Monday, February 27, 2012

Facing a Fear

The instructor told us it was time to break for lunch.  He also mentioned what we'd already been wondering all morning.

"If the skies don't clear after two p.m. we won't be able to go up today."

The pit of my stomach wished that I wouldn't have to...that it could be postponed.  But my heart  and mind told me that today was the day.

As we ate lunch the skies cleared just as I both wanted and dreaded.

I wondered how it was that I could really want to do something so crazy yet feel utter terror to actually do it.

Because, I suppose, I have a little bit of the crazy in me.

As I got suited up, the video shows me all smiles but I could see the forced bravery behind it.  The dryness of the mouth starting.

I climbed into the teeny tiny Cessna...the usual plane they used was out of commission.

Should I have been worried?  

I pushed the thought out of my mind and knew it was time.

There was no option to turn back.

Not in my mind.

We were scrunched together in the small, hot plane.  Leg to leg, shoulder to shoulder.  It was too close for any kind of comfort in the most literal sense.  Then there was that damn video camera in my face the entire time recording every flicker of emotion that flew across my face, the nervous licking of my lips, every bit of moisture evaporating from my mouth as I watched the altitude climb higher and higher as we circled and flew up.

up, uP, UP.

Everything below became smaller...

                                                                  and smaller....

                                                                                             and smaller.

Until we were almost 10, 000 feet in the air and all I saw was a vastness of water the green and beige grids of farmers fields.

Holy Mothertucker - I'm freakin' TERRIFIED of heights...was I really going to JUMP OUT OF THIS PLANE?!

The answer to that was the door of the plane flying open.

 For reasons unexplainable in any rational way, my fear flew out that door.


Without hesitation out I climbed onto the wing beside my instructor, assuming position and waiting for the other instructor to climb out with me....even though it seemed there was barely any room for me let alone two grown men and me.

I was simply holding onto that wing like I would hold on to a hamburger, standing on one foot.

If I were to let go.  


I would go.

All I remember thinking was "Do not look down.  Do NOT look down. Look forward.  LOOK FORWARD!!!!"

Then.  It was time.  I was as ready as I would ever be.

I crouched down as I was taught to do, one knee bent, the other leg straight out behind me.

It was all up to me now.

I gave the nod to the men and I jumped.


There we went.

I was truly flying high in the sky.

There were no butterflies in my stomach as I had anticipated.  Just the force of wind all around me.

Vortex like.

I felt like a superhero for about 30 seconds.

It was the most phenomenal feeling I'd never felt before.

Until they pulled the cord and let go of me.

I watched the instructors become smaller and smaller - their parachutes were a lot smaller than mine for reasons that they needed to get to the ground quickly to guide me down via an earpiece.

I was now all on my own.

It felt like I was flung and jerked back up hundreds of feet when I realized my parachute didn't quite explode into what it should have so that I could safely float back down to earth.

No.  My parachute did not open immediately.

The lines to the chute were twisted and it was up to me to kick my way out to ensure I landed with my life still intact.  I immediately remembered what the instructor had told us to do in this situation.

Kick and twist your body.

Kick and twist your body.

Kick and twist I did.  Maniacally so.

The parachute opened.  Finally.

Glorious, vibrant and colourful.

I floated around up there in the big, huge sky overlooking the wide, beautiful scenery of the earth below...feeling at once so big and so very, very small.

Taking it all in.  It's been 10 years and what I looked upon that day is etched into my memory as clear as if it were yesterday.

It was incredibly peaceful with the occasional direction in my ear to pull 180 degrees left or right.

Until the voice directed me 'right' as I was coming near a large treed area.

Right?  That would take me directly into the trees.

Couldn't be right....but.....

I veered and swooped over those trees that I knew I shouldn't be heading toward.

I was scared.  This wasn't right.  

"Left, left!" the voice urgently called in my ear.

Yeah.  That's what I thought.

And then whoosh....thump.  Bump.

I landed safely.

On my bum.

And euphoria took over.

Another fear conquered.

Okay.  Not quite conquered.

But faced.

Isn't that the most important part of all?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Glory of my Boy

"Your steps are fast Mumma."

I hesitated.  Then took more leisurely steps.  To match my son's.

We were in no rush.  Finley was asleep, John was home with him.

I slowed and he took my hand in his.

And kissed it.

Yes.  He kissed my hand.  He does this often...such a romantic gesture for four year old boy.

He is a Mumma's boy.  There is no doubt about that.

We continued our walk to no where in particular and then I suggested we head down the road to get a donut.

I didn't say much after that, I didn't guide or force a conversation as I usually sometimes do.

I simply waited to see, to hear, what he would we strolled hand in hand.

"What a nice day."  he observes.

"It's a beautiful day...almost like spring."

We crossed our road and moved onto a busier one.

Stepping in mostly unison, the sun in our faces, I felt utter contentment arise within me.

So rare these moments alone with my children once my second son was born.  Yet, so, so very important to all of us.

"Look at that river!" he exclaims pointing at the creek down a small, steep hill that flowed parallel to the sidewalk we walked along.

"Yes, that's more of a creek because it's so small.  Do you think anything lives in there?" I asked.

"Ducks. frogs.  What are they called again?  Tadfoils?"

I stopped walking and crouched down beside him, one knee on the ground, "What did you say baby frogs are called honey?" I wasn't sure I had heard him correctly but it sounded so darn adorable.

He looked doubtful, but encouraged by my smile he replied, "Tad...foils?"

"Very close bud.  Tadpoles.  That's great that you know that!"

We continued and again he placed his hand in mine.

"Mmmm...that smells good." we were coming up to the McDonald's and the scent of oil coated french fries wafted from the building and across the street towards us.

"It does smell good."

