Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A night without heat . . .

. . . and an unexpected expense right after Christmas, could it get any worse? Yes, it could have been A LOT worse! We are very lucky!

I had an appointment scheduled for this morning to have our furnace cleaned. Yesterday afternoon, much to my surprise, they called to see if they could come over right away. Half an hour later, I showed the guy to the furnace room in the basement and went back to listening to my new Sirius satellite radio and assembling and putting away Liam's Christmas gifts. Until furnace guy came looking for me. He needed to show me something. It was not good news. The bottom of the chimney was COMPLETELY plugged with crud - much of which were pieces of the chimney tiles. He told us that we were lucky that we weren't sick from the carbon monoxide and that he could not turn the heat back on.

So, there we were at 4:30pm, with the help and support of my mother-in-law (thank god!) looking for some chimney people to come see what they could do with the mess. It only took a couple of calls, to find someone, but we would have to wait 2-4 hours as they were at another emergency call. So we scrounged up some space heaters and anxiously waited.

Finally chimney guys arrived. At first they were optimistic. "Yeah, we can get that cleaned out to turn the heat on tonight. But you do need a new liner." Wonderful, I thought as I went back to my living room filled with space heaters.

But soon the optimism was gone as the inside of the chimney collapsed on one of their cleaning brushes and they had to call in their boss for assistance. "You need a whole new chimney," they informed us. "And no heat tonight."

That's when the panic set in. Not so much about the lack of heat, we figured we would be fine with space heaters, but about the $3000 for a new chimney.

However, but 10:30pm when the chimney guys were finally ready to leave, things were looking a little better. We don't need a whole new chimney after all, just a liner, which will cost about $1600. Not something we were at all prepared for but we are all alive and you have no idea how thankful I am for that. Things could have been worse, so very much worse. I can't even imagine what might have happened if I hadn't scheduled that furnace cleaning . . .

Putting away the Christmas haul . . .

All I have to say is wow!! Putting away all of the new Christmas gifts is always a bit of a job. Unpackaging, finding places to put all the new stuff, possibly getting rid of old stuff that has been replaced takes a bit of time and energy. However, when you throw a baby having their first real Christmas AND birthday into the mix, it becomes something that takes days to complete!!

First, what is with the packaging on kids toys? So much cardboard and plastic, not to mention all the twist ties that are holding the toys into their packages and some of them are even held in with screws! WTF is with that? Hello people, I don't have time to go find a screw driver to get the toy out of the box while baby is screaming for his new fire truck! Packaging is obviously not designed by people with children!! I think that next year, we will request that Santa take all new toys out of their packages before wrapping them!

And clothes! Wow, this child of mine is spoiled! I swear, he got a whole new wardrobe for Christmas! Which is awesome as many of the clothes that he has been wearing are getting a little too small, but I just haven't been able to put them away because they are just so darn cute. But now that he has so much new cute stuff, it should be a little easier to part with some of the old stuff. I see a trip to the consignment store in my very near future with a car full of stuff!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas and a Birthday . . .

. . . makes for a busy and exhausting day . . . but I guess that we better get used to it, as I am sure that it will only get busier and more exhausting as Liam gets older! The day was filled with lots of unwrapping of presents . . . and then playing with said present. I don't think that Liam unwrapped anything without playing with it before he unwrapped the next one. And there are still presents under the tree waiting for him to get to them! Finally, he thought it was all over and decided that it was time for an afternoon nap. But to his surprise, when he woke, Grandma and his Aunties were here and it was time to start all over again with the presents and playing with new things!

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner, although the turkey wasn't really to Liam's liking, it resulted in a lot of tasting and then spitting. Turnips however were quite yummy! And then came birthday cake! At first he wasn't sure what to do with his piece of cake. Breaking off little pieces and throwing them on the floor seemed like a wonderful idea until Grandma stuck a little piece of cake in his mouth. Then he realized that cake is the best food that he has ever eaten! I am sure that if he could talk he would be telling me that he never wants to eat anything ever again, except cake!

