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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Zoo is off to Chiapas, Mexico. See you in 2011 {Travel}

Bucephalus Van
We picked up our new (to us) van on Sunday, got it certified on Monday and packed it up on Tuesday. "Packed" includes; Aries, Reina, Phoenix, Max, Artemis, Ed and I. Needless to say, there isn't room for much else. Alexander is vacationing at Nanna's for the winter.

He have christened our new van "Bucephalus" (the other one was unoriginally titled "Bessie"). It seemed fitting as it was Alexander The Great's favourite horse. We all know how important one's horse is.

Maximilian Artemis First Birthday Cake On Wednesday, we got the house ready for the winter; all liquids were boxed up, hot water tank emptied, pipes blown out, sump pump heater installed, fridge emptied and the furnace turned off. We then drove to Nanna's house for a "Going Away/Christmas/Kids Birthday" Party. On Thursday, we spent the morning with the Abuelos and Tia Ilka. In the afternoon, Ed got some last minute errands down and we went to bed early as we head out tomorrow morning, early.

Maximilan Artemis Birthday Nanna When we didn't have the kids, it took us 4.5 days to get where we were going. This time, we hope that it will take us less than one week. In the summer we drove all the way to Poppa's house (5.5 hours) and the kids did great. Mind you, that was only one day and they couldn't yet crawl. If we're successful, that should have us arriving by December 23. Just in time for the biggest party of the year, December 24!

We won't be posting much (if at all) until our return sometime in March (hopefully). Know that we'll be taking pictures and thinking of you.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Alexander's Honour

I wanted to post this on December 19th, the one year anniversary of Alexander's passing. However, we will be on our way to Mexico so here it is.

As many of you know, I have been struggling to decide what to do to honour Alexander's life. Many people; plant trees, release balloons, create plaques, raise money, etc... While all are great ideas, none of them seemed quite right for Alexander. I've decided that instead of one unique item or special event, once a year, Alexander is going to give life and happiness every day.

Here are a few of the things that we've done;

  1. I've started to donate blood. When Alexander was sick, he needed a blood transfusion. I would want other parents to have the gift that we/he got. I can’t imagine what would have happened if someone hadn’t selfishly given of themselves.
  2. I've registered with the Bone Marrow Donor Registry ( The donation procedure has gotten a lot easier over the years and 85% of life saving donations is made via a blood donation. Perhaps I could save a life. I would want the same for my children.
  3. I have been in correspondence with a woman in Nelson, B.C. whose daughter is sick and she needs breast milk ( Alexander's first meal was formula (my milk hadn't yet come in) and I always wonder what would have been if he'd had breast milk. If I'd asked one of the mothers in the NICU for some of theirs. NEC is higher (in preemies) that are formula fed. Currently, she has enough milk but when we get back from Mexico I hope to send her some.
  4. For the past year, on a monthly basis I have been dropping off clothes and other items to CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario). It feels good to know that children in need will benefit from our donations.

It's easy to remember all that I do have; two beautiful, happy and healthy children, a loving and supportive husband and my health. It's impossible to forget what I have lost; my dear Alexander.

I will continue to strive to do my best for me, my family and in Alexander's memory.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

One-Year Check-up

Today the kids had their one-year doctors’ check-up. Max weighed 19lbs, 11oz (8.94kg) an increase of 1lb, 6oz since September 20 (he's in the 75% percentile). Artemis weighed 16lbs, 2oz (7.31kg) an increase of 1lbs12oz since October 19 (she's now on the chart in the 5% percentile).

They've come a long way since they were only 3lbs,8oz and 3lbs, 1oz one year ago. Other than that, nothing to report from their visit.

Today Max kept standing up. He loves it and is more confident than his sister. Any day now he’ll be taking his first step. And we thought that we were in trouble before…

On Thursday (December 16), they will be 10 months adjusted, however, as previously mentioned, they’ve caught up to their corrected age (one year).

Today, Ed got the plates, paperwork and certification for our "new" van (yah!). Tomorrow’s plan is to pack and we’ll leave for Toronto on Wednesday. Only 3 more sleeps until we’re on our way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Making Baby Step(s) and Getting More Teeth

Today Artemis took her first step forward (on three different occasions). I called it. Way back when, I stated that she'd be "walking" before we left for Mexico. Considering we're scheduled to leave on Thursday (we head to Toronto on Wednesday), she got it together just in the nick of time.

Max isn't that far behind. He can stand for several seconds and is able to walk while only holding onto one of our hands. As well, he spends the majority of his time on his "shopping cart". Pretty incredible considering she's been crawling since July 23 and he not as long (since October 10).

Max has been kind of fussy for the past week. Sure enough, "D" (Top right, beside the front tooth) is just about to poke it's head through his gums. In case you've lost count, this will be number 5. Poor guy.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One Year Ago Today the Litter Was Born. Happy First Birthday!

