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March 2014

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- Gus’ school celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a week of reading and fun activities,  like: wear green day for Green Eggs and Ham, crazy sock day for Fox in Socks and pajama day for Sleep Book.  On the Friday evening our family returned to school to see a reptile demonstration by Jenkinson’s Aquarium.

- The highlight of the month was having Gram Berny, Aunt Carla, and cousins Abby & Isla visit for 5 days!  In their company we excitedly celebrated Isla’s 3rd birthday and enjoyed a morning playing at Kidz Village.  The Tuesday was so beautiful, that it only felt right to walk into town and have ice cream at Little Scoops.  Gus was delighted when Gram Berny was the guest reader in his class and shared the book Mortimer’s First Garden.

- We celebrated St. Patrick’s day by wearing green, and eating corned beef, green mashed potatoes and Irish soda bread.

- Now that we are finding our new groove, we’ve resumed play dates again!  It was so nice to see Marie & Elise, Brendan, and Benjamin & Oliver again.  We also had special evening/dinner & a movie play date with Layla & Dylan.

- Although March offered mostly “lion” days, there were a few “lamb” days and we took full advantage to make it to the playground, play in the backyard and creek, and eat lunch on the deck when the weather was warm and sunny.  It was really refreshing to be outside playing again!

- We attended a Newcomers ice cream social at Little Scoops.

- Bostonian friends Sara, Maya, Eli & Talia visited us while they were visiting family in NJ!  It had been a few months since we last saw them, and we really enjoyed the few hours we got to spend with them!

- We celebrated Gus’ 4.5 birthday with cupcakes!

- Although Becca is still far too little to bathe in the big tub with Gus and Calina, she does join them for short periods and seem as delighted to be with them, as Gus & Calina are to have her join them.

- Like most families with young children, we are Frozen crazy!  Gus is particularly taken with this movie, but even Calina will sit and watch the movie for a while.  Gus can also be found dancing around the house, belting out the lyrics to Let It Go.

- We ended the month with a brunch with friends at the Colyer’s.  I get together regularly with these ladies, but it was fun to get husbands and children together for a casual morning of yummy food, adult conversation and children playing happily together.

Gus Highlights:

- Gus tends towards extremes lately, for example, phrases like, “I’m never going to play with you again” are often uttered to Calina.

- “How old will I be when I marry Calina?”

“Well, you won’t marry Calina because you can’t marry someone in your family.”

“But you married Mom, and she’s in your family.”

“Yes, but we were from different families, and when we got married our families joined together.”

“I’m never going to get married because I don’t want another family. I want to be part of this family!”

- One day Gus shared his elaborate story of how he is going to build his house in our back yard, near the playground.  That way he will never be far away!


Rebecca 2 months

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This month was all about family! After patiently waiting to meet them, I was delighted when Grandpa Mike & Grandma Cathy arrived. I so enjoyed my cuddle time with each of them, that I was showing my thanks with occasional smiles and pleasant sounds by the end of their stay. Two weeks later, Gram Berny, Aunt Carla, Abby & Isla arrived, and these four ladies certainly spoiled me! I was always being admired by someone and Gram was extra generous with her cuddles! To show my appreciation, I, in turn, was generous with frequent smiles. Since I’m excited to see everyone again soon, and meet more family, I visited the County Clerk’s office where I applied for my passport. Other outings this month included a morning at Kidz Village, two trips to Little Scoops for ice cream and visiting beautiful Nomahegan Park and playground. Unfortunately, I also made an unplanned trip to the doctor. An upper respiratory infection had me coughing terribly for 6 days. Despite feeling yucky, I was still in good spirits, and continued to grow nicely. At my two month appointment, I weighed in at 11 pounds 7 ounces and measured 22.5 inches. Since the weather is feeling a little more like spring, I finally learned what a stroller was and that it is possible to use the carrier for longer walks outside of the house. Some of my favourite things to do were, suck on my fists, have a bath, watch the ceiling fans, look out the window and sleep – yes, I slept for 12 hours at night, only waking once or twice to eat.


