Lifestyle

Dax – 1 Year.

by Vicki

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A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Dax’s first birthday. He’s officially a toddler now and we are loving this stage of life with him. He’s definitely my busiest baby/toddler and he keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have him any other way. Here is a quick look at who he is at one.

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Growing: Dax has been growing like a weed. He is currently in size 12-18 months clothes but I think we might be getting close to having to size up. He hasn’t had his 1 year Doctor’s appointment so I’m not sure how much he weighs or how tall he is. I feel like he’s a pretty sturdy little man and I’m excited to get his measurements. He’s still only has 6 teeth (four up top and 2 on the bottom). It feels like he has been working on 2 more up top since he was 6 months old – I think one of them may have finally cut through this past week!

Eating: Dax eats whatever we eat. I never did fully decide to do baby-led weaning with him, but I was braver with introducing solids to him than I was with Peyton or Chase. He likes finger foods like cheerios or puffs, meat of any kind, the baby puree pouches, yogurt, all fruit, and, well…really, he likes pretty much everything! He eats well and often eats double or triple what his siblings eat. He is still breastfeeding and (gulp) would like to nurse about 5 times a day if I allowed him (which, honestly, I often do because I just don’t like having a crying baby). He doesn’t like bottles and I have only found one sippy cup that he will drink out of (if I hold it for him). I know I need to wean him off of me (at least a bit) and that he should probably start to use a cup of some sort….but parenting is hard, y’all.

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On the Move: Dax is on the move! He started pulling himself up and walking around furniture at around 9 months. At 10 months he started really practicing to walk – he was determined (which resulted in a lot of bumps and bruises). Just before his first birthday he started walking pretty much exclusively – only crawling to get to a wall or furniture to pull himself up if he fell. He worked so hard and practiced constantly. I’m so proud of his determination!

Playtime: Like I said above, Dax is my busiest toddler. He is very curious and gets into everything. He loves my kitchen cupboards and would like to empty them all day long. He also has started putting things in the garbage – toys, remote controls, dishes, really anything he finds on the floor that he decides should be disposed of. Its made for some unhappy moments (for Mark) at the end of the day when we can’t find something and we have to dig through the garbage on a retrieval mission. Dax does play with his toys and keeps himself busy without needing too much attention. I love that I have another independent player. He has started having an interest in Chase’s cars which has resulted in some minor power struggles, but they are learning to work together and I can’t wait for when they become the best of buds.

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Sleeping: Dax is definitely still my worst sleeper. Between 6 and 11 months he actually started waking up more (if that was even possible). He was nursing every 2.5 hours – all night long. Then, all of a sudden, at 11.5 months, he slept through the night! Since then he has been mostly capable of sleeping at least 10 hours, but still regularly gets up at least once. I have tried to just settle him, but if I do not nurse him he screams…and I really don’t want him to wake up his siblings…so (blush) I give in and nurse him (for like 2 minutes). I know, I know, he’ll never learn :).

Personality: Dax is such a happy little dude. He is also my most social kiddo. This Winter, when we went to indoor parks, he would crawl or toddle over to everyone to say hi and observe what they were up to. He had no problem crawling onto the laps of other moms sitting on the ground and would sit and babble at them for a bit before wandering off to another group. While he was busy making friends (of all ages) my other two quietly played on their own off to the side avoiding other human contact ;). Dax has a smile for everyone, loves a good laugh, and shrieks/squeals/babbles/sings all day long. He is also very determined and won’t let his size or age get in his way. As soon as he realized he could stand and take steps he refused to crawl. He would get up and try to walk every chance he got – even though that meant falling…a lot. Eventually it paid off and he is now focusing his attention on learning how to run. He also tries to keep up with his big siblings (especially his big brother) and won’t let their attempts to block him, stop him. He gets in there, stands his ground, and is usually rewarded with a shared toy or involvement in their game. Dax is also very curious and wants to see behind every closed door, inspect how everything works, feel every texture, and just wants to get into everything. He is such a happy, fun, busy addition to our family. We love the spark he brings to our lives.

