Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflecting on 2011

As the year comes to a close I have been thinking a lot about what has happened in the last 12 months and how I feel about them.  There have definitely been highs and lows.  Not a lot in between, things either went extremely well or extremely badly.  September was notably terrible and if I could erase it altogether, I would, but sadly, it will always remain.  At least none of the terrible things have to do with my son.  For this I am eternally grateful.  He started school with no difficulty, the years holidays were amazing, and all of our time together has been perfect.  He had surgery which went very well and I am so relieved it is over.  We have been swamped at work, are short-staffed and just trying to keep our heads above water.  When we will be back at capacity remains uncertain, but until then, it's all we can do.  I am happy that I have continued to blog, I have always enjoyed writing, but find that my ability to write "stories" is limited at best.  Poetry is a bit better, but I am very embarrassed to share it publicly.  Blogging about life in general comes much more naturally.  It's easiest to write about what you know, my teachers always said this, and unbelievably, they were right!  2011 was a bumpy road, but at least I am driving life in my own car again!  Bus riding for over 9 months was a challenge and one I hope I don't have to experience again anytime soon.  The only good thing about it was that I did run into a few people I hadn't seen in ages and got to have some good conversation with them.  But it's not like that happened every day. I also got to know a few work mates a little bit better by riding the bus with them on the hospital route.   Hopefully 2012 will bring me a more even keeled life experience.  As long as the world doesn't end.  That would suck huge. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Future

This is the last of three in this series.  Thanks for reading.

Christmas 2011 has come and gone.  J was fantastic, so excited about Santa and all the gifts.  The last thing we did on Christmas Eve was track Santa with NORAD.  He loved seeing him fly over the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower.  He snuck downstairs early Christmas morning to check to see if Santa had come, and he had!  He woke me up exclaiming "Santa came!  Santa came!  I can't believe it!  Mommy it's so awesome!"  He opened his gifts like a pro, would have opened everyone's gifts if he had been given the chance.  He gave the obligatory statement of "Aww, clothes are no fun!", but he grudgingly said thank you anyhow.  I told him it wouldn't be good for him to be going to school naked-naked.  He was thrilled with just about all of his toys.  Got particularly excited about his light saVers (kills me everytime!) he got from my brother.  We have also enjoyed several games of Hungry Hippos, that gift went over extremely well also!  It's amazing what a few marbles and some funny looking hippos can do!  I'm all for it, I loved that game as a kid too!

As always, he was not so thrilled about sitting to eat dinner, there was too much fun going on for that!  One of the nicest moments was when he gave Grampa Louie (his great-grandfather) a high five.  It's nice that he got to see and spend a little time with him.  Grampa Louie gave him some money and he can't wait to go to the bank with it to put in his bank account.  He also played quite a bit with my aunt, they set up 3 packages of Playmobil toys and had a blast!   

And now for the future?  What do I wish for?  What do I hope for?  I wish for many more Christmases just like this one.  I hope that my family stays happy and healthy.  That my son gets to have the same wonder and magic at Christmas that he had this year, every year.  I know there will come a day when he won't believe in Santa anymore, but I hope he will always have the same excitement about the holidays and spending time together with family.  I want him to have the some of the same memories that I have of Christmas.  He may not have siblings to share it with, like I had, but at least I can give him that much.   

excerpt from:

Timeless Message of Christmas (J. Nourse)

A peaceful hush falls over the world…
When this holiday rush is through…
It’s time to reflect on family and friends…
And so I think of you…
It’s a time to send our greetings…
To those who are far and near…
To wish you the blessings of the season…
Not just today but throughout the year…

We pause and think of this special time…
A time that is set apart…
For thinking of those who are dear…
Who hold a special place in our heart…

Believe in the magic of the season…
May the love warm your hearts…
May you forever cherish the memory …
And what this season imparts…

It is not the gifts that are wrapped…
And placed under the Christmas Tree…
But the Christmas that lives within our hearts…
That is special to you and me…
May the magic and wonder of the season…
Bring joy and happiness to you…
May it be a season you will always remember…
And stay with you, your whole life through…

May the timeless message of Christmas…
Fill your heart and home with love…
May you and yours be forever blessed…
With the peace of the snow white dove…

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Present

This is the second in a series of three

We are three in our family.  We are a tight little trio, we stick together, we eat together, we laugh together and play together.  At Christmas, we have developed our own traditions.  We bake shortbread cookies, we can apple pie filling, and have been known to leave all the gift wrapping until the very last minute.  (like this year...)  Then, we have the obligatory fight about something insignificant to relieve the stress (no hard feelings sweetie :))  We hang our stockings on Christmas Eve, we don't have a fireplace but they go in the dining room and Santa has always been able to find them ;).  I have also insisted on continuing traditions I had as a child.  We put out cookies, brown sugar and raisins for Santa and his reindeer, and no one opens presents until everyone is awake.  (That means J and I make daddy get up extra early, he's not really a morning person.)

This year was J's first at at school.  So I experienced my first Christmas concert as a parent.  Let me tell you, adults become crazy when their kid is on stage singing a Christmas song!  I was astounded at how grown men and women turn into these waving, crying, slobbering globs of gush and willing to stampede over others (who are all there for the same reason) to snap a photo and take a video.  Part of me gets it because I feel the exact same way about my little man, but I had the decency to take it to the back of the room and not stand in front of or almost on top of others to get to see my baby.  I actually had to move because someone was standing in front of me sitting in my chair.  I gave them a small piece of my mind and booted it to the back corner of the room where I had a clear sight line to my guy.  He found me in the crowd, his whole face lit up, and he blew me kisses.  So, yep, I turned into a marshmallow, wiped away my tears and imprinted the moment into my brain.  I'll always wish I was able to get a video, but I'm pretty sure I won't forget this.  His class sang Jingle Bells and Old Toy Train.  If I play the latter for him, he will still sing and do the signs the teachers taught them.  He was so proud because he practiced so hard at school and he remembered them all.

I can't wait to see the look on J's face this year when he comes downstairs on Christmas Morning.  He is so excited, we have put some family gifts under the tree and you can just see how the anticipation is building.  He was a bit disappointed they weren't for him, but it just adds another layer of excitement.  He opened the last door on his Advent calendar and was dancing afterwards because he knows Santa is coming tonight.  Our Christmas Eve will be quiet this year, just the three of us, at home, together.  It's all I can ask for really.

I will leave you with my favourite Christmas poem.  I will read it to my little man tonight before bed.  Hope he has visions of sugar plums. 
'Twas the Night Before Christmas  

(or A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore (1823)

  'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his courses they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the courses they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

A Brief Note about the Author and the Poem
Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, which he named "A Visit From St. Nicholas," was published for the first time on December 23, 1823 by a New York newspaper, the Sentinel. Since then, the poem has been reprinted, translated into innumerable languages and circulated throughout the world. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Past

This is the first in a series of three blog posts.  (I bet you can guess what the next two will be called!)

Christmas has always been such a special time of year.  I grew up in Ottawa and we were raised Catholic so there was always a religion component to the holiday.  Besides that, we went all out with baking, decorations, lights, the whole nine yards.  My family always did Christmas big-time!  These are some of the highlights, memories I have of being a kid at Christmas.

*  Bells hanging on the front door.

*  A tree so tall it reached the cathedral ceiling of my childhood home.  Our cat had an adventure that year!

*  Anticipating the moment when our Nanny would arrive with presents for all.  I miss her everyday.  

* Sitting in the dining room that overlooked the living room where the tree was trying to count presents on Christmas morning.  We were NOT allowed in the living room until everyone was awake!

*  The obligatory video of kids coming down the stairs Christmas morning.  We were sometimes told to back up and do it again.

*  Having the aunts, uncles, and cousins over for Christmas Day.  We saw them only a few times a year and I was always excited to see them.

*  Listening to Santa tracking on the radio.  NORAD is awesome.

*  Not being able to fall asleep Christmas Eve.

*  Putting out home made cookies for Santa with egg nog and brown sugar and raisins for the reindeer.

*  Chocolate covered cherries.

*  Going for a drive down Taffy Lane on Christmas Eve.  It was soooo spectacular!  It may still be, haven't done that in a very long time.