Today was a bit of a disappointment, we were supposed to go see my family today and have Boxing Day dinner with everyone at my sister's house, but it has been freezing rain here ALL day. And all I can say about that is MISERABLE! Needless to say, we decided that it wasn't worth the risk of a two hour drive in freezing rain. If the weather is better, we will go tomorrow, otherwise, we will wait until next weekend. Aside from the disappointment of not getting to see my family and of missing Christmas with them again this year (last year I was in the hospital having a baby!) it was a nice quiet, relaxing day at home. I napped when Liam napped and other than doing some dishes, I was completely lazy! I wish that I could have more days like that!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Matter What I Choose, I Feel Like A Bad Mom . . .

**Note** Liam was born with a club foot and has been dealing with treatments since he was 6 days old. First was a series of six casts over six weeks, then a tendon elongation followed by a final cast for 3 weeks. Then came the really fun stuff . . . Denis Brown boots and bar . . . Liam had to wear these shoes 23 hours a day for 3 months and now continues to wear them at night until he is four

Now that you have the back story, here is the problem. Just before Liam got sick the last time (ear infection) he started having difficulty sleeping at night. He would wake up and nothing I could think of would settle him. I wondered if it was the shoes, but then he got sick with a fever a few days later, so I assumed that it was just that he wasn't feeling well. When he is sick or otherwise bothered by something, he has absolutely no patients for the boots and bar, so it came as no surprise that during his illness, he had difficulty sleeping with them on. Knowing that sleep is very important for a sick baby, I would leave the boots on for as long as I could each night, but if he really wasn't sleeping, they came off.

I expected things to go back to normal as soon as he was feeling better. I was wrong. So, the next logical thing to do was to make an appointment with the orthopedics place for new shoes and an adjustment to the bar. Because of the open toe design of the shoes, he was still wearing the same ones he'd stared with in March and his feet are much bigger, and were sticking out the ends. Last Thursday, Liam and Daddy went and got brand new bigger shoes and had the bar adjusted for his current size.

Again, I expected things to be better that night. Again, I was wrong. Maybe, I thought he just needed some time to "break in" the stiff leather of the new shoes, but here we are a week later and things are no better. Liam goes to bed like an angel, going to sleep without any fuss for about 2 or 3 hours and then he starts fussing, crying, tossing, turning and waking up. No matter what I do, he won't settle for more than an hour at a time after that until I give up and take off the boots.

And that's my where my dilemma comes in. If I take off the shoes every night, we risk a recurrence of the club foot (which looks completely normal right now) but we all get to sleep. If I leave the shoes on, the boots do their job and keep the foot straight but nobody sleeps. It is a no win situation. No matter what I do, Liam isn't getting something that he needs. All I can do for now is put the shoes on every night and keep them on for as long as I can stand it. Once we are on Christmas holidays (no daycare for Liam and I from December 25 to January 4th) I am going to have to throw some tough love at him and let him cry it out a bit more during the night and hopefully get used to the new shoes. If that doesn't work, it will be off to CHEO in the new year to beg the orthopedist for help . . .

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two days off work . . .

So, I realized last week that I had two vacation days that I needed to use before the end of the year, so I took a four day weekend! My plan was to spend Monday morning finishing my Christmas shopping and spend the rest of Monday and today cleaning and baking.

As much as it made me feel a like a horrible mommy, I sent Liam to daycare on Monday. I had a limited amount of time to do my shopping and many stores that I wanted to get to and I knew that having him along would just slow me down. I really wanted to finish shopping! And I did!! Given that I started my shopping excursion before 8:00 am, the stores were quiet and without a baby in tow, things went quickly! I actually found most of the things I was looking for without much difficulty! WooHoo! To celebrate, I went home to sweep and mop my floors!

All in all, Monday was a much more productive day than I'd expected. I wanted Tuesday to be the same, but at the same time, I wanted to keep Liam home. So, that's what I did. I did end up getting some of my baking done and a couple of other things crossed off my to do list, but in that sense, it wasn't as productive as Monday. But I did have some quality time with my Little Bear.