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Miscellaneous: –

  1. We finished Dax’s nursery just before he turned 1 and just after we purchased a new home (which we move into this Spring). We literally finished his room the day before our realtor took pictures for our house listing. Even though it will only be his nursery for a short time, it is beautiful and I love the soft, comfortable space we created for him.
  2. Dax celebrated his birthday in Ottawa at his grandparents’ home. It was so nice to be able to celebrate him and his first year on this earth with my parents and Danielle’s family (who were also visiting). He had his first taste of sugar on his birthday (in the form of a cupcake) and he inhaled it!
  3. His siblings adore him. They love to shower him with kisses and hugs. They also love wandering into his room in the morning (at the first sound of his rustling) and climbing into his crib with him. They quietly ‘read’ books to him, give him toys to play with, and cuddle him until I come to get him out of bed. They are quick to let me know if he is crying or in danger and I believe that Dax will grow up feeling like he has 4 parents instead of 2.

We love our Dax and thank God daily for choosing us to be his earthly family. Mark and I pray that no matter what life brings to Dax (trails, pain, joy, and success) he will look to God as his rock and salvation.

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That’s Dax at 1 year!

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Lifestyle

Louisa and Beatrix – Newborn Photoshoot!

By Katie


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A week or so after Louisa and Beatrix made their entrance into the world, Rita Zietsma, from Rita Zietsma Photography, made the 3 hour drive to visit them and to snap a few pictures.

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In addition to being a beloved aunt, she also was the photographer who took the newborn shots of Atticus and Vivien.   I love that she has been there to capture all my kids in their first weeks of life.

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She doesn’t only do Newborn Photography, but has a stunning array of works of art.  You can check out her website here and see some gorgeous shots from her work and travels.

 

 

I can’t believe this happened 3.5 months ago already.  Lousia and Beatrix seem like giants compared to these tiny babies!

Looking back at these shots is reminding me to really try to treasure this time with Lousia and Beatrix.  I have said before that I struggle in the first year, but even seeing how much they have grown already makes me realize that this season is so fleeting.

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This is the funniest shot to me: we couldn’t get Vivien to smile for the life of us!

Looking at teeny tiny Louisa and Beatrix made me want to see the newborn shots of Atticus and Vivien as well.  It has only been 4 years since Will and I started on this journey of parenthood.  How our life has changed!

 

Beatrix reminds me so much of Atticus!  But I have heard there is a lot of VanGrootheest in Beatrix, and there is so much Bethlehem in Atticus, I don’t know what to think anymore!

 

I see a lot of Vivien in Louisa.  Especially in this shot:

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And my favourite shot of Vivien’s session.  I can’t believe these 2 monkeys were ever this small!

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Wow.  God has richly blessed me!

Now, if only all of parenthood was as idyllic as these shots make it seem!

Lifestyle

Can We Live in a Porn-Free World?

By Katie


*This post contains affiliate links.  It doesn’t cost you anything, but it may give us something*

This post is a departure from my usual posts. But its important.

I attend BayRidge Alliance Church with my family.  One of the ministries offered by BayRidge is Shift Parenting Seminars, designed to equip parents to raise their children in the fear of the Lord in a world bent on evil.

This past Sunday, BayRidge hosted Strength to Fight for its March seminar.  Strength to Fight is an organization that sheds light on the evils of the porn industry and equips parents to prepare their children to navigate a porni-fied world.

Josh Gilman spoke of the awful statistics that tell of the havoc porn is reeking on our homes.  The stats brought shock to my heart and tears to my eyes.  The stats of how many men and women and children are entrapped, of how the porn being produced is violent and sadistic, that this violent porn is setting the parameters of how men and women and adolescents  view sex and relationships.

But I don’t want to focus on those facts.  You probably have heard them and maybe you feel defeated already.  But Gilman left me with a way to beat the porn industry: to talk about its evils, to put words to my disgust, and to give words to others to speak of theirs.

And so I am.

One of the things that shocked me was that MindGeek, a company that disseminates over 90% of the porn worldwide, is located in Montreal.   Montreal, Canada.  That’s 3 hours down the 401 from me. In a global world, that is my back yard.

