"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose"

Romans 8:28

August 29, 2008

He blew in, he blew out...

Dear Diary,
My beloved flew back to us last Friday for a quick visit before blowing out to the UK for a month or so. The poor boy flew out of Denver at 8 a.m. and didn't arrive in Toronto via Charlotte N.C. until 6:30 p.m. What a long, tiring day but he still had enough strength to give his Isla all the hugs she needed!
On Saturday we organized a Vandenberg family outing to Rockwood Conservation Area just outside of Guelph for a bit of canoeing and bbq'ing in the afternoon and evening. We couldn't all be there for various reasons but for those who were there, we had a good time, I think.
Colin and I rented a canoe and so did the "orphans', namely, Emily, Benjamin and Matthew. Their dad was in Ohio for business and their poor mother was at home very sick with a bad chest cold. Hope you're feeling better soon, Loretta, we missed you!
The orphans with Matthew in charge (scary!)
Me, sittin pretty but I did paddle abit when ordered by you-know-who...
Yup, him, my beloved... btw, nice purple swim trunks dear!
Isla got spoiled of course and had everyone's attention. We didn't put her in the water, it was too cold but she was busy being held by Aunt Marg.
After canoeing it was time for dinner and a soccer game. At one point I heard something about 4-0 so I am assuming an overwhelming victory for someone.
Matthew, Peter, David, Josh and Benjamin
King of the disposable BBQ!
I guess that makes John King of the Coleman stove and Marg his Queen!
After dinner we just took it easy and some brave soles braved the water for a swim. I stayed clear away but Colin went in a for dip.
As for Kristen, she was tired, the poor girl....

Gail and Josh making a fashionably late appearence
Anyways, once the mosquitos made their presence known, it was time to go home.
On Sunday, Albert and Chris and the kids came over since they couldn't make it on Saturday. Isla loved having some young cousins around for once and they quite liked her as well....

Isla, Katriene and Aunt Chris

Julianna, Isla, Katriene, Alannah and Aunt Chris

On Monday we decided to head east to Ajax and pay Aunt Lynn and Uncle Jim a visit. The last time Colin was in Ontario we ran out of time so it was nice that we were to visit and catch up a bit. A cat story: Aunt Lynn has two cats, Blondie and Minnie. Well, we brought Isla's Packn'Play along with us so she could nap while we visited. She slept a grand total of about 15 mins. so yeah, a complete waste of energy to take it out of the car but I digress. As Isla was falling asleep in her bed, Blondie took an interest to the strange noises coming from the new piece of furniture in the living room and perched her back legs on a nearby table while her front legs were on the Packn'Play and peered over the edge to look at Isla. Isla just starred back at her.... Too cute!! She must think there are crazy cats wherever she goes! BTW, Minnie stayed clear away from Isla - she didn't know what to think of her!

After a good chat it was time to leave and head back to Waterdown, drop Isla off with Opa and Oma and head out for our anniversary dinner which was yesterday, Thursday, as you may read in our previous posts. It was nice just going out the two of us for once.

Then it was Tuesday. I was dreading it and I think Colin was too. He didn't want to leave but he has to go back to the UK to get the US business visa. He's back working in the office in Manchester and will go to the American Consulate in Dublin sometime in September for an interview. Hopefully he'll get the visa and then head back to Canada to pick Isla and myself up before going to Denver. He was really hoping he could've resumed his old job in N. Ireland and stay in Larne for the month but that didn't happen, his boss had other plans. If he's lucky, he'll try to fly over for a weekend.

Late Tuesday afternoon it was time to go back to the airport. Even Isla knows it well by now after so many trips there in her short life. It was sad, I cried like I used to do when we lived apart. I keep telling myself I'm fortunate, he's not going to Afghanistan or Iraq. He'll be OK and will be home as soon as possible again.

I was glad when I woke to Wednesday and then Thursday. Isla had her 6 month check up at the dr's yesterday and she did well. Here are the stats:

Weight: 16 lbs. 1 oz.

Height" 25.5 inches

Head Circum.: I think was 46 cm.

Teeth count: 2! the second just showed on Wednesday.