One year ago today, Alexander, Maximilian and Artemis were born. Wow, what a year.

So much has happened and I’ve tried to capture most of it in my journal and share it with you (through our blog). Here’s a recap.

(This was taken at 25 weeks, I measured over 40 weeks so you can imagine how big I was by 30 weeks, 3 days. I was HUGE!)

On December 11 at 12:28, 12:29 and 12:30am, Alexander, Maximilian and Artemis came into this world (in that order). They were technically delivered in less than 3 minutes, however, for the sake of records, each one gets their own “minute”.



Artemis (on the left)

By 8am I was back in my hospital room, had called all the grandparents, grabbed a couple of hours sleep and had started to pump. Speaking of which, one year later, I am still pumping. I’m hoping to continue to pump until April (or when we get back from Mexico). I have 54 bags of frozen breast milk in our neighbour’s (Eric The Sheriff) deep freeze. That's about 550oz (70 cups!) which should make about 70 8oz bottles which should last around 12 days at 6 bottles a day (3 per kid). All of this milk (surplus) was produced in September, October, November and December.

On December 19, Alexander was baptised and at 7:13am he passed away from complications associated with "Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)". Not a day goes by, where we don’t think of him.

Their first visit with the Abeulos.

Mother's Day

On July 30, Max and Artemis had a “Baptism Extraordinaire”.

July and August were spent up at “Hood Family Farms” and one week in September was spent camping in Algonquin Park.

Celebrated their first Halloween.

Since then, the kids have gotten (four) teeth (each), can crawl, stand and are almost walking, play hide and seek, laugh, are mischievous and have really developed their own unique personalities. They’re little people.

We cherish all the time that we have with our family.

Happy Birthday Kids!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Friday, December 10, 2010

In the Eleventh Hour

We bought a van today (just a newer version of old Bessie). Considering we’re supposed to be leaving for Toronto on Tuesday (now Wednesday), we were cutting it a bit short. Things always seem to work themselves out…

Now don’t get too excited because we don’t actually have the van. We’re supposed to pick it up on Sunday, get it certified on Monday, pack it up on Tuesday and leave for Toronto on Wednesday. We’ll probably visit with family during the day on Thursday and hope to leave in the evening the same day.

In the past it’s taken us 4.5 days, 55 driving hours, 5,000 km to get where we’re going. However, with the kids, we think that it could take us up to one week. That would have us arriving on or just before December 24 which is the biggest day for celebration in the country, rivaled only by December 12, the Virgin of Guadalupe Day.

We can’t wait for the kids to feel, smell and experience all that Mexico has to offer. Even though they’re young, it will be a part of their story. One adventure ends and another begins.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sharing has Seven Letters and so does "It's Mine" {Humor}

---------------------- I ----------------------

--------------------- WILL --------------------

--------------------- NOT ---------------------

------- SHARE (and I'll bite you if you make me)! -------

*** Remember, if you click on the picture it increases in size ***

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Introducing Ethan James

Todays post is very fitting. Not only is it to introduce all of you to Ed's grandson; Ethan James but it's also Christina's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Christina!

In case math wasn't your strongest subject, Christina is Ed's first child. Marcella is his second (she's 24) and the kids are his third, fourth and fifth (He's such a good Catholic).

On September 8, 2010, Ethan James came into the world. In the short time that we've known him, it's evident that he loves to laugh, smile, babble and is a generally happy kid. He looks a lot like his Dad (Christina's husband Adam) and is almost the same weight as Artemis.

Yesterday we had a playdate and Max and Artemis liked touching Ethan. Ethan didn't seem to mind much, even when they poked him in the eyes (oops). When he cried (which wasn't much), they didn't really seem to notice. Ethan is very good at sharing his toys (unlike another little rascal I know, but that's another post).

Ethan's birth means that it's now "Uncle Max" and "Aunt Artemis". No matter what they're called, we just hope that they all grow up to be friends.

Here are some pictures of the day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remembering those that are Gone but Not Forgotten {Loss}

If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift. --Elizabeth Edwards

I came across this today. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If They Could Talk...

Let's let the dogs out.

What are you laughing about? Mmm, I love peas.

You can't be serious, this is cruel.

Let's help Mommy (un)pack.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Shoemakers Son

The shoemakers son has no shoes – Unknown (to me)

In our house it should read; the security guy’s house has no security. Well, that’s about to end.

In case you were trying to get in touch with us, we lost internet on Wednesday (and in turn the phone) and have just gotten it back (sporadically) today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Update: Nipissing Developmental Checklist for 12 Months

Over the past year, I've been regularly referring to the "Nipissing District Developmental Screen" . I'm not sure how long they've been used in Ontario or if they're standard. However, our Doctors compares the kids actions to a set list of milestones based on their age; 1-2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and annually up to 6 years).

Seeing as the kids are 9.5 months (adjusted) and 11.5 months (actual), they are currently working off of the 1-year milestone list.

