Parenthood
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It's tradition to take belly shots with my other pregnant friends and family members. Amusingly, I've always been pregnant at the same time as one of my sister-in-laws, and Dianne and I also tend to overlap. (She's due any day now....)


I had a prenatal appointment recently and I was asked "how many weeks pregnant are you?"


I'm pretty sure I used to know this information during my first two pregnancies, but this time I lost track somewhere in the first trimester. It doesn't seem like critical information somehow.


I agreed to go for my glucose sugar test and then promptly failed it. Dr Gravelle was quite reassuring at the follow-up appointment though and I was relieved when her expectation that I'd pass the two hour version turned out to be accurate. So no gestational diabetes here after an anxious week or so while I envisioned everyone else eating all the Easter candy without me... (Okay, so clearly Easter isn't just about the treats but still...)


I'm told that in the last week or so I've become much more visibly pregnant. I certainly feel extremely pregnant. It also feels wrong to be pregnant past the end of February... Sadly there are many weeks yet to go. At least I have a definite end date!


I had Raynaud's with all three pregnancies and this one is no exception. On the plus side it should become less of a problem as it warms up. Less manageable (but familiar) is leg cramps that happen while I am sleeping. During the day I can avoid triggering these extremely painful muscle spasms but not so much at night. It's a pretty shocking way to wake up and the pain lingers for hours. Around the time that Brendan's dad died I started having them multiple times a night - not sure if it's stress related but definitely not welcome, especially when everyone tells me that the cause is unknown and therefore there isn't much that can be done to prevent them.


There's lots of kicking going on now, which both Elizabeth and Matthew find quite fascinating. I cannot tell whether Amelia is breech or transverse but she's definitely one of the two and seems to have settled into a favourite position. It's about the same time that the other two picked their final positions too so I'm feeling like it would have been a C-section even if she was number one instead of number three. The only problem is that she is pressing into my diaphragm most of the time, leaving me constantly short of breath to the point of pins and needles in my lips.


Also annoying: my bellybutton has popped out. Matthew thinks this is the most interesting thing ever. He's constantly trying to peek at other people's bellybuttons (to compare?), not to mention trying to poke mine. I find this less cute than his assertion that Mommy has a baby in her tummy and he has a dragon in his (RAHRRR)!


But in the grand scheme of things these are minor complaints. Sure, it would be great to have a little more energy with which to wrangle the rather energetic children we have been blessed with. But all in all I'd say that things are going well and I'm feeling fine.



   



The Epic Adventure Day... by Auntie Janice

It all started harmlessly enough: Wednesday of March Break I took Matthew out for an "adventure", while Elizabeth had Mommy Time, and promised her that she could come on an adventure the next day.

Matthew's adventure involved a walk to bank street and back to drop off some quilt show flyers. I had no idea how much of an EPIC adventure Thursday would prove to be when I texted my sister to expect me for "adventure" duty around 11 the next morning...

The 8:30 AM knock at the door was a bit unexpected, but when Mary asked me if I wouldn't mind watching both kids while they went to the hospital- of course I agreed. Since I knew Chris and Yukiko would be also be headed to say their goodbyes to Grandpa J, I quickly offered to take all four cousins on the adventure. Erika declined, but Maria, Elizabeth, Matthew and I had quite a busy day!

At first it took me a little while to figure out how to fit two boosters and a car seat in my car (Priscilla)... Turns out the car seat has to be centred.

Once we were all in, we went to drop off some flyers near the airport. This sounds simpler than it was because I didn't quite think ahead to looking up directions and my friend's house wasn't directly off the intersection she had told me... Sigh.

Then we were hungry, and since we had seen Cora's while hunting houses, we went there. I cannot believe how much food the three of them ate! One and a half grilled cheese sandwiches, one giant chocolate/strawberry crepe, and a TON of fruit. They were clearly hungry.

Then we went to drop off more flyers at the Greenboro library, and the kids found a reading bus there and some awesome kid zone computer games. Sadly Matthew was SO excited about it all he forgot to tell me he had to poo again... which led to the realization that I had no extra diapers or wipes with me at all. I got creative with some paper towel, and we hurried back home to pick up diapers and water for the girls. We made it safely, phew!

Then we went downtown to meet my friend Jennifer for a Starbucks, many hot chocolates and... Drop off more flyers! We parked at the wrong Marriott downtown though (who knew there were two?) and so we took the bus to get to her. Yay bus!

Our final adventure of the day was walking up to Parliament, at which point we were going to go up the tower. Sadly it was closed already (last tour of the day is around 3, and the tower closes after then). But by then the kids all needed a washroom anyways, so we walked over to the InfoService kiosk "That doesn't open until summer" said one unhelpful off-duty security guard as we walked off the hill... Thankfully he was wrong, and there were none of the usual summer lineups. The kiosk staff were so delighted to see three well mannered children that they gave them all pins and flags. Very popular.

As we drove home, I asked the kids what their favourite parts were of the day. Elizabeth liked all the driving around, Maria liked going to the library, and Matthew liked the flags. I think my favourite part was either the moment when Matthew actually went pee on a toilet for me (first time I've witnessed this!) or watching the kids play in the snow on Parliament Hill. So many good memories for a sad day...


   



We had an impromptu dinner at Chris and Yukiko's tonight to bid adieu to Uncle Chris before he departed for Japan (at FOUR in the morning!)


We trust that we will meet again prior to Elizabeth turning 92 - I guess we might have overemphasized the length of time before we might see Uncle Chris again!



   



To those of you who kept us in your thoughts and prayers, who wrote to us, who sent cards, flowers, meals and donations, who helped with photos, offered child care and even brought us clothing, who came to the visitation or who came to the funeral: thank you!


We have been utterly overwhelmed by the love and support we've had in the last couple of weeks. Brendan commented at one point: "We have amazing friends and family!"


It's made a difficult time a little easier to bear.


Many people are wondering how we are doing, and the short answer is that by the grace of God we are coping. Elizabeth is struggling with insomnia which has made for some short nights and challenging afternoons but hopefully this will resolve soon. Advice of course is welcome.


We did video the funeral, for those of you who would have liked to see it. We also have most of it in text form. Let me know if you'd like links.


My speech from the funeral

The English translation of the obituary written by the NZZ (the newspaper Christian wrote for)



   



Silly Grandpa passed away suddenly and far too soon today.  We've all been feeling mixed emotions as we deal with the shock, but also spent time remembering all the great times together.  He was a true character and one of the most generous people one could ever hope to meet.  He had travelled the world and shared many experiences and knowledge with all who would listen.  His love for teaching others spilled over into his work teaching for many years at the local universities.  People all over would exclaim with joy when they recognized him, or his children, "Professor Jaekl!  I loved your course" or "I saw you on T.V.".  His fame even got him out of the odd jam (traffic infraction).  He was a great scholar of history with particular interest in Greek and Roman times.  But ultimately it was his love for his family and bringing joy to them that we most remember.  He adored his wife, his children and his grandchildren and took great pride in all of them.  Seeing his grandchildren running around with the exuberance of youth never failed to bring a smile to his face and a twinkle to his eyes.  He is gone far too soon and will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.  His unique character lives on in the many lives he touched in ways that many of us are only just starting to really see and understand.


Auf wiedersehen Vati.



   

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