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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End Wrap Up


What a crazy year it has been. Full of adventure, changes, challenges, hard work, and some fun here and there.

We couldn't end the year without Jordan getting a good kick in the face while sledding yesterday and Sean and his ladder taking a fall while washing windows today as some wind came in suddenly. Fortunately Jordan's mangled glassed were repaired and Sean landed in a hedge. It was close to not being a happy new year.

Jared is doing well. He was in the hospital for a month, coming home on the weekends. He was certainly ready to leave when the time came. During the last week of his stay he slowly went back to school much to his delight. The last week of school is a gong show on a good day. The fact that he handled it so well is a credit to him and the medications that seem to be taking the edge off his emotional pendulum and helping him stay focused. Overall he handled the whole season quite well. It was hard for him to leave something so structured and return to a place that had anything but with extra family and Christmas excitement abounding.

This next month will be the real test as life slows down to normal. Will he be able to use the skills he's learned at the hospital or will he backslide into his old habits? Will the school be able to reinforce the structure Jared needs to succeed? To be continued....

We are still covered in snow. We've had temperatures far lower than normal for this season. Folks around here are complaining about the lack of snow removal. The thing is, usually a warm Chinook comes and melts all the snow. There's not a need for a lot of snow removal equipment, but with the cold temperatures the snow sticks around.


Yesterday I spent a good part of the morning shovelling around the house with the help of Jared and Jackson. Can't say my body is feeling too spectacular today, but far better than last night.

There have been many events that have stretched our patience, wallets, and sanity. I can say while I don't wish the same on anyone, I have learned a thing or two and I continue to be amazed at how much I can handle when I don't think I can take any more. Oh, and thank goodness for our flood. Our basement looks so much nicer now.

We are hoping that the coming year brings us less stress and more movement in a forward direction, and we hope that for all of you too. Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jared the Builder

One of Jared's gifts this year was a 368 piece Bionicle Lego set. You know, one of those put it together and so help me don't EVER take it apart again Lego sets.

Uncle Chris oversaw the construction, but was relegated to bystander/observer while Jared almost single-handedly put it together.

Now, so help me, don't EVER take it apart.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Loyalty of Children

So......my mom bought matching pajamas for all us gals. Mom, daughters, and daughter in law posed for this at my mother's request. I promised to blog this.

I am having flashbacks of my childhood. Matching clothes with my sister. I think I even owned a dress that matched my mom's maternity dress.

Funny, now that I look at the pictures I realize that the "daughters" are all wearing black socks too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Beginning to Look Like Santa

The fam is beginning to arrive. Jared was discharged from the hospital (blog that later). The fireplace is pretty much done. The stockings are hung. The tree will be loaded with gifts for eleven of us. We reside in a winter wonderland at a chilly -30 degrees celsius today, but it should be in the balmy -teens by Christmas day. There is a dead bird in the deep freeze. The older boys are rehearsing for their parts in the Nativity Pagent next week and learning what frostbite really means. We are starting to eat way too much. I am singing in Christmas musical numbers at church on Sunday. We said our Merry Christmases to teachers yesterday. I am sick of shopping venues.

It's looking like the 25th must be near.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brothers

Ahhhh.....if they could always be his loving. I am hoping Jared outgrows his obsession with Calvin and Hobbes. If you have read the comics you will know what I mean.
And why can't my baby stay a baby. Really. This is not fair. One day he won't be such a cute looking elf.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stalled


The first coat of paint is on and molding will have to wait. Sean has the flu, I have the flu and a chest cold, and the hospital sent Jared home with tonsillitis and antibiotics. Yeah, we are a fine bunch.
Personally, I have been drugging myself with Dayquil and Nyquil and I found Otrivine with Menthol nose spray that I find quite pleasant. I haven't felt too awful until the last couple of hours. I don't want anymore Dayquil when I know I get the really good meds in an hour. Yes, I like drugs and floating and stuff.
It's snowing outside at the moment and the temperature is supposed to plummet tomorrow for the next few days. We are expecting -15 to -25 Celsius until next Friday. I don't have a block heater in the van so I am interested in seeing how long it takes till I can no longer start the thing. I don't mind being sick when it's too cold to go do much anyway. Hunkering down sounds good about now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ain't Nothin Gonna Slow Us Down.....maybe

Yesterday Sean finished the main assembly of the new fireplace surround. I've primed and painted it now and Sean will start with the moldings today, hopefully, unless this cold/flu thing that came crashing down on us doesn't kill us first.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Compromise

James wants to grow his hair out....at least his bangs. I told him he could so long as he wears it like the lead singer from Flock of Seagulls. Is that not a reasonable compromise?

Even Santa Needs a Nice Place to Fall

Last year while discussing the finer points of Christmas with "Santa" at my staff tree trimming party, Jared gave him some important information.

"Now just remember when you come down our chimney you will hit a glass wall."

Good to know. With so many natural gas fireplaces in the world, you wonder how Santa can get his job done on time.