We arrived at the gas station slash convenience store slash Tim Horton's.

"What donut are you going to get?" I asked him just as we approached the door.

"I'm not sure...I'll see when we get inside."  Such precociousness.

We sat beside each other on the high stools at the even higher table.  He asked me to split his donut it in half.

So we could share it.  Do you see why I think this child is so awesome now? He shares his food...sharing food - especially deliciousness like donuts does not come easily to me so I always think it's astounding when he wants to share his favourite decadence with me.

He munched on his vanilla sprinkle donut.  I watched him, feeling as though my heart might pop out of my chest.  He had a bright pink sprinkle on his lower lip.  He licked it off and then said the words that were right the forefront of my mind....on the tip of my tongue.

Except they came from his mouth.

"I love spending time just the two of us."

Oh those words.  I will never tire of hearing those words....and I know the day will come too soon for me when they won't be spoken again...with that sweet voice.

"Me too baby. So much."

On the way home we jumped over tree shadows, I showed him how to balance on a line with arms out to the side, like an airplane.  He was a natural. I piggybacked him and swooped him into my arms like a baby.  We ran, we walked, - always with his hand in mine.

Closer to home we laid down on an electrical box and watched the clouds.

"I see a pig and a pterodactyl...your turn"

Your turn.  Love that.

"I see a hippo - it looks like it's roaring!  See it's teeth?"

"Yeah!  The pig looks like it's eating a whale."  It did!  

There were fishes, faces and sea horses.

And there was us.  Just the two of us.

Full of imagination...looking up at the blue sky full of wonderful creatures.

It was a glorious afternoon.

You can't buy moments like these. it might cost you a dollar for donut.  But, my oh my, it's worth every single penny.

My and my cool kid. 
He just looked so scrumptious eating his scrumptious donut
I had to take his picture...unbeknownst to him. 
Cheese and Sprinkles!

There's the hippo!  Okay, so he's an earless hippo but do you see it too??

On the green box that promises not to explode as long
as it's not broken into.

Yes.  Glori-ori-ous indeed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Whilst picking up dog crap, I had a conversation...

I was cleaning up lovely piles of brown in our back yard so that the unfortunate incident of poo meeting shoe would not occur while Adrian ran off his always overabundance of energy.

I silently cursed my husband at this seemingly endless, disgusting task at hand.  What happened to the unspoken agreement that he does all the yard work and laundry and I do the rest?  I'm pretty sure cleaning up dog crap falls under yard work.

My eldest was swinging Superman style on the swing and randomly calls out to me as I'm bending over for the 50th time, my back to him, "Mumma, what does "my ass" mean?"

Since I was turned away from him and MY ASS was up in the air, I wasn't sure I heard him correctly.  What exactly was he referring to?

Who taught him such words??!

I stood up, turned around and walked closer to him.

"What does 'your ass' mean?" I asked him.  I wanted to make sure I heard him correctly...

"No.  'My ass'.  You that song the girl says, 'You'll be kissing my ass.'"

I stifled a massive bubble of laughter.  

On the way back from the gym that morning the song "Let's Get this Party Started" by Pink came on.  I usually play my Adele cd but it had ended and Pink's Greatest Hits CD was next.  

I certainly don't make a habit of playing songs like "F*&^$^ Perfect" while my kids are in the car with me.  And though I realized a short time ago that I should probably start censoring what I'm listening to when my son started singing the lyrics, "Give it to me baby like boom, boom, boom"  from a song sang by Rihanna, a song or two gets by me here and there.

However, I should know by now that very little gets past kids.

It was time to answer the question.

"Ass is another word for your bum.  And it's not a nice word to use so let's not say it again okay, bud?"  I could have told him it was another word for 'donkey' as we all know.  However, I had already foreseen the future of how that would go down at the local petting zoo...

"Hey Mumma - look at that cute ASS!!!" with a dozen or more parents witnessing my son running over to the donkey and giving it a big smooch.

I also could have told him both meanings of the word but he's only four and more to it...he's a boy so the focus isn't always there for conversations longer than one sentence. Two max. <I certainly don't mean that in a derogatory way, believe me, if you have boys under age 5, you outta know.>

Besides that, the definition of an ass is donkey and bum?  That's even confusing for me.

Luckily he didn't question the literal point of the sentence...he was already off climbing the ladder and the slide, onto the next thing.

And though I was doing a most disgusting and thankless job I was thankful that that was the end of that conversation.

Until next time.

Because...there is always a next time.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To Run or Not to Run...that is the question.

I'm currently reading the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.  It's a fantastic book and while I'm not one to tout self-help books or therapy (I'm not against these things, I'm just not into them) it's quite inspiring.

I'm also planning on running a 10k race in April.  Now. Don't get me wrong. I am no runner.  I go for runs.  And it's pretty much horribly painful the whole step of the way.  I'm a LOT concerned that I've only run 8k at the most so far.  One time.  I run 5k on the treadmill regularly.  And regularly I feel like I'm going a little bit more crazy every kilometre I run.  It's so BORING.  Not even listening to David Guetta or picturing my boys shiny happy faces cheering me on at the finish line can help me most days.  Though sometimes listening to "Sexy and I know it" helps when I picture myself clubbin' it and singing with my arms up in the air along with LMFAO.

"Girl look at that body...girl look at that body....girl look at that body...

....I work ooouuut" - aren't the lyrics brilliant?

I know you're probably looking at your computer wondering what does the book have to do with my running....or as my husband says "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?"

In "The Happiness Project" Gretchen vows to "Be Gretchen" - meaning doing things she enjoys and is interested in, not what she thinks she should be enjoying and interested in because it seems everyone else is.