I am so fortunate to have all these amazing memories.  As kids, we can't see past ourselves, we are self-centered and sometimes ungrateful.  I know now how lucky I was, and still am to have the family that I do.  We may not always get along, we may not always agree, but we have always been a pretty good unit.  I wish for them all the best this holiday season and even more for the coming year.  Merry Christmas to my mom, dad, sisters and brother.  It wouldn't be Christmas without you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shopping wars

My mission was simple.  Pick up a few stocking stuffers, a toy for a munchkin I forgot to buy for already, and then get the hell out.  The strategically selected battlefield was Zellers.  Toys on sale and overall reasonable prices.  Shopping was completed within 30-40 minutes, right on target.  Line up at the cash was a little long, but was able to bribe my 4 yo shopping partner with a treat, and all was well.  $12.99 toy marked down to $7.99 scanned in at regular price.  Cashier no. 10 called for a price check.  Call went unanswered.  Paged again for a price check.  Again, no answer.  Paged the manager, who arrived at the same time as the call back for a price check.  A minute later the toy dept calls back telling Cashier no. 10 that no, the toy is not a sale item.  I am beginning to boil, we have held up the line for at least 15 mins.  I decide to pay for it, return to the toy aisle and then take the sale sign back to Customer Service with me.  I did not yell, I was not rude, but plainly stated that not only was I inconvenienced for 20 minutes due to the lack of competence by the toy department, but the seven other people behind me in line were inconvenienced as well.  Customer Service Agent gladly directs me to the Manager who happens to be standing nearby.  I relayed my dissatisfaction with having to first wait 20 mins for a price check, to be given the wrong price, and then having to go back to the toy aisle myself to retrieve the very clearly written sign and then to the service desk to be reimbursed my $5.00.  It was a long, bloody battle, but in the end, I emerged victorious and righteous. :)

Mega props to my shopping partner, he was extremely well behaved and charmed an elderly couple who was leaving the store and asked him if he was excited for Christmas.  He said "I'm on number 10 of my Advent calendar!"  He was so good, he really deserved that treat.  Bonus points for picking my favourite, Caramilk. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The mule

This doesn't happen very often, but occasionally, my son can be extremely stubborn.  Like a mule.  Seriously.  Last night he tested our patience to the max!  He always asks us what is for dinner.  He usually says he doesn't want it, or doesn't like it, and then proceeds to eat it.  At times under protest and with a lot of prompting, but for the most part, he eats what we eat.  Last night was a different event altogether.  He persisted in saying I don't want that, I don't like that, and then refused to even sit at the table.  Behaviour like that doesn't get him very far with me.  I walked him over to the time out area and told him to sit until he was ready to come and eat.  And the yelling started.  I don't want to, I don't want it, essentially different variations of the same expression.  He got louder, and louder, so he was ushered upstairs to his room by dear daddy.  And then we realized how powerful his lungs really are, there was yelling, crying, stomping...very charming. 

So what did daddy and I do?  We continued to eat our dinner.  Soon, our little darling got tired and I heard a small, tentative, Mommy, can I come down yet?  I said yes and he came over, apologized for being rude and for yelling.  We asked him to sit and eat, and he still refused.  So we sent him back upstairs and asked him to put on his PJ's.  If he wasn't going to eat then he needed to get ready for bed.  Daddy and I finished our dinner and so I headed upstairs to check on him.  Found him flat on his face asleep on his bed.  He didn't even make it all the way in.  His upper body was on the bed and his feet were still on the floor.  I changed him into his PJ's, did a quick brush of his teeth and put him back to bed where he was asleep again in record time.

My son is amazing, one of the best behaved kids I have personally ever met, but he does have his moments.  Often when he is exhausted.  He will never admit that he is tired though.  He doesn't often look tired.  This is a signal that is not well developed for him and we have a hard time identifying, until he has this type of reaction. 

So, lesson learned.  A tantrum, or whatever you like to call it, is not always related to the issue in that moment.  There is often an underlying something else going on.  I gave him the same plate of dinner today when we got home after work/school and he ate the whole thing with not one complaint.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mo' movies!

Ever since I was a child, movies have been a big part of my life.  Friday or Saturday nights as a family we would sit down, pop some corn and enjoy a movie together.  The TV's back then were a lot smaller, rounded at the edges, and we watched tapes in the VCR (we owned a Betamax!), not Blu-Ray or DVD,  but the point was we were doing something together that we all enjoyed.  Going to the theatre was an even bigger thrill.  We would get there early, get a good set of seats and wait for the moment when the lights would go down and the reel would begin.  We also, almost always, sneaked in our own snacks, sodas and all.  It was a time to bring out the big purse!  When I was a child movies were not digital and while 3D has existed for a long time, it was not commonplace.  My dad, to this day, still calls it "Going to the show".   I love that expression.

I am so thrilled that my son has now reached an age where we can share that experience.  Our first movie outing was to see the Smurfs 3D, he loved it so much we decided to go to another one Puss in Boots 3D.  He is 4 1/2 and can sit through an entire movie happily enjoying what's happening on the screen and munching some treats.  He was also really attracted by the arcade but most of the games are too difficult for him.  I found myself watching his face quite a bit during the film to see his reactions both to the story itself and to the special effects.  He finds so much joy in new experiences that I find myself re-living my childhood through him.  Every giggle, every laugh, every "o" his mouth made were like music for my eyes and ears.  He's not so great at the not talking during the movie, but most of the kids in the place were the same way.  I also really enjoy how kids movies nowadays are just as enjoyable for the adults as well.  There is always some subtle content meant to keep the adults engaged in the film as well as the kids.    As for hubby and I, well we are giant kids at heart, we enjoy almost every kind of movie, cartoons included.  I will keep bringing my little man to the movies because it is as much fun for us as it is for him!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Week ending rant

I have no way of actually knowing if it was a site problem or if it was intentional, but I strongly suspect my comments were deleted from a public forum.  My comments were in no way inappropriate, in fact I was trying to be helpful.  No bad language (like I would ever be rude!  hee hee), but honestly.  At least I could have been whipped a quick message to say "Hey, we took them out because...", at least then, I would know.  This has been done for me in the past, and I had no problem with it!  There was actually a good reason, and I completely understood.  I'm reasonable like that. 

Rant over.  Let the weekend begin.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Charity cheer

As we approach the Christmas and Holiday Season, I would like to take a moment to remind people to consider donating to a worthy cause.  Whether it's the gift of money or the gift of your time in a volunteer capacity, it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that we give of ourselves to help others who may not be as fortunate.  While the holidays are typically a very happy time filled with anticipation and wonder, others experience hurt and heartache or worse, hunger.  This is not an exhaustive list, merely some ideas that come readily to my mind when I think of our community here in Ottawa.

This year, our little family has decided to donate a toy or two to Toy Mountain.  We have our 4 yr old little man, so we think it would be a nice idea to donate one for a same aged boy and another for a girl.  I can't express enough how grateful I am for the life that we have, a steady income, and a warm home to live in.  There are families who have to make the choice between paying the bills and buying food.  It's that spot between a rock and a hard place that no parent should have to be in.  

The following are suggestions for charities you may want to consider.

CHEO Foundation

Roger's House

Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre Foundation

Ottawa Food Bank 

Salvation Army - Ottawa Booth Centre

The Caring and Sharing Exchange

The Ottawa Mission

The Snowsuit Fund

Toy Mountain

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season.  Merry Christmas to all, hoping everyone experiences a little magic.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A holiday recipe

I love this recipe, it's a great idea for a little giveaway for the holidays, relatively inexpensive and very easy to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Apple pie filling

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 lb granny smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stock pot. Fill pot with hot water. Sterilize 5 x 1 pint canning mason jars, 5 lids and 5 rings by placing on rack, jars upright. Bring water to a boil.

Boil 10 minutes and remove with a holder and allow jars to air-dry.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and water in a large saucepan. Place over high heat and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Tightly pack apples into sterilized jars. Slowly pour syrup over apples, covering them completely. Gently tap jars on countertop to allow air bubbles to rise. Screw lids on jars.

Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Add more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water.

Bring water to a full boil, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Remove jars and place on cloth covered surface until cool.

Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight - lid doesn’t move up or down at all. Sealed jars can be stored for up to a year.