This is a new year and a new old house and we have a regular fireplace like in the olden days. We haven't tried it out yet (I want to have it inspected), but I am sure it is Santa approved and he will have no trouble fulfilling his responsibilities at our house.

What he may take issue with is the painted brick. Someone painted the brick two different colors......and none of that furniture is ours, bye the way. This is one of the pictures Sean took when touring the house before we purchased it.

Now we are going to hide the brick. Had the brick been left in it's original state, I would have changed my whole decorating concept for the den. Alas it was painted and we don't have the cash to do what I would really like to.

So......bye, bye, brick. Sad to see you go. Sean is building a floor to ceiling surround to cover the entire area. He also took the left over ceramic tiles from the bathroom floor and used them around the fireplace opening. It should be done by the end of the week and we will have a mantle to hang all eleven stockings for Santa to fill.

Eleven????.......you ask. Family is coming. What a better way to spend your first Christmas in a new town.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Getting a Grip

It can be difficult to rebound during an ordeal you feel ill equipped for. Indeed I guess ordeals can make you or break you. As Jared continues with his stint in the hospital I have found myself at times teetering on the fence, not knowing which side I would fall on.

No one told me that motherhood would be so painful at times. Perhaps they did and I did not listen.

I've developed a fairly thick skin during my short life so when I am told my household is not structured enough for Jared I take it like I should.....as constructive criticism. Well, sort of. Actually I felt like saying, "excuse me?", but then realizing that this is coming from medical staff that provide stellar structure for a living. I understood what they meant. I just didn't like hearing it.

I don't need to turn my home into a boot camp, but I see the need for me to provide more consistent expectations and rewards. We did this all weekend and it's the best weekend we've had in a long time.

Personally I am wiped. It took a lot out of me and there were some things I wanted to accomplish personally that I didn't. Still, I am happy with these past few days and hope they made an impact on Jared in a positive way. Now I have to figure out how to do this without alienating my other three boys.

It was also empowering. No one likes to feel helpless, myself included. I felt like a contributor to Jared's health and that we made good strides together.

He hates to go back to the hospital, but once he is there he is not asking to go home like he used to. I think some good things are coming from the medications he is on and it looks like an Autism screening will be coming in the new year. I am happy about that. Autism spectrum has been the elephant in the room for years, but until now I haven't met a doctor that agreed with the possibility. If Jared is, he would be on the very low end of the scale. We will have to go to the "big city" for that. I look forward to it so we can verify the possibility or put it to rest for good.

We can handle this.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pretty Much Done

It's a shame to think that this is the designated bathroom for the boys who will pee all over the floor.

BEFORE (This was what it looked like when Sean was viewing the home for the first time)


DURING


AFTER



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pink Be Gone!!!!!!

Yes, it looks a little dark, but it's not. Besides, anyone who knows me will never be surprised by my choices in color.

This is my boys' bathroom and I have chosen a grey color for the walls. I also wanted to exorcise the awful pink that was in there. I think this does it.



The vanity cabinet will go in next and then the floor tiles. I know the boys will be happy to have their toilet resting comfortably back in its place. Just because it sits in a Rubbermaid container in the middle of our den does not make it a functioning toilet.

On a side note, I discovered thermal underwear yesterday. I thought I would buy myself a pair. and I think I am in love. Obviously I am not wearing them as undies because I am pretty sure I am never going to take them off.


Monday, December 1, 2008

When the Wind Blows

It's gusting 90 km/hr winds today. Not a good day to be up on a ladder washing windows.

Sean's attacking that ugly bathroom today removing linoleum, moldy walls, fixtures, and toilets. We picked up the new fixtures today at great prices. Even with deals left, right, and centre it sure does get costly to make something pretty.

Here's the damage Sean did today.

Brain Cell Destruction = Bathroom Renovation Sucess.......at least part of it.

This weekend Sean began the lower level bathroom. This is our pink bathroom. We do not like it. I hate pink on a good day. It's very 1970's. We could not let it continue to exist.

Our original plan was to rip out the tub and tiles and install new pretty things, but Sean was reluctant to do a tub replacement on his own. So he bought an enamel paint kit from the hardware store and went to work.

No where on the box did it say "use in a well ventilated area". The fact that we are all alive is amazing. Whether our brain cells are still in tact is another question. The fumes were awful. I was dizzy. Jordan was throwing up. I didn't think we were going to survive Friday night. On Saturday I turned off our heat, made everyone wear sweaters, and opened all the window. Fortunately it was a warm day.

I was skeptical about the whole paint job idea. I had heard horror stories about how difficult it was to apply it just right. Indeed Sean needed to do about 3 coats, but in the end it turned out better than I thought and it only cost us $50.....saving us huge amounts of cash.
Now we will move onto the wall repairs, painting, tiling, new cabinets and counters. Mom, you may have a nice bathroom to use when you and Dad get here!!