Overall, the doctor is pleased, she is growing and developing well. She had her two jabs and only cried for the second shot. I thought things were going well and then last night she woke up every 1.5 or 2 hours and just hollered. She had a bit of a fever and was overall feeling miserable. My poor baby! Even today she is still a bit out of sorts.

That is the latest and greatest from Waterdown. Hope you're all well wherever you are!

Heather, Colin & Isla

To my loving wife..

Dear Diary,

Thank you dear for the message of love.. I am sad that I am not with you on our anniversary but knowing that you and our beautiful daughter are well makes me happier.
I love you more today than yesterday, I see your love for me in Isla's happy eyes and I can't wait to be with you again soon.

Love you always,

Your husband...


August 28, 2008

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary Colin!

Dear Diary,

Two years ago it was just the two of us...

... and now we are three

I love you for your thoughtfulness

Your understanding way

And for the countless little things you do for me each day

I love you for the hopes and dreams

You've helped to make come true

But most of all I love you,

Just for being you

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my Groom!

Happiness and Love Always

Your Bride

August 18, 2008

Half a Year Old!

Dear Diary,

Isla celebrated her 6 month birthday yesterday! Born on a Sunday and now she celebrated her "birthday" on a Sunday! How times flies as they say. This is the one time in her life when she is allowed to triple her weight but then if you start life at just over five pounds it doesn't take long to triple!
She stills has just the one tooth. Her little cheeks are really pink but when we check it's still just the one. It's good thing she has at least one tooth 'cause she's been getting solid food now for four days! Rice cereal isn't her favourite - I give her the bottle to wash it down but she's doing OK. I'll try pureed vege in a couple of days.

This is her first taste of solid food - she did really well and even opened her mouth for another bite - but after that it's become a bit of struggle.

And her birthday lunch on Sunday of rice cereal. Still not that tasty but thankfully her bottle was around to wash it down.

Mom found her an excersaucer on a garage sale on Saturday and she really likes it. Once she figured out she could bounce, there's no stopping her. She's a wild woman!

She loves going for walks in the evenings and loves to sit her stroller when we sit outside. The mosquitos are plentiful at this time of year due to the equally bountiful amounts of rain received so we haven't had as many walks as we should but when we do, she sings up a storm in the stroller.

My brother George came over last night with Emily (14) and Benjamin (10) to say hi and of course Isla needed her photo taken with her cousins. Uncle George was being shy and wouldn't be caught on camera but these two above didn't mind. Lately, when George pops by the house Isla is always in bed so it was unusual for her to be up at this time of night.
Isla's citizenship application is in the mail and now we await the confirmation letter. Let's hope it doesn't take too long to arrive.
AND lastly, only four days until Colin arrives to spend a few days with us before he flies off AGAIN. We are suppose to lovely weather this weekend and we plan on making the most of his three days with us.
'Til next time,
Heather, Colin and Isla

August 14, 2008

Promised Photos

Dear Diary,
Well, I finally got the camera to upload the photos:
These are the cats:
Pearl found use for sofas even though they haven't been unwrapped yet. Glad she finds them comfortable.
And here is Ziggy for his closeup waiting for his treats. Isn't he cute!!? He gets his treats on the table because if he ate them off the floor the dog would push him aside and eat them.

And Dixie hamming it up for the camera. Does this look like a stressed cat? Do you see what I mean when I say they are well taken care of and didn't miss me at all?

Last Sunday my sister and b-i-l and two nephews came by to say hello. This is my nephew Peter with his littel cuz. She was quite comfortable sitting there but she was handed back to me when she cried. Oh well, I'm going to try to make a babysitter out of him yet!

Unfortunately I can't get a pic of her new tooth but here is our darling, a photo for her Daddy in Denver! (sorry a bit fuzzy)

She misses you dear and we can't wait to see you next week again!

'Til next time,

Heather, Colin & Isla

August 13, 2008

From Ontario

Dear Diary,

This post has been in the making for a week now, I just haven't time to post it. Sorry, no photos, the camera isn't downloading for some reason.

