do you want to play with me?

bear is patiently waiting for lion to learn how to walk independently. he is also patiently waiting for lion to learn how to run, talk in a language he can understand, hold a marker without gnawing on it and help bear fix all the things that need fixin’ around the house. 

it’s hard to be patient when the guy you’re waiting for was once the same size as a doll!
lion (1 month) with mac, hand crafted by a mama at sewfunky.

both boys smiling at the same time for the camera! unheard of!

matching pj’s for lion at 2 months and bear at 2.5 years. lion looks worried.

my heart aches with pride when i watch my bear take on the big brother responsibilities with such ease and joy. he redirects little lion by reminding him of sharp corners or edges and offers more age appropriate toys. i overhear him say things like “it’s ok lion, i’m here, äiti (mom) is here… it’s ok to cry though”. are you kidding me?! these gentle words are filled with such tenderness and love which lion is so lucky to hear from his big brother.

trying to get a nice picture of the boys was a disaster at christmas.
our fantastic stroller with the added toddler seat so i can push both animals together.
bear LOVES sharing the stroller with lion.
the trouble with two, is you have twice the work! way to pull two kids daddy-o! 

bear is into tools and fixing things and is teaching little bro all about safety!

now that lion has figured out how to move from point A to point B, it has created moments of obvious sibling tension. lion goes after bear’s toys or puzzle pieces and as a way to protect his turf bear yells: “no lion, no. that’s mine… but you can have this” and will present lion with a different toy. kills me every time.

more matching pj’s- couldn’t help it as they were on sale $2.94 a pair… in the girls section!
bear 3yrs and lion almost 9 mths.

this evening as i was preparing dinner lion was on the kitchen floor rubbing his gums with a spoon and bear came over and said “do you want to play with me lion?” aaaahhhhhh!!!! i almost burst into tears of joy!

my boys are very lucky to have each other.

xo, mama lola

oh baby: two birth stories, kinda.

the birth of a baby is an emotional experience, no matter what the labour, no matter what the delivery. it can be 2 in the morning or it can be 2 in the afternoon, no matter what time of the day it is, it’ll be overwhelming. it doesn’t matter if the baby’s gender is a surprise or if a gender test australia has been used to determine the gender before birth. each birth is a unique and special experience.the births of my sons were so completely different from one another. during my pregnancy with bear i discovered that i was a homebirthing kinda mama and so dear hubby and i started down that path while still only weeks pregnant. in the end, neither bear’s nor lion’s birth was what we had planned for or wanted, but my choices were limited due to external circumstances.

bear was supposed to be born at home in a rented birthing tub, with dear husband and my two midwives by my side. but, unfortunately a week prior to my due date, our landlords at the time presented us with a letter from their lawyer stating they had changed their minds about allowing the tub in our third floor apartment. unfortunately, the tub was already sitting and waiting for bear’s birth. that day i cried like i’d never cried before. tears streamed down my cheeks and puddled on the floor. dear hubby, shocked by the sudden turn of events, tried to console me the best way he knew how. i felt devastated, betrayed and terrified. i had dreamed of a water birth and to change things so close to bub’s birth was difficult. my midwives were supportive and reminded us that i could still have a homebirth, even if we couldn’t use the rented tub. and so that was new plan, birth at home without the tub.

on february 12, 2008 at 6:30am my waters broke. it was almost a week past the estimated due date so i was excited to finally see some labour action. i ran (who am i kidding, i waddled!) to wake up dear hubby. he jumped up with excitement and was ready for action. unfortunately there were only very, very mild contractions, but we still decided it was best to call the midwives. they suggested we try to get more sleep and we made an appointment to see them later that morning. dear hubby and i could not imagine sleeping, but instead in our excitement chatted, made some phone calls and sent out a few emails.

well, long birth story short. after 50 hours of labouring, with intense contractions right on top of each other for two nights, and a couple of quick visits to the local hospital only to be sent back home to labour more, bear was eventually born via induction at the hospital. i pushed for about an hour and was the luckiest mama ever as all of a sudden the OB said “put your hands down and catch your baby”! so i did!!! my beautiful baby bear slid into my arms and into this world, with dear hubby grinning proudly and my midwives at my side.

i looked at one of my midwives in fear and said “but i don’t know anything about boys” to which jackie smiled and said “now you’ll learn”.

taking bear home was the best but scariest moment of my life. we were very prepared and had been on mommyhood101 reading reviews and choosing all the best products out there, but all of a sudden you get home and feel so unprepared. it’s a unique experience to say the least.