I've always thought I was all about "Being January".  I'm not phony in any sense of the word - that takes way too much energy - and I'm a terrible liar too.  I can barely tell a white lie to my kids.  I have a hard enough time telling them that there's no such thing as ghosts.  Because I actually believe there ARE such things as ghosts. And while I will put up the facade of Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, when the time comes that my kids start to question it, I will tell them the truth and hope it doesn't destroy their souls.

Alright.  So. Back to the whole point of this post.

Why am I going to run 10k when it's pretty clear I'm not a fan of running. Why not just 'Be January', face the facts and forfeit the entire run altogether?

The same reason I jumped out of an airplane at ten thousand feet when I'm terrified of heights, wanted a natural childbirth when everyone told me that I was insane and did the 24 hour famine when I love food almost as much as my kids - and my husband. (I have to get something off my chest.  I didn't survive the famine.  I stole a cookie from the kitchen at the 18 hour mark.  I know I will be getting a very stern lecture from the big man upstairs when the time comes in the - hopefully - far away future.  If he even accepts me through the pearly whites that is.)

I do all of these things just to see if I can do them.  That's my reason.

But now this book has got me thinking.  Why am I putting myself through the torture of running when it really doesn't make me happy?  Sure, I love the feeling of it when it's OVER.  But during the running itself?  Not so happy you guys.  Not so happy.

What is motivation is the fact that I put it on my 2012 Bucket List.  It's held me accountable and it will make me crazy if I don't do these things.  I've already been on a date with my husband AND made samosas from scratch.  I can check two off my list now!  The date with my husband was thoroughly enjoyable of-course...the samosa making, not so much.  Though eating them most definitely was.

And now I've just realized something....

The thing about doing activities outside your comfort zone once in a while is that you find things out about yourself that you wouldn't ordinarily know.  For example even though it took me 24 hours to make 24 samosas..I found out I make a better samosa than my Indian neighbours. (their words, not mine).

In any case.  This body will be doing a 10K whether it wants to or not.  But the likelihood of me doing another after this is pretty much slim to none.

Though I might consider doing a decathlon.

I'm pretty good at riding a bike.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lay down your sweet head

It was one of those days.

Starting with whining in the morning, a major fall down drag out tantrum in the public library (my four year old...not my 'terrible 2 year old' who's yet to have a tantrum to date).

The dinnertime was all of a sudden upon me and though I had had full intentions of a delicious meal planned and even had the forethought to take out chicken from the freezer that morning - the day had gotten the better of me and I laid down completely exhausted in our family room amongst piles of dinky cars, scattered puzzle pieces, couch cushions and blankets piled haphazardly from a fort that Adrian and I had built but which Finley decided to tear down minutes later.

A righteous battle had ensued.

And I had not a bit of energy to mediate.

My husband eventually came down from working all day and ordered me (kindly) to get out, go upstairs, take a break from getting annoyed at my boys relentless need to push my every already worn out buttons.

And as much as I wanted to sprint from the house and not look back I was just too tired.

A half hour passed and I sat in bed, laptop in front of me ... half-heartedly reading blogs with one ear open knowing that the peace wouldn't last long.

I could hear my husband making dinner for the boys - he had even brought me a grilled cheese to eat in bed.

And he was silently forgiven for me having to clean up 20 lbs of dog crap scattered in the back yard earlier that week.


Up came Adrian.

Up came Finley.

So I decided to make the most out of the situation have some fun on Photobooth....

And then it was time for bed.

After I read a few books to them it was time to put Finley in his crib and then I laid down with Adrian.  

He was restless.  Kicking his legs about, squirming, sitting up, laying down.

"Do you want me to sing a song to you?"

And it hit me...when was the last time I sang to my sons?  I used to sing to them every night.  

Every night.

When did I stop?

Why did I stop?

I started with Magalena Hagalena....a song my Mum used to sing to my brother and me all the time.  A silly, fun song.  I could see his smile in the street lamp light that peeked around his blinds as I sang.

"Do you want me to sing you another song?"

"What is it?"

I sang him Janis Joplin's, Mercedes Benz.  Another one that my Mum sang us as children.  And she sings it way better than I do.  But despite my raspy, cracking voice, he became quiet.  Still.

I sang him two more songs - favourites that I used to sing to him all the time.  The Kookaburra Song and Robin in the Rain.  He sang a few lines along with me in his sweet little boy voice.

He remembered.

I ended with Away in A Manger. The one I always used to put him to bed with since he was a newborn swaddled in my arms - another song that brings me back to my childhood...he yawned as I sang softly and out of key.  His body relaxed and his eyes closed.

"Bless all the dear children in thy tender care"...that line always gets to me.

And so I always say a silent prayer for all the dear children who don't have parents that cuddle and love, cherish and sing to their sweet blessings at night. Or ever.

At that moment I made a promise to myself.

I needed to start singing to my sons again at bedtime...not just for them.

But for me too.

It's Tuesday again...and time for linking up to Yeah Write.  SO much fun and SO many great writers and bloggers. Go on over, have a visit, read come great blogs over a cup of coffee or tea then return on Thursday to vote for me and 2 other favourites.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of Love, Marriage and Family - A Poem

I found a card a few months ago that I had given to my husband for our 7 year anniversary of togetherness (up to and including our marriage - I abhor having to start 'all over again' just because we married - pft!) anyway...the card is so simple yet so perfectly describes a relationship, a

On the outside it says:

(please excuse the horrible quality of my phone picture)

when you open it up it says:

(I added that little heart - I like to do cheesy things like that)

So, today, in honour of Valentine's Day I wrote a poem for my husband...I don't fancy myself a poet but when the mood strikes I go for it.

I'm crazy like that.

