Preventing an other preemie

A spontaneous preterm birth, that's what happened with Castle two years ago. He decided that it was time to come out at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early. My doctor tried to figure out why, but came up with nothing. Pathology on the placenta came up normal, blood tests came up fine, cervix at the proper length, and many other tests that all indicated nothing out of the ordinary. Castle was simply anxious to see us.
How Castle was fed for two months, my breast milk through a nasogastric (NG) tube.
Now half way through my second pregnancy, we are praying that this next kid will hang in there as long as possible. Not too long though, but long enough to pass 37 weeks. Since a pregnancy can go well up to the moment that it doesn't, we are not taking any chances. And considering Castle came so quickly without notice, we want to do all that is possible to prevent an other preterm birth. Baby and I are being monitored more closely, more ultrasounds and more doctor visits. Plus I'm on progesterone, a hormone treatment that can prevent preterm birth. Life with a preemie in the first few months were difficult and emotionally draining. Looking back on it now our experience was bitter sweet, we are stronger and better in many ways because of it, yet, I do not wish upon it for any parent. I applaud all of our wonderful NICU nurses and doctors, especially the nurses! NICU nurses are the most wonderful people you will ever meet.

Go Fish

We had to have some proper fish and chips before my besties departed Vancouver.
 And there's nothing better than the fish and chips at Go Fish.
 Crispy crunchy fresh. So tasty.
 There's always a long line, and it seems like they are in no hurry to serve you, so go with an ounce of patience.
It helps that there are interesting things to explore nearby while we wait.

Up a Mountain

Some dear friends of mine came for a visit.
We've been besties since high school.
 To soak up some of that "Beautiful British Columbia" we took them to Whistler.
 Since it was such a glorious day we went up up and up the mountain to ride on the Peak to Peak Gondola. A ride from one mountain top to the other.
 This is the longest unsupported gondola in the world. 
 4.4km with 3km of that unsupported between towers.
 It is also the highest lift at 436m above the valley floor.
Karen was a little shaken, she couldn't look down.
 Her cutie pie of a daughter, Sam, on the other hand did just fine.

 We were almost 2000m above sea level and it was still a scorching 27C.
 The views were magnificent.
 Castle was loving it, he called this smaller gondola ride the bumpy train.
 Back down on solid ground, Sam had her first taste of ice cream. It was a good day.

Urban Farm

This used to be a giant concrete pad.
It still is, underneath all that greenery. We talked to one of the farmers, she said that the land is donated by the owner on a three year term to SOLEfood, an urban farming organization.
It doesn't get more urban than this. That stadium in the back is BC Place, where the Winter Olympics were held. The produce is sold at local farmer's markets and to restaurants.
The farmers were picking strawberries today. 
So much better than a parking lot, don't you think?

Time to start a boy band

Our boy has been carrying around his LEGO guitar for weeks now. Especially to church, whenever the music comes on he has to strum his LEGO guitar. He loves that thing but he loves his ukulele even more.
 He does not want to put it down. He sits still for over half an hour with it on his lap, requesting songs for us to sing together.
The first time we took it away (because it was time for dinner), he cried and sobbed inconsolably without end. We had never seen him so upset before, over anything. It's been two weeks and the reaction is similar when it's time to put it down, although there's less crying involved.
Last night he got to play on a toy piano at a friend's house. This morning he asked for a piano. He kept on repeating "Castle pan-nano?" over and over again until tears were welling up in his eyes.
We are not sure if this is just a phase or if he does have music in his bones. After all he just turned two. We shall wait and see. And I hope that we will make the right decisions in fostering his gift if he does have one.

Bathroom Update

The latest and greatest from our bathroom...
 Old tub out, new tub in! I love the new tub. Can't wait to take a bath in it.
 Walls are almost done. Next is tile, then floor, then plumbing and paint.
It can be very discouraging to see everything all over the place and in such a huge mess. But I love it, because I can imagine what it's going to look like in the end. And it's going to be so much better than what we started with.

When our faith is being tested

It happens from time to time, a test of faith. We know very well by now that if we are not in a storm at the moment, watch out, because one is on it's way.
 After what we went through with Castle, which was one of the toughest test of faith we've ever experienced, I have said that God can 'Job' us, and we would eventually come out fine on the other side. I believe that God does not create unfortunate situations, but he uses them to strengthens us.
Our family is being tested right now. First instincts are panic, worry, and be angry at God. But this time we didn't do that, instead, we are thankful, and being thankful in ALL situations has been a great source of strength and joy. I need to do this more often.

Boat Ride

Dear Summer, I'm so glad you aren't done with us yet.
 It was a perfect day to be out on the water.
 We went on a lunch boat ride, departing from downtown Vancouver and up Indian Arm.
 One of my favourite boats all day - this red orange pink one, because it's red, orange, and pink.
 Castle tired himself out climbing from deck to deck, up and down, over and over again.
 We took full advantage of the warm weather and beautiful sights.
 And once again, we were reminded of how beautiful this city is.
Lucky us.

Last bits of Summer

We are simply enjoying it, the last bits of summer.
 There's already a chill in the air, but that's okay because it's all sunshine and blue skies.
 I will not even think about when all of this goes away.
Please don't go away.

Yew, and the kids menu

The kids menu. I like to rant about kids menus, and this is why. I believe that appreciation for foods of varying tastes and textures start at a young age. When I was growing up in Asia there was no such thing as kids menus, kids ate what Mom and Dad ate, everywhere they went.
Castle's dinner - pasta with chicken and veggies
 Whenever we go to a place that has a terrible kid's menu, and that's pretty much 99% of all dining establishments, we order off of the regular menu for Castle.
Lobster, garlic purple kale, grilled peaches, peas and olives
 He has gotten way too big to eat off of our plate, he will eat my whole plate of food if we let him.
Cioppino - one of the best we've ever had
 The best kids menu we have discovered so far is at Yew in the Four Seasons Hotel. Yes, they do have the regular suspects found on all kid's menus, but on top of that they have other items that are both yummy and nutritious. e.g. Fish of your choice with veggies. Plus, the kids get a fruit plate to start.
 They also provide Wikki Stix, along with crayons and an activity sheet. It doesn't come across on their website or their decor, but this place is very family friendly. All the staff treat us very well when we show up with a toddler. And that's hard to say for a fine dining establishment.
Coconut & Black sesame Bavarian, Milk Tea ice cream, passion fruit sauce
 We always enjoy coming here because of the good food and great service. They are very consistent.
Raspberry Eclair 
Our favourite of the night was the Cioppino, raspberry eclair, and the milk tea ice cream. If you've ever had a Hong Kong style milk tea, well, imagine it as smooth creamy rich ice cream. That's what it tasted like.

Camping

Does it still count as camping if we only went for the day? 
 I think it does, because we came home smelling like campfire.
 I love the smell of campfire.
 Castle had fun digging in the dirt.
 The boys did all the cooking.
 Oh, here's an ingenious way to make s'mores. Buy the cookies with the chocolate that's already attached. And melt the chocolate by placing the cookies near the fire while you roast your marshmallow.
 S'more perfection.
By the time late afternoon rolled around we didn't want to leave. We contemplated making Andrew drive back into the city to get our tent. It was only an hour away. Next time.
When we got home this guy showed up on our balcony again. Same time everyday at sunset.
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