Crumble Topping

3 cups brown sugar
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter

Combine brown sugar, oatmeal, flour and cinnamon in a bowl.
Cut in the butter until crumbly.
Package in cellophane bags.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about it this year.  Turning 33 is not really that special.  In fact, I'm starting to feel old.  I do have all these fun plans, but it sure doesn't feel the way it used to.  I used to get so excited for my birthday.  I always hoped it would snow on my birthday, one year, it did, and that was extra special.  I would like to experience a time warp where I could just skip tomorrow and go straight to Friday.  I know, I know, I'm sounding crusty and grumpy, I KNOW!  It can't be helped.  Just trying to be honest.  Life just goes by way too fast.  I look at my little man and just wonder how he got to be 4 already.  It's impossible, we just brought him home yesterday, or so it seems.  Time is just one of those things you never have enough of...I'm so scared that tomorrow he will turn 18 or something and tell me he's leaving home.  Oh geez.  Now I have terrified myself.  OK, that's enough for now.  Grumpy out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A time to remember

Today is Remembrance Day and I would like to salute all veterans living and deceased as well as all active duty Canadian Forces personnel. I am humbled by your sacrifices, your dedication to this country and your efforts to bring peace to those who are still living in war-torn, oppressed countries.

We are fortunate to live in a peaceful country and to have rights, freedom and protection from persecution that many can only dream of.

I remember. I will never forget.

“Year after year we gather and shout commands in the Square,
Wait for the Governor-General, say a few words of prayer,
Lay our wreaths in order, mothers and big shots first,
In memory of those who have made it to the other side of the worst.”

~George Johnston, Canadian poet, Remembrance, 1966

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Toy hall of fame

The cardboard box has been entered into the National Toy Hall of Fame.  It's as wonderful as Lego and Mr. Potato head!   Enjoy this article.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Truth # 8

What are your views on gay marriage?

I actually have only one thing to say in response to this question.

"The same as my views on marriage."

If further clarification is needed, let me know.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mother's intuiton?

A quick follow up to my last post.  Mother's intuition, yes, it does exist.  I knew it was more than viral.  J's pediatrician found that he has a pretty nasty lung infection.  Both sides of his chest were rattly and so off to the pharmacy we went to pick up $150 worth of prescriptions and voila, the very next day, feeling 100% better.  Slept so quietly and peacefully for a whopping 12 hrs!  Unheard of for my guy who consistently sleeps 10 and no more.  His cough literally disappeared after the first dose of meds.  One antibiotic and another to open his airways.  Trying to get the meds into him is a different matter altogether, he needs cajoling, threatening, and finally bribery to get him to open his mouth.    I'm glad we went back to see his pediatrician who is wonderful with him. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Feeling ick

My bug has been struggling for the last couple of weeks with some kind of virus.  Fever coming and going, a nasty cough and the occasional vomit.  I feel so badly for him.  He's a super star though.  He's sleeping a lot, eating not too badly, but his spirits are good.  He is still his usual happy go-lucky self.  We've been to see the doctor once who said it's viral, it will run it's course (I think doctor's say this a lot, it's almost like their tag line.) but here we are two weeks later, still not any better.  I am beginning to question their judgement at this point.  So we have an appt later this morning to figure out what the actual problem is.  I think he needs an antibiotic, it's been long enough he's had to suffer with it without any improvement. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It takes a village

I feel the need to address an issue that really bothers me.  It's controversial but that has never held me back from writing my truths.

That little whisper of tension that seems to just exist, sort of like a line of division between the WAHM (work at home mom) and the WOHM (work outside the home mom).  I have created new acronyms for the purpose of this blog because, yes, I believe that in both instances work is the operative word.

I may not directly experience the WAHM's successes/struggles, but I certainly understand that what they do at home with their children is hard work.  It's real work, with value and honour.  I do not for one second believe that what they do is sit around all day mixing martinis and watching the soaps.  They volunteer their time whether it be in a school our out in the community.  Many are entrepreneurs with their own businesses, like daycare or catering, which is amazing and should be celebrated! 

I am a WOHM.  I would have loved to stay home with my son.  He is the sweetest, most caring  4 year old I know.  He is sensitive, rambunctious, and truly is the love of my life.  Having said that, I know, down to the tips of my toes that I would not have been happy in that situation.  I have worked hard to get to the job/career that I have and I decided even before I had him, that I would continue to work.  He loved going to daycare and he loves going to school.  He is in a full day JK program and he is thriving.  He has made friends, they call themselves the "brothers" and has already been to one birthday party which he is still talking about.  My work outside the home is stressful.  I come home with headaches, muscle aches, but regardless of that, it's the best part of my day because I get to see his beautiful face and find out how his day has been.  His development has in no way been compromised because I decided to work outside the home instead of work at home.  I have never shirked my responsibilities as a mother and have never taken advantage of a caregiver's time by being careless about pick up times or what have you.  I have asked for flexibility for reasons completely outside of my control.  This is not the same thing as taking advantage.   

While I'm at it, I also want to congratulate the WAHD (work at home dad's) out there.  There are so many more now than there used to be and I think it's great that our generation is breaking and making new traditions.  Many dad's have home offices where they can do freelance work, or run their own businesses, or just look after the kidlets.  I admire their courage for breaking away from our society's notion of gender roles.

So many other mentions could be made, single parents, grandparents raising their grandkids, foster parents, same-sex parents, the list goes on and on.

I think we all need to remember that we are all doing the best we can for our family and doing what works for us.  Different choices come with different pros and cons, but no choice is any better or any worse than another.  Parenting is parenting no matter which family variant you have.   

The African proverb (My reading attributes it to Nigeria's Igbo and Yoruba regions) says it best:

"It takes a village to raise a child."      

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rick Hansen Relay

Please take some time to view this video of Rick Hansen's visit to the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre.  He is truly inspirational and gives hope to children and adults of all abilities.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

French food for the soul

My guy loves his French class at school.  Tonight at bedtime, we had a fun little game going.  He sang me a song in French (of course, I know it, but pretend it's the first time I've heard it).  Tête, épaules, genoux, orteilles...yeux, nez, bouche, oreilles.  Then he asks me a whole bunch of words in french:  boat: bateau, bed:  lit, kiss:  bisou, he says bisou and I kiss him, he says it again and of course, kiss him.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.   He tries to circumvent my next kiss by throwing up his stuffed owl, so I say "No!  Hibou, not bisou!" which sets him off into uncontrollable giggles.  When it's time to say our final goodnight he says to me, "Give daddy a bisou for me!"  I love him.  He is such a sweet boy.  I'm a lucky mommy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh indian summer

The only thing I don't like about having an indian summer is that all the neighbourhood's Mr. Fixits get their power tools out REALLY early.  Have one neighbour working on his motorcycle, another mowing his lawn and yet another using what I believe is a power saw.  Seriously, give me a break, it's a holiday Monday for pete's sake.  Let us sleep until at least 10 am.  Or at the very least enjoy some peace and quiet.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

With thanks

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

I have many treasures to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, and the rest of the year too, but now is a good time to acknowledge them.

Some of them are obvious, but they need to be said.
I am thankful for my amazing son and fantastic husband.  I'm not sure what I did to be so lucky, but it must have been good because they are the centre of my world.

Thankful for my family, parents, sisters and brother, I would never trade them. 

Thankful for my girlz, you know who you are.  I could not have gotten through this year without the support.  

 Thankful that twice I was in the right place, at the right time.  I came close to panicking both times, but I held it together and made a difference.  M and A are both safe and sound, for that I am thankful.

Thankful for a good job, a roof over my head and luxuries a lot of people don't have.  

Since last Thanksgiving, it's been a rough year.  Lots of downs, some ups, but I'm hopeful things will settle down soon.   

Seventy-seven days until Christmas!  The countdown is on!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

School surprises

I almost fainted in the car today when my very proud JK student sang to me a little song about a number of fast food chain restaurants (my sibs and fellow Girl Guides will know which one I mean!).  WTF??  Is this part of the curriculum??  Along with every Monday pizza and every Thursday hot dog day?  I'm sorry, I'm flabbergasted.  Not sure if it is even worth addressing and how I would approach that one...

