Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Never Coming Home

Dear Hubby's Employer, Daycare Families, New Friends in the City of Cranbrook and Family,

We the Whittingham Family, regretfully would like to inform you that we will not be returning from our wondrous holiday adventure. It was a difficult decision after seconds of deliberation, particularly when facing the reality that we will have to leave this invigorating sunshine that has just arrived to welcoming mounds of snow and cold, arctic air.

We are off tomorrow to see if we can find employment with a certain wealthy individual named Mickey. It was my son's idea of such thinking that this world could use another Princess and another boy to fight along side of Peter Pan. And with Daddy being follicly challenged, my son figured that Captain Hook could always make do with another pirate. As for me, well apparently we need to assess the situation in Mouseland tomorrow to find me a good fit within.

We are truly sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused you, but we just can't bring ourselves to accepting that we will have to give up this glorious sunshine and the ability to worship it on a daily basis.

We wish you all the best in the New Year.

Sincerely,

The Whittinghams



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Only 2 Days Until Mouse Mania

Finally we had some sunshine yesterday and we hit a high of +20C! Needless to say, the excitement was in the air for the kids and we hit the pool for a good portion of the afternoon. While the breeze still made us cold, we took advantage of our good fortune and played in the pool until our bodies could no longer take the chill. One would think that +20C was warm, which it is, but I guess it isn't warm enough to spend a significant amount of time in a pool.

Already this morning, the sunshine is streaming into our little apartment and the rays feel blissfully promising. The exciting part is that Mommy gets to have 3 whole hours of time all to herself today so I am planning to sneak off to the other pool in the complex that no one uses, to relax and get some good reading and sunning in. Tomorrow will be organizing day so come Thursday, we can get up and jump in the truck and whisk off to Mouseland. Now that the time has finally come, the kids are getting giddy with excitement with the prospect of seeing Peter Pan, "real" princesses, Mickey Mouse and friends. Yesterday we met a family that had just spent 2 days with their children there, so the kids eagerly shared their stories with Kaelen and got him all excited.

So, I am off to finish my coffee and shovel food into my children's bellies as it is 8:30am and they have been whining for breakfast. And, being the stellar Mom that I am, I told them that they would have to wait for a moment or two while Mommy took advantage of this lucky break of receiving an internet signal again.
Until tomorrow, I will leave you with a few pictures taken on our trip so far:

Yes, that is me entertaining my husband by kissing a lizard. Because that is the kind of person that I am, I will do pretty much anything to provide laughter for people.


Kaelen petting a goat in the petting portion of the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs.


The kids on Christmas morning. Masyn with her "say cheese" face and Kaelen patiently waiting to be given the go ahead to rip into the presents that miraculously appeared in our apartment.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Greetings From Palm Springs

Finally we have a connection! Internet and cellular service has been limited at best so despite it being a fabulous holiday so far, I am feeling a little lost here without access. So, being not too sure how long this connection will last, I will have to make this short and sweet.

The drive down here was great. We made it in three days and the kids travelled great. We couldn't have asked for them to be any better. We made the travel days limited to an 8 hour maximum so that really helped a lot I am sure. Christmas was great and the kids got spoiled rotten despite the agreement of no gift exchanges this year. Sadly, there are presents under our tree back at home awaiting us .....

We have four more days left here in Palm Springs and then it is off to Disneyland. The weather has been chilly but it is a heck of a lot better than being at home with all of that snow and arctic chill.

So my friends, I am off and will try to post again although I won't hold my hopes up. On one last ending note, a very happy birthday to my blogging friend Sheryl. Despite her short term hiatus from the blogging world, if you have a moment, please stop by her site to wish her a very happy 30th birthday today.

Hope that everyone had a fabulous Christmas and are continuing to enjoy this festive holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Countdown is Done

The time has come and we are gone. Okay, well will be gone at 4:00am in the morning tomorrow. It is with ambitious hopes that we will have the Trailblazer packed and ready to go, throw the still sleepy kids in the truck and drive away. All at 4:00am with it snowing like crazy and the cold just as chilling. Paul and I are used to crazy winter trips like this, but this is our first with the kids and we are finding ourselves over analyzing everything. We are addicted to the road reports, finding alternate routes, various places to stop and stay if needed and even packing an extra suitcase stuffed with winter apparel if needed.