Calina 2 years 7 months

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- This month was all about visitors!  Grandma Cathy and Grandpa Mike spent 5 days with us.  I enjoyed when Grandpa did bench presses with me, and I kept Grandma laughing with my funny faces and fluttering eye lashes.  Two weeks later, Gram Berny, Aunt Carla, Abby & Isla came to spend 5 days.  I had a great time playing with my cousins, visiting Kidz Village and eating ice cream at Little Scoops.

- I finally sang the alphabet – frequently, without hesitation, start to finish.

- Now that I realize “Baby Rebecca” is here to stay, I’m even more interested in all things baby.  I regularly nursed my baby doll, I asked Mommy several times if I could nurse from her (and for some reason she won’t entertain the idea) and I was also  very curious about when I will be able to have a real baby of my own.

- Dirty hands were a new pet peeve of mine, especially when I was eating.  At each meal, I asked to have a wet cloth available so I could wipe crumbs or food residue away.

- I have a cute way of asking for favours, that doesn’t always include manners, but still sounds so polite that I generally get what I ask for.  “Won’t you _______?”

- I refer to myself as “I” rather than ‘me’.  For example, I would answer the question “who wants a cookie?” with “I!”.

- I have been quite fussy and resorted to crying or whining as my first means of communication far too often.  Is this just me being 2.5 years old?  Or am I slightly misbehaving to get more attention now that I’m a big sister?

- Successfully I stalled at going to bed – most nights.  I always needed to go potty (again), a drink of water, one more story/song, my baby or something else which would delay my falling asleep.

Favourite mispronunciations:

F-way-vrite = favourite.

Vominate = vomit.


February 2014

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Other than igloo building…

- We settled in nicely to being a family of five.  As the month finished out, it had been just over 5 weeks since Rebecca joined our family, and in that short amount of time, it’s hard to believe she wasn’t always here.  Gus & Calina are still in love with their new little sister, I’m getting a little more sleep, and I’m finally starting to think that managing three children (at this stage, anyway) is doable.

- James, Gus and Calina attended a Super Bowl Party at the Therien’s.  We don’t follow football at all, and I’m not sure the kids even know what football is, but Gus returned home excitedly cheering “Go Broncos!”.

- Our friend Katie offered to watch Calina (while Gus was at school) and provided James and I with a rare opportunity to go on a date!  Of course we had Becca in tow, but she slept peacefully while we enjoyed our sushi lunch.  Thanks Katie!!

- We started feeding birds on our back deck.  It’s been fun to watch the blue jays, cardinals, finches, mourning doves and sparrows visit.

- James, Gus & Calina attended the Newcomers Valentine’s Day party.  They had fun decorating and eating cupcakes, and playing games.

- Since Rebecca’s arrival, we have been totally spoiled by our local friends.  For four weeks, two to three nights a week, we had delicious dinner delivered to our door!  We  had several people help out by taking Gus to school and we had people come for play dates and visits.  Our friend Holly went all out when she came to visit and brought Valentine cookies to decorate and a Valentine craft!

- Leading up to Christmas, we read the book “The Sparkle Box” and recorded the ways in which we helped other people.  This activity has become part of our everyday.  Gus often points out things that ‘make people sparkle’, and we continue to write them down.  At bedtime we ask Gus & Calina “what did you do nice for someone else today?”  It’s really heartwarming to read over all our sparkle notes.

- It seems as though whining and fussiness is at an all time high in our house, and Baby Becca is not to source.

- Gus stated OT sessions in December to improve fine motor skills and build upper body strength.  This month, we all had fun doing his home work of wheel barrow races.

- Gus’ school hosted an art night!  Gus and Calina had fun making mosaics with plaster and paper.