It's a good thing I wasn't driving...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Parenting pet peeves - my take

My friend Karen has a good point, what is it about different parenting syles that can be frustrating?

Oh parenting pet peeves, could talk for hours!!!  but I will attempt to be brief, for everyone's sanity :) .

The one that bugs me the most:  Parents who bring their kids to the playground and essentially ignore them so that they can socialize.  I think this is a common pet peeve for those of us who actually keep an eye on our kids to make sure they are behaving appropriately.  Example 1:  I was at a play-date-in-the-park event offered by a community group and this woman had brought her home daycare with her, which is great, it's a great outing with lots of activity and lots of other kids.  However, her charges were all over the place, behaving like wild animals, grabbing, pushing, saw one give the other a kick, they were heading into the wooded area (we're talking 2-3 year olds) and she spent the whole time talking with the staff running the group and complaining about the parents of the kids in her care, barely glancing to make sure all of the kids were accounted for.  I heard her make several judgements about mothers who work outside the home, saying they were unloading their responsibilities; I could go on but I won't.  All I have to say is this:  If you don't like running a daycare, don't choose to do it!  Do something that makes you happy.  Example 2:  Larger boy steals my son's soccer ball so that he can play "keep away" from my son who wants to pass the ball back and forth the way we play together all the time.  I took the ball from the older boy and had to put it away.  His mother sat and watched and tickled her small baby, cootchie coo!  Never wanted to slap someone so hard in all my life.  I was forced to take the ball from my son because of her son's unwillingness to share and play together.  I explained to him I was not taking it because of his behaviour, but because the other boy would just keep hogging the ball. 

My other major pet peeve is those who judge our home routines, especially bedtime.  (I have discussed this hot topic with many people, some have been super supportive and made suggestions in a helpful way, others, just plain openly judgemental)  I put my kid to bed when he is ready, not when I am ready to have him go to sleep.  It's a subtle difference, but one that matters to me.  Our family time is precious, hubby and I both work full time and so yes, we hoard every minute that we have together, because we want to be together.  If that means he goes to bed at 8:30, so be it.  Am I being a bit selfish?  I admit it, yes, but it's not without consideration.  In my book, firstly, that's not very late.  Secondly, if he were cranky and unmanageable during the day that would be reason to make adjustments.  His bedtime is creeping earlier now that he is in school and not napping in the afternoon, but I let his signals tell me when to put him to bed.  If his behaviour says he is ok, then I'm not going to make a huge deal about it.  On rare occasions, he asks to go to bed, like I would say no!

I'm not saying I am so perfect and non-judgemental that I *never* do things like this, but I try *very* hard to keep my mouth shut unless directly asked for advice or input.  I am in the position where I screen for developmental delays in children and have to keep my profession separate from my personal life.  And on the playground, I manage my own child, and sometimes my friend's children, because I know that they wouldn't mind me doing it.        

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The champ

My son is a champion.  His recovery has been absolutely wonderful.  He's not complaining too much, the first day, yes, but rightly so.  Before surgery, my heart broke a bit because he would not hold my hand going to the OR.  "Mommy I want to walk with the doctors because we are all wearing blue pajamas!"  He walked into the OR and exclaimed "WOW!  Look at all the cool stuff!"  I stayed until he fell asleep, which didn't look like sleep because he was laughing and his eyes were rolling, then kissed his little head and went to sit and watch the clock.  Hubby and I went to the cafeteria for some comfort food, CHEO cafeteria makes this amazing chocolate silk pie!  Mmm..breakfast pie.  When he woke up from surgery he immediately downed two popsicles (if they were handing out free popsicles, he was taking them!) and a glass of apple juice and was super excited when they offered him a DVD player to watch some Dora.  An hour later, we were out of there!  He told the nurse "Thank you!  I had so much fun today!"  Later in the day after the surgery he was jittery and could not focus, then slept like the dead from 7 pm on (yay!).  He had some blurry vision which he thought was hilarious..."Mommy, you have 4 noses!  I see two daddies!"  He went back to school yesterday and was super cooperative about not playing in the sand and not running/jumping too much.  He did some quiet activities outside with the EA and was never grumpy and barely shed a tear.  He's not loving the eye drops, but tolerates them because he gets that his eyes feel better after he has them.  He looks like he's gone a couple of rounds in the ring, but there are no bruises or bandages for that matter.  Surgery has come a long way in the last couple of decades.  It was silly to be so worried, but alas, I am his mother, it's my job to worry so he doesn't have to.  Not yet anyway.  Picture day is this Friday, he may be a little bloodshot, but hopefully they can do a little magic so it's not so noticeable.  If not, oh well, it is what it is!

Many many thanks to the wonderful Day Surgery Unit at CHEO.  What a fantastic and reassuring experience.  The docs were amazing.  Dr. O'Connor the Opthalmologist and Dr. Splinter the Anaesthetist.  The nurse who prepped him (Stephanie) for the OR did an amazing job.  They had a book with pictures of what it would look like and she explained to him exactly how it would work.  He was nervous about getting onto the table, but once he was settled, he was fine.  When the surgery was done, Dr. O. came into the waiting room sat down and got right down to the nitty gritty:  The surgery went well, J did great, and he's now breathing on his own and sleeping it off.  Exactly the information I wanted to have immediately.  I breathed my huge sigh of relief and thanked the stars and heavens and whoever that my heart was safe.  We are fortunate to live in this city with such an amazing hospital for children.  CHEO treated my son like he was part of the team, each person greeted him by name and interacted with him even if only briefly.  They treated him like he was the most important thing, just as they should.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogs are toys

Okay I'm on the third iteration of my blog.  I would like to up the readership but have so far not been comfortable pursuing that because I'm not entirely happy with how it looks.  I am playing around with colour schemes and styles to figure out which one suits me best.  I don't have a lot of patience for it, I'm not that great at coordinating colours and deciding on contrast.  Oddly enough, my husband is really good at that, but it's not his blog and his style and my style are completely different.  He likes sharp lines, bold colours with high contrast.  I'm a little more subdued, but still want to keep it clean looking and not too busy.   

I think my impatience in part, has to do with the fact that I sincerely believe I am colour blind.  My family, well my mom and sisters, they insist that colours that I think are blue are actually purple, and vice versa.  Sometimes I also pair my black socks with blue ones, it's not until I'm actually out somewhere that I look down and notice "Shit!  My socks are two different colours!" 

Please let me know if you think my blog is ugly, especially you artsy-craftsy ones out there!  I swear to not take it personally.  Just want some honest, but please be gentle, feedback.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Eye of the storm

We are leaving in a few minutes to bring our bug for eye surgery @CHEO.  It's minor, I know it's minor, but your resident worrywart is of course worrying instead of sleeping.  I've been up since about 4 am.  His pre-op went well, they had no concerns at that point, this will be a routine eye correction that they do thousands of every year.  Today, however, I don't find that at all reassuring.  This is my baby.  I'm so glad hubby/daddy is coming with us and staying at least until he needs to be at work.  It's better to not be alone.  The other good thing is that my colleagues are a hop, skip, and a jump away.  I have access to my work friends who include therapists and social workers and best of all, other mothers; who better to get you through a crisis?  I know in my brain that my guy is in good hands.  I just hate that he's not in mine.   

Worrywart out.  Stay tuned for updates later in the day via Twitter/FB. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lunch lady

Now that my guy has started JK full time, I have discovered the joy of making lunches!  I never had to worry about lunch before, it was part of the cost of daycare I was paying.  Now I have the pleasure of trying to decide WTF to put in his lunch on a daily basis.  Dollarama, thankfully, had the best selection of lunch containers.  They are easy to open and fit a fair amount of food in them.  My son's school operates on a balanced day, so they have 2 "nutrition breaks", mostly referred to as Lunch 1 and Lunch 2.  I'm grateful that for the most part, my son likes to see the same things in his lunch, so far.  If at some point I have to become more creative, I may go crazy.  I find it hard to not be able to throw in the old staple, eats it every time, peanut butter sandwich.  He has asked me so many times for a peanut butter sandwich, but it's just not possible.  There is one child in his classroom with an allergy so his lunches really need to be nut-free.  I do not want to kill anyone.  