He believes that a bill geared towards limiting the availability of porn in Canada was gutted due to MPs being influenced by MindGeek.  That has got to stop.  We can not have a corporation dedicated to destroying lives for money influencing our government.

But there is hope: Gilman said that they are starting to see, in the last 2 to 3 years, internal correspondence in MindGeek speaking of their  fear that public opinion may be shifting away from being accepting of porn.

We can live in a porn-free world.

Gilman believes that we can change our porno-fied culture within the generation, much like public acceptance of slavery was shifted over a short time.  But it needs to be because of the people.  We need to say out loud, to our family, friends and neighbours, that this worldview is not ok.

I come to the table as a mom.  I fear for my son and daughters.  My initial thought is to shelter them, to shut them off from the world.  But I was told that they will eventually encounter pornographic images, and my responsibility is to teach them how to deal with it.

Right now,  I am not worried that my kids will accidentally click something, because they currently do not have access.  My kids get no screen time.

But some day they will.  And I want to start building the foundation of trust and openness today, so that if they do encounter something in the future, they will know they can talk to me.

There is a book called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.  This book had been on my radar for a while, and I had heard positive things about it from other parents.  Strength to Fight was selling copies and I picked up the junior version, written for 3-6 year olds.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures gives me the language to speak to my children in a way to prepare them and protect them, without scaring them.  It tells them what is bad, and what to do if they see something that is bad.

I read it to my kids today.  I read the very basic version and I did not include words like “pornography” because the other idea that stuck with me was “be specific, but not graphic.”  My kids are sheltered, and I don’t want to give them more then they can handle.  You need to prepare your kids as they become ready, building on previous conversations.

The last few pages of the book gives kids practical things they can do if they encounter a bad picture.

Today, Atticus walked by me and casually said, “if I see a bad picture, I can tell my mom.”

This is how I can protect my kids.  They need to know that if they encounter porn it is bad, but it doesn’t make them bad.  They need to know they can tell me and we will walk that path together.  They need to know I will not react in fear and anger, but in love.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures also talked about what to do if someone tries take bad pictures of kids.  I believe this book gives language to kids so they know what is good and bad and they can protect themselves.

I weep for the world that we are in.  But I take joy in the work of organizations like Strength to Fight who are working to equip me to help and protect my kids.

 

*This post contains affiliate links.  It doesn’t cost you anything, but it may give us something*
Lifestyle

Its Been 3 Months.

by Katie


 

Sooooo.

Its been a while.

But, I feel like I have the perfect little scapegoats: Louisa and Beatrix (case in point: immediately after writing that sentence, Louisa started  crying and needed her soother.)

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They are 13 weeks old.  But it might be 14 weeks.  I am at the point where the weeks blend into each other, and  I should be saying their age in months.

So, they are 3 months.

I can’t believe it because it seems like yesterday I was sitting on my bed getting ready to go to the hospital, but it also feels like 13 years since I got to sleep without waking up to feed a baby or two.

The first year is my least favourite year of parenting.  I feel that it is a year fraught with anxiety and stress and crying and hormones.   I am always convinced that there is something wrong with either one or both of the babies.  I feel helpless when they are both crying because they want my attention, and despite the fact that there are two babies, there still is only 1 of me.

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I haven’t been able to tandem feed because both Louisa and Beatrix have a bit of reflux.  Not enough to medicate, but enough that if I don’t hold them upright immediately after a feed they spit up all their food all over.  In Beatrix’s case, its a spew that can go several feet.  In Louisa’s case, its a constant dribble.   Not tandem feeding means that I am feeding approximately 276 hours a day.

But these incredible months have also been filled with cuddles and smiles and coos and lots of love.  It is a humbling to see 2 little newborns develop and learn.  It is a blessing to see Atticus and Vivien love and play with them.  Atticus is actively trying to teach them to talk.  Vivien to trying to teach them … I am not sure what, but it involves a lot of toys and singing and patting.

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They are starting to notice each other when they are laying beside each other.  The smiles they give to each other are precious!