The drive is calculated to be 22 hours - without stopping. And, it is snowing as far south as Las Vegas so that means we will likely be encountering winter conditions 3/4 of the drive. We have graciously accepted defeat early and have conceded to making this drive in three days as opposed to our more aggressive decision of two days.

Any hoo, must run as there is a ton left to be done; okay, who am I to lie, there is nothing left to be done because I am an over achiever. The house is spotless to the point that all of the linens are fresh, towels are fresh, floors are washed and not a speck of dust can be found. But .... the kids are running around in excitement because today is the last day of daycare for them and one of my daycare kids is also leaving on a trip tomorrow. So, to shamelessly take advantage of all of this extra energy the kids are giving off, I am going to dress them up and take them outside to do a bit of shovelling because it was my husband's bright idea to buy a house with a three car wide driveway. And don't worry about them, yes it is -18C out, but moving around will keep the critters warm. Sadly though, all of this snow that is continuing to fall is not good Frosty snow, so we will have to fill our yard with snow angels instead.

Will be blogging through the holidays so will wish you all a festive seasons greetings closer to the big day. Ciao for now!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reason 1,456,237 Why I Love My Son

He is on a roll folks. And, I swear this isn't scripted.



Last night in while tucking Kaelen into bed, after our usual conversation about how his day went and all of the things that he learned, he rolls over and says:

Kaelen: "Mom. My have something to tell you"

Mom: "Okay sweetheart, what is it?"

Kaelen: "Well, it is a secret. My know that my not supposed to tell secrets but this is a good one - I even told Santa"

Mom: "Really. That must be a really good secret sweetie. Now tell me!" (Insert big whisper and not so subtle urgency into tone. I just know that this is going to be a goodie.)

Kaelen: "Weellllll ....... you wanna know what my told Santa what my wanted for Christmas?"

Mom: "Um let me guess .... a Transformer?"

Kaelen: "Weeellll .... yeessss (in an impatient, like duh sigh) but my also told him something else."

Mom: "A Power Ranger?"

Kaelen: "Weeelll .... my want that too but that isn't what my talking about"

Mom: "Okay Kaelen. Mommy doesn't know. What else did you tell Santa?"

Kaelen: "My told him that my have the best Mommy in the world and my the luckiest boy in the world and you have been the best Mommy and to bring you a new pair of slippers because yours stink!"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Reason 1,456,236 Why I Love My Son

Last night while shopping at Walmart (yes, that is the ONLY place that one can shop in good ol Cranbrook, BC) ......

Kaelen: "Mom. Look at all of these cool toys!"

Mom: "I know! Just look at all of them. You have to remember though that we are here to shop for the daycare kids; not you and Masyn."

Kaelen: "My know Mom."

Five minutes later .....

Kaelen: "Mom! Mom! Look at these Transformers! They are the coolest! Can we get one?"

Mom: "No honey. I already told you that we aren't buying anything for you. And besides, you already have more than enough toys at home."

Kaelen: "Mooommmmmm...... My know that (a teen tone in a 4 year old body). What my meant is that we should buy one, no, two of these for a boy that might not get any presents this year. And .... while we are at it, we should buy him some groceries too and something for his Mom and Dad. Everybody should know that they are loved."

Say Cheese


Friday, December 05, 2008

Wish Me Luck

I haven't written about it because well, I kind of forget to think about it. I leave today for two nights in an attempt to win a berth to the Scott Provincials for ladies curling.

I was approached about four weeks ago to see if I would be interested in joining this team and after a day or two deliberation and encouragement from my husband, I did. It has been time consuming with curling at least 3 hours everyday sometimes more and it has been a little straining on the money tree, but as my husband said, I need to do something for me that I enjoy outside of family time. What better way to be physically active (okay, down right panting from exhaustion 90% of the time) and spend some quality girl time. I am the youngest player on my team, not that it is a big deal, but it has been a great learning experience tapping into the Mommy knowledge and talk from the three other women whose children are all grown and moving onto grandchildren.

We leave today for Trail, BC and have to win 3 games to win our berth. After that, we would be heading to Parksville, BC mid January to win the privilege of representing our province at the Scotts Tournament of Hearts.

So, theoretically speaking, there is 12 - 15 games a head of me to win in order to fulfill a dream of competing in a world renowned sporting event. Those odds are much better than me winning the lottery so when you look at it like that, my competitive tunnel vision has set in.