Here is my sample menu:

Lunch 1

1/2 tortilla & ham roll-up
handful of grapes or sliced apple

Lunch 2

1/2 tortilla & ham roll-up
handful carrot sticks & celery w. roasted red pepper dip

Snacks:  nut-free granola bar, apple sauce, rice crackers

Drinks:  juice box, bottle of water

Yesterday I baked my own oatmeal/choc.chip/apple muffins and today switched out one of the ham sandwiches. 

I hope he is happy with that, because I really want him to enjoy what I give him and not get bored.  I remember throwing out parts of my lunch, especially the boring old apple, and I really don't want my guy to get into that habit.  There has to be some balance to be struck between including things that are nutritious that are also things he likes to eat.  I'm hesitant to send hot lunches for him, not sure that at 4 he can handle hot food in a thermos.

I am surprised to find out that the school has a catering menu.  WHAT?  Catering for grade school lunches?  This is a concept I just don't understand.  If you can't take literally 8 minutes to put a lunch together for your kid, I mean, come on!!  The prices are outrageous!  And since when is there pizza day every Monday and hot dog day every Thursday?  Ridiculous!  Back in my grade school years (St. Luke's represent!), these were infrequent and meant to be "treats"!  You can't even just buy in for one day, you have to commit to every Monday or every Thursday for 4 months, or both and provide the money up front.  First of all, it's unhealthy, second of all I don't want to pay for weekly pizza or hot dogs.  We can have those things at home for a fraction of the cost, and then I get to have some too! 

The joys of having a child start school. 

And where the hell is the "communication book" I paid $5 for?!?


The Lunch Lady a.k.a. Mommy

Monday, September 5, 2011

New skool

So my guy starts school this week.  I'm a ball of anxiety.  I know he'll be okay, but I'm not sure if I'll be okay!  He's getting so big, so tall, so mature.  His vocabulary astounds me at times.  I know being a mom is about letting go a little every day, but I want to squish him tight and keep him close forever.  Is that so wrong?  I know I'm irrational, he's been in daycare since he was 1, but somehow, this is a whole lot scarier for me.  I'm not worried about him keeping up, I know he's an intelligent boy, I'm more worried about his short attention span and potentially getting lost in a big group.  He is not shy socially, but he has a hard time asking for help if he needs it.    I'm sure everything will be fine, I'm sure I'm worrying for nothing, but this is what I do.  I keep going over and over to make sure he has all the supplies that he needs, backpack, pencils, crayons, markers, pencil crayons (pre-sharpened!), lunch box, water bottle, glue sticks, indoor shoes, outdoor's a long list.  I hope I remember to send him with lunch and pack enough for that matter.  I wish I could go with him (even after the first day when I'm allowed to!), but that would be a bad idea, I know this.  Ok Ok, that's it, that's all I'm worried about...for now.

Goodbye bus pass!

Hellooooooo  new car!

It has been almost exactly nine months since the dreadful day I lost my license.  Now that I have it back, I am so glad life can get back to normal.  Sure, cars are expensive, but my freedom is priceless.  I wasn't being held in a cell for the past 9 months but I was always at the mercy of others in terms of getting around.  Whether it be the city bus, family members, or even my husband, it feels awesome to be able to get in my car and go whenever I feel like it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thanks, my friend

I got the most wonderful compliment from a wonderful friend today.  I just wanted to say thanks.  You know who you are, I am so glad you are in my circle. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

A national loss

You don't have to be partisan to mourn the loss of a good person.  Not everyone agreed with the NDP's political philosophy, but I think that we can all agree that Mr. Jack Layton had the countries best interests at heart.  I always felt that he cared about the people of Canada first and foremost and was an advocate for the working class, seniors, disabled, and children.  He worked for equality amongst Canadians no matter their religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, political view.  He has been present in our government for so many years, it is hard to picture it without him.  He has taken the NDP farther than anyone would have ever expected.  It wasn't really that long ago the NDP was not considered an official party due to lack of seats in the House of Commons. This last election proved that there is a significant shift towards the left happening in this country.  Whether that is good, bad or indifferent is not really for me to say.  I am only making observations.  Time will tell if it is truly because this country badly needs to change, or because Mr. Layton was a charismatic leader who could talk the talk.  In any case, we will see how things play out in the months and years to come.

In closing, I would like to just leave you with these thoughts.  Cancer is a terrible disease, I don't know anyone who has not felt it's crushing grip.  More and more people are surviving, many are still fighting, and unfortunately, too many still succumb to it's evil existence.  Please try to contribute in some way to the search for a cure. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Okay baseball fans, don't get too excited, I am not referring to the pitch that is thrown in to confuzzle the unwitting batter.  I am simply referring to a change of pace, a change of routine.  Today we threw in a trip to the local bowling alley.  It was our first time bringing our son, and probably our first time going since before we were even married!  That makes > 9 years.  And we had so much fun.  It amazes me how freaking smart my son is.  He walked down the steps into the rock 'n bowl area found our lane #30, picked up a bowling ball and pitched it down the lane!  And I really mean pitched.  He thought he should throw it like a baseball, except he couldn't quite manage the wind-up.  Kind of pushed it out from his shoulder.  You could hear the bang throughout the entire alley, and the music was cranked!  After a quick orientation to the between the legs throw, he was bowling like a champ.  He did a lot better than I expected.  He scored a 65 on his first game and a 69 (ahem) on the second.  Sometimes I score numbers like that, so it ain't half bad!  (my scores, FYI were 103 and 136!  i have never broken 100 before!)  He picked up really quickly that he got three tries and then it was my turn.  He even caught on, with no explanation, how to check the monitor to figure out how many points he scored and how many throws he had left and whose turn it was to play.  Word of advice:  don't order the hot dog from the snack counter.  Took 25 mins to make a stupid tube steak.  Could have butchered the animal and stuffed my own weiner in that amount of time.  Next time, we eat before we go and just get a slushie to enjoy while we play.  

Top the whole day off with some retail therapy, a nice change to our master bedroom, outfitted with new bedding, a little bit sexier, if you ask me, along with some sleek laptop tables (yes there is a slight element of geekiness to our room, it can't be helped, we encourage each other).  We also purchased some clothing in anticipation of our little guy starting school in a couple of weeks, he grows like a weed.  A very well fed weed. 

To end the day after all of that excitement, we cooked two fantastic meals one for today and one for tomorrow.  Tonight I will be dreaming of crock pot spaghetti sauce.  Heightens the anticipation for tomorrow's dinner.  Added bonus being that we won't have to cook again until at least Wednesday, maybe Thursday.  That's the bomb in my book.   

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflecting stress

It has been a busy week.  First one back from vacation always is.  The paperwork hit me hard while I was away, we most certainly fell behind, but I managed it and kept my head above the water...until Friday.  Friday I felt like I was drowning, like I couldn't accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish.  Trying to explain it to others is hard.  I can hold it together for most of the week, but I feel like towards the end, time is running out and I can't finish anything.  I spend my weekend trying to unwind, relax, enjoy my free time and family, but Monday is always looming there in the background.  Waiting.  Like a lion in the grass.  Just when you are starting to feel safe, it pounces and you're trapped by the work week, like paws and claws pressing on your chest.  Suffocating.  

Don't get me wrong, I love my job.  I am blessed to have one.  I am not considering a career change or anything, but this is what stress does to me.  It just gives me that feeling of foreboding, like a dark cloud interrupting the sunshine.  I recognize that I have a lot to be thankful for, but tonight I need to unload it.  Hopefully leave it here so that I can get it done, and do it well.