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I still can’t believe that God has given me 2 of His children to raise.  There are many times my heart cries out to God, telling Him that I was right and that I can’t do twins.  But there times of peace as well, when I feel myself being help up by Him; times when I don’t know how I am going to make it to the end of the day, but I do make it through His strength;  times when I am so overwhelmed by His love, that He gave up His Son for me.

I am so thankful for these 2 girls and for their older brother and sister.

 

Lifestyle

A Story of a Birth

By Katie


 

Hi y’all.

(I had twins and it turned me into a Southern belle.)

(And if this post doesn’t make sense: I am tired, because, Surprise Surprise, there were 2 babies in me.  And 2 babies equals 2x the babies as 1 baby.  I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest….)

Anyways, 3 weeks ago ( how was it 3 weeks already!?!) Louisa and Beatrix came into the world screaming their heads off.

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Let me tell you the story.  It will be short because I hear Louisa grunting and she will want to eat.  Again.

My section was booked for 8 am, but we got bumped for an emergency c section.  We didn’t make it into the operating room until around 11 am.  It was hard to wait, though I tried to enjoy it, knowing I wouldn’t have peaceful moments where I could read my book relatively uninterrupted for a long  while.  But I was also eager to meet the twins.  So my emotions were all tossed up.

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When we were finally brought to the operating room, I remembered how much I hate surgery.  There are all these machines and people and medical stuff and modesty doesn’t seem important (well, my modesty, everyone else was allowed to stay clothed.)   But I was brave, and stepped into the room all by my self, without having to be corralled and forcibly pushed in because I was trying to escape (this is what happened with Atticus’ birth.  True story)

Kingston is a teaching hospital, so for every doctor/nurse there is a student/resident/follower.  It makes for a very full operating room.  Throw in 2 pediatric teams and a bunch of medical students excited to see a twin c-section and it felt like a party.

A party where I am cut open like an offering.

This was my worst c section.   I don’t know if my reaction to the anesthesia is changing or if its a different cocktail of drugs every time, but I feel more out of it with each section.  However, this section I was able to see my babies be born which was the most incredible sight in the world.  They both came out crying loudly and I was overcome with all the emotions.  That feeling meeting your baby (ies) for the first time and thinking “I know you,”  is incredible.

The pediatric teams on standby didn’t even wait for the cord of Beatrix to be clamped before they left saying that they clearly were healthy babies.  There are a lot of complications that can come with twin pregnancies, and I am so thankful for their health.

Like I said, this was my worst section.  Will couldn’t really hold either twin on me because I was so out of it.  This breaks my heart, but Will did an admiral job watching and snuggling them while I was being stitched up. 🙂

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Louisa reminds me of Vivien in both looks and character.  She took to breastfeeding like it’s her right and will let me know if there is something wrong.   Or if she is waking up.  Or if she just wants to be heard.  I am so excited to have another loud child.  (<- that is sarcasm.)

Beatrix, who looks like Atticus, took longer to get used to feeding and still likes to take her time.  She is the calmer one, so far.

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Atticus and Vivien absolutely love their sisters.  I am surprised with (mostly) how gentle they are.  It is amazing to see my 4 kids together.  My heart overflows with joy.

Lifestyle

The Twins are Coming! (tomorrow)

By Katie


I haven’t posted in a while. This twin pregnancy is kicking my butt, and I am not being gracious about it.  I am glad that I am not married to me (don’t laugh, it is actually a thing.  I don’t think I would be a good spouse for me.)   But I do have so much more empathy and respect for people who suffer from chronic pain or disease, especially since they don’t have an end date, and I do.

I can also commiserate with Rebecca:  I feel like a have 2 nations warring in my womb.   When one starts rolling and kicking, inevitably the other starts.   This doesn’t bode well for when they are ex-utereo .

Also, I have no brain cells left, so if the words I write make no sense, I am sorry.

Buuuuut Beatrix and  Louisa are coming tomorrow!  And we couldn’t be more excited!  Every morning, Atticus and Vivien climb into my bed to say good morning to the babies (through my belly button, its the cutest ever!) and we count the days until they come on our fingers.  They both agree that 1 day is not very many!

