Wednesday, August 30, 2006


So, Rhiannon has given herself encropresis. You can read about it here or see what the Mayo clinic has to say about it here. I have written about it before and I thought we were getting a handle on it but it has been persisting and getting worse. Of course I haven't been to a Dr yet. But I will in the next couple of weeks. In the end she was holding her 'stool' for almost 2 weeks and leaking into her panties several times a day. Eventually children who do this lose the normal urges to poop and this had deffinitely happened. I followed the treatment from the Mayo clinic and bought some suppositories and fed her a steady diet of laxative tea. She has started having the urge to poop in the last couple of days. We are down to one cup of laxitive tea and no suppositories.

So I thought we would do the Master Cleanse. Kaetlyn said she wanted to do it, too. So the three of us girls set out to cleanse our bowels... We had our cup of tea last night and this morning but Rhiannon is struggling with drinking instead of eating. She hasn't drank enough and she is feeling hungry. I don't think she is going to make it. And Kaetlyn says that she doesn't think she will be able to keep going. So that leaves me... I wasn't really in a cleanse mood. And I always feel hungry when I do it and I don't feel energized, either. I feel like I am fasting... But I could probably use a cleanse and now I have all this stuff - for 3 people to do it. That was expensive... What to do...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Or maybe it is just 'gender confusion'. Here is Delila eating her first mouse. I hope it was the one that was pooping in the drawer under the stove and in the cupboard under the sink... It was a huge mouse - must have been a field mouse. She ate the entire thing except for some part of the digestive system. The gall bladder? I'm not sure. It was the shape (although not the size) of a human pancreas.

We just got home from our little shopping holiday in Calgary. We did the outlet thing and Kaetlyn and I did pretty good. But when we got home and were petting our quickly growing kittens who seemed to have grown so much while we were gone for just 5 days..., we noticed something strange about Delila.

'She' has a certain part of anantomy that should be lacking in a female cat... See those furry little protusions just below her anus? They are testicles... Hey, even the farm guy said 'she' was a girl. But... Yes, Delila is a he. Now there is the issue of the name. Delila is such a femine name, there is not chance of keeping it... Dean is favouring Dell - that corny name from the '50's. I'm favouring just calling her (um, I mean him) Dilly which has been our nickname for her/him thus far. Drew is undecided...

But I do maintain that cat testicles are the cutest testicles. Aren't those furry little balls cute? Tigger's were orange and even cuter. I'm sure I'm demented, but still, c'mon, admit it. Cat balls are cute. Admire them while he has them, they won't be there for long...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Lost Track of the Date...

Darn! I had this post planned for a loooong time! And then I lost track of the date and had some stuff to deal with with Kaetlyn and Drew's dad and wasn't in the mood. But 34 years ago, a most amazing thing happened to me.

As I have already talked about my fate of having 3 brothers are regular intervals right after me. By age 7, my mom was pregnant and I was surrounded by slobbery, farting brothers. (You do know that the now-dignified Doug and John used to have farting contests and would eat things on purpose to have the most and the stinkiest farts - and they would do this while we were travelling in an enclosed vehicle. Yes, it is true!) I had been praying for years for a sister. Two years earlier I had got my third brother instead of my hoped-for-sister.

But on August 22, 1972 while I was staying at my friend, Lin Huber's house and sleeping in their tent trailer, my dad called to wake me up at 2 in the morning or so and tell me that I finally got my baby sister.

In those days, hospitals didn't allow siblings to visit but my dad got me home a day early from my friend's and brought me with him to pick up my mom from the hospital. I remember the Sunday morning and waiting outside the church in PG for my dad who was in priesthood meeting (back in the day that priesthood meeting was before church on Sundays). I remember catching a grasshopper and letting it jump through my hands in the warm morning light. I remember getting to hold her for the first time and my awe and excitement to have my little sister. We went to lunch at the Red Lion in PG. My parents making an exception for a Sunday to celebrate their second daughter. So much of those days is so clear in my memory because it was so significant to me. And look at her! Isn't she cute?

Katherine Louise - called Katie-Lou and now just Katie. Her first steps were running after our mom. I can remember that day, too - in our house on Fir St in PG. And she was like that. So detirmined with a strong will. It was really difficult to get her to do anything that she didn't want to do. And you should have seen those curls shake when she was mad! We shared a room for several years and she used to wake me, calling "Aya, Aya, Up!" Until I got up at 6am and lifted her out of her crib. I remember her jumping to me from the stairs in our 910 Gillette house.

