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Archives for: November 2004

Filed in:Rachel
Our Life

First Term Toll

November 14th, 2004  · stk

Rachel is well past her first mid-terms and is wrapping up a term-paper that's due next week. It's been a tough go for everyone, trying to adjust and give Rachel the time she needs to study, read, prepare & write. Her first mid-term, in Medical Micro-Biology went swimmingly and we began to think that this 'University' stuff wouldn't be too difficult. Unfortunately, her 2nd mid-term, in her double-unit Nursing course, didn't go as well as she had thought. Without too much time for remorse or speculation, she had to get motivated to complete a term-paper in that same course ... and then, not too far from now - finals. Unlike regular employment, a student's "job", never really ends (as one can always 'study more'). Rachel has the difficult task of riding that fine line between balancing school & family life, something that most of her younger classmates are not struggling with.

School and child-care, along with a dark, cold winter (and geez, it's only the middle of November), have put a great deal of stress on the household. We can't lie. It's been tough and this is the "light term" (only two courses). Next term will involve a clinical placement (Two 8-hour shifts per week) and THREE courses! Neither of us feels we get enough time to do "our things" and though we love Alex to death, her needs are constant (when she is awake). Fortunately, she naps from about 10 AM to 11:30 AM daily and again from 3 PM to 5 PM (most days). Sometimes it's earlier, sometimes later ... and rarely, she'll skip an afternoon or morning nap entirely. Still, those become the times that we have for chores (like showering, answering emails, doing laundry) and aren't necessarily long enough to accomplish other tasks.

Scott cares for Alex when Rachel is at school (Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, all-day Wednesday & Thursday afternoon) - there is no other option. He takes her at other times too, so that Rachel has time to study, but he too, needs time - time on the computer, time in the shop, etc. Because Alex goes to bed at 8 PM, there is some relief, but often we're too tired to want to start work or study in the evening. The dark doesn't help, with the feeble sun setting around 4:30 or 5:00 PM. The time that suffers most, however, is "our time", where we take time for ourselves and our relationship and do things together, without Alex. That's become almost non-existent & is taking it's toll.

Fortunately, we do communicate about these things, but it's generally not until after some big argument or misunderstanding. We're doing our best to find something that works for everyone, but it hasn't been easy and we're not close to figuring it all out. It takes a toll on our psyche & we've both been blue lately, as a result.

A caveat - as much of a drain on our personal resources as Alex has been, she's also been a source of humor, love & comfort. She truly is a blessing, but we can completely understand the stress that comes from introducing a little one into the family.

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Updated: 10-Feb-2005
Web View Count: 1871 viewsLast Web Update: 10-Feb-2005
Filed in:Our Life

Old Man Winter

November 14th, 2004  · stk

Scott's parents returned home just in time. The night before they left, on Oct 16th, it began to snow. In the morning, we awoke to discover that half of our electricity was out, including the central heater, oven, stove & several outlets - all the IMPORTANT stuff (one of the two feeds into the house had shorted in a neighbors tree)! If Scott's parents hadn't already made plane reservations, we might have accused them of timing their departure and wimping out because of snow. Shortly before noon, we made the blizzardy drive to the airport to bid farewell to Tom & Marilyn. Thank God for the All-Wheel & anti-lock brakes on the mini-van. We returned home to discover that the local utility company had fixed the power problem (wow - that was quick) and we were relieved to have heat again! We figured that in Edmonton, when you report not having heat, it's a pretty important call-out!

It snowed for several days, with varying degrees of intensity. Unprepared, Scott shoveled snow with a variety of garden implements, trying to find something that worked and vowing to purchase a snow shovel the first chance he had. (We weren't the only ones caught unprepared, as most stores we visited were sold out of whatever snow shovel stock they had, so we just muddled along using brooms, rakes & a square shovel until a couple of weeks after this, our first major winter storm). The cat, decidedly hydrophobic, ventured out only when necessary, moving through the snow, tentatively placing his paws in inches of the white stuff, shaking each paw after lifting it up out of the snow. As you can imagine, his morning constitution is consummated quickly & shortly, we hear pitiful & plaintive mewing at the rear door. "Let me IN!" We took the Oop out into the snow, all bundled up in her new snowsuit (a timely birthday gift) and watched her make tracks across the front lawn, heading straight to the porch. (If you should ever come across such unusual tracks in the wild, there'll be no mistaking them for a pre-biped infant.) The snow abated after a few days, though temperatures remained below freezing most days. We watched, as the snow slowly melted off of our roof, creating ever-changing icicles. The largest, just outside of our living room picture window, we dubbed "The Tentacle". We watched it grow and bifurcate, wondering if it would reach the ground and become a column of ice. Though it never did, it was the last icicle to melt & provided much discussion and amusement.

Temperatures have been warmer lately (as high as 9°C during the day, or 48°F). There is still snow from that first storm on the ground, but much of it has melted away, making for dirty cars & muddy lanes. Only recently, with the melting of snow, has the desire to resume outdoor activities returned. Yesterday, Scott raked leaves off the front lawn (the back is still too snow-covered). Today, we took the Oop out for a walk, stopping at the park to give her a push on the swing & repeated runs down the 5-foot slide. She loved both, but with a reindeer-red nose and cheeks, we figured we ought to head back indoors, for a cookie and (eventually) a nap. There's no question that we'll be having a WHITE Christmas this year!