To the love of my life;

nearly twelve years have come and gone

a year for every rose to be given to thee valentine


I don't wish for flowers

but you already know that

twelve years of give and take

often longing for 50-50

learning, faltering, careening, oftentimes wallowing...

that an even parallel doesn't work one hundred percent of the time

a dozen years of a lot of love

and a little bit of hate.

because if you've ever truly been in love

you don't get to have one...without the other

for if only love were that simple

dissolution of the ties that bind would be rare

twelve years

of a lot of laughs

and tears shed

moving through the days filled with duty

weeks after months of responsibility

years of opposite work schedules

passing each other in the late afternoons

my hello to your good-bye

though never without a kiss

no.  never without a kiss

evenings of cribbage filled with mighty competition and a couple of bottles of wine

of music, great conversation, cooking dinner together


lying curled into one another

your hand on my belly

our fingers entwined



this is what we do

7 years ago almost to the day

we sat across from each other in our tiny old apartment

where you laid out the rocks we collected together

from all of our beach walks

unbeknownst to kept them all those years

I love that we still have them

you asked me to be your wife that night

then put a beautiful one on my finger

it was perfect

designed for me only

6 years ago we vowed forever

5 years ago our love became a tiny not yet tangible one blooming inside of me

4 years ago he was born

filled with spirit, curiosity and very loud lungs

he is pure love

3 years ago I began to blossom


with our second child

2 years ago our second son was born

brimming with soul, sensitivity and a mischevious glint is his baby blues

he is pure love

doubling the love in our family

doubling our devotion to each other

we were in deep

life became all encompassing

our nights punctuated with baby cries

diaper changes

feedings and teething

stumbling our way forth

blindly, tiredly



we fell to our knees at times

on the sharp edge of a barrage of


how, when, will you, can we

do this?

but we never fell off

life is an ever changing kaleidoscope of emotions

and there will be more

I know this

for that

is marriage.



is love.

I want to thank you for giving all that you have

for being all that you are

for living this life always by my side

12 years have passed and now my life is complete

I am proud

Of Us

My Family  

Our Life


I'm blessed today

and everyday

to be surrounded by my boys

my loves, my heart, my all

two, for a time too short

until they find another

one, for forever and a day

but today I have all of you

here and now

to myself

My three




Me and my tiny Valentine's.

My Main Valentine.
Life is an adventure with you my dear husband.
You can take me dune buggy riding any day.

I am taking the plunge again over at Yeah Write.  Please go on over and read some awesome blogs.  You can return again on Thursday and vote for me and 2 more of your favourites.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Part Trois in a Series of Uncraftery - Valentine's Craftery by an Uncrafty Mutha

It's time to get your Love Day craft on my cupids. I actually believe the more I force myself (and my children) to do crafts that I've actually gotten quite crafty!  (as long as there's no sewing involved that is)

I have two Valentine's Day crafts to share with you.

The first one is very easy and for all ages:

You will need:

1 piece of construction paper - you can let your child pick out the colour if you're not weirdly controlling (btw - I see nothing wrong with being weirdly controlling)
red and white paint

Fold the construction paper in half and cut half a heart shape.

Open it up and marvel at your beautiful heart.  Then let your child paint on one side of the heart....or if they refuse to do that like mine did, just give up and go along with it anyway.  It'll still turn out.

Fold the heart in half again, along the crease you made when you cut out the shape and then open it back up.

See the cool pattern?  My 4 year old said it looked like a butterfly inside a heart...and it does.

I taped them to the back splash in our kitchen.  'Cause who doesn't love a
view of colourful hearts while they're cooking?

The second craft is a bit more detailed and for kids ages 4 and up.  It's a card. I'm stretching my creative vision here you guys.  I actually made this one up myself.  There was no googling involved here.

You will need:

1 piece of construction paper
1 photo of the child with the person they're giving the valentine to
old magazines
scissors (here's where you can become not-so-weirdly controlling and cut the pictures out yourself if you're so inclined)
black marker
foam letters (optional)

Have your child pick out the colour of construction paper (fold it in half like a card)

Glue the picture on the front of the card and with the foam letters or you or your child's writing write a Valentine's type message along the top, above the picture.

We used foam letters that said 'Be Mine'.

Adrian was all of 8 months here...this card is for his Daddy.  Obviously.
We also put those stick jewel things on them too for more colour and pizzazz.
Who doesn't love a little pizzazz?

Ask your child what his favourite things are about the person he's giving his valentine's day card to.

In our case it is:

This is SUPPOSED to say What DOES Adrian love about Daddy best...
but doing crafts with 2 crazy kids makes your brain do funny things.  

Adrian loves the following things about John:

"That he loves me"
"That he hugs me"
"That he plays trains with me"


Go through the magazines with your kids and have them pick out pictures that remind them of the person they're giving the card to.

Ours has a cup of coffee, a snowman, a dog with shoes (Adrian picked that one not because we have a dog but because the dog was wearing shoes...and he looked funny), there's a piece of marble cheese and a couple in bed (that actually look quite annoyed with each other but you can't tell looking here) and a picture of a beautiful young red headed model.  Apparently my son is aware my husband has a thing for redheads...or perhaps he's inherited the same attraction.

There you are!

Have fun doing the crafts with your kiddos and enjoy your love day with each other!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

And the Awards GO TO.....!

I would like to start off by apologizing to Shannon from the very sweet and incredibly inspiring blog, My New Favorite Day.  She gave me The Versatile Blogger award ONE MONTH ago and I'm just paying it forward now.

Shame.On.Me.  (SO sorry Shannon!)

I also received a 7x7 Link award from the always interesting and introspective Daphne over at my distant husband.

If you've never checked their blogs out before now...go!  They are both wonderful woman going through very different experiences in life and they share those experiences beautifully.

