February 16, 2007

First conversation I had this morning...

Scene: Me, getting dressed for the day. Finny, standing beside me.

F: Mumma lots of moles on back (tone of disgust). Yucky.

M: Ummm. That's true (slightly saddened expression on face)

F: Sorry Mumma. Sorry for saying yucky...

M: That's ok Finny (which it is, but barely). You can tell mummy if you think something is yucky. You think they are yucky?

F: (long hesitation...note of desperate confession with accompanying sad nod) Kinda Mumma. Kinda nice. Kinda yucky. Sorry.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What's up with this?

Yesterday was Valentine's Day (if you didn't know that, the odds are good you pissed someone off). My parents were kind enough to take the girls off our hands for most of the day. We dropped them off and then were sort of mystified by what to do next. Two things were mystifying: one, how hard could it really be to think of something nice to do? two, how the heck did it happen that being solely responsible for a 15 pound, helpless, needy, pooping, slobbering baby feels like free time?

I went for coffee. We watched a movie at home. Then we went for dinner and watched the Canucks game. Maybe we aren't winning any awards for romance (do they give romance awards?) but it was a very pleasant day nonetheless.

I took Lukey for his shots on Tuesday. Doctors no longer have to administer shots in today's day and age. This filthy and time consuming task (read the dripping sarcasm here) has been farmed out to the Community Health nurses. Falling within the downtown catchment, which is strange, we had to hike over to Hornby and Drake to a super-urban facility. And when I say urban, what I mean is scary. It took me ten minutes to find the right room, after passing a needle exchange, a drug counseling clinic, an addiction study room, and an AIDS/HIV centre to find the teeny tiny little room where they inoculate newborns. Yeah, I thought it was weird too. Then Lukey was subjected to four needles; two in each leg. Hopefully it was the necessary immunization and not methadone or AZT...

Monday, February 12, 2007

me making work for myself...

Saturday Eric was home from work. The whole day was free. What do you do? Relax? Veg out? Push the husband and kids out the door to nurse the plague that befell me on Wednesday (no kidding...I'm not much of a whiner but holy crow, having the flu really does suck. I always secretly figured flu-shot takers were wussy people. I mean, deal with it you hot house flowers. But I might be coming around. Might be. No, not quite. They are wussy. Suck it up.).

Anyway, instead of taking a wise and self-preservational course of immune boosting, I decided to play the hero. I let Eric sleep since he was coming off two night shifts. I took the three kids to the Arbutus Club for open gym. I watched Molly and Finny torque around a gym in Little Tyke cars. Bizarrely, their favourite activity is playing drive thru. They come up to me in a line and order fast food. I take their money and pretend to misunderstand their orders: "Two ostrich burgers, hold the mustard but extra bird poop, two sewage salads with fecal dressing and one mucas shake...(cue childish laughter)...what do you mean you just wanted fries? That will be twenty five gabagillion dollars please..." This is good for endless fun.

Once the drive thru closed due to a devastating e coli infestation (or the playgroup was finished and we had to leave...whatever), Eric met us to take the girls skating. We took a couple of spins around the rink. It took about twice as long to get them outfitted for skating as they actually spent on the ice. Have you ever tried to get gloves on a two year old? No sooner do you wrangle in the pointer finger than the the ring finger has slipped back in with the, is that ever annoying!

Then, a bite to eat. Then the girls and Eric went swimming while Lukey and I kept our germs to ourselves over coffee. And, because it was a beautiful, mild Vancouver day, we threw in a quick walk on the beach for good measure. And it was only 3:30.

Today I started painting our downstairs bathroom. I want it to be red and the lady at Home Depot said to expect six coats of paint. I have done two. So far, it doesn't look good. Anyone have any words of wisdom?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Peaceful evening

This is my couch companion. Eric went out bowling and I was left to watch the Office and ER with this little person. Unlike Eric, he was happy to hear me talk about plot lines and sitcom gossip. Alright, he was asleep the whole time, and Eric would be too. But Eric would have a scowl on his sleepy face, whereas Lukey is smiling a little bit. At least in my imagination.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The real deal

An example of a bad picture and an ok to you get three people looking so bad at the same time?