The work that I do, it comes with a price.  I can't tell you how many sad stories I have heard, my heart bleeds for each and every one, but at the end of the day, there are real people behind them who need for me to do what I do.  This is the first job that I have had where I really feel like I am able to make a difference.  I'm not minimizing my previous jobs, but this one is different.  I know that I am impacting lives, it's not always easy to tell people about wait lists and process, but I can encourage, suggest and support.  I have reminded countless people that they are not alone, that there is help out there, the wheels may turn slowly, but eventually they get there. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Comfort food

Apples and peanut butter.  Y-U-M.  Takes me straight back to my childhood, this was a snack that my mom made for us regularly.  It's quick and not too complicated which I think is important when you're trying to feed four hungry kids.  Slice up an apple and put a blob of PB on it and pop the whole thing in your mouth.  I prefer a sweet apple like a pink lady or royal gala, but it works with tart apples as well.  I think I have my son hooked on it now too.  Yesterday was the first time he would actually try it, usually he just eats the apple slices, but yesterday he asked to try it, and he liked it so much he asked for more!  He even hummed while he chewed which also reminds me of my childhood since 2 of my sibs used to do this and we thought it was so cute.  My guy is not an adventurous eater so I was thrilled that he initiated trying something a little bit new for him.  I knew he liked apples, and he definitely loves peanut butter (on sandwiches), but he's usually hesitant to mix foods together, he generally prefers to eat things on their own.  I'm hoping this is a new trend that he will continue.  Even if it's one new thing a week, I'll be ecstatic! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Perfect day

I'm not a complicated person.  In fact, I prefer for my life to be simple.  Yesterday, is what I would consider to be a perfect day.  I spent the whole day with my favourite boy in the world.  We got up at our usual time, ate our usual breakfast together at a ridiculously early time given that we are on holidays.  Apparently 4 year olds don't quite grasp the concept of "sleeping in".  I long to sleep past sunrise someday, but until then, I will enjoy the early AM's with my buggy.  We got daddy up, he is an impossibly deep sleeper, he just struggles to get to sleep.  Something to do with a mild computer addiction.  Nothing life threatening, and most days works to my advantage. 

We scored a drop-off at the library where we played a bit with their toys, read a couple of stories, and found a good book for me to read, always a bonus.  Holiday reading material, nothing to heavy, just a good enjoyable read to keep me entertained over the next few days.  We meandered over to the park nearby where my guy made eyes (yep, those beautiful blues)  at a young teenage girl who was quite happy to play for a while with him.  In fact, she was great with him, she chased him around the structure, pushed him on the swings, and spun him on the tire.  I think he was slightly scared, but she was quick to notice and slow him down.  When it was time for her to go, we decided to grab some lunch, I was hoping the caf at the Walter Baker would be open, but when it wasn't, we settled for snacks from the machine.  We feasted on Sun chips and cookies (Which I made a profit on, yay for disfunctional snack machines!  I put in my $2.00 for the $1.50 cookies, and the machine returned all of my $2.00 in quarters!  Yes, the little things excite me.), and then we went to the pool for free swim.  My guy loves to swim.  We had races in the pool, played with the ball, and practiced floating, blowing bubbles, and all that fun stuff.  We had the ball stolen (well not stolen, we put it aside and someone grabbed it, no malice intended) from us and he just said "It's ok Mommy, there are more balls in the bucket".  An elderly Chinese man stole his pool noodle (this was weird cause it was right beside us, I think he was a little senile) to make himself a "floatie", he had his own rope to tie 3 noodles together then he put them over his head and wriggled until it was around his waist like his own noodle ring.  And my guy just said "It's ok Mommy, I don't need it, I can touch the bottom and just hop."  When we were done in the pool we headed home on the bus, the walk from the bus stop to the house is longer than the actual ride, but he loves to go on the bus.  We ran into his caregiver, chatted for a moment and then ended the afternoon with a rousing THREE HOUR NAP!  

Busy days make a sleepy boy.  When daddy got home we ate burgers for dinner, and J chose leftover spaghetti & meatballs.  We had brownies for dessert and then the boys played video games and I read my book and fell asleep before they came upstairs.  I have no idea what time they came to bed at, and don't think I will ask.  It's probably best I don't know and it was my own fault anyway because I fell asleep. :)

This is what I call, a perfect day. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Parenting, just my take

I've tried to stay away from this topic.  I don't want to give unsolicited advice, but it seems like one of the hottest topics to blog about.  I am in no way an expert, just wanting to share my experiences and thoughts on the matter.

People seem to really struggle with child rearing, and they should!  It is the hardest job we will ever have as young/midlife adults!  We all (well not all, I mean there are some people who have children that I would not refer to as parents, but that's a whole other topic altogether) want the same thing for our children, to be healthy, happy and well adjusted. 

My whole perspective on parenting is that firstly, you need to have patience.  Example:  When the two year old is in the middle of a meltdown, make attempts to re-direct them, if that fails, ensure they are safe ie. not banging their head on hard surfaces, or kicking hard objects; and then wait it out.  The conversation comes after.  Simple, clear, using words you know they understand.  When the communication has broken down do that point, there is nothing to do but wait.  

Secondly, consistency.  Your child should know what to expect from you.  Every misbehaviour is an opportunity to remind them of the rules, ask them to repeat them, make sure they are looking at you, and prompt an apology.  Children are impulsive and WILL break the rules, that is a fact.  They will test them too.  Over time, it sinks in, even if at first they don't seem to "get it".  The key is to use language you are sure they understand.  Short sentences, too much information and they will not be able to remember what you have said.  Each time you discipline should look very much like the last.  Whether you pick time out, rewarding appropriate/ignoring inappropriate, it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that it's consistent.  I will say this.  Please don't hit your children, I truly believe in my heart it is not necessary.  There are other, more effective ways.  Every good behaviour is an opportunity to reinforce, tell them "good job!  good listening!  good manners!" to tell them how proud you are of them, to give them hugs and kisses that they so desperately need. 

The other thing that I don't see reinforced enough is that you have to develop relationships with your kids.  Play with them.  Talk to them.  Read to them.  Let them tell you stories, listen to what they are saying even if they stutter with excitement and can hardly get the words out coherently.  Involve them in everyday activities.  Help mommy and daddy cook, help with chores, carry the empty laundry basket, put your folded socks away.  The chores take a little longer but help them learn the routines of the house, and spend TIME with their parents.  I know that people are busy and want to get things done, but there is always time for bonding and we should use every opportunity. 

If you want to read parenting book after parenting book, fine, but many of the principles are the same.  Even if your child has physical or developmental delays, the same strategies can be used, it just may take a little longer or need a little tweaking.  Only the parent can figure out what works best with their child.  Some respond well to rewards, some respond better to what I call "losing privileges".  My son knows that if he does not listen well, he could lose his tv time, or bike time, or game time.  He is motivated by having access to those things.  Some days he loses none, other days he loses all of them, but we always start the day with a clean slate.  I don't take away our cuddle times before nap and bed.  These are essential to both him and me.  Special time is non-negotiable in my house.  When we wake up we hug, kiss, and say good morning, no matter what.  At bedtime we have a story, song, I love you's and say we'll race to the morning.   

There is also professional help out there.  Behaviour consultants can teach parents the specific strategies for behaviour modification and give in-home support to model the strategies.  There are some behaviours (ie. self-injury, extreme agression, eating inedible objects (Pica)) that parents may not be equipped to deal with.  If you need help, it's important to ask.  Start with the doctor, when it comes to young children they need to be aware of any developmental issue, and move forward from there.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh the anticipation

Holidays are approaching....  TGIFH!!

Work is crazy, 3 people to do 4 jobs, the work is stressful and we are definitely scrambling.  I can't wait to kick back for 2 weeks + 1 day and just not make too many plans.  Inevitably, I do make plans, but I am planning to have a couple of days of just nothing.  Interesting to note, the Busker Festival begins next week down on Sparks St.  Definitely something I am hoping to check out.  J really enjoyed the performance at Chicken/Rib Fest and I think it would something fun to check out, inexpensive, toss a few coins in a few hats and enough money for lunch at a hot dog cart!  The joys of downtown!  Maybe I will introduce him to the Beavertail as well, we never did make it to Winterlude...  Tourism at home can be a very fun and rewarding way to go!  We'll also hit up cottage country, swim, boat, fish, all the stuff we've always enjoyed doing in my family.  It will probably go by too quickly and I'll be back at work in a flash.  OK, I am trying NOT to depress myself!  (not working so well)  Hope to spend some time with some friends as well.  Lives are busy, rush rush, go go, and so I really want to make time to hang with my girlz. 