Nipissing Developmental Checklist 12 Months
From the very beginning, they have always been exceeding the milestones for their adjusted age and have almost been meeting it for their real age.

Things have changed for the one-year milestones.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sippy Cups

Today at the “suggestion” of the public health nurse, I brought out the Sippy Cups (that I bought over one month ago). I have to admit, I wasn’t very sold on the idea, kind of like I wasn’t really sold on giving them three meals a day (up from two). The reason is two fold; 1. Why ruin a good thing and 2. “I’m” not quite ready.

With respect to my first point, the kids are really into a routine. Although the start times and durations aren’t always the same, they know that when they wake up from one of their two naps (hopefully), they get a bottle as well as first thing in the morning and at night. You wouldn’t wake a sleeping baby so why would you change a good routine?

As for the second point, if they don’t have any bottles, when do I get to hold them and snuggle? They don’t want to sleep with us anymore (key word is sleep, they do like to climb all over us but we don’t get any sleep) and they haven’t yet learned how to hug (although it’s coming). All of their waking hours are spent exploring the world around them and they have no time for Ed and I.

My other hesitation is that when in Mexico it will be difficult to always find a place to clean them (the sippy cups), however, the bottle liners are sterile and I have tons of nipples (enough to only need to sterilize once a night).

The experiment began when I filled up the cup with water and gave it to them to play with (first without the valve and then with). They figured out how to hold the Sippy Cups (using the handles) and managed to get some to drink. In a few days, I’ll switch out their bottle with the cup.

No looking back now. They were ready for the Sippy Cups, I wonder when I’ll be…

P.S. How pathetic my life has become, I'm posting about Sippy Cups. Even worse, I'm jealous of them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eight Pieces of Toast

Today at dinner, Max fed himself 8 pieces of toast. The reason why this is such an amazing feat is that up until this point, he had yet to feed himself ONE piece of anything. In the past, he would pick up his food, throw it on the ground and watch the cat eat it. Speaking of the cat, she’s turned into a regular “dog”. At each meal, she hangs around under their high chairs and usually gets to the food (when it falls) before I do. Who knew that cats eat; bread, eggs, pasta and that’s just today!

For the last week, Artemis has been climbing up on anything and everything. In fact, she spends most of her time suspended in the air.

The kids are still on breast milk, although we’ve recently upped their food intake to three meals a day (from two). Yesterday they had their first taste of dairy (yoghurt) and it was a success. Tomorrow we'll try cheese.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Max is "On the Move" (Vertically Speaking)

Max successfully used the “shopping cart” today. It started out with only a few steps (two to be exact). After he’d done that a few times, he up'd the ante to 6 steps and the next time he walked clear across the room. Artemis even got up on it (at the same time) and helped him out.

Here are some pictures that I took this week. Hopefully they will tide you over. Sorry for not posting much...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nine Months Old

So my computer is still broken (and will stay that way until we get back from Mexico) and Ed has taken back the one of his that I was borrowing. It doesn't matter much anyways because I no longer have time to blog, read emails or even eat for that matter.

Ed has been busy with work and I have been busy with two very busy kids who have decided that they no longer need to nap. Their three daily one hour (plus) naps are down to none or one for 30 minutes (max). When they're awake, they are into everything. I'm exhausted.

For the past week, Max has been pretending that he's a dragon. He sits and "growls" at things. When he's not talking, he's growling. For the past 5 days he's been teething and I've had to give him some (homeopathic) treatment for it. Tooth "F" is fully in and "E" (the one causing the trouble) has broken through.

Artemis has both of her front teeth (and her two bottom teeth) and she loves to give full on smiles (I still don't have any pictures of it yet). She still thinks that she's a dog and regularly crawls around with things in her mouth.

Both of them have really started to play with each other. Hide and seek is a favourite as well as climbing all over each other and sucking each others fingers (kind of gross, however, they are only 9 months old). Speaking of which, they turned 9 months (adjusted) on Tuesday. Nanna always says that she forgets that they're still babies (they seem so much older) and then they start sucking on her socked foot.

I'm sure that there's so much more but Ed needs the computer back and I need to sleep. Besides, I'm too tired to remember. These kids sure are lucky that they're so cute!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Enough About the Kids

Ed says that I’m boring everyone with my “kid chat”. Therefore, today’s post will be about something much more interesting; Our Midnight Snack.

Last night we had baked, flax and honey crackers with slices of cambozola, drizzled with caviar, kalamata olives, jumbo tiger shrimp with sauce, smoked salmon (cut from the fish), proscuitto, and raspberries. Accompanied by a nice glass of red wine; Saint Emilion. A meal fit for, well, me!

I think that I'll stick to what I know... kids.

Speaking of which, Nanna arrived today and brought a baby dog sled with her that the kids just had to “try out”.

Here’s a picture of Artemis sleeping with her new doll (it’s one of mine from my childhood).