Isla and I arrived in Ontario late last Wednesday evening. She was really good on the flight. We booked her a seat in order for me to have a free hand now and again. She sat in her carseat most of the time and she even slept a bit but not much. Colin is still in Denver and will be arriving here next week Friday before heading back to the UK for a month or two. Isla and I may join him, we're not sure yet.

We've been busy though. I'm trying to arrange OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance), Canadian citizenship and a Canadain passport for Isla and I've run into the bureaucracy wall. I hate doing this!

We're not sure how long we'll be in Ontario but I wanted to try to get her OHIP so she can visit the doctor and get up to date on her vaccinations. Her last visit was in May in Larne for her three month vaccinations so she is missing her four month vaccinations. Legally, you have to be a resident of Ontario and be resident for three months before qualifying (including myself), which I think is unfair for Canadians but I'm getting off topic. We will probaby be here shorter than that but you never know and I wanted to get the process started just in case. Before I can register her, I need to prove her resident legality here ie. either Canadian passport or Canadian citizenship, which meant I first have to apply for her citizenship. BUT here is the clencher, once you apply for that it takes THREE MONTHS before they OPEN the envelope with our application. Gotta love the government, eh?!? Once opened, it takes another SEVEN months to process the application. It's ridiculous but if I write them a letter and explain her situation, they may speed it up. Hopefully she'll have her citizenship card by her first birthday in February but right now that doesn't look likely.

Once they open the envelope with her application they will send out an acknowledgement letter to us and then we can apply for OHIP and her Canadian passport. In the case of OHIP, hopefully the three month waiting period from the date of our arrival in Ontario will be up when we go to apply and she'll qualify right away. In the meantime, both of us have to obtain "waiting period" medical insurance.

Before I send off her Canadian citizenship application I had to get her British passport, birth certificate and ID (medical card - what else does a 6-month have as ID?) certified and I had to get her photo taken (passport sized). We did that this morning and tomorrow the application will be mailed away to Nova Scotia where they do the processing. Please pray it is quickly processed.

The delay in getting her vaccinations is one of the reasons we may go back to the UK with Colin - just so she can visit the doctor and get her vaccinations updated. To tell you the truth, I am not looking forward to packing up the suitcases AGAIN and flying with her AGAIN but it's important and as a family, we've been separated enough, we need to be together. If we go, it will be her fourth airplane ride. That's alot of airmiles for a little baby!

Colin is legally obligated to leave the States next week. He can only stay for three months and he can only apply for the business visa from the UK, he can't do it from Canada. He will need to attend an interview and if it is issued it will be issued for up to 6 months. We will still need to apply for the H1 visa in April (that is the only time they accept applications) which means we may have to apply for another business visa to cover the gap. I, as a Canadian, can stay in the States for up to 6 months but Isla, visiting with a British passport, can only stay for 3 months under the Visa Waiver program agreement. That is the reason we need to get her a Canadian passport but it sounds like it will take a while. I guess we'll worry about that later but in the meantime, we'll try to get her a Canadian passport as soon as possible.

But I've been doing more than just making applications, I've also been picking through our boxes. Our shipment of stuff arrived at the house on Monday and I had to get some stuff out of it. It was nice to see our belongings again and put some of our photos on the wall! I was able to get the cats their mutilated scratching post out for them to use (they refuse to use the new one I bought) and Isla has her bed back - no more sleeping in the pack 'n play!

While we were in Denver, Mom and Dad have been looking after the cats and I was excited to see my girls again when we arrived last week. Typical of cats, they didn't miss me at all or at least that's how it appeared. They were very taken care of so maybe that's why.

Pearl in the meantime, has a boyfriend, Mom's cat Ziggy. It's so cute, he follows her everywhere she goes. He doesn't bother too much with Dixie (probably because she just ignores him) but he and Pearl are always together. For some reason they both like the same sleeping spots too. Anyways, where Pearl is, Ziggy isn't far behind.

That's it for now, you're all up-to-date. The last thing I should mention is that I feel like I'm back in N. Ireland!! Yeah, it's been cool, no higher than 25 degrees and wet, very wet . So many people have flooded basements but we've been lucky, we've been dry.