Until Monday ........

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In The Eyes Of A Child

Dear Parade Organizers and Participants,

This past Friday, you put on a great parade to officially kick off the festive holiday season. I have to admit that being an adult and from a large city, the appeal for a parade, especially in a smaller town, is somewhat critical and at times cynical. As adults most of us have the tendency to forget the appeal in "the boring ticket items" and standing on a curb side trying to pacify impatient or tired children gets tedious and frustrating only to have the parade over within minutes or non eye catching. However, this year, the wait was well worth it.

To the police force, ambulance crew and firefighters, the shrill of your siren, flash of lights and wave of your hand had my children jumping up and down with excitement. Your acknowledgement of my son's zealous cries by the short, quick toot of your horn only reinforced his desire to become one of you when he grows up.

To the snowplow decorated in festive Christmas lights, your enormous size alone had my children in awe and they marvelled at the importance of your winter duties.

To the mini tractor who moved his shovel up and down to mimic a wave - as my son said, "that was so cool".

To the semi truck who acknowledged my son's pumping of his fist up and down with a loud, boisterous draw on the horn, thank you for making him feel so proud of himself. And, thank you for scaring the shit out of my daughter causing her to become permanently attached to me. How did you know that I was starting to freeze my ass off and needed some extra body heat?

To Mr. Shivers, the mascot for the Kootenay Ice hockey team, it is amazing at how much excitement a Yeti can cause. My son literally worships you and wants you to be the mascot of the NHL hockey team that he will play on in the future.

To the rapping Santa - thank you for making me laugh. While the kids didn't understand the lyrics and your attempts to be ghetto, the adults did and all got a good chuckle out of it. And thank you for dressing a little different from the true Santa so the kids understood that you were just part of the show.

To the high school Graduates of 2009, what a good idea to partake in the parade to honour your accomplishment. The added kudos goes out to your efforts of wrapping your pick up truck like a big present. All of the kids couldn't stop talking about that.

To the all girl marching band, we thoroughly enjoyed your practices in the field over the summer and I can see that your hard work has paid off. You were all entertaining and had both children and adults dancing in the streets with your festive holiday tunes and showmanship.

To all of the other participants of the parade driving pick up trucks decked out in lights and the walkers handing out candy canes and information pamphlets promoting your cause, every time my children received something, they were there with their thank yous and would eagerly run over to me to show me what they got.

Last but not least, to Santa. Thank you for taking time on Friday to attend our parade especially given that this is the busiest time of year for you. To see the excited joy displayed on all of the children's faces as you arrived and rode your sleigh by them was the best part of the parade. And how are you able to acknowledge each child? My son swears that you winked at him when he told you that he loved you. You are a very special man indeed.

And, to cap off the night, we headed over to the nearby community park that you decked out with Christmas lights, displays and music. Despite the chill of the night setting in, we walked on over and enjoyed the sights, activities and laughter. And the best part of the night? It was the fact that we spent a quality evening together as a family wrapped in holiday excitement and overwhelming love for one another. And, it didn't even cost us a penny to do so.

Thank you for giving us such a splendid evening.

In Holiday Love,

The Whittinghams

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thank You Santa Claus

It is official, Santa is not going to bring me presents this year. Why?

Well, quite frankly it is because I used his possible attendance at the annual Santa Claus parade tonight as a bribe to get all of the children to have a nap. And guess what? It worked! I am sitting here peacefully, enjoying a hot cup of tea while five kids are dreaming away of sugar plums, okay lets face it, likely suckers throwen their way tonight and hoping that they will get to see a glimpse or two of Saint Nick.

I wonder if this is classed as bribery for in the long run, I am doing both myself and the other parents a favour by napping the kids. I mean, at least they will be happy and not overly tired right?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Magic of 23

Yesterday my favourite number was 24. Many, including my husband, thought that I was referring to the new season of 24 scheduled to begin in the New Year. As you know, the previews and teasers on that show have been coming fast and furious and well quite frankly, I am kind of over the fascination of Jack Bauer and his abilities to handle every sticky situation known to man within a day.