bear was perfect.

i think the initial stress of being denied the water birth by our landlords caused my body to react physically and stalled bear’s birth. also, because i laboured for so long after my waters broke and i had not taken the GBS test at 36 weeks of pregnancy, i ultimately had to be induced. when i went in for my first induction attempt i was verbally harassed by the attending OB, which was very stressful and upsetting, and i think ultimately stalled my labour even more. as we all know, stress is a very powerful reaction to countless triggers that we sense emotionally, physically, intellectually. it impacts every cell in our bodies, every thought and dream, all of our internal systems that keep us alive.

my experience with lion was completely different. first of all, he was our shocking little autumn surprise and we were thrilled to be expecting again in ’10! in my first trimester i started having terrible headaches that after some investigation were eventually linked to my pituitary gland tumour, which was discovered just days before christmas in 2009. we met with one of neurosurgeons and decided it was best to wait until after the baby was born to talk surgery for removing the tumour. this meant, to my dismay, i was labelled “high risk”. high risk meant i could still have my wonderful midwives, but only for moral support. i was sent to a fancy hospital out of town where i was under the care of a high-risk OB and an endochronologist (hormone specialist). my pregnancy was normal considering i had this huge growth in my head, so it was planned that i would have a natural birth at the fancy hospital, where they had tubs and birthing chairs for use. but, then at the end of my second trimester, my headaches got worse and after a second MRI they determined the tumour was actually growing and it was decided that i had best have a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks. i was driving home alone after the appointment during which the c-section information was revealed and i had to pull over. i was crying so hard i couldn’t see. i called dear hubby at work and he was instantly scared. not only was i having a c-section, which is major abdominal surgery, but because of the tumour i would have to be put under a general anaesthetic (instead of the usual epidural). this meant that dear hubby was NOT allowed into the delivery room and meant because i would be unconscious our wee baby boy was going to be born completely alone.

when i came to after lion’s birth dear hubby was there with terrifying news. baby lion was not breathing properly at birth and was rushed out of the operating room to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

well, another long birth story a bit shorter, after a week in the special care nursery lion was finally allowed to come home. bear was finally able to meet his little brother as was everyone else.

big bear and little lion meet. here, lion was about to be transferred from
the big fancy hospital to our local hospital.

i struggle with the births of my sons. to this day i carry tremendous guilt and so desperately wish i could have birthed my boys at home, in the peace and quiet of a dimly lit room, with soft music playing, and in water, with the love and support of my dear hubby and my midwives. people keep asking if we’ll have a third child, you know, to have that home birth finally. i’m not going to go for a third, just so i can TRY to have a home water birth. there are no guarantees as we have learned. also, getting pregnant and birthing again, means a whole new person would be joining our family. it’s not quite so cut and dry. all i will say is, we’ll see.

xo, mama lola

saturday evening post

just a quick photo montage of the last couple of days during which we have enjoyed the company of good friends, listened closely to the robin’s sing and soaked in the spring-like weather outside. 
i had muffins baked by 7:30am on friday for my MAMA friends who came for a playdate that morning. 
typically AM scene at our house.
skootching along… finally!!
bear got mail from a mail-exchange buddy! feathers, stickers, bottle brushes… oh my!
this is what i might look like when making dinner.
cool shades kiddo!
too tired for thought. 
g’night world. see you on monday!

xo, mama lola


bear had an appointment with an allergist on tuesday morning. it was about an hour’s drive to get there and we were running about 10 minutes behind schedule. getting all four of us ready and out the door on time is a difficult task and throw in an 8am departure time…  well, things get a bit chaotic!  we managed to hit the road at a reasonable time, but then about 30 minutes from the appointment time and15 minutes from the clinic we were rear-ended! bam, bang boom!! it happened at an intersection; we were waiting to turn right and almost started to go, but couldn’t as a car came over the hill and then BANG, his van hit our van. nobody was injured except our van (of course). the guys explanation was (and this is verbatim) “uh, i thought you were going”, well, we weren’t, dumb ass, and you were obviously WAY TOO CLOSE TO US! why are people so afraid to leave safe distances between themselves and the vehicles in front?! blows me away!!!! we are not at fault, but we have to deal with getting the car repaired and, as you know, we don’t have enough stresses on our plate right now. i guess, as they say, when it rains it pours; well, it’s bloody dumping on us!!!