Thank you to the lovely ladies for thinking of me!!!

Since I've never received a 7x7 link award before (excuse me while I brag that this is my SECOND Versatile Blogger award in a year bringing my award tally up to FOUR!...please note that I'm entirely joking about the bragging part) I'm going to go with the 7x7 rules today starting off with 7 things about me:

1.  I have two different coloured eyes.

2.  I love turquoise.  The colour and the stone.


4.  I believe one can never have too many blankets or socks.

5.  I don't like receiving flowers or plants of any kind.  They're pretty and all but it's just one more thing that requires me to take care of it.  Far too much pressure if you ask me.

6.  I have a dream of owning my own cafe one day.

7.  I secretly would love to be pregnant again.  (okay so it's not so secret anymore...and I can see my husband is having serious heart palpitations right now as he's reading this - sorry honey)

7 blog posts (that I've written) that fall into the following categories:

Most Beautiful: A Rare Moment

~ Most Helpful: Let the Guilt go and be freeeee

~ Most Popular - My Mother's Day Wishes

~ Most Controversial:  This sweet little blog of mine doesn't have a whole lotta controversy but if I have to pick it would be, Drawing the Line

~ Most Surprisingly Successful: To My 18 Year Old Self

~ Most Underrated: Out Damn'd Soother

~ Most Prideworthy:  Where I'm From   

7 Bloggers I want to nominate:

* Ado at The Momalog: she's one of the first bloggers I 'met' and hit it off with.  I simply can't say enough great things about Ado.  She's a fabulous writer and will draw in you

* Mary Lauren at My 3 Little Birds:  ML's writing is wonderfully reflective...I love each and every piece she writes.

* Dwija at House Unseen: Dwija (aka Dweej) has the MOST upbeat personality that I know through blogging.  Despite all of her families life challenges she's still full of positivity and loads of humour.

* Leslie at The Mommy Therapy:  Leslie's just plain honest and hilarious.

* Robin at Not Ever Still:   Her writing is nothing short of gorgeous poetry.  It quite literally takes me away.

* Dana at 18 years to Life:  Dana is so sweet.  Her writing is like talking to a best friend.  Easy, funny and honest.

* Galit at These Litte Waves: Galit knows it's all about the little, everyday moments that make life as a Mother so beautiful.  Her writing shares those moments intimately and perfectly.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Dog Story. A Family Story.

Sweet Riley.
As I waited for the vet to return with my sweet golden, numerous thoughts ran frenetically through my mind.

Cancer of the brain?

That tic I found a few months ago...did that do something horrible to her?  We should've brought her in immediately after we found it.

We should have.

Why. Why?  Why didn't we?  

I should have brought her in last week when it started.  The drooling.  The not eating.  The depression that seemed to have deepened since.




The should have's.  The why's.

What, what, what???  Could be going on with my 7 year old pup?

The vet finally entered the room and Riley came right over and propped her chin on my knee waiting for a pat.

A familiar gesture that made me want to weep.

"She seems to have facial paralysis."

I swallowed and blinked backed my tears that wanted so desperately to fall.

Blink.blink.  Blink.blink.

I absentmindedly stroked my pup's soft, golden head, the thick drool from her mouth seeping through my jeans.  My annoyance at this drooling for the past few days quickly dissipating.  Seeming so petty.  She's my girl, the only other female I have in my household and yes, she is a dog.  But. She is part of our family.  She was good 'practice' for us before we had our boys, though nothing compares to the world of newborns we had to train her, taking her outside throughout the night to ensure no accidents, sleepless nights when she got sick.  The one time when she was hit by a car was absolutely devastating.  But she made it.  She survived it.

She's been so good to us.  So wonderful with our children.

If she could survive getting hit by a car.  Surely...surely she would get through this.

I needed her to make it through again.


Hard swallow.

"What does that mean...exactly?"  My voice sounded thick.  Shaky.

"We're not sure.  I've never seen a case like this before.  It could be her thyroid but looking at her weight and profile that's unlikely.  It could be idiopathic...which means there is no reason for it.  If it doesn't clear up within a week, her facial normalcy returning is unlikely."

It had been almost a week already.  And it wasn't getting better.  It was getting worse.

It could spread.  It may not.  It could still go away.  It may not.

I blindly paid for the way too expensive eye drops because she couldn't even blink normally and made my way to the truck.  I helped her into the back of the vehicle, kissing the top of her head a few times.  Then a few times more, scratching the back of her ears, massaging her neck.

Talking softly to her, reassuring her she would be okay.

She would be okay.

She had to.  

This is what I kept telling myself in contrast to all the dark, horrible images of her leaving us.  Too soon.  Far too soon.

I sat in the parking lot.  In the truck.  My hands on the steering wheel.

I saw nothing but a blur.

And then the tears flowed freely.  Soaking the front of my jacket.  I could no longer hold in my sobs.

This cannot be happening.  

I cried all the way home.

And then I cried some more, recalling all the times I got mad at her for destroying the kid's toys.  Yelling at her for being a nuisance.  Making her stay outside because it was easier than dealing with her rambunctious nature with the boys.

Then the memories came.

The first time I saw her as a wee puppy, eyes barely open, stumbling around.  Love at first site.

The first time I held her.  She really was my first baby.  Our fur baby.

I was the one that spent the time teaching her tricks.  The fun stuff.  How to speak, shake a paw, sit pretty.  She never did get fetching. Or roll over.

Our first walks together when the only way I could get her to walk on a leash was to run beside her.

The winter walks as she romped and rolled in the snow.  Winter is her favourite season by far.

How protective she was of Adrian as a baby.  She'd sleep curled up beside him as he napped in the car seat, the pac 'n play.  At my feet as he slept in my arms.  Keeping my toes oh so toasty.

