Thursday, December 31, 2009

Joanne's Year in Review

I shamelessly stole this from another blog...

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
a) Took two airplane trips with a toddler. That may not sound like much to you, but add diabetes into the mix and it is. It was seriously something I had been so afraid of doing because of all the bad things that could happen. But I forgot about all the good things that could happen too. Namely...
b) Met someone in real life that I had first met on the internet. Meri... she's good people.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't so the whole resolution thing, I'm not sure why, it's just too cliche I guess.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I can think of.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my wonderful Grammy Ann. December 21st. One of the first people I would call on Christmas morning would be Grammy Ann because she lived in the eastern time zone, and the rest of my family are in the west. I picked up the phone to call her that morning when I remembered she had passed away. I miss her.

5. What countries did you visit?
Unfortunately, never got to leave the U.S.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Please to have MORE SLEEP!

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 21, when Grammy Ann passed away. I can't think of anything else.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Keeping my daughter alive, and not losing my sanity in the process. Also the $8,000+ we raised for the JDRF walk. And designing the World Diabetes Day shirt that we had over 30 orders for.

9. What was your biggest failure?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just a touch o' the swine flu, thankyouverymuch

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My front loading washer and dryer. Man I am so boring.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Elise - she is so amazing, I know adults that could learn a thing or two from her.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Meh, moving on...

14. Where did most of your money go?
Probably Target. And Chick-fil-a. We also got to support some ministries that our friends are a part of. That was fun!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Trip to SF
meeting Meri
Elise's 2nd birthday, but first celebration
Our Team Elise video
JDRF walk , with more than 30 people walking for Team Elise.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Seeing how I don't ever listen to the radio (except for talk radio) and never get to listen to new music, I don't have an answer to that.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier. Last year at this time was rough, diabetes-wise. It's still pretty rough right now, but we're dealing with it.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner... by about 5 pounds. It's called stress.
c) richer or poorer? Richer. Not just money-wise though...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping and traveling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Got Elise up. Breakfast. Presents. Snack for Elise. More presents. Lunch at a friend's house which turned into dinner because we never got around to leaving. Who know South Africans could be so much fun???

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I fall in love everyday.... awww (blurgh - the sound of vomiting)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
New show? The Good Wife. Old Show? Amazing Race

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate. There are people that make me very sad, but I don't bother wasting my energy on hate.

24. What was the best book you read?
Can't remember

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
See answer to question #16.

26. What did you want and get?
To get out of Texas for any period of time... and we did! Twice!

27. What did you want and not get?
A cure for diabetes

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Don't think I actually saw a movie... no wait, The Proposal. It was cute, but I hated that Sandra Bullock was supposed to be a Canadian from Toronto, yet she couldn't pronounce the name of the city properly.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33 this year. Fred threw me a surprise party.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I spent 2009 in survival mode... just treading water. I would have liked to have accomplished a bit more, but what can ya do?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Bohemian-athletic-hippie. Boleppie.

32. What kept you sane?
Blogging and all my D-Momma friends

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Hard to feel political when you don't have the right to vote. Perhaps it would be having the right to vote and not using it... idiots.

35. Who did you miss?
Family. Canada.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
In real life: Laura, Meri. In my computer, the on-line D community. There are none better...

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Life may suck right now, but it will get better. Then it will suck some more, but get better again. It's all about rinsing and repeating...

38. What are you looking forward to in 2010?
Perhaps a trip to meet up with the D-Mommas
A trip back home to Vancouver
Raising money for Team Elise
Starting a project that I've been thinking about for a year

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Worry not
of all that is
for what has yet
to be lived
worry not
the dawn will come
and there will be an answer
for everyone
worry not
don't stop walking
on the land
breathe in the air and hold out your hand
worry not
your truth is written in you
fly like you were meant to

worry not your time has come
the time of angels has begun
as sure as I stand
as sure as I sing
there is a miracle waiting in everything
-Worry Not, Liam O' Maonlai

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Try #2

I'm happy to report that all went well during night #2 in the big-girl bed. Now, nap time is a much different story, with the constant sitting up and diving back down when she sees me peeking in.