And she grew up to be such a smart and amazing and incredibly beautiful woman. She is the kind of woman who trains for marathons and runs them. When she makes up her mind to accomplish something, you can be sure that it will happen! I am so proud of my little sister. And still so grateful that I got to have the priviledge of being her sister. And she was deffinitely worth waiting 7 years and 3 brothers for! Kaetlyn is named for her. So, Happy Birthday, Katie! Sorry it's late!

A sad tale of a baby bird

So on Monday Kaetlyn walked down to Kal highschool to get her report card and her information about her next years classes (which didn't get here in the mail because of our move...). On her way back as she walked past all the heavy construction where they are putting in sewer lines on Kal Lake Rd., she happened upon a baby bird by the side of the road too young to fly. So she picked it up and brought it home. We did a fair amount of research and made some phone calls and discovered that it was a Cedar Waxwing. A friend of mine sent me a link to this website which is a really cool and informative site! Look how beautiful Cedar Waxwings are! It already had the distinctive bright yellowy-orange stripe on its tail feathers And it had a beautiful little song.

We loved it! We discovered that it was a fruit and berry eater and that Waxwings are amongst the latest birds to sit a nest which is why there is a baby bird at the end of the summer... We fed it chunks of plums and berries from our Mountain Ash and water by a dropper. It was very fun. Kaetlyn arranged for a friend of hers to nurse it while we are gone to Calgary this week end.

It was very interesting to watch Delila and Coppellia. At first they paid the baby bird no mind at all and didn't even seem to notice it. Then, suddenly, yesterday morning it was like a switch flipped and Delila first realized through some deep genetic memory that this was her prey and she tried to leap up and pounce on the bird. Even though I was watching her and trying to stop her, her drive for the bird obliterated me. Soon after Coppellia also realized that this was a possible food source for her... I put them outside and they climbed a tree and came in an upstairs window. Of course, I saved the bird and then we went into the kitchen and closed all the doors. They prowled around the kitchen door and crouched in the 'pounce ready' position. Here they are at the kitchen door.

And here is Delila coming through the door, taking advantage of me taking pictures of them... We managed to save the wee bird from the cats but it died anyways. It lasted about 24 hours. I don't know what it was. Too much food? Not mushed up enough? Not enough food? (it ate ALOT). Was it ill and so the mother bird pushed it out of the nest in the first place? I suspect, we didn't keep it warm enough. When I discovered it near death, it was very chilled and although I warmed it up, it died in my hands. I was in awe of what mysterious things mother birds do for their young that keep them alive. I was in awe of the fragility of life and how one moment it is there and one moment it is not. We learned a lot about that bird. Because it had few feathers, the kids could clearly see the bird's digestive system - the berries and fruit gather in the gullet.

So thank you, baby Cedar Waxwing for coming to us for such a short time. I wish we could have done better for you...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Last Days of Summer

Thank you, Beth for the beautiful new skin. I love it! Aren't I lucky to have such a talented sister (she's beautiful, too - she's got it all!) And I even managed to get the comments working myself. Yay!

Well, these are the last days of summer and despite the voiciferous protest that I am sure will be launched by Bean and Pea, I love summer and I always feel sad as it starts to fade. I have a hard time enjoying fall because I know winter is coming and I just don't like winter. I am sure it all stems from my childhood in Northern BC where winter lasts from October to May and sometimes September to June.... I love summer, the warm, soft air, the fragences that waft on the evening breezes, swimming in the lake, summer clothes - not having to put on layers before you go outside, fresh produce, fruit....I could go on and on. Anyways, the last days of summer are precious to me! We made the most of it yesterday by spending the day at Ellison. Here we are:

Kaetlyn and Meg (who's visiting for the week) jump off the rocks into the water while I watch from the tube.

My beautiful daugter, Kaetlyn, trying to get up the courage to jump off the cliffs... Will she do it?

I love this picture - Dean mid air - jumping off the cliffs.

We had fun. We swam, we jumped, we laid on the warm rocks, I snorkled around and marvelled at the huge schools of baby salmon, we roasted hot dogs for dinner, ate chips and blueberries, laughed and played together. I love summer....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good for you

I am having a hard time blogging as I hate my skin now. I wrecked it by fiddling with the html and now 1/2 of Bethany's great design is gone and what is left is somehow magnified and it is all weird with frames... I wish I knew enough to fix it or had 4 hours to sit at the computer and learn enough to make my own skin. And the comments still aren't working right... Thank you to all of you who left comments anyways!