Instead, my favourite number today is 23. And tomorrow will be 22. Then the next 21 and so on. Departure day is approaching quickly and there is so much to do, with so little time to get it all accomplished in. Today I just made our final payment (ouch) on our Disney trip and tonight will be researching overnight options for our journey down to Christmas in California. We are suckers for torture and plan on driving down to Indio and have every intention of making the drive in two days. Expedia, Mapquest and BCAA all claim that it is a 22 hour drive, but in reality with children like mine, it will be more like 22 days before we actually get down there. I hope to borrow someones Tulle (you know, those encased roof carriers) and pimping it out with blankets, cushions and of course water. It will at some point of the trip be where I stuff the kids or husband when they become antsy, cranky and overbearing. Heck, maybe I will stuff myself in there and equip myself with the iPod, a bottle of wine, lots of warm, cozy blankets and cushions. Now that sounds like a great travel plan.

Until then, we will continue to countdown our days passing by us with excitement and anticipation. And to be truthful, perhaps even a little nostalgic tear or two in knowing that we won't get to have a true "White Christmas" this year. I miss those days of going to bed on Christmas Eve with those fine, delicate flakes falling softly to the ground. Of waking Christmas morning to mounds of snow and the tell tale tracks of Santa's sleigh. But, part of having a festive holiday season is what you make of it so we will be "decking the palms" down in Indio, California followed shortly thereafter with singing in the New Year with Mickey and friends. When looking at it that way, I don't think that 23 days can come quick enough .....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adventures of Dolly

She is strong and will be there to comfort you in your moments of weakness, devastation or fright. She is there to celebrate with you in your moments of happiness and victory. She will listen to all of your secrets and those secrets are forever safe with her. Her smile will light up your day and the compassion seen in her face will capture your heart and soon she will be your best friend who you can't live without.

Some say (like my husband) that she is an eye sore, but I think that she is incredibly beautiful. She is huggable, kissable and is the best snuggler ever. She helps keep you warm and cozy at night too watching over you in your blissful slumber.

She is always up for an adventure and travels well; and believe me, she has been on many in her old age. After 36 years, she is still going strong and I am touched that she and my daughter have bonded in such a special way.


Yes, Dolly is a special, special person. She was knitted and given to me by my Grandma as a baby gift, 36 years ago. And, up until recently, she has been with me ever since. Now she has formed a special attachment to my daughter to which I will happily step aside and play second fiddle. For I know better than anyone, how important it is to have that best friend by your side growing up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lonely yet Devine

The date happened. Like really happened. And, just like two young teenagers, we felt like we were on our first date. You know, those awkward moments of wondering what to say and you hope that you don't sound like a goof with what comes out of your mouth? That kind of date.

We decided that we would attempt to refrain talking about money, children, jobs and so on. And we managed, awkwardly at that, to succeed in this little challenge for oh about, 10 minutes. After accepting defeat, we got back to ground level where we are accustomed to existing and spent the hour over dinner discussing the antics of Masyn and the surprises from Kaelen. And, dinner over all despite being delicious was awkward period as we were the only people in this upscale restaurant. Instead of getting lost in the crowd and mooning over the candle at each other, we felt like we had to be reserved and quiet just in case the entire staff could over hear our conversation. They probably did because the service was over the top. Meaning that we were checked on every five minutes so a good scandalous conversation really never had the chance to form.

The food was fabulous and the wine even more so. Our highlight though was that we actually got to consume our dinners while they were warm and presentable. In retrospect though, it was probably warm because we hoovered the entrees back without any grace for fear that we would get interrupted. Old habits die hard.

And being the pathetic beings that we are, the night ended shortly after a quick tour of the facility casino. It ended because we felt pressed to be home with the kids. It felt like the right thing to do. Sadly, bliss quickly set in once we jumped into our comfies and assumed our positions on the couch; across the room from one another. Upon settling in, we looked at each other with big grins on our faces, sighed and promptly argued over who got control of the remote.

Our romantic evening lasted two hours. Is it that obvious that we are about to embark on our 16th year together?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blink

Blink. Open, close. Blink again. Now rub the eyes and yes, the calendar reads right. Today is November 12th. 12th you say? As in it has been two weeks since I last posted? Now shake your head in disbelief and wonder just where did that time go.

How does it do that? And how do you make it stop and slow down? I mean time. It really needs to slow down an hour or few because I am just finding it hard to keep up and soak up all of this little thing called life.