The first weeks of sleepless nights when Aidy was a newborn.  Walking into our bedroom as I nursed him in the early hours of the morning, looking just as tired as we did.  John and I laughing at how tired she looked.

Yes, dogs can look tired.

Watching her swim.  Just for the sake of swimming, no sticks to catch, no ball to chase after.

Chasing ducks on the beach.  Bunnies in our backyard.  Though never would she purposefully harm another animal.  Truly.  She wouldn't know how.

The sweetest dog that ever was.  The sweetest by miles.

Everyone says when you have your first child, your dog, that was your whole world once upon a time, becomes just that.  A dog.

And while this, no doubt, is true, she is still an integral part of our family.

A huge part of our family memories that will go down in time.

And so there I went dealing with the sickness of my dog.  Our family pet.

Giving her eye drops as often as I remembered which wasn't often as it should have been.  Massaging her face and her eyes, dealing with the grossness of the drooling that streaked our floors, a daily ritual of cleaning  it up off of her, the walls, the furniture and the floors. My 4 year old constantly telling me that her mouth needed to be wiped.  Finley pointing out "mess".  The matted fur on her chest from all the saliva.

She smelled.  Bad.

She needed desperately to be groomed.  But what was the point?  The drool from from her slackened jaw would continue....

And then, miraculously, a few weeks ago...slowly, bit by bit the drooling stopped.  She started to blink.  Her eyes seemed brighter.

She had the skip to her hop back.

Just. Like. That.

We have no idea what could have happened to her.  Animal Bell's Palsy?  Not sure.  Possible. I try not to think about it and just hope it never comes back.

But she is back.  Riley Girl is back.  She's aged a few years in the past couple of months.  It took a toll.  I've no doubt she was seriously depressed, wondering why her body had betrayed so.

She's been groomed.  She's feeling good.  Better than she has in a while.  She's happy.

And we've never been happier.

Our whole family is still intact.

Adrian's guardian.
 She was so protective of him....still is.
 Truly bonded

****I highly recommend visiting all the wonderful writers at Yeah Write who've poured their thoughts, feelings and love out into their piece.  Return to Yeah Write on Thursday and you can vote for three of your faves. Or just vote for me.  ;) ****

11 Questions from Ado

Oh hello again!  I'm doing something different and interesting today.  My dear friend Ado over at The Momalog has some questions for me.  I love questions because then I can pretend I'm kind of a big deal and talk about myself.

Read on if you'd like to know EVEN more about moi...

1.  If you met your favorite movie star and could say whatever you wanted to him or her in 140 characters or less, what would it be? (and who is the movie star?)

My favourite movie star is Meryl Streep.  I love her...she's down to earth and she's brilliant at her craft.  If I met her I'd probably just be annoying and gush over and over again how brilliant I think she is.  And how much I love her.  It would probably go something like this, "OH MY GOSH.  I love you!!!!  I think you're brilliant. I've never cried harder than when I saw Bridges of Madison County. Will you adopt me?" (nothing against my Mum - I love her to pieces of-course but if I could choose who my mother would be other than my own, it would be Meryl Streep.)

2.  What's your dream?

Owning my own cafe or bistro with my husband. It would be small yet full of character.  Bright and and full of whimsy.  Lots of turquoise decor with splashes of yellow and red. To spend my day making delectable creations with food would make me incredibly happy.  My husband would manage it and be the 'personality' of the place because he has lots and is amazing with people.  People would flock from all over to try my veggie burritos and samosas.

I believe this will happen someday.  I really do.

3. Ever had a scary parenting moment?

As a matter of fact I had my first one not too long ago.  My 4 year old son went missing for what seemed like an hour which in actuality was more like 2 minutes.  The longest two minutes of my life.

4.  Something besides your children that you are proud of.

I'm proud of my marriage.  We truly do have each other's backs.

5.  What's your favorite book?  Why?

So, I'm not one of those people that can read Emily Bronte or Edgar Allen Poe.  I'm no brainiac that can even begin to want to try.  I could barely get through 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand or 'Women in Love' by D.H. Lawrence.  Actually, I never did finish either of those books and it bugs me to this day.

To pick just ONE book that's my favourite is next to impossible.  But I do have two novels that come to mind immediately.  'The Book of Negroes' by Lawrence Hill (who's Canadian btw!) and 'The Shell Seekers' by Rosamunde Pilcher.  Both have very strong female main characters.  These women have stayed with me since I devoured the books.  And I do mean devoured.  I couldn't put either of them down.

I also just finished one of the best books that I've read in a very long time.  It's called The Lunatic Parlour.  I read it in less than two days. I basically read it while cooking, disciplining my children and eating. It's a haunting yet humorous, intense and beautifully written novel by none other than my lovely friend, Adrienne. (who happens to be the person asking me these fun questions and also happens to have one of the best names EVER).

6. What's in your fridge?

A layered nacho dip that I made for Superbowl Sunday that didn't get eaten, apples, lemons, blueberries, strawberries, brocolli, green beans, green onions, peppers, avocados, milk, mango juice, pineapple juice, white wine, lots of different kinds of cheese, hummus, beer, ... can you tell I just went grocery shopping? (I'd show you a picture but embarrassed by the state of it)

7. Do you make your bed everyday?  Do you make your kids make theirs?  Why/why not?

I TRY to make my bed everyday.  I used to religiously.  Then I had kids and they mess it up anyway so I don't see the point.  I usually quickly make it up before I crawl into bed at night because I hate going to bed with untucked, messy, crumpled up sheets.  Adrian attempts to make his bed once in a while but he just turned 4 so it's a work in progress.  Fin's still in a crib (and he will remain in it until he figures out how to climb out of it) so all he has are about 4 different blankets piled in heaps.  So, no, I don't make him make his bed.