- The house had received a thorough cleaning before Becca arrived, but in the weeks following, although I had great intentions of cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming after the kids had gone to bed, that just wasn’t the case.  With James’ encouragement and support, we hired a house cleaner to come and help out.  It was so novel to have our whole house clean at one time – that has maybe happened, um, never!  My new monthly guilty pleasure.

- We finally had the opportunity to introduce Rebecca to family!  Grandma Cathy & Grandpa Mike joined us for 5 days, and it was wonderful to have extra hands helping out.  James and Dad took Gus snowboarding one day, which is likely the highlight of Gus’ winter.

- For the duration of the winter Olympics, James and I tried to keep up with Team  Canada’s accomplishments.  Without a T.V., we were regularly on-line checking the medal counts and results for various events.  We were so pleased with the results, and we had a wonderful time boasting  in a fierce but friendly rivalry of Canada vs. USA with our friend Katie.

Gus update…

- He has taken an interest in playing chess, and is actually pretty good at it.

- When sung to a catchy tune, Gus will recite his phone number.

- He enjoys building his own Lego board games, and making up his own rules.

- Gus got a great fine motor skills workout making homemade Valentine’s for all his classmates.  The Valentines party at school was delayed by a snowstorm, but that simply extended the fun of the festive season.

Winter Fun!

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If you take an unusual amount of snow, and add a Dad who has 2.5 weeks off work, and throw in  two children who need attention, the result is quonset hut/igloo!  We received a lot of snow at the end of January and in early February.  Spending time outside with the kids was fun, but James could only take so much of playing ‘king of the castle’ on the snow pile which resulted from having our driveway cleared.  One snowy afternoon James, Gus and Calina worked at building a quonset hut – a big pile of packed snow, with a tunnel dug through it.  A few days later when another 8 inches of perfect-packing snow had fallen, James set to work building an igloo. Rubbermaid containers packed with snow made great building blocks.  He worked feverishly for several days  - often late into the night, while the “conditions were perfect”, making and stacking blocks and then chinking the seams.  The result was a quonset hut with and igloo attached and Gus & Calina having spent many hours outside in the fresh air.  The igloo was tall enough for an adult to stand up comfortably inside, and had a door cut into the side for easy access. We were all happy to share this new construction with friends and laid out  foam tiles to provide ‘warm’ seating.

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The arrival of Grandma Cathy and Grandpa Mike meant that there were extra hands around the house to help out.  This, paired with our  exceptionally snowy winter, and Gus’ frequent requests to go skiing or snowboarding resulted in a boys day away at Blue Mountain ski hill in Palmerton, PA.  Gus spent a few hours in snowboard lessons, and then made several runs down a small hill.  He was thrilled to learn to snowboard, made excellent progress and showed  no fear.  Daddy James and Grandpa Mike were very supportive spectators for the day.

Rebecca 1 month

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It is said that “you can’t spoil a newborn”, but Mom is certain that she will have me totally spoiled in no time. I loved to, and demanded to, be cuddled and held, so I spent a great deal of time in Mom’s arms. I also needed lots of help to fall asleep, which meant even more cuddling! Unfortunately, Dad had been sick with various colds since my arrival, and had been quarantining himself from me, but that means I have tons more cuddles coming my way soon. Most of the month was spent nursing, sleeping, and being adored by Gus & Calina. When I was awake, I had very curious eyes, which were eager to look around, and sweet little expressions, sometimes complimented with gassy smiles. I ventured out of the house a few times – to pick Gus up at school, to accompany Calina to her weekly classes and to chaperoned Mom & Dad on a lunch date. At my one month doctor appointment I weighed 9 pounds 13 ounces and measured 21.5 inches tall – an increase of more than two and a half pounds since discharge and two inches since birth. Since my arrival, our family has been very touched by the generosity, thoughtfulness and support of our local friends. I’ve also received many well wishes, cards and gifts from family and friends – I felt very well loved.

Calina 2 years 6 months

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It’s a good thing that a picture is worth a thousand words, because I don’t have much to report this month.

- I spent most of my time falling in love with my new little sister, and my role as a big sister.