Happy happy summer everyone!  This past week has been a hot one, take care and stay cool! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Defend the defenseless

What the hell kind of idiot parents leave a one month old baby in the car while they go shopping at Home Depot?  In the middle of f$#@*&! summer.  The "I forgot" excuse (sort of like that elderly man and his dog a couple of weeks ago) is NOT APPLICABLE.  How do you forget you have a baby in the car?  How could you be so stupid to think leaving a baby in essentially an oven for almost an hour wouldn't be harmful?  Infants, young children and pets have no defenses against something like that.  It's criminal.  Even if it was an honest mistake (which I seriously doubt), that kind of mistake is fatal and I really hope something is done to protect this babe from further harm.  Reports like this are what make me look in on my son an extra time during the night, and squish him extra hard whenever I get the chance.  I value his life more than my own and would die before letting anything hurt him.  Please be vigilant and never leave your children unattended.  It only takes an instant for something devastating to happen, whether it be choking, drowning, or running out in front of a car, accidents, but devastating nonetheless.  Leaving a child in the hot car while shopping is criminally negligent. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Nope, I have not turned into a bird.  I have decided to give Twitter a go.  Very interesting, never boring, can totally see how it becomes addictive.  Only on for a few hours and already have 14 followers many of whom I don't even know!  We shall see how it goes, for now it's an experiment.  I was very leery of joining Twitter since it's inception, but the masses seem to go for it, may as well make an educated decision.  It surprises me how many people would just add me at the mere mention of one my good friends who happens to be well connected in the social media realm.  I will doubtfully acquire as many followers as her, but it's interesting how it all works and how more and more in this day and age, we are all connected.  BB's, i-media, and even just a lowly laptop like my own can connect the whole world to each other.  20 years ago we could not have predicted this phenomenon, well maybe the technical visionaries, but how many of those are there on this planet anyway? 

Monday, July 11, 2011


J: "Mommy, you look beautiful!"

Sniffsniff. I'm such a sap.  It's not everyday I get called beautiful.  It was unprompted, unsolicited, and means so much to hear that from my baby who I think is so beautiful, inside and out. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Water woes

Well, our basement sprung two leaks.  Around the window on the back side of the house and on the front side of the house from a cracked elbow on the downspout (we are happy this will be a relatively easy fix).  Tristan used the shop vac to suck out water from the fully saturated window well.  I am estimating that 220 L of water did NOT come into our house due to his quick thinking.  Looks like we are spending the better part of the weekend solving some drainage issues.  The deck in the back will come out because right now we can't even get at the window.  Last night we demo-ed the basement wall, removed all of the wet drywall and insulation and found out that the damage is not too bad.   The carpet was wet maybe a foot from the wall, we didn't lose any valuables, and no one got electrocuted from the soaked outlet nor did it start a fire (there was something plugged into it, but I was able to remove the plug without any mishaps!).  If anyone knows any reliable companies who do drainage please send me your recommendations!  We will have to start getting estimates to help us dig down to the weeping tile and hopefully help us prevent this from happening again!  It will be money well spent although it's going to hurt for sure!  While we're at it, we're thinking about putting in a patio rather than replace the know, go big or go home!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A tradition

Today marks the start of Chicken and Rib Fest on Sparks St.!  For the last few years we have been frequenting this super-yummy event!  A carnivore's dream restaurant!  It's one of my favourite traditions that we have started in our little family.  I don't spend a lot of time downtown, I don't work there and I've "been there done that" as a teenager.  Parking is a nightmare and I would rather stay home than try to take the bus from Barrhaven to downtown on the weekend.  I will most certainly make the trip for some good BBQ!  And Tristan likes to drive so, I'm all in!  So many grills to choose from, we generally go with the one with the shortest line, but they seem to have the serving down to a science.  Never takes too too long to get your grub.  Eating is messy, I ALWAYS get more on me than in me, and J seems to enjoy it as well.  One year he just ran up and down some stairs and was perfectly content.  Another year he got a huge kick out of a convertible they had on display, the nice guy running the prize draw let him sit in it and everything.  We tried really hard but couldn't keep him from touching the car and the guy had to keep wiping hand prints off of it.  He just smiled and tolerated our curious guy quite well!  So here's to summer and Chicken and Rib Fest!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Space monkey

"Mommy, do you know?  There are asteroids in space.  They're like big rocks.  And then they come down and turn into fire, and that's how you get meteor showers!"

He's his father's son.  He also on a regular basis, refers to the NASA postcard he got from Auntie Steph to "check on the rocket ship".    Yep, that's my boy.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Our anniversary is fast approaching. I have spent nine amazing years married to the most wonderful man. I fell for him all over again when he became a father and he was so gentle and capable with our baby.  There's nothing stronger than a man who can be so loving and protective of a helpless baby. 

Bit of trivia: Traditionally, the ninth anniversary is celebrated with pottery or willow, the flower of choice would be the poppy and the gemstone Lapis Lazuli, which is an amazingly beautiful Persian stone, a brilliant colour of blue.

On July 6, 2002 I married my high school sweetheart. It was a beautiful summer day.  The week before was hot and sticky, but the day of our wedding, it all just disappeared.  It took place at Strathmere House, the ceremony was outside, under the trees, it could not have been more perfect.  We were lucky to share the day with both of our families and many of our friends.  I remember in the evening, just before sunset we started seeing some smoke from forest fires that were happening just outside the city.  It had an eery kind of beauty to it, even though we knew it represented something awful.  The day went off without a hitch, due to in large part to the careful planning of the event by my wedding coordinators; my mother and sisters.  :)  The ceremony began with Canon in D, and ended with the music of trumpets.  It was on this day that he made the most important promise to me.  That he would be responsible for killing all the bugs (spiders!) for me.  We took many pictures, enough for a lifetime, but I remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday.  It isn't every day that your best friend (Bridesmaid) tells your sister (MOH) how she was sharing a room with the groom!  (haha, inside joke!)  And after it was all done we spent an hour pulling bobby pins out of my hair and then went straight to bed...for 4 hours before we had to get up to go to the airport!  We were leaving for Disney World the very next morning.  When we talked about honeymoon spots, the conversation didn't last very long, we both knew that we wanted to do Disney/Universal/MGM.  I think it's because we are both kids at heart.  Some day we will go back with our family, it will be our "Dream Vacation". 

I am blessed with a wonderful husband.  He's not perfect, but he's mine and I wouldn't change a thing about him.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Truth # 7

Someone who has made your life worth living.

The most beautiful blue-eyed boy I have ever known.  The day I first met him was the happiest I had ever felt in 28 years.  Since then every day has been a gift.  The icing on the cake if you don't mind me being a little bit cliché.  I have always questioned my religious beliefs but if there is a god, my son surely was sent to me by him.  He has a wonderful sense of humour, mild disposition, even temperament, and a bit of a stubborn streak (not sure he doesn't come by it honestly though...).  He is talkative, playful, and very cooperative.  He's also a negotiator, manipulator, and can be motivated with bribes!  I can count on one hand the number of real temper tantrums he's had.  I tell him everyday "I love you forever".  I asked him yesterday "What is love?"  He said "Love is something in your heart.  You have to check it everyday so it doesn't break."  I never knew that a 4 year old would teach me more than I will ever teach him.  Letters, numbers, concepts won't ever come close to the education he has given me. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Live life, no regrets

Make sure to hug your children and tell them you love them before parting ways. Live life without regret.  
It sure hits you close to home when you don't even live a mile from where a teenager died.
Losing a child, I don't even want to imagine.  My heart goes out to the family of Eric who died at Mother Theresa High School.  He was 18, his whole future was ahead of him and someone or something stepped in and cut it short.   His parents and family have to live without him for the rest of their lives which is nothing short of devastating. 
I have a hard time believing that building a barbeque in shop class is actually part of the school board curriculum.  There are so many other things that kids could be learning to build that would be so much more educational and valuable.  I hope they do a complete safety review of all shops in all schools following this very tragic accident.  Working with tools that spark around drums of contents under  pressure is just asking for trouble.  I only hope that the teacher had done everything in his power to encourage safety while working with these dangerous items.  
Hoping we can learn something from this tragic accident.  It won't bring him back, but hopefully we can prevent it from happening again. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whassup with that?