Today I remedied that by glaring at her through the cracked doorway until she fell asleep.

(in case you are wondering why I'm such a nazi about when she falls asleep; it's because she needs to wake up by a certain time to eat her snack or her blood sugar will fall too low. So the longer she takes to fall asleep, the shorter her nap is. The shorter her nap is, the unhappier I am. See how everything is linked?)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You will sleep in your new bed and LIKE it

One of the reasons we put off getting Elise her big-girl bed for so long were because of the horror stories that we've heard about trying to keep your child in the bed for the entire night. As if Fred and I aren't sleep deprived enough as it is lately...

Elise loved the idea of her new bed until it was actually time to turn out the light... "whaddya mean, I have to SLEEP in this thing?" Oh my friends, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that ensued was legendary.

At first, she seemed to do okay. Then at about 10:00 pm, she popped out of her room like a happy, little jack-in-the-box and proclaimed, "I wake up!"

Oh no, little girl... you did not. You never went to sleep in the first place.

That's when the real water works started. This was all very out of character for her, so we decided to check her blood sugar... 99. Which is way too low for her to go to sleep with. Happy Elise got a second snack!

When she realized that we meant to leave her alone in her new torture chamber, er bed again, she declared that she didn't like her new bed and started to wail. Because I am a cold, heartless Mom, I sweetly told her, "that's just too bad for you, good night" and walked out.

The screaming lasted for about 15 minutes and gave way to those sad little hitching sobs that is their way of letting you know they're asleep, but they're not happy about it. The peace lasted until about 2:15 am.

This time I brought out the big guns. Namely, Tylenol. Because I am in favour of drugging my child in order to get her to sleep. Actually, she told me her teeth hurt and I could see that her gums were inflamed. What a happy coincidence (P.S. before you get all crazy, Tylenol doesn't work to knock my child out).

About 30 minutes later, I heard a commotion in Elise's room, and went in to find she had gotten out of bed, and was climbing up on her stool to reach the basket where I keep the Tylenol (no longer). She said she needed more medicine for her teeth.

You see, this is what happens when your child hardly ever has any sweets; they use Infant's Tylenol for their sugar fix.

At this point, Fred and were about to re-assemble the crib right then and there. She can sleep in it until she's 18 and her feet stick out through the slats for all we care.

Luckily, that was the last disturbance of the night. She woke up happy right before 8:00 am. Her parents, not so much. This afternoon she went down without a fight and is (hopefully) napping peacefully. After several reminders that she does not have the capacity to fall asleep while standing in her bed. We're hoping for an easier night tonight.

Failing that, I have no problem using duct tape.

Monday, December 28, 2009


And on time too! Imagine if people like Fred worked for the government...

I think we just might be crazy

It's 6:15 in the evening and we (and by we I mean Fred, because let's be honest here... my part in this whole endeavour is blogging about it) have just started the putting together of Elise's first "big-girl bed".

This whole project actually started about a month ago when we found the perfect bed at The Dump (don't ever shop there - but that's a whole 'nutha story). Elise was so excited at first. But it soon turned to disappointment when we got home and she realized her bed had not magically appeared, all assembled and with mattress and sheets in her room.

Wouldn't it be grand if we lived in such a time where things like that actually happened? I told her that I was still waiting for my flying car, so she would need to have some patience on the bed thing.

Buying a first bed is no easy task. You first need to find a bed you like, and at the right price. Then you need to find a sucker, er friend who has a pick-up to help you get the bed from the store to your house. If you buy it at The Dump, you need about 6 hours of your life that are in dire need of wasting when it comes time to actually pick up the bed.

Besides the bed, you also need a mattress, sheets and comforter; the latter two items also need to fit your decorative tastes. I finally tracked down a quilt set I liked on Target's website (still awaiting delivery), but passed on the matching sheets as most reviewers described them as too scratchy. I swoon at the knowledge of the world-wide-information-super-highway.

I did find some plain white sheets (at 50% off) that should do until I can determine the true colours of the quilt set. But we were having mattress issues. We went to all the Mattress-Sleep-Firm-Giant-Expert stores, and we would leave feeling a wee bit dirty. The closest thing I can compare it to is shopping for a used car.