8.  What's your kid's best riddle or joke?

Okay so I just asked Adrian if he could tell me a joke and here it is;

"Knock, knock"

Who's there?

"Ironman's at the door!"

Can you tell he made that up?  Did I mention he just turned four?

(Note to self - must work on teaching my child jokes and riddles)

9. Epidural or au naturel?

With Adrian I wanted a natural childbirth.  However as I was up for over 24 hours before I could start pushing and a whole lot of other awful variables that occurred I ended up with an epidural. Now, that being said, the epidural was done, finished, out, kaput, empty by the time I pushed him out of my body and therefore I felt every little bit of him leave my birth canal....sooooo.  I'm not sure how to answer that.  As for Finley - because I knew how f*&^%$g painful it was I was all hell's yeah! to the 'happidural' as the nurses perfectly referred to it.

10. Ask your children what they like about you and what bugs them about you and write it verbatim here.

I asked Finley what he liked about me and he blew a raspberry in my face.  Not sure what that means.  And then I asked him what annoys him about me and he just said, "Ummm."  So.  that's a good sign.  Maybe?

Here's Adrian:

Me sitting in front of my son as he is playing Mario Kart on his DS, "Aidy, what do you like about me?"

"Because I love you."

"What annoys you about me?"

"Talking to me while I'm playing Mario Kart"

11.  Do you have any advice for Snooki?

Being a hot mess 24/7 for the entire world to see is not attractive.  These moments will come back to haunt you someday when and if you ever have children.  God bless those poor souls.

MY QUESTIONS to anyone that wants to answer them: (I'm a rule breaker)

If you could be anyone for one day who would it be and why?

What would be your last supper?  Include appetizer, main course and dessert.

Your best day?

Ask your husband and your best friend what your best quality is.  What did they say and do you agree?

If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?

Your favourite colour.

Salty or sweet?

Your least favourite household chore.

If you could time travel would you go to the past or the future?

Would you rather be stuck on a deserted island with 5 people you hate or all alone?

Your top 3 destinations and who would you take?

Friday, February 3, 2012

He is Four

There are moments as you sit on my lap, your lanky legs hanging well below my knees, when you reach your hand back, your palm to my cheek and turn your head to kiss my other cheek stating an "I love you Mumma".

There is no reason, but simply because...

There are the moments when you crawl into our bed at night, though the bed is wide and expansive you always snuggle in right beside me, the warmth of your small yet growing frame a large comfort to my own...

There are the moments when you reach up for me, to be comforted, hugged or simply because you wish to be close to me...

There are the moments when your hand finds mine as we walk down the road or even up the stairs...

There are the moments when you burrow yourself into my lap, like you're still just the size of a curl up and nuzzle my neck like a new born pup trying to find the perfect spot, you always whisper "Mumma".  I laugh and hold you close, kissing your cheeks a thousand times.  I often say when you do this, "You'd go right back inside my belly if you could wouldn't you?"  You never did want to be revealed.  It was many days of walking, deep knee bends, spicy foods and some tears of frustration feeling like I was going to be pregnant forever.  But it was 8 days past your due date, on Superbowl Sunday four years ago, as the nail biter of a game finished off (in the birthing room! - your Dad actually fixed what the nurses claimed was a broken t.v. so that this could happen - and I still love the man, will wonders ever cease?) with a huge upset, you decided to come into this world.

All 9.6 pounds of you. Red, wrinkly, angry and looking like a 6 week old already.

Precious moments of affection with you are what make my world go 'round.  Though these moments are often now, I know someday they won't come often at all.

I soak in these moments like the warmth of the sun that peeks out from behind a billowy white cloud on a perfect spring day.

The other day I picked you up to settle you on my hip.

Except it wasn't that easy.

You are 45 lbs and all limbs and angles.  Sharp elbows and bony knees.

"Mumma, you can't carry me anymore!  I'm too big for that."

And it's starting already.

But you still call me Mumma.  So.  There's that.

The other day you put your not quite 4 year old hand up to my 34 year old one.  Your fingers already reach above my palm and I do not have small hands. I said to you, "Someday your hand is going to be bigger than mine."  And you asked, "And bigger than Daddy's?" I answered, "Yes, probably bigger than Daddy's."

It's hard for a Mother to wrap her head around these things. These images.  The flash backs and flash forwards in time. How at one point this beautiful baby boy, so helpless and innocent, whose whole world is their Mommy and Daddy, one day, seemingly all of a sudden, becomes a strong, independent man who someday will likely become the world to another little human being.

I often wonder about the strange phenomenon of the way time moves so much faster as the years go by, for though I look forward to watching you grow up into the wonderful man I know you will become, I often wish this phenomenon would give me the grace of more time.

More precious moments of affection.

But time doesn't stop, pause or go back in time.

It never will.

Except, it seems, when I watch you sleep.  Your face has an angelic baby faced look still but when you're asleep it's that much more so.  Like time has gone backwards for those moments.  I kiss your soft cheeks and inhale your scent, my heart expanding and contracting with  It feels like it's too much. Much too much for me to handle sometimes.  This love that's ever evolving, always constant, growing deeper and bigger with each passing birthday.

As much as I wish for time to pause or slow down I am excited to watch you grow, to learn more about you as a person, to learn from you as a child, as a teen, as a young man and a grown adult.

No, you were not simply born into my life for me to teach you, for I've learned an incredible amount about myself, about life and about you since the day you arrived in mine.

Since the day I gave birth to you.

Since the day I  too was born.

A Mother.

Happy 4th birthday beautiful boy of mine.  May you always be as loving and affectionate, as energetic and as fiery, as funny and full of character as you are now.