We did a lot of renovating in the last few months: we redid our upstairs bathroom, re-floored the whole upstairs, re-painted the upstairs and redid some of the trim upstairs.  I was really hoping it would all be done by the time the twins arrived, but last Thursday I told Will all renos were stopping because I couldn’t keep up with the house any more, mostly due to exhaustion and a very sore back (you would have a sore back too if you had 500 lbs hanging off your front!!)  Since then, we slaughtered and butchered 2 chickens, repainted the doors upstairs and changed their handles and hinges, and finished hanging trim.    But other than that, we are done with renoing.   For at least the next week or so 😛  (The only room we didn’t do upstairs is the future nursery.  So Will isn’t going to get too much time off.  Sucker. )

The girls will be sleeping in our room for the first 4-5 months, depending on how it goes.  They will be sharing a crib (I figure they have shared like 1 square foot for 9 months, a crib will seem positively huge!)  It was so fun to be able to set up the area for them.

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I went shopping with Vicki to buy some newborn clothes.  It was really hard to do because  I have big babies who don’t fit in newborn sizes.  Atticus almost had to go home in a onsie piled high with blankets because the outfit I bought didn’t fit at all.  But they say my twins should be in the 6 lb range.  And the newborn clothes say they fit 6 lbs, so hopefully it will be fine.  These is the coming home sleepers I have for them:

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My mom went shopping with me to get receiving blankets and she bought me a beautiful blanket to cuddle them in.   Atticus picked out the receiving blankets, informing me that polka dots are the way to go.  Trendsetter or follower, I don’t know.

I bought cute little bonnets from Jess Lodder at Two Lil Otters.   They were a steal of a deal at only $8 each!  I bought newborn sizes so I hope the girls don’t come out with gigantic heads (like a certain son of mine…)  I can’t wait to put them on Beatrix and Louisa!  Jess makes a lot of different things for kids.  The quality is great and I got them really quickly.   If you are in the market for cute baby things, I totally recommend her 🙂

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I am not totally ready yet.   But I think I am ready enough for the twins.  They won’t know what is missing, right?

Lifestyle

Its Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

by Kara

 

Its November 28. Christmas is less than a month a way.

This is the extent of my Christmas decorations so far:

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I bought this tree on Saturday from Michael’s. My husband set it up while I was out getting some groceries. And this is all we have done so far. Which means, I am way behind schedule.

In the past, I have been known to decorate in October. I love Christmas, I love Christmas decorations, and I love Christmas music. This year, the months of October and November have slipped away, and it may be December before I finally decorate (insert shocked face here, then dramatically swoon). Unless I make decorating a priority for today.

The beginning of the Christmas season hasn’t completely escaped my notice. I have been listening to Christmas music for well over a month. I have also bought some of Zoe’s Christmas gifts, the Christmas gifts for Tsjibbe’s family, and some of the gifts for my family.

As this is my first Christmas with my baby girl, I have a strong desire to spoil her. Every toy, teddy, or book I see, I think “I should get that for Zoe! She would love it for Christmas!”. I have this vision of her sitting in a pile of presents, being so excited for every gift she opens. But let’s be honest: She’s 10 months. She’ll be more excited for the wrapping paper than the toys hidden underneath. So Tsjibbe and I made a tough decision (tough for me, obvious for him). We are going to get 4 gifts: Something to wear, something to read, something she wants, and something she needs.

She’s getting two something she wants, because I already bought her two toys. But I’m excited about starting a 4 gift tradition. I hope it will help keep our Christmases simple. It will also let me know when I’m “done” buying Christmas gifts. I find that, since I started buying gifts so early, I have a tendency to keep buying gifts. Since I bought gifts on sale, I have a tendency to think “Well, I’ve only spent…”, and then go and spend well over our Christmas budget. Now I know I’m done buying her toys, and I can get her something to read, something to wear, and something she needs.

In all honesty, she will be getting more than 4 gifts every year. On December 5th we celebrate the Dutch Sinterklaas, and she will get a book and pajamas. Also, I will buy her a Christmas ornament, because it is never too early to start collecting Christmas decorations.

Speaking of Christmas decorations… I have to go decorate my house!