We, like everyone else have been busy. But, we are also falling in love with each other again and actually acting like a normal family. We spend weekends together - like all four of us. Our weekends are filled with laughter and adventures. It is so fun to watch the kids entertain hubby and watch him soak up all of their antics into giddy giggles, wet kisses and big bear hugs. It is so wonderful to have that extra set of hands to help put out the fires that Masyn mostly starts with her rambunctious nature and that partnership of taking turns giving baths and cooking meals.

And get this ... are you ready for this? Sshhhh .... I can't say this too loud because I am not quite ready to believe this is actually going to happen .... Hubby and I are going on a date on Friday night! The sitter has been booked as have the dinner reservations. A date? I honestly don't know when the last time was that we went on a date! I am giddy with excitement to spend five hours alone with my husband but am nervous too. I mean, does one forget how to eat/enjoy a warm dinner? What about table etiquette? Is it proper to devour your meal in one swallow for fear that it will turn cold? I am figuring this dating thing is just like riding a bike; you just don't forget it. Right? Any suggestions?

Oh .... and please be ready to slap me upside the head too. Because I know myself soooooooo well. Despite being super excited for this big date with my husband, I also know myself well enough that when Friday officially begins, I will start experiencing separation anxiety from my children. So much so, that I will try to talk myself out of going. I will try to justify that it is money that we could save and that being together as a family is just as an important treat.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Success

The gremlins have come and gone and my little goblins are tucked away in exhausted slumber dreaming I am sure of the bountiful mountain of candy that was accumulated in their little buckets. The night was filled with laughter, goofy screams, lots of thank yous and cheerful greetings amongst neighboring parents that we haven't met before. Play dates were made and social networking was accomplished unknowingly. Next year, our end of the cul de sac is going to plan a block party. We will pool together resources and do a BBQ, candy table and activities such as a jumpy castle and all. It will all be themed of course but in a very fun and lovable kind of way.


Kaelen and Masyn at their first Trick or Treat stop; our next door neighbours.

Tomorrow, we are donating half of our excess candy to the food bank and the other half to the hospital. In our tiny little town, there really isn't many venues that we can donate to and we definitely over budgeted on the amount of candy needed.

Kaelen changed his mind for the fourth time on what his costume was going to be tonight. Last weekend he was Optimus Prime, yesterday he was Spiderman at school, today throughout the day he was Batman so he was very torn tonight as to whether he would be a Fireman (which was eventually ditched for he has been that for the past two years), a pirate (which was ditched because it was too cold out) and finally decided upon the Sheep Dog. Our tickle costume trunk certainly got it's work out this past week .....


Masyn was showing signs of wanting to be a princess as she wore her fairy dress throughout the day, ever since I painted her toe nails pink last night. But when it came down to the crunch, she wanted to be the chicken again, which turned out great because the chill was certainly in the air.


All in all, our Halloween was a great, family filled night of laughter and memories. How was yours?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trials of a Pumpkin

THE ANTICIPATION OF GUTTING AND CARVING HER FIRST PUMPKIN ...

THE REACTION AFTER STICKING HER HAND IN THE PUMPKIN



See? And you didn't believe me that she is a true diva princess. Next year, I wonder who her lowly minion will be to do her pumpkin for her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reason Number 99:

Just another reason why Autumn is my favourite season of the year; crisp, scattered, fallen tree leaves.




We never had trees at our house in Calgary so we never had the ability to rake them all up then jump in the pile and toss them about. There is something so rejuvenating with the cool air, the fresh smell of earth and the taste of winter that is just around the corner.


And after hours of raking, jumping and then bagging the leaves, it is so relaxing to come inside and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. While sipping on the hot cocoa, you can marvel as you look outside knowing that it is cool in the clear dusking of night, and take the opportunity to snuggle close to the cozy fire. It is a sense of completion and rightness. Autumn and Winter for us symbolizes quality family time. It is in those seasons that we get to make the most of it and we capitalize on every opportunity given.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Convict, a Chicken .....

.... and a Pirate and the ultimate Transformer, Optimus Prime. That was us on Saturday night out at Fort Steele. Fort Steele had it's annual family Halloween soiree and seeing as tis the season for The Whittinghams to be a cohesive family seeing as the golf season has come to an end, we jumped all over that to ensure that we would be in attendance.