exchanging info

assessing the situation…our tail light got busted so the guy who hit us happened to have a cordless drill in his van and screwed the light back on with a random piece of metal. that’s the drill under his arm.
at the allergist, bear was perfectly behaved. no whining, no complaining, no tantrums, no crying, no wriggling, not even a whimper or a squirm when the actual testing was being done. bear was tested for 7 different nuts and about 14 other common allergens, like milk, eggs, dust mites and seasonal allergens and everything came back clear. wooohoooooo!!!! no bumps or itchy spots to be seen, just little pen marks from where the triggers were placed. we are so relieved. SO, SO relieved. dear hubby has various allergies and a serious one to walnuts.

and today we saw another special doctor…
bear had an appointment with an optometrist. for about a month his right has been going cross, so we thought best to get it checked-out. again, bear behaved so well and listened carefully to the doctors instructions. during one of the tests my heart skipped a little when he was supposed to match letters, he mistook a H for a T and a V for a X. i knew then that he would need glasses. after a few more tests that involved looking at a butterfly silhouette on the wall and having tiny a bright light shone in his eye, bear received a whopping two stickers from the doc! he of course was thrilled! we have to go back in a couple of weeks to get a more accurate measurement for his prescription and this will involve those awful drops that make your eyes super- duper sensitive to light. dear hubby is coming with us to that appointment. after that, then i guess we pick out some adorable little frames!

i’m not too concerned about the glasses. i’ve had glasses since i was about eight and have never felt hindered by them. here’s a picture of me and my stylish self at age 10 while living in melbourne, australia; glasses are of exquisite taste with light blue colour on top half and pink on the bottom.

xo, mama lola

the eternal optimist

back in high school, one of my besties said she was amazed by my consistent positive outlook on things, and decided to call me the eternal optimist. i liked that description of myself and still do. but, optimism is hard to hold onto at times, even for me. over the last year and a half life has thrown some unthinkable obstacles in our way… BAM…BAM…BAM… one right after another. my optimism was truly tested. i had times of deep cynicism and days of darkness that were hard wade through, especially as a mother. there were times when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, only deep abyss and remaining hopeful was almost impossible.

it all began when, BAM, i was told i had a macro adenoma (a big tumour) growing on my pituitary gland; when i was popping prescription narcotics to help manage the migraines caused by the tumour, all the while mothering my sweet toddler bear and growing my little lion in my uterus; when, BAM,  i was told to throw away my dreams of a home waterbirth and plan for a ceaserian section, during which i would be completely under; when i was told my lion had had trouble breathing at birth and had to be intubated and then incubated as his lungs had serious problems; and then when our beloved family dog roo attacked a neighbour, again, and after crying for days we decided it was best to put him down; and finally (knock on wood) when just a few weeks ago my dear husband walked in the door and told me he had been laid off from his job. BAM!

our ferocious lion fighting at three days old.

sweet, sweet roo riggins. oh, how we miss you so.

the positive energy i carry in my self, hold in my soul and that rushes through my veins has been drained by all these events, but it has not disappeared completely. i consciously decided i can BAM back at life! life throws me a tumour? fine, but i’m not going to make lemonade with these sour lemons, but will throw them back at life as i don’t want remnants of bad times around. and since i received the all clear after my november surgery, all i see is a new chapter. BAM you life! this is my chance to better my life, our life, to do all the things we talked about doing, but got scared off by the risks. and when dear hubby was laid offf, well, again all i saw and continue to see is a new chapter. BAM you life! this is an opportunity for dear hubby to find a job with new challenges and perhaps take us on a family adventure. 

wedding day february 17, 2007

although our life has been quite stressful lately, i feel tremendously lucky. i am lucky because i have beautiful, healthy children and a kind husband. i have parents and in-laws who love to help with the kids and are forever supportive. i have amazing friends who i can depend on when there are joys to be cheered or sadness to be cried out. 

i am eternally optimistic for us.

xo, mama lola

bigger than daddy.

since i am nervous about writing on this blog today, i have decided instead to include some pictures that fit with the “bigger than daddy” theme.

bear and lion~ my co-captains for grocery shopping

bear always talks about the day he will be bigger than daddy. there is also talk of the day when lion will be bigger than bear… we’ll see if that day ever arrives. bets anyone? 

this is a drawing bear drew of himself.

fun in the snow.

a snow man built to stand bigger than daddy at about 8 feet tall!

xo, mama lola