What is up with men and power tools? I have been to the local home improvement store more in the last week then I ever have. My FIL has his big saw stored in our garage for the moment, and now, since my husband has started using it for projects around the house, it's like he's now addicted to power tools. The newest purchase is an electric hedge trimmer. We don't even like the hedge! We wish it was gone! We were plotting it's death the moment we moved into the house! Now, he's lovingly trimming it with the newest power tool! I don't get it. I probably never will. Probably is something similar to me and books, or me and shoes, or me and clothes...hee hee, you get the idea. :) I love my husband. He is very useful around the house and his projects do turn out great. Sometimes they take a long time (can you say perfectionist?) but I am always pleased with the end result. I must quote him at the end of this blog "If the girls don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Changing my thought pattern

"You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than anyone else"  - Albert Einstein

I find it helps me change my thought process if I try to read some of the wise words of brilliant people.  I certainly am not brilliant so I try to draw from them to help me process my problems.  I don't want to perseverate on the issues that bother me.  I don't know why I need to spend my nights not sleeping, re-hashing the events that tick me off.  I can't change anything about what happened.  I can only determine what I choose to do about it, or how to respond.  Once I get into a cycle of thinking and re-thinking, I can't seem to stop.  Oh, and then I start to worry about it.  I'm like a walking ball of anxiety and really wish I could just let it go.  
What is my fatal flaw that prompted all of this thinking?  I am too trusting.  I take people at their word and believe that they will keep it.  I don't like to play games, I don't expect everyone to be my friend, only friendly.  How many times do you have to be trampled over before you learn your lesson?  I have not found the answer to that question as it relates to me yet.  6 million and counting or something like that.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

When will it end?

10 hours and counting.  Migraine relieved by nothing so far.  Tried sleeping, OTC acetominophen, ibuprophen, with no success and virtually no improvement.  I am photosensitive, auditory sensitive, so bad that even the traffic going by the house is aggravating.  wtf.  Please give me strength. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New deets


We are changing ISP's at the end of the month.  Please be advised that I will no longer be using my email account.  I can be reached at  There may be another address after that, but for the moment, please use my gmail account to contact me!

Tekksavvy is now available in Ottawa and that is who we are going with starting in June.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

For mothers

My most important job, the hardest job I have ever done, is to be a mother.  I work outside the home, and at the end of the day those huge blue eyes that look up at me from inside his beautiful blond head are all that I need to see to put a smile on my face.  Some of my days are rough, the work I do isn't easy, but I think I would feel worse not doing it and coming home to my baby makes me so happy and grateful for what I have in my life. 

I try every day to be a good mother.  I was raised by a great mother and I try every day to be that for my son.  I don't always give in, I don't always do the right thing, but I try to be consistent and loving, and fair.  I know he won't realize it until a long time from now, but someday, I hope he can look back and realize that I was the best mother I could be.  I certainly never appreciated my mother in that way until I had my own child.  I can't imagine what it would be like to have 4 the way that she did.  I'm busy enough with one!  I'm thankful that the one that I have is happy, healthy and a joy to be around.  (I'll try not to brag too much)

To all the mothers out there, have a fantastic day on Sunday.  To everyone else, make sure to spoil your mother a little bit.  She deserves it. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Deep thoughts at the bus stop (Rated R)

Alright, this morning I overheard one of the most hilarious conversations ever.  No sooner had I arrived at my designated bus stop when I realized there were two guys on the other side of the trees having a seriously deep conversation.  For my purposes I will name them Bobby and Jimmy.  They had very obviously been drinking all night or partaking in other forms of chemical enhancements. 

(Act 1, Scene  1)

Bobby: Hey look at all these fuckin' people heading off to work at 7 am!  And we're heading out to buy cigarettes man, we're fuckin' awesome!

Jimmy:  Fuckin' right dude!

Bobby:  (making noticeable relieved groaning noises)  Ahhhhh...awesome.  Look how huge it is, gotta go get me a woman tonight!

Jimmy:  Let's go man!  We need smokes.

(The guys head off down the street)

Bobby:  Oh shit!  That person just heard everything we fuckin' said man! least we were entertaining!

(End Scene 1)

Now just think....I never would had heard that if I had been heading to work in my car.  Hee hee! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Easter!

To all my friends and family,

May the Easter Bunny be kind and not bring too much chocolate, it keeps the kids up late. 

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Friday, April 1, 2011


I think the bumpy road is starting to even out.  Unbelievably, I baked yesterday.  The last time I baked was before Christmas, and largely due to the fact that my husband did most of the work and I assisted.  Yesterday it was all me.  I really enjoy baking, I like the measuring, mixing, precise in a way, and then working out the system to ensure I am using the oven and trays efficiently and not leaving the oven empty.  (My sister helped me work that one out, she is the absolute master of this particular recipe)  So getting back to the point, I actually spontaneously engaged in an activity that I enjoy immensely.  That hasn't happened in ages.  Lately I've been following along, accepting offers, but not really initiating any socialization or activity.  I also took a stab at reading, I haven't felt that compulsion to read lately, but thought I may as well go ahead and do it.  I have limited attention to it, but I have been able to get through a couple of books.  On the down side, I am also realizing that I'm still having difficulty with crowded, busy places, tight spaces, and bright lights like flourescents and sunlight.  I hope this is progress.  I hope I'm not just heading for another crash.  Crossing my fingers, toes, and just about anything else that can be crossed. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Truth #6

(scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

First I have to ask, what was the fight about?  Did she cheat with my husband?  Or did she tell me she was sick and couldn't go to the movies with me when she really just had other plans and didn't want to hurt my feelings?  Or gossip behind my back with someone and it got back to me somehow? 

Case A-cheating with my husband.  I likely would do nothing, not respond.  Some things are unforgiveable.  There are lines you do not cross as friends. 

Cases B&C-white lie/gossip.  No.Brainer.  At the hospital as quickly as my legs could get me there.  While mildly hurtful, not necessarily a reason to end a close friendship.  These issues can be tabled until the crisis is over.  Everyone does this, it's normal, a coping mechanism or a way of venting some frustration.  Not a betrayal of the Rules of Friendship.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They don't get it

It makes me crazy when people don't understand why money is a struggle for some people.  I am not poor, I have a good job, so does my husband, but at the end of the month there is not a lot of wiggle room.  We budget food, living expenses (ie. bills), fuel costs, car payment, child care.  As an example (but there have been other scenarios as well):  I have decided to sell my car to free up some money and the most common question I get is "Why?  You'll be able to drive eventually."  Yes, but that is not guaranteed, and I really don't want to pay for a car that's just sitting in my driveway doing nothing useful.  That money is better spent, for the moment, on living expenses or being put towards some FUN things to do as a family.  We could have a REAL summer holiday, or plan some activities that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do since really, money is often tight.  Recently at work, I won a prize draw for completing a survey (mgmt trying to get 100% participation, but I'm all for it!), people couldn't grasp why I was celebrating in my office.  I can't even remember the last movie I saw in the theatre.  If we wanted to go see a new movie at the theatre, it would cost more than our subscription to Netflix for....Ahhh, forget it.  I just hear myself bitching and I'm sick of myself already.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More smiles

Me:  Did we have a nice walk sweetie?

J:  Yes, I love walking with you Mommy.

Me:  I love walking with you too.

J:  And we were faster than a herd of turtles!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I was chatting with my friend a couple of weeks ago, and I told her about how I was feeling flat, emotionally.  That is still the case.  I tend to have high highs, low lows, and little in between.  I have been attributing it to the meds, but I'm not so sure that's actually the case.  I hope I am not hurting my family.  I'm happiest with my son, because I know that's what he needs from me, and crankiest with my husband, because I know that he is equipped to handle it (far better than my 3.5 year old anyway).  Is this what depression looks like?  I have a hard time with that word.  I never believed it would happen to me.  I thought I was strong, or something like that.  Not that depression makes you weak, that's not really what I'm trying to say.  I just thought that I would always be able to cope with what life handed me.  I don't know.  I just don't. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why he makes me smile

J: Mommy are you still sick?

Me: I'm starting to feel a bit better honey.

J: Can I see your medicine?

Me: (holds up pharmacy bag)

J: That's cool Mommy. Can you drive now?

Me: No, I still can't drive babe.

J: When can you drive?

Me: It will be a long time sweetie.

J: A long time?

Me: Yes, a long time.

J: Then who will drive me to Nanny's??


Me: I'm sure Nanny will come pick you up babe.

My heart nearly burst. I have decided to take comfort in the smallest pleasures. This was definitely one of them.