- Whether it was retrieving a receiving blanket, choosing which diaper Rebecca should wear next or handing Mom a wipe for diaper changes, I was Mom’s special helper.

-  With beds made out of foam blocks, each one occupied by a stuffy of some sort, I attended to sick animals for several days.  Some had broken noses, some scratches, and some were simply, sick, but I was able to bring them back to health and send them home.  Being a veterinarian is a very special job.

- Since Dad was off work for 2.5 weeks, we were able to spend lots of time playing outside.  My main contribution to the quonset hut and igloo was keeping Daddy company as he toiled away.

-  I’m taking on more responsibility around the house.  I help fold laundry – mainly wash cloths.  I help unload the dishwasher – putting away Tupperware, the kids dishes and silverware.

- Speaking of being responsible, I enjoy choosing my own clothes and dressing myself.  Stripes with another pattern, leopard print with poke-a-dots , anything goes.

- After being two and a quarter for a long time, I’m finally two and a half!

- I regularly pretend that “I’m baby Luca” and my baby doll has become “Baby Rebecca”.


James – “Calina, when are you going to try the jam that I made?”

Calina – “When I’m a boy.”


January 2014

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January was a quiet month, with much time spent at home, mostly finishing up little projects before Baby’s arrival.

- On New Year’s Eve morning we said good-bye to Gram Berny and Aunt Tina, and that evening we welcomed Aaron, Marie-Claude, Zoë and James – friends from Ottawa. We were excited to have them spend a few days with us.  Seeing the new year in was a quiet night at home, but on New Years day we walked into town and enjoyed Chinese lunch at Dim Sum.  That evening we ventured to the zoo again to share the fabulous holiday light display.  When we weren’t out and about, Zoë, James, Gus and Calina kept each other entertained and played so well together.    Thursday, was a cold crisp day, and we were off to the city.  We made our way to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree, visit the Lego store and enjoy lunch at ‘Wichcraft.  From there, we slowly meandered our way back to Penn Station via Times Square, and we couldn’t resist stopping at Crumbs Bakery to indulge in their delicious cupcakes.  The next morning we shared in a leisurely breakfast and bid our friends farewell.

- We have spent lots of time out in our backyard enjoying the snow.  Calina somewhat enjoys the snow but Gus loves it.  James transformed our infrequently used second staircase from our back deck into a sliding track.  With either his Walrooz sled, a cardboard box or box + garbage bag combo, Gus enjoys flying down the track!  Also, the spot where our driveway snow gets piled up is a fun area to slid or dig.

- Gus is registered for 5 year-old kindergarten (5 half-days per week), and Calina is registered for Pre-K3 (3 mornings a week).  How is this possible?

- My 38 week ultrasound was a family affair.  James, Gus and Calina all joined me to “see the baby”, who they lovingly called Belly Bop.  I was happy to know that Baby was head-down, amniotic fluids levels were good and Baby was healthy and happy.

- James and I took a prenatal partner yoga class together one Saturday.  It was really nice to spend a few hours together and to refresh on some techniques to help us through labour and delivery.  In addition, I kept up with my weekly prenatal yoga classes.  I love prenatal yoga!  The feelings of gracefulness and flexibility it offered at a time when I felt anything but, was really nice.

- I squeezed in two girls nights out this month!  Knowing that my nights out would be limited once Baby arrived, I jumped at the opportunity so share in some good company, conversation and, of course, dessert.

- Each night after dinner we have 15 minutes of “family fun time”, where we all play together.   Lately, it seems as though we pass this time building Lego Driods, racing Lego Pod Racers, playing freeze tag or hide-n-go-seek.

- Gus has a recent interest in solving simple math problems (1+1, 1+2 etc) and enjoys counting to 100 by 10s.