Other than that, I am having a great day. I have been industrious in the kitchen inspired by my friend, I have made soup from every vegetable growing in my garden. Okay, so it is a little heavy on zucchini. Did I mention that I love zucchini? My soup is not quite as pure as hers, I added some beef stock... And it does have half an onion and one potatoe that did not come from my garden. Other than that, the beets, the carrots, the basil, the dill, the peppers (and did I mention the zucchini...) all came from my garden. It is simmering now, ready for lunch. Kaetlyn is making biscuits right now to go with it. Yum!

Before I got to the soup I made muffins - my taste-great-and-good-for-you muffins. I have modified the original recipe so much, that I think it is fair to say that this is my own recipe. It varies everytime but this is what I made this morning:

Andrea's Good-For-You Muffins (no sugar and low fat)

-preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tins (paper liners don't work well because there is very low fat content and the paper becomes one with the muffin...). This recipe makes 24 muffins. Because of the high organic content, I recommend freezing and then thawing muffins as you want to eat them. My kids don't like them (too healthy) so I take out 2 or 3 a day for myself.

1/3 cup water
2 T olive oil
2 farm fresh, free range eggs
5 med bananas
2 cups of grated zucchini (did I mention that I have lots of zucchini?)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

- mix all above ingredients with mixer until well mixed and fluffy

-add following ingredients and then mix with wooden spoon until wet - don't over mix
2 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 cup organic corn meal
1/2 cup organic ground flax seed
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons organic baking powder
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried cranberries

- add more water if it doesn't look wet enough (banana's have varying amounts of water in them and it depends on whether they were frozen or not...) Spoon into muffin tins, bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Check to make sure they are cooked through.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Our Camping Trip

Please make sure you read the previous post...

So we had a wonderful camping trip. We camped in Silverton and went to the Suzuki Valhalla Institute in New Denver. Kaetlyn, Drew, Rhiannon and I loaded up and headed out on Sunday. Dean was with Redfish playing in Pincher Creek, Alberta. I picked him up on Monday after the first day of classes at the Galena Bay ferry, about an hour and a half from where we were camping.

Its actually the first time that we have camped all together as a family (without Erin of course). We borrowed a friend's large tent and Dean, Rhiannon and I slept in that one and Kaetlyn and Drew slept in our little tent. We had a great time cooking together, hanging out without phone, computer or xbox. We were in the 'Creekside Overflow' campground - a small campground.

Everyone in the campsite was also attending the 'institute' and we were there with 3 other families from Vernon. The kids quickly made friends and ran around playing together. Kaetlyn and Drew switched back and forth between hanging out with the adults and the kids. (seen here in Dave's motorcycle and sidecar - a very popular attraction that we all got rides in...) We brought Jodi with us and she behaved very well and was also very popular with the kids who walked her for hours around the campsite and tried to get her to howl.

We had sunshine until Wednesday evening when we got some of the most dramatic thunder storms that I have ever been in. We kept snug and dry inside our tents although I got a little wet cooking spaghetti in the pouring rain... Drew had positioned the tarp entirely over their little tent and the cooking/eating area was not covered at all.... It took 3 days for my hoodie sleeves to dry that were sticking out of the gargage bag I was wearing... Thursday night it also poured but it was our night to go out to dinner with our friends. So we sat snug and warm (if not a little grubby) in the Silverton Country Inn eating warm food while it poured outside.

The lake was incredibly beautiful. Both Silverton and New Denver (which are only 5 km's apart) are on Slocan Lake - a long, very deep lake bordered by steep, majestic mountains. The water is clear and cool. There were no showers at our campground so I bathed in the lake every other morning. Even on the cool mornings after the rain. I loved it. The lake gets deep very quickly which probably made it easier to bathe in - you didn't have to wade way out there to do it, getting colder by the minute - it was just a few steps and you were up to your neck. Dean, Drew and Kaetlyn went for a couple of midnight swims in the moonlight.

What really captured my imagination for the week was the fact that New Denver was my grandfather's first teaching position after he got his teaching certificate and they (my mother's family) lived there from 1951 - 1955. These are pictues of the house that they lived in and the view they had from the front of their house. I imagined my young mother walking along the dusty roads. They moved there when she was 8 and left when she was 12. The school where the institute was held is built on the same grounds as the school my grandfather taught and and my mother attended (he taught in the highschool which was situated right beside the elementary school). There was a very old backstop and I wondered if that was the spot where she got her tooth knocked out playing back catcher during PE.