And, big kudos to the volunteers out at Fort Steele that made it happen. The activities for the young and old were highly entertaining as was seeing all of the other children and families spending quality time laughing and playing together. The night was capped off with fireworks, which we did not unfortunately make it to as it was a little too late for Miss Chicken Little. She began showing signs of "the diva meltdown" at 7:30pm so we packed it up and saved the hassle of people having to be subjected to that.
For us, it was a night filled with laughing at Masyn walking around in her chicken costume looking cute as a button and giggling at Kaelen beaming with pride as other kids recognized him as the leader of the Transformers, Optimus Prime. Hubby and I both looked goofy in our costumes but the kids were happy that we too dressed up. There were a few other parents there dressed as well, but for the most part, just the kids. We danced like goofballs in the field, toured through the old police barracks and houses within the fort, drank hot chocolate around open pit camp fires and the kids "trick or treated" at the six houses within the fort.

As we were heading back to our vehicle at the end of the night, I inhaled a deep breath of crisp, fresh night air and took in my surroundings. Laughter filled the clear, starry night, nestled within my arms was the cutest little chicken I have ever laid eyes on, and I was escorted by two powerful men: Optimus Prime, the strong leader of the Transformers and a rugged pirate. As I was infused with warmth taking in my surrounds, I gave a silent prayer of thanks to God and my Dad, who I firmly believe watches over me and guides me, for blessing me with such wealth.




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Counting

I keep telling myself that I created this countdown calendar in an effort to help encourage my son to learn his numbers and to ease the pressure of trying to remember how to count the numbers quickly in my head when my son asks "How much longer until our trip?".

In reality, this is how desperate I am in reminding myself that my family vacation is in the not so distant future. In fact, it is coming soon ... as in 58 days and counting.



Each day, Kaelen will get to put a sticker on the appropriate calendar date and another on the right where there is a number countdown to how many days are left until departure day.

This is creative as I get folks. I just bet that Martha, Rachel or even Debbie Travis are pea green in envy that I was the one that thought of this design first ......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Heart is Sore

Sorry folks, I just don't have a lot of positive to post of late so therefore refrain from blogging. I am though asking for your prayers for a family very close to us. While I explain the situation, please try not to judge, keeping in mind that we have all made bad judgment calls in our lives; especially when we were younger. I ask that if you are offended, please do not leave malicious comments because that will only compound the situation and I am just not into feeling like I should respond, defend nor get worked up emotionally about it.

Early Saturday morning this past weekend, a car full with five 18 year old students, crashed resulting in the death of the front seat passenger, injuries with the three back seat passengers and leaving the driver with day to day, life threatening injuries. At this point, the crash is being investigated and both speed and alcohol being considered factors for the crash. I will admit at this point, I don't have all of the details of the crash and there is likely more information out there.

My heart goes out to the family who lost their son three days ago. I can't imagine. I just can't. It was a senseless accident that could have been avoided. I just don't have anymore words than that. I cry for the family that I don't know because I have experienced a similar situation to that and it hurts like hell. They are in my prayers.

Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle is fighting for her life and I do know her. I know her as the good, family valued girl who took fabulous care of my children when I was visiting my mom. I know her as the upbeat, smiling girl who always took time to come over and talk to the older person and being genuinely interested in what we as adults had to say. I know the family as a whole and how loving and good they are. My heart is breaking for her and her family with what they are facing right now. This young girl is fighting for her life with a severe skull fracture resulting in a coma, fractured vertebra, broken ribs, bruised lungs and the inability to breathe on her own. At this point, every day is a day of not knowing if she will make it or not. And while I am devastated at this, I can't imagine what it is like to be a parent and seeing your child as such. And, while the family is struggling with the physical and emotional reality of their daughter, how much more hell are they going through knowing that another family is beyond devastated with their loss and at the responsibility of their child's doing?

For the past couple of days, I can't think of anything else other than this. It has consumed me. I cry at the drop of a pin and selfishly tell myself that I don't want my children to grow up. I don't want my children to be young adults where one bad decision could lead to such tragedy. Reality is that we as parents do the best that we can to instill into our children morals, confidence and independence. We hope like hell that we have done it right and are proud to see their accomplishments. Yet, there are times that bad things happen and when looking back on it, it is usually ruled as avoidable. But the fact is that we can't turn back time and sometimes bad judgments turn into unlucky nightmares.