'Til next time (and hopefully some photos),
Heather, Colin & Isla

Another milestone!

Dear Diary,

Isla reached another milestone this morning, her first tooth!! YAY!

She'll be 6 months old on Sunday and will have one tooth on her 'birthday'. Mom found it early this morning and is pleased as punch about it too! She still claims she got Isla's first smile at 3 weeks but that is up for debate.

Anyways, I figured something was up with Isla this morning - she woke up screaming at 4:30 a.m., something she never does. Other than that, she's been great, she hasn't been cranky or fussy at all. I'm sure I have the best baby (and cutest!), everyone tells me I do!!!!

I wish I had a picture to show you all her new tooth but I'm having trouble downloading the pics to the computer so it will follow shortly, I hope.

Tomorrow she will reach another milestone, solid food. I'll let you know how that works out too and I hope to have a photo to post.

August 3, 2008

From Cocoon to Butterfly!

Dear Diary,

During the past couple of weeks, Isla has been having trouble rolling back onto her back once she has rolled over. Maybe it's because now she rests her head on her forearms and can't use her arms to roll herself back, I'm not sure, but it's been really annoying!!! Every five minutes we have to rescue her, the poor little darling! It's also affecting her napping, or the lack of it. She rolls and screams and so today we decided to try swaddling her like we used to and it worked for about five minutes before she wiggled herself free.

Doesn't she look like a little cocoon? My beautiful little papillion! It was a good try but once she was freed, she did fall asleep about five minutes later, FINALLY!

Unfortunately, it was a short nap and 45 minutes later she was awake for her bottle and a good burp with Daddy!

Look at that face. Just a typical day in the life of a 5 1/2 month old!

'Til next time,

Heather, Colin & Isla

August 1, 2008

Under re-construction - Part II

Dear Diary,

You probably noticed a slight change to our blog. I'm just playing around with it as the blogger people have added quite a few new features since the last face-lift.
One of the new additions is the ability for our faithful readership to receive email updates each time the blog is updated. Just add your email address and hit "subscribe" to find out what were up to and where were living at that particular moment!
Also, some people many not realize it but you can add a comment by going to the bottom of the posting and hitting the "Comment" link. We love to hear from you!
Happy reading and be sure to scroll down the left side of the blog for little bits and pieces.
'Til next time,
Heather, Colin & Isla

Just stuff

Dear Diary,

I have a few minutes and I'm procrastinating, I really don't feel like a shower right now and just prefer to hang around the house in my pj's. Don't you just love days like that? Anyways, I thought I would take advantage of it because Isla and I are going to Mom and Dad's next week and we'll have to be up and ready to go by 6 a.m. and definately no hanging around the house in our pj's. As Dad says "the best part of the day is early in the morning". Oh great, I can hardly wait.

As I sit here, Mittens is sleeping out his last full day with us and I'll miss him when he goes home tomorrow. He's a good cat and good entertainment. He sleeps in between our pillows on our bed and purrs, so yeah, I wash the sheets alot. Last weekend he started pawing at my face because he was lonely about 3 a.m. Don't you just love cats! I brought the two plants into the apartment that were on the balcony and now he thinks he's a jungle cat as he "hides" behind them. It's quite cute, he hasn't left his new favourite place for the last couple of days.

He gets along well with Isla too although he gets jealous when Colin plays with Isla on the floor. It's hilarious and to think Pearl and Dixie don't even do that.

Eveyone is sleeping, Isla and Mittens that is, and I feel like I could too. Isla now sleeps with her new friend Eddy, the Old Navy teddy bear we bought her last weekend. He's cuddly and soft and she loves to hug him in her bed as she falls asleep. Too cute!

As you can see she still tilts her head to the right when she sleeps so that side of her head is still flat. Earlier this week I found her sleeping on her left side of all things. Too bad Colin had the camera with him at work, it was a one time thing I'm afraid.

That's it for me - time to kick myself in the pants and get going.

See you Canadian folks next week and as for you UK folks, Colin is coming at the end of the month for a visit and to hopefully sort out a visa for us.... What a nightmare it's turned out to be!

'Til next time,

Heather, Colin & Isla