Then lo and behold, at Costco we found our mattress. For a better price and we didn't have to talk to anyone and left the store smelling as fresh as a daisy.

So with all the elements in place, why not start putting it together only two hours before Elise's bedtime? Because waiting would make all-together too much sense, and we don't got a lot of that around here.

We'll let you know how everything turns out... below is the picture of the pre-bed carnage. Did you know that it's hard to figure out where in a 9x9 room to put a twin-sized bed? Our options are pretty much limited.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas the night before Christmas...

Merry Christmas Eve, from Joanne, Fred, Elise and Seven. How did we spend December 24th? Funny you should ask; let's see some pictures:

Decorated some homemade gingerbread cookies with Elise. If you're wondering why so small and just round, it was so Elise could have a cookie or two and we didn't have to be too worried about the carb count (I didn't have any small cookie cutters). In case you're interested, they're 4g of carbs each. I know this because I am insane. Let's just leave it at that.

Posed for our annual Christmas card photo. This one was a fail (Seven was sticking out her tongue in protest of having to endure such humiliation).

Went to Christmas Eve service at our church. Sorry random guy who somewhat looks like the owner of the Cowboys, I am too tired to photoshop you out.

Went to our annual after-Christmas-Eve-service dinner at a steakhouse... YUM!

There are no pictures of this, but on our way home we got into a very sticky situation trying to drive over a frozen over-pass. Thank you God that my husband is such a competent driver and was able to get us out of something could have ended very badly.

Took some pictures of the snow in our backyard. Why, it's ever so pretty!

Unwrapped our traditional Christmas Eve ornament. Every year since Fred and I have been married, we've given each other an ornament that we open on Christmas Eve. After Elise was born, she got to join in the fun. The only downfall is she then opened Fred's ornament, my ornament, and tried to open every other present under the tree.

She likes hers!

Elise's carousel (she LOVES a good carousel ride... heck, she even loves a bad one).

My snowman... how apropos!

Fred's ornament... he is!

Fred took Seven for a walk in the snow. A little insanity on her part ensued. Snow is like crack to this dog.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

I'm dreaming...

2:30 pm on Christmas eve... Texas, you continue to confound me.

(It was 70 degrees F, or 20 degrees C, yesterday)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saying goodbye

December has always been a hard month for our family. My Grandfather (my Dad's Dad) had a heart attack on Dec. 21 and died a few days after Christmas. My Grandma (my Dad's Mom) died in early December. My other Grandpa (my Mom's Dad) had a heart attack Dec. 21 and died a few days later.

And today (Dec. 21), my Grammy Ann (my Dad's step-mom) passed away after her courageous battle with breast cancer.

It's also my older brother's birthday. I'm not sure where that comes into play.

When I learned my Grandma had cancer earlier this year, I just always figured she'd beat it. Grammy Ann was a feisty lady, full of good humour and life. I can remember as a small child, how much she loved to laugh. I just learned from my uncle that up until a few months ago, she was still doing Tai Chi.

More than anything, she loved the Lord. During one of our last conversations she lamented about how young people are falling away from their faith. At an age when most people are stuck in their ways, my Grandma was all about trying to find ways to make church appeal to younger generations.

Grammy Ann and I would talk on the phone every few months or so. For 20 minutes. Almost exactly 20 minutes every time. Her choice, not mine. I could hear her start to wind the conversation down at about the 15 minute mark, and the cheeky side of my personality always wanted to see how much longer past the 20 minute mark I could keep her on the phone. The dutiful Granddaughter in me would never do such a thing.

I still cannot believe she's gone. Even after I heard the cancer had spread to her liver and that she was in the hospital with pneumonia, I thought she'd be okay. Grammy Ann was just like that; spirited and larger than life. I thought she'd be around forever.

It had been on my mind to call her. Every time I thought about it, it was too late at night and I didn't want to risk waking her up. I didn't know she was in the hospital until a few weeks ago, and never had the chance to talk to her one last time. When I talked to my uncle a few days ago, she was too weak to talk, so I sent her an email for him to read to her with a bunch of pictures of Elise.