It's official. I am now the real mother of three small people. Why do I make this sudden statement now, more than two months after Lucas was born? At first there is some novelty. It seems like a big deal to take the new baby anywhere, even up a flight of stairs ("Oh Lucas, only your eighth time up stairs...who's going upstairs? What a big stair guy, going up the stairs...", you get the idea). Then you make a few tentative forays into the public world, maybe in stages with various combinations of kids.

Then, one day you realize that the testing stage is over. No more excuses that you have a new baby. No more denying that toting three kids around everywhere is your new life. In short, reality.

Having said that, reality is pretty great. Yesterday, the four of us (Eric was working) hit the road in the morning and came home right before dinner. We took Lukey to the doctor, where they continue to chart his porcine growth with interest. Then it was off to a family-friendly screening of "Happy Feet" at the Ridge Theatre. Despite some initial misgivings about the wisdom of taking three kids under five to a two+ hour movie (picture this: ten minutes in, Finny turns to me and says, "This is a long, long, long, long, long show. Me no watch. Me go Gram's house now". She ended up being great for the long haul even though the look on my face at that moment must have been hilarious...), everyone had a good time. With the possibly exception of me. I won't review the movie here, but suffice to say I have some issues with the message of a pretty bizarre film.

So, in summary: three kids = good. Especially when you have three good kids.

In other news, Eric's embarkation into the world of skates and sticks has been pretty successful. Last night the god of hockey smiled as he allowed Eric to score four goals in a row at his game last night. Not bad for the rookie. They lost the game 7-5. However, his teammates initial delight at his achievement turned to ridicule when he failed to celebrate post-game by turning himself into a beer soaked puddle. Sidenote: it's funny how people indulge in alcohol after sports do well, then you kill enough brain cells to ensure that the same feat will be more difficult to duplicate. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

organic veggies galore!

What is better than fresh, organic fruit and veggies delivered directly to your door?

Alright, there are quite a few things better...a lot actually, but this is very nice.

Every two weeks we get a Rubbermaid bin filled with fruit and veg dropped off on our front porch. It is like going out on your farm and collecting all the bounty of the earth, fresh and glistening from the fields. Except your farm would have to be spread out between here and Mexico...and it would take a long time to harvest all these things anyway. Not that I could grow them considering I kill houseplants (seriously, Home Depot guarantees their plants for a year, no matter what kills them...they wish I had never darkened their door). Okay, so it really is less of a pastoral farm experience and more like tupperware on my porch, but it does feel good to have so many green things in my house.

I went to visit little Hannah again tonight and took over a pot of chili to fortify the parents of our new niece. She is just as cute as I remember. Tomorrow, the girls and Luke and I are going to an all-family screening of Happy Feet. The Ridge theatre opens to families with kids and has a special showing where no one can complain about errant child-noise disturbing the movie. Can you imagine an event more horrifying to non-parent people? I sure cannot. Wouldn't want to wander into that nightmare by mistake.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Welcome Hannah Maria Sturm

Yesterday night we got a new family member. Eric's sister and her partner Sven had a baby girl via C-section at BC Women's Hospital last night at 11 pm. Overjoyed to go to the hospital for some reason other than sharp labour pains of my own, all five of us went this afternoon to meet Hannah. Boy, the place sure does have a different vibe when it isn't you going through childbirth. Waaaaay more relaxed. Plus, it was amazing to see the difference two months of growth make...Lucas looked HUGE next to the newborn. Man, does that kid of mine ever have a big melon.

Hannah is a very cute little girl and we are very happy to have a new niece/cousin. We wish Mandy and Sven a joyous adjustment to parenthood. May the wee one sleep and sleep and sleep.