- On January 22nd we welcomed Rebecca Amity to our family!  Gus and Calina were delighted to finally meet Belly Bop, and have been showering her with love and affection.  We have been spoiled with dinners provided by friends since arriving home for the hospitals.  We are feeling well loved and are really appreciating how thoughtful and generous our friends are with meals, visits, offers to take Gus to school, and help in various other ways.  James has been home from work since Becca’s arrival, so with his help, we are settling in very nicely as a family of five!

- Happy Birthday Daddy James, who turned 38 years young on January 27th.  It was a very underwhelming birthday celebration as James re-heated leftover baked ziti, poured glasses of sparkling apple cider and blew out candles on a store-bought cake.  This past year we had family visit us for my and Calina’s birthdays, and we traveled to Canada for Gus’ birthday.  This left Gus wondering when our company was arriving to help celebrate Daddy’s birthday.  I promised to make James’ next birthday more special

Quotes from Gus:

“Where the hick did Calina go?”

“What are you going to do good for the whole world today?”

On Sunday – “Maybe I will do another chore on Wednesday.”

After watching Lego Star Wars – “Did you know that the planets in outer space are sometimes made of Lego?”


Gus – “What is that Dad?”

James – “A funeral procession.”

Gus – “Why is there a police car in front?”

James – “So they can safely go through red lights.”

Gus – “What is the black car?”

James – “That one takes the dead body to the grave yard to be buried.”

Gus – “Why are there all those cars after them?”

James – “Those are the friends and family.”

Gus – “And they follow them to make sure that the mommy or daddy or sister or brother is buried deep? So that is someone else digs there they won’t find a skeleton?”

James – “Yeah, that’s about right.”


Gus on the Morality of Lego Droids…

Gus – “Look Dad!  This pile is the good guys, and these are the bad ones.”

James – “What if someone in the good pile does something bad?”

Gus in a stern voice – “Well, nothing.  But if he does it again, I will put him in the bad pile.”

James – “What if someone in the bad pile does something good?”

Gus with a smile – “Then I put him in the good pile!”


Gus with canning tongs in hand – “Do you want your brains snapped out Calina?” (snap, snap, snap)

Calina – “No.”

Gus – “Okay.”



Welcome to the World Rebecca Amity!

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To celebrate Rebecca’s one-week birthday, here is my labour & delivery story…

The snow started to fall at the same time labour started Tuesday morning, around 8am.  Contractions came and went throughout the day, anywhere from every 15 to 30 minutes.  Mostly dull, menstrual type pain in my low back and, eventually, low in my pelvis.  I continued with my regular day – roasted a pumpkin, put chili in the crock-pot, baked a batch of cookies, played with the kids.  Contractions were fairly easy to take – and I either squatted or went on my hands & knees (with Gus and Calina eager to climb on my back to offer counter pressure) if the intensity picked up.  That evening, we took some time to take final pictures as a family of four, and some final belly shots before putting Gus & Calina to bed.  My friend Katie arrived around 8pm and was greeted by James who was out shoveling the driveway, which is no small feat, since our driveway is big and there was about 8 inches of snow.  Katie had generously offered to care for Gus and Calina, and I wanted her to spend the night in case we needed to head to the hospital, although at that point I wasn’t expecting we would need to.  Things didn’t seem to be progressing – it had been 12 hours already, and not much had changed since the morning.  I showered and at 10pm I went to bed.  Contractions picked up and came every 10 minutes.  By 11pm, they were coming with greater intensity, every 5 minutes, and at 11:30 I had reached my ‘leave for the hospital’ mark – regular contractions every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.  We left for the hospital at 11:55 – thankfully the snow had subsided, and the roads were slippery but plowed – and arrived at 12:20am.  I slowly made my way to labour and delivery, stopping along the way with contractions – in the lobby, after getting off the elevator.  I completed my administration on my hands and knees in pretty intense contractions.  On my way to triage, I stopped again in the middle of the hallway, dropped to my hands and knees, for another contraction.  I asked to pee before they checked me.  When I got to the washroom, I realized baby was crowning, and I needed to push, not to pee!  Multiple nurses raced me through the hallway in a wheel chair to a delivery room.  They quickly undresses me and got me on the bed.   There were 4 doctors and 5 nurses whizzing about the room.  I was 10cm dilated, they broke my water and I pushed.  Rebecca Amity Mortimer arrived easily at 12:31am, Wednesday, January 22nd, only 11 minutes after arriving at the hospital.   Had we been any slower, James may have had to deliver Becca in the van.  Rebecca may have my need to be punctual, as she arrived at exactly 40 weeks.  As I held our perfect and beautiful new daughter on my chest, joy and love overflowing from my heart, I answered all the requisite pre-delivery questions and signed paperwork, including my consent for a natural delivery.  Becca and I spent the next two and a half days cuddled up together – I didn’t want to put her down – in the wonderful care of the doctors and nurses at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.  Ecstatic big siblings, Gus and Calina, and proud Daddy James made several visits to enjoy the newest member of our family.