I've no doubt that you will be all of those things.

And more.

No doubt at all.

Blissed out and completely exhausted.
There is not a more amazing feeling than your baby sleeping on your  chest.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Is My Life

I take a break amidst the flurry of cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen.  Between switching loads of laundry and picking up toys.  Between making lists and birthday preparations of which I always feel overwhelmed with.

I sit at the kitchen table amongst plastic Scooby Doo placemats and a smattering of crumbs from breakfast.

It's 2 pm.  The crumbs are still there.  And I'm still in my pajamas.

I sit at the kitchen table on the chair that my husband amazingly recovered with brown faux leather seats.  .

I look out the window, sitting cross legged on this recovered brown chair, elbow on thigh, chin in hand.

I watch out my patio doors as the grey clouds move fast over glimpses of blue sky.  The sun was just out shining through my windows a half hour ago...highlighting the dust and fur accumluting on my wood floors.  In corners.

I still have to clean these floors.

But it can wait.

I sit and I watch and I think.  I breathe.  I relax.  I look around and realize how quiet it is.

Peaceful though not tidy.

The boys are napping.  A rare moment of serenity.

Ah yes.  Serenity.

A foreign word in this busy and beautiful life of mine.

This is my life.

Yes.  This. Is. My. Life.

This is what I do.

Many people may read that last line and think this life of mine would never be enough for them.

Or maybe not.


I cannot imagine my life being any other way.

I've embraced it...though not always do I appreciate it.

So right now I will.

I do.

I watch a squirrel run along the fence.

The sun peeks out again from the clouds.

The clouds move on.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Morning in the Life Of

I just signed up my eldest for JK last week and it has me in a bit of a tizzy.

Not because I'm all, "OMG, my baby is going to school soon...he's getting so big...he growing up so fast!".

Okay, there's maybe a little bit of that.

But it's more like this....



Every Wednesday trying to get my kids out the door for my eldest's 10 am Sportball program is way too overwhelming sometimes.

It starts at TEN O'CLOCK you guys.

School will be starting at 8:30!!!

It goes something like this, starting at 8 am....

"Okay, Mummy's going to have a shower now.  Be good, no fighting....okay?"

They totally ignore me and continue to jump on the bed, on each other and simultaneously from the bed onto the bean bag chair and on each other.

One inevitably ends up crying. I console, console, "there, there, there" (except who actually says "there, there?" when consoling?  There, there....what?  I don't get it.)

I jump into the shower with a mania unlike anything else.  Screw the washing of the hair even though it's been 3 days.  Screw shaving the legs.  Hellooo?  Yeah.  There will be no shaving of the legs.

It's now 9 o'clock.  Yes, it took me almost an hour to simply just get into the shower.

My boys need to now get dressed.  My boys are in underwear.  What else is new? Thankfully my 4 year can now dress himself although I usually have to pick out his clothes at his request and nag him about 37 times before he actually puts them on.

As for dressing my 2 year old?  That's a whole entire circus on it's own.  There are gymnastics, acrobats and  contortionism that occurs while dressing my little one.  Two year olds are tricky little buggers.  And a lot stronger than they appear.

Now it's almost 9:30 and I have to make myself look halfway decent, brush their hair and their teeth.

It just so happens that I can do them all at the same time.

It's every Mother's forte.  Multi-tasking.

Of-course this sounds easier than it is.  Usually I have a toothbrush stuck in my mouth as I'm trying to cajole my boys into brushing their own, while brushing their hair and putting on mascara.  Yes.  Mascara is a necessity for these tired eyes of mine.

Can you picture all that happening at once?...Yes.  I see you Mothers all nodding through the screen now.

There are snappy comments from me like, "Brush your teeth, not your lips!"

"Stop eating the toothpaste!"

"Sit on your bum!  You're going to fall off the counter!  Sit still!"

"You are so not done brushing your teeth mister!"

It never fails that as we're about to leave they suddenly decide that they're hungry. (and yes, I did feed my children already - usually twice by now)

And what they're hungry for is never something that's easy to, no.  Of-course not.

They want cereal.  With milk.

Toast.  With peanut butter.

At this point I fear for SURE we're going to be late.  I hate being late.  I have serious anxiety issues with being late.  And I realize that it's just a silly sports game for my kids.  But did I mention it's a drop-off program?  It's the ONE HOUR a week that I get to spend with my little guy, perusing the bookshelves at the Indigo just down the road.  And dammit if I lose even one minute of that time.

As my anxiety levels rise my patience levels drop.

"We don't have time you guys!  Here, have an apple!  Or a banana!  Granola bar?  You love granola bars!" As I shove these food items in their little hands, one or both start whining and or crying.

At this point there really is no time and they're not even in their winter attire yet.  I frantically dress them, repeating over and over again, "We're are  going to be late!  We're going to be sooo late!" (because they care) in between "Put your coat on"  "Your shoes are on the wrong feet" "Don't forget your hat!" and usually ends in me not so quietly stating, "You guys!  Come on!  Co-operate with me here!"

Of-course as much as I hate being late I also hate rushing my kids.  And the guilt sets in almost immediately.

And something like this happens like it did this morning....

"I'm sorry for snapping.  I haven't had much patience with you guys this morning have I?"

Adrian simply gives me a kiss.  Then Finley following suit puckers up and puts his head on my shoulder as I'm putting his shoes on.

"Thank you.  I needed that."  And the guilt sinks deeper.

Off we go out the door, back to brusqueness, ushering, "Hurry to the truck!"

I secure them in their seats, turn on the truck and as the music comes on Adrian yells out, "Ya! Rumour Has It!"  My spirits are buoyed once again by my child who loves Adele.

And then I remember.

That I forgot to put deodorant on.