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Updated: 15-May-2005
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Filed in:Alexandra
Tuxedo·Humor

Alex the Cat

November 14th, 2004  · stk

There is nothing that causes Alex more squeals of delight than a sighting of our cat, Tuxedo. These sightings are rare not because of Alex, but rather, the cat is actively HIDING from Alex. He spends a great deal of time in the basement, napping on a blanket among boxes or under the covers of the guest bed. It's the only way he can catch uninterrupted Zzzs (which, next to eating, is his 2nd favorite pastime). Laps and petting have taken a distant third place, but let me tell you, when the Oop goes to bed at 8 PM (her bedtime), the cat emerges from the basement, looking for a warm lap. He's become quite militant about having one too, demanding that either Rachel, or Scott, provide him with a warm, cozy spot (preferably one that INCLUDES petting). Anyway, this is supposed to be about Alex, not the cat.

Because Alex is so enamored with Tuxedo, she knows what a cat looks like and "meows" when she spots one in a book. She has been doing this for quite some time and we may have already mentioned it, but we've noticed that her "meows" have improved DRAMATICALLY. Now, when she pipes up with a "meow", it's difficult to tell if it's Alex or the Real McCoy (if we're not standing right there). Well, a few weeks ago, we discovered the answer to the mysterious question of WHY Alex's "meows" were becoming so realistic. She has been living an alternate life - as a cat! Scott went to go put out the trash the other day and found Alex, one hand in the cat's water bowl (just sitting there, wet up to the wrist) and the other hand plucking dry cat food out of the food bowl and into her mouth. SHE'S BEEN EATING CAT FOOD! (In one fell swoop, we discovered the answer to yet, another mystery - why was Alex's breath smelling was so bad?).

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Updated: 8-Mar-2007
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Filed in:Relatives
Alexandra

Scott's Parents Visit

November 14th, 2004  · stk

Scott's folks came up from California in mid-October. They stayed with us a week and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their precious granddaughter all over again. (The last saw her in late April, when we made the drive down to their ranch. That was nearly six months ago, which, in Alex-time is a half-life!) Their timing is such when they see Alex, she is on the verge of another physical breakthrough. The first was crawling. We took a helpless blob down to California and returned with a little girl who could roll over, sit up & was on the cusp of crawling. This time, of course, Alex was showing signs that she was ready to walk - launching herself from the coffee table to the couch, for example, rather than drop, crawl two steps and get up again.

We didn't really get out too much with the grandparents, as Rachel was embroiled in school (midterms & a term paper looming large on the horizon). We did get some good weather and we packed a portable BBQ and went to a nearby park for a picnic lunch of hamburgers, salad & chips. We strolled around the park in the sunshine, but mostly watched Alex play and interact. They were up for Canadian Thanksgiving, so we baked a big turkey with all the fixings. Alex loved having all of the extra attention and (as usual) was more than a handful after they left, having to adjust all over again to just having two care-givers, rather than four.

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Updated: 15-May-2005
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Filed in:Alexandra

First Steps

November 14th, 2004  · stk

Picture, if you will, Holloween night. Alex was wearing her normal 'baby costume' (we decided not to trick-or-treat with her because she is too young and really, it would be more about US than HER and besides, neither our waistlines or our teeth would benefit from the consumption of so much confectionary treats). So we're at home, with what we consider is a huge bowl of candy, one which Alex was HUGELY interested in. The door-bell rings and surprise, surprise, there is Taylor with some of her friends - the first of over a hundred trick-or-treaters to visit our stoop that evening. Candy is doled out and soon the bell rings again - more strangely clad kids. We don't often get visitors, especially at the front door (most come to the back, where there is ANOTHER bell, with a different chime ... so you can tell if it's the front or the back). Alex, the social creature that she is, crawls to the front door and says "HI" and waves to everyone! (The total picture of cuteness, but of course, we're somewhat biased). To make a short story long, it's about two-thirds of the way into the night of ghosts and goblins, Alex is in the living room & the bell rings (yet again). "Alex, come look at the trick-or-treater's," says Mom, grabbing the large bowl, now with a pitifully small amount of candy, barely covering the bottom of the bowl, which we parsimoniously dole out, trying to make it last the night. Alex is holding on to a chair, out of sight of the front door, but close to the entry hall. Mom opens the front door & greets the kids, while Dad takes in the scene from his perch on the nearby couch. Alex, supremely interested in the commotion at the door, releases her grip on the chair and takes maybe five unsteady steps to the entry hall and looks on from a wobbly stance. "HI," she says, finally dropping to her knees and crawling, quite literally, out the front door to say "Bye" to the receeding group. Dad is proud as punch and mom has to take his word for it, because she missed the momentous occasion!

That was the beginning of a process that Alex has been improving on a daily basis. Some of you may have noticed the "news flash" that we posted to our homepage - which had a short video of Alex walking. (Click the cartoon in the upper right to view it). That was taken just the other day, only about 10 days after her initial unsteady wobble. What was, early on, a rare walking event, has now become daily fare. Though, we admit, she has yet to get up from the floor to take her steps, prefering to launch herself into a jerky trundle from a standing position. It is both joyous and painful to watch. Such obvious milestones are rare, mostly they're little things that we miss because we're 'too close' and see her every day. But still, each walk is a trip through a mine field, each unsteady sway so close to toppling her and so many hard objects to break her fall and her face. The other night she pitched forward into the coffee table (which, thankfully, has no sharp edges), but she still ended up with a supremely bruised lip and then there was the accompanying loud wail and alligator tears. The price of learning.

But, our baby girl is now "walking" and our job of tending has gotten MUCH more difficult.

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Updated: 30-May-2005
Web View Count: 13482 viewsLast Web Update: 30-May-2005