Hello World!  I’m a beautiful little bundle, with dark eyes, strawberry blond hair and soft fair skin.  I look a lot like Calina when she was a newborn, but at times I have Gus’ little old man newborn face.  So far, I’m sleepy, content and nursing well.  Gus and Calina are very excited to have me as their little sister.  They regularly shower me with kisses and affection.  Calina always wants to see my bee-boo (belly button), and Gus wants to tickle me with coo-chee-coo-chee-coos.  Calina regularly coos over me with “oh, she’s so little” and Gus greets me with “hello cutie heart!”.

7 pounds 10 ounces ~ 19.5 inches ~ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 ~ 12:31 am

My first name honours my two grandmas: Rebecca = Becca = Bernice Elizabeth Cathy Christena.  (Gus & Calina insist my name “RUH-Becca”, and not Becca).  My middle name, Amity, is a virtue which means friendship.  And my initials, RAM, are the same as my Grandpa Bob’s.


Calina 2 years 5 months

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- As a treat before Christmas, Gus and I watched the Polar Express while eating popcorn and sipping hot chocolate.

- I know that G-U-S spells Gus, and that my name starts with the letter C.  Otherwise, I’m taking my time with letter recognition.

- I refused to sing the alphabet song.  Nobody knew if it was because I didn’t know it, or if I was just being obstinate when asked to sing it.  Then one day at Little Gym class when the teacher announced that our final song of the day would be the alphabet song, before anyone else could start, I began to sing and sang the whole song.  I haven’t sung it since.

- I have a weird bathroom quirk:  I need to be naked to have a bowel movement.

- Since receiving our new sleeping bags for Christmas, I have been having regular sleep-overs in Gus’ room.  We sleep side-by-side on our air mattresses, and love having each other’s company.

- I registered for Pre-K3 preschool.  I’m really excited, but September is a long way away.

- My holiday sassiness subsided at the same time my second two-year molar emerged.  Mom & Dad had a huge “uh-ha!” moment and were thankful that my their sweet little girl had returned.

- I love doing crafts and other artsy projects, and as a result, my colouring skills are improving.

- I’m adamant that “I’m a baby” and when the new baby arrives, there will be two babies in our family – me and the other one.

- I’ve been somewhat adventurous with food lately.  I’m willing to try more things and more often I will at least taste whatever it is Mom has prepared for dinner.

Quotes of the month:

- While at a friends house for a pre-Christmas dinner, I see that Mommy has ice in her water:  “Oh, Mommy!  Can I have marshmallows too?”

- Putting a sticker over Mommy’s belly button: “Now the baby won’t get out!”

- One morning, when Mom takes the Planters peanut butter out of the cupboard to make my toast: “NO! Not that peanut butter!  The Bears!”  (We all really love Kraft peanut butter, which is only available in Canada.  It’s our number one request when friends and family from back home come to visit.  We enjoy it so much, that even I, at my young age, recognize it’s green lid and bears on the label.)

- I call pig tails for my hair “pink tails”, or whatever the coordinating colour of my elastics are, ex. blue tails.



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