It makes me sad that Elise never got to meet this impressive woman. I am sad that she's gone, that there will be no more 20 minute phone conversations which I try to extend with a mischievous grin on my face. Sad by the reminder that this is what happens as the years slip by; as your family tree is expanding beneath you, the upper branches are wilting away.

But it gives my heart good cheer to know she is now cancer-free and doing a little Tai Chi with Jesus in heaven.

Because you know Jesus loves Him some Tai Chi.

Good bye, Grammy Ann... you are already very missed.

Christmas dinner 10 years ago. Grammy Ann is the lovely lady in red.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Seven 2002 Operating Manual

When we went to San Francisco a few weeks ago, we entrusted the care of our dog Seven to our wonderful friends, Nate and Leanna (and their horse-of-a-dog, Nellie). They asked us if we had any instructions for Seven's care, and I remembered that I had written out something years ago as a joke. It made me laugh, so I decided to post it here. Enjoy!

Congratulations on your temporary ownership of the Seven 2002 model. We hope you will be pleased with her many features as a pet. We have included some basic instructions on the operation of this model so you can maximize your temporary ownership experience!

The Seven 2002 model operates best if given the food that is designed for her make and model. Feeding food that is not normally in her diet may lead to the expulsion of noxious materials from either end. Normal intake of food for this model is approximately 2 cups per day, 2/3 in the morning, 2/3 around 3:00 pm, and the last 2/3 before bedtime. This model must maintain food in her stomach due to a system bug that causes purging from the front end when the stomach is empty.

Please make sure the Seven 2002 model is separated from other makes and models at feeding time. Failure to do this may cause, but is not limited to; snarling, gnashing of teeth, biting, flying fur, bleeding, serious injury and even death.

The Seven 2002 model is equipped for swimming, and enjoys it, but we ask at this time for you to deny her this privilege. Please make sure she is not left unattended for long periods of time near swimming areas.

Please do not allow the Seven 2002 model up on beds. Though you may do this with your current make and model, the Seven 2002 model is prohibited from lounging in beds as it could lead to rebellious behavior. You may, however give her permission to sleep under the bed.

Normal bowel movements for this model is approximately twice daily.

Just as funny was the email we received several days into our trip:

2002 model works well despite propensity to molt into many new and smaller models. This model may not wish to be returned. :-)

Thanks Nate, Leanna and Nellie for taking such good care of our girl!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Sadness is finding the mini kit kat (the yummy kind from Canada that your wonderful in-laws smuggled... er, brought to you) completely melted in your pocket because you forgot that you had put it in there to enjoy later while your daughter was napping.

Happiness is eating it anyway, and licking every last bit of the chocolate off of the wrapper.

It's the small things, people. The small things.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Awesomeness at its finest

Garfunkel and Oates on Leno last night. Too funny.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best version of "O Holy Night" - EVER!

I guarantee it will bring tears to your eyes. See if I'm lying.

Make sure you listen all the way to the end... it just keeps getting better, if that's at all possible.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SF: Stuff we did

I'm not going to lie to myself and think that this post will have any interest to those of you not directly related to Fred, Elise or I, so don't feel badly for skipping over it. Be warned though, you will miss some great pictures of the world's most adorable child in one of the most beautiful cities. Wow, that's a lot of hyperbole... except the world's most adorable child part, of course.

Anyway, you won't be seeing pictures of the amazing scenery that SF has to offer. I guess because we used to live there, we don't feel compelled to take pictures of that stuff.

Our first attempt at an outing went horribly wrong; due to scheduling problems, time zone issues and a general lack of communication. Try #2 went much better, as Elise go to experience her first boat ride via a ferry trip from Sausalito to SF. She loved it and kept yelling, "I'm on a boat!" (Thank you Andy Samberg for ruining what should have have been a rather cute comment by my daughter. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, don't worry... you're not missing anything).

Walking the plank to the boat... yar!

Elise was sooooo excited. Fred too.

Momma and the beans.

She loved looking at the water

Jumping and dancing on the boat

Checking her BG during the ride. Stupid diabetes.

I love everything in this picture, even the view in the background

Totally rockin' the string cheese

Once we got to the city, we took MUNI down to Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf. Unfortunately, it was too dark to take any decent pictures by the time we got there.