After his nap this morning, we got dressed up and went out to play in the snow. It is the first time I've had time to take him out try and play in the snow. We have been so busy lately that I haven't had much time at all to play uninterrupted with him and just enjoy being with him. Liam's feelings about the snow were mixed . . . it started out fine, until he got some on his mitts and then wiped his face with his hand . . . that was not good! And a sleigh ride around the yard was fun until mommy tipped his sleigh over with him in it.

After lunch, we embarked on another new and fun activity . . . FINGER PAINTING!!! We had so much fun! And we didn't even try to eat the paint! Yeah, my kid is a genius! hahaha! And now Daddy has a nice painting to put up on his wall at work.

Unfortunately, it is back to work tomorrow. I could use a few more days to catch up on my ever growing to do list and to have some more fun filled days with my Little Bear, but there are bills to be paid and I think that in the long run, both Liam and I would get bored with being home all day every day. He loves daycare and well, so do I, I wouldn't have lasted for almost 9 years if I didn't!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

. . . my house is a mess, there are piles of gifts for people (still in shopping bags) all over the place, another pile of wrapping paper and gift tags, and a table covered in half written Christmas cards. And there are to do lists here, there and everywhere, each one longer than the last . . . I really need to gather them up and put them all together into one list, but it would be so long that it would scare me into hibernation! Oh, and I have an undecorated Christmas tree in the corner of the living room . . . aside from that, all of the decorations are still in the crawl space.

However, I have the next two days off work!! And tomorrow, Liam is going to daycare! My plan is to go out first thing in the morning and finish my shopping and then I will spend the rest of tomorrow and Tuesday (with Liam's help!) cleaning, decorating, baking and wrapping. Hopefully by the end of the day Tuesday, I will feel a little more organized and ready for Christmas . . .

And then I have a birthday to think about . . . seriously, what was that kid thinking, being born on Christmas day?

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Only 19 days until Christmas and Liam's birthday . . . how the heck did that happen??? What happened to November? Where did the first week of December go? Did I sleep through it all? Because it seems like I missed at least a month!

I won't lie to you, thinking about my to do list for the next 19 days has scared me! I am only half done my shopping, Christmas cards aren't written yet, I haven't started wrapping, baking or decorating and Christmas dinner is something that I know has to happen, but that's as far as I've gotten with planning that! The house is a disaster . . . I think that the dust bunnies are going to take over soon . . . and I have no motivation to do anything!

Here's to hoping that Rhonda (my boss) can pull through and find a supply teacher for a couple of days so that I can use my last two vacation days for the year to get my butt in gear and get ready for Christmas. If I get two days off (or even just one) and Daddy takes Liam to daycare for the day, I might actually get things accomplished! Because, well, Liam just doesn't help anywhere near as much as he thinks that he does!

And aside from a birthday cake to go with Christmas dinner, I'm not even thinking about Liam's birthday until January. Right now, he is too young to understand any of this craziness we call Christmas and Birthday, so it can wait until we aren't so busy for a party. We haven't decided on a date yet, but it will be towards the end of January. I know that as he gets older and understands more, we will have to have some birthday presents on his actual birthday, but for now, I am going to enjoy the fact that I can put at least one thing off for a few more weeks.

Visiting Santa . . .

While at the mall doing some Christmas shopping, we took our little man to see Santa. Waiting in line for our turn was lots of fun . . . there were people walking by to look at, other kids in line to watch and a 4 month old baby behind us to talk to.

When it got to be our turn, we weren't so sure about that funny looking man dressed in red and there was nothing we could do to get a smile out the kid who never stops smiling. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining . . . I know that it could have been A LOT worse. I know that some babies would have started screaming the moment they saw the Big Guy and not stopped until they were miles away. And the photographer got a pretty good shot . . . this one is from Daddy's iPhone, as we didn't have time to wait for the picture to be ready, we'll have to go back and get it this week.

Santa did however give us a Snowman pillow, which Liam absolutely adores. In his exercauser last night, he was reaching for it sitting across the room on his toy box. Once I gave it to him, it got a huge smile and a cuddle . . . this is from the kid who never cuddles, because it means he would to stay still! And every time it fell on the floor, he would lean over, stare at it sadly and complain until we picked it up for him.

All in all, I think our first visit to Santa was a success! :)