My lasting impressions:
- how incredibly much Rhiannon learned. I am really impressed witht he Suzuki method! Their immersion theory is based on how we acquire language and it is truly amazing just how much Rhiannon learned simply by being exposed and immersed in violin music for the week.
-the wonderful, relaxed feeling of camping together as a family
-the breathless and indescribable beauty of the West Kootenays, Slocan Lake
-the sleepy, stopped-in-time, everyone-knows-everyone feeling of a tiny community of only 609 people

Some housekeeping

Well, I have deleted my tagboard due to problems people were having with viruses from it. I was sad to see all those wonderful comments go.... :(. I have spent hours trying to get my blog to do comments. I finally have it semi-functioning. You can post a comment and you can read other comments while you are posting but you can't view the comments otherwise. I don't know why. I have fiddled a lot with the html and I don't really know what I am doing. Beth, if you are able to read this, and have time on a computer, please help me... So please comment, I love comments...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Off on her adventure

This is Erin in front of our first house in Winnipeg on her way to her first day at kindergarten. I cried then, too. And then got in my car and raced to the school to be there as she got off the bus...

When I was in Toronto for surgery on my knee, it occurred to me, as I got on the gurney to be wheeled to the operating room where they were going to cut my leg in half, how unnatural it was to go willingly. To do something like that, they should have to chase you down and tie you up...

I felt the same way last night as we said good bye to Erin. I shouldn't have had to get in my van and drive away. Someone should have had to tear us apart. I wept in the alley behind her apartment as I watched her swing her baby sister around. I know what it is like to leave young siblings. You miss so much as they grow up. I wept as she and Kaetlyn clung to each other and cried as they hugged each other. In those moments all the false fighting and petty jealousies washed away and their love for each other shone through. And then I bawled my fool head off (as Dean would say - only he uses it to refer to the dog: as in barked her fool head off) as I clutched her in that alley behind her apartment. I am so proud of her and I lover her so much. I am going to miss her terribly. And it is not so much a missing of her presence in Vernon. It is more a missing of her childhood - of her still growing up - of her look of glee as she goes to kindergarten for the first time - or her grin as her first tooth fell out - of her dependence on me - of that absolute interdependence and meshing of our lives. I'm not ready for it to be done. There are still so many things I want to give her for her childhood but I can't now. It's done. This is perhaps, a big part of why I weep. I know she will always need me emotionally but in a different way. I guess her leaving for Montreal to me signals a more final door closing on her childhood. The inevitable door. Like the door she went through on her way to kindergarten...

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Well, so much to write about! We had Erin's goodbye party for her on Sarah's birthday (August 3).

I have the most awesome friends! I really wanted to make Erin a blanket out of our sheep's wool that I had made into quilting batting. But there was so much going on all the time, I just didn't get it together. With 2 days to go until the party (and we're leaving camping tomorrow), two of my friends made sure I got it accomplished. True, I was up until 3am the night (morning?) before the party but I got it done. I made her a duna (that is a duvet that has wool inside instead of feathers) so that she can change the covers for it to suit whatever she is into at the time. I made the cover olive green on one side and cream on the other.

At the party, I had many of my closest friends and their young daughters here. I did a little ceremony in the living room with all of us (only girls). I had so many things planned out in my head to say that were so meaningful but most of it went right out of my head. I am going to write it out for her, though, so she will have it. I gave her 2 ribbons - a red one that symbolizes the blood that binds us - my blood that made her - the umbilical cord that was cut at birth. And I gave her a green ribbon to symbolize our hearts that bind us that can never be cut. I told her that what I want more than anything is for her to know me and for me to know her - truly. There were so many other things that I wanted to say - how I know I made many mistakes in our life together and how each one that hurt her is written in my soul. How proud I am of her. Even, now as I write all of this here, emotion overwhelms me and I forget. Bit by bit I will get it written. Maybe it is because the only thing that really matters is how much I love her! I cried and my friends cried. I wish I could be more eloquent when my emotions run so high...

But do you know what the most surprising thing for me was? Dean was leaving the next morning at 4am for Pincher Creek. Yet in the middle of the night, he wakes me up and asks if this is the last time he will see Erin before she goes and then he gets up and writes her a letter. I don't think he slept at all. I wept to read the letter the next morning. So beautiful and I am so grateful that he loves her like that and that he recognizes how important his fatherly love is to her. It was an answer to so many, many prayers I prayed on her behalf.

We are going camping tomorrow for a week to the Kootnays. We are going to be in New Denver and Silverton - where grandpa got his first teaching job. I've never been there and I'm looking forward to it. But we got a lot to do today...