What happened was wrong. This beautiful young girl who had everything going for her, should never have gotten behind the wheel of that car, nor should any of the passengers gotten in that car, but I don't judge any of them. I know that I am guilty of bad judgment after a drink or two when I was younger and got lucky that nothing ever happened. Really lucky. But what changes you is the unlucky judgments that become a nightmarish reality. That is the wake up call to knowing that life is precious and that it can be taken away at any given time.

My prayers go out to all families and friends that were involved in this devastating crash and I pray that this young girl can make it through this first of many challenges ahead for her. And, if she can overcome this first challenge of fighting off death, then I will be there to support her and love her as she faces so many more obstacles in her path of recovery, acceptance of what happened and any repercussions that come with it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

It is Thanksgiving weekend here with Monday being the special day. It is a weekend for most Canadians to winterize their homes, kick back and enjoy the new NHL season, NFL mid season and MLB playoffs. But most importantly, it is a time to reflect on all of the good things that you have in your life.

Me? I am truly thankful for so much. However, of late, I find that my selfishness precedes my humbleness and I have developed the bad, arrogant case of the "I feel sorry for me" blues. Life has been a whirlwind for our family this entire year. It seems that we have been on the run since January whether it was moving, dealing with sick kids or trying to juggle work schedules. Money is constantly tight and that it a crappy feeling living pay cheque to pay cheque while trying to enjoy the best life has to offer in a non monetary way. I used to be an expert on time management and now that talent has flown out the window and left me with a scatter brain that isn't capable of effectively multi tasking. Emotions seem to be catching up to me and I feel overwhelmingly tired. I feel tired of putting on that happy face and pretending that all is tickety boo when in fact I just want to collapse on the couch and have a good pity cry. I want to feel sorry for myself that everything seems to happen to our family or at least that is what people point out to me. I know for the most part it is in a good natured gesture, but the fact is that it is true. If something were to happen to someone, it would most likely be in our family. If lightening were to strike a tree and fell it into a home; it would be mine. If some kid was riding a bike and looking another way resulting in hitting someone; it would be me or one of my children. We are unlucky.


Saying that though doesn't not aptly describe us because we are also lucky. We have each other and we have fun with each other. We take each jab in the gut with grace and humour and deal with it. But there are times that it just gets down right defeating. Do you know what I mean?


Masyn is getting better. She has finished up her antibiotic treatment and goes in on Tuesday for urine and blood tests to ensure that the infection has cleared up. We will also discover on Tuesday what our next course of action will be with her. At this point, we will be making a trip back to the Children's Hospital sometime in the near future for comprehensive testing. She has been through it before and did great .... at 11 months of age. Now that she is 19 months, I expected that it will feel like torture because lying still is next to an impossible task to ask of a child of that age. But, it has to be done as we need to discover what is the root cause of these infections. In the big picture, this is a pesky issue to deal with that will likely end up being treated with a preventative dose of medicine on a daily basis until the age of 3, but when it is your child, there are days that it feels like an insurmountable obstacle. It is painful to watch your child in pain and knowing that if you don't catch infections, and if it were to get severe, that it could cause long term damage. It kind of makes you feel like you are an overbearing parent, jumping and assessing everything and thinking worst case scenario. You start to have arguments in your head with every little sniffle and cough trying to assess if this is the one that you need to react upon. Upon reflecting on this, I thank God that this is only a small thing in the big picture that I deal with because there are parents out there that have it a lot worse with their precious loved ones.


Three of four of us in this house are sick with that pesky common cold so that means no sleep for this Mommy as I am required to attend my three babies ... erm I mean husband and two babies. The cold won't leave our house because it latches on like a parasite to everyone (except thankfully for me so far) including my daycare children so it is a vicious cycle. And, no amount of cleaning or sanitary practices is ridding it. Daycare days are long of late and 3 of my 5 children are going through MAJOR behavioural issues so I find that my days are filled with screaming, crying children and constant reprimanding from me. And I am struggling with that. I am a firm parent and have basic rules that I expect to be followed: manners and respecting others around you. That means no hitting, no throwing toys around, no yelling at each other when mad and putting away toys when you are done playing with you. Some of my daycare kids are beating each other over the head with plastic baseball bats or giving right jabs to the jaw or are taking toys and scattering them to every corner of the house and defiantly not picking them up. No amounts of time outs for the toys or child is working. It is difficult to parent your child and someone else's child at the same time on a daily basis. My children, after many warnings and such, if continuing to act out of line, can be found on the receiving end of a butt burner, the loss of their favourite possession for the remainder of the day or having quiet time in their bedroom for a while. I can't do that with other children. Where is the happy medium? I have spoken to the parents about challenges and/or issues that we are experiencing at daycare and the parents have expressed that they too are having issues at home and have no idea how to deal with it. How do you respond to that?