Riding MUNI

Elise loved riding in these old cars... every time the driver made a stop she would say, "more please!"

On Saturday morning we took a trip to the Kid's Discovery Museum in Sausalito. This was the best place ever! Elise was so sad when we had to leave.

Don't worry, not a real fish!

Not a real crow carcass either... just a puppet

Making music!

Elise LOVED the train room. I sorta wanted to play too.

Learning about currents. Fun and educational at the same time!

Elise taking off for the play area

Aye aye captain!

Trying on her hat... note the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, what a beautiful location!

We drove to Golden Gate Park on Saturday afternoon, but didn't make it in time to do any of the fun stuff. So we drove around and looked at some of the amazing architecture. Sorry, no pictures of that stuff, but I did take one at the top of Twin Peaks.

Poppa and the beans

We set out for Golden Gate Park early the next day. First stop, a boat ride on Stow Lake!

Row, row, row your boat

Then we rented a Surrey bike. Talk about hard work!

Elise loved the ride

Our wheels

Our final destination in the park was the carousel... it was beautiful!

Elise on her Zwebra

The girl loves her some carousel
And that brings me to the end of my pictures. I have to say that this was a rather tough experience compared to our trip to Kansas City. I'm glad we did it, but I came back from our vacation, needing a vacation.

That's just wrong.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Friends, New friends

If there was a theme for our recent trip to SF, it would be about friends, both old and new. Although we had planned this little mini-vacation as a time for Fred, Elise and I to get away from the stresses of day-to-day life and have fun as a family, I'm glad we were also able to see some friends as well!

Since we took so many pictures, I've decided to split my SF post in two; the friends we saw, and the stuff we did. This will be the friend edition!

It all started off at the airport when we ran into our friend Christi from SF! She was headed home from Thanksgiving in Florida and just happened to be connecting through DFW, and was sitting only 5 rows in front of us! What a fun surprise. She also was able to help me get Elise and all our carry-on bags onto the plane when Fred had to go back out through security to pick up Elise's "beek" (blanket) that we had forgotten at home. Thanks to our amazing friend and neighbour Brek for the ride to the airport and bringing "beek"!

On Friday, we went to Brice and Susan's house for Raclette... mmmmmm! Brice and Susie are some of our oldest and most dear friends. I don't think there are enough words to describe what these two mean to us. They have held down the fort in SF while everyone around them have moved away. It was so much fun for Elise to meet their boys (of course there are no pictures of the adults!)

Jake and Elise

Jake, Elise and Owen

On Sunday night, we were lucky enough to be invited to dinner by Meri's in-laws. Wow! I haven't eaten that well in a long time (well, probably since the Raclette on Friday!). And the dessert! Pears! Pastry! Need I say more? It was great meeting everybody, and Elise had so much fun playing lego with all the boys.

Me and Meri

Elise and all of Meri's kiddos, including Lawton! Such a sweet puppy!

Continuing the theme of old friends, on Monday I got to hang out with someone I hadn't seen in 10 years. My older brother's ex-girlfriend, Rekha. This amazing chica was like an older sister to me when they were dating. I was in high school, and they were together about 8 years. She was so much fun to be around, and I LOVED it when she would go shopping with me. She has the coolest fashion sense. She just so happened to be in SF the same time we were, and it took some planning, but we managed to hang out for a little bit. Unfortunately, no shopping.

Rekha, Elise and I

How pale do I look standing next to her?

Thanks to our very generous friends, Amy and Philip, we had a lovely house to stay in during our trip. Their oldest daughter, now 9, is who our Elise is named after. It was so much fun for little Elise to meet big Elise; and of course Elise's sister Zoe! These kiddos are so adorable and so much fun! Little Elise absolutely LOVED being around them and told me several times, "no go back to Dallas." She was very sad to leave her new friends.
Elise and Zoe... awwww!

Elise and Zoe goofing around

Big E, Little E, and Z-O-E! Best buds
Once again, no pictures of the adults... oh well. That's it for my friends post. Stay tuned for a tonne of pictures and the "stuff we did" post!