As you can see, of late I stuck with this swirling myriad of thoughts and feelings. I know for the most part I need to get over myself but I am just tired. Tired of being pulled in a thousand directions with working multiple jobs, parenting what seems like constantly sick children, feeling guilty because my husband is on the brink of being burnt out and trying to act like all is okay in my life. When it comes down to it, I feel alone. Very alone and not ready to admit that it is okay to feel overwhelmed.

Friday, October 03, 2008

We Interrupt This Message

Sorry guys ... we have a delay today so the contest will not go live until at least tomorrow. Masyn sadly has been diagnosed with another kidney infection late yesterday afternoon so we are struggling to keep her temperature down, getting the needed medicine in her and keeping her hydrated.



As silly as this sounds, I feel like this has been a HUGE blow to us, especially her. Just when we thought that we didn't have to worry about a recurrent episode, we get hit with this. Because we live in such a small town now, we won't get the true results until Tuesday as ironically, the test cultures were sent to Calgary for analysis. Luckily, we are still close enough to Calgary for the Children's Hospital to get involved again. She will need to again have MRI's and nuclear scans done on her kidneys to determine what exactly is causing this.



Until then, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the antibiotics kick in soon because running spiking fevers of 40+C can't be good for her .....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Officially

Okay. My contest that I keep referring to will be up and running starting Friday. I have been wanting to do something for a long time and have been wracking my brain on what to offer that hasn't really been offered before.

So my friends, seeing as October has officially hit and Thanksgiving for us Canadians is just around the corner (Monday, October 13th), I thought that I would do a month of giveaways of some of my favourite things. Give you all (or at least the winners) something that has made us happy or that we have enjoyed. Sharing. Isn't that what part of Thanksgiving is about anyways? Sharing what we are thankful for? Giving things that could bring others comfort or happiness?

Now, I will forewarn you that I ain't no Oprah, so there won't be any car giveaways here nor Dyson vacuums, but I do hope that you all enjoy it. Particularly with my first giveaway on Friday, if you like the product or idea, please spread the information on as the supplier has graciously donated product to give away for the prize.

So ladies and gentleman, you might as well bookmark me and check back regularly because we are going to have a little fun here over the next month!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Luscious Green

Because I don't have enough to do of late in my life with running the dayhome during the day, co-running the Food & Beverage Department at the golf course during the day and night, parenting and housework, we decided to take on our backyard. Remember when we took out those trees? Well the dirt pile out back just got to us. It has been bugging us since we took possession of the house and the trees for the longest time were our obstacle. Remove trees and well, what excuses were there now? Aside from both hubby and I working our hineys off and the quick approaching cold yet seasonal weather and yah .... we bit the bullet, took a chance and tilled, levelled and sodded the backyard in one day; all 1400 sq ft of it.

A week later and the grass is still green, a little patchy yet healthy. Isn't it going to be a dream when it takes root? Sigh ... we have a beautiful, green playground right outside of our door now.


Tilling the pile of dirt and pine needles that sat stagnant for 20+ years.

The finished look.

Another finished look.

Come the spring, we plan on building a retaining wall for the fence that closes us off from the main road out back, build up the side of the house where the weeping tiles leak into the crawl space in a down pour, lay gravel on both sides of the house where grass doesn't grow but weeds do and finally plant shrubbery on the out skirts of the grass area to help add ambiance and grow into added privacy. Not bad for two city people who know nothing about home improvements hey?

We also have to replace both fireplaces (eventually), the garage roof and deck, front room windows and well the list goes on. My newest project though? Painting my kitchen so I don't have to drink my coffee in the hideous blue that it is. I will take a picture of it tomorrow so you all can sympathize with me and appreciate just how desperate I am because I would much rather run a marathon cold turkey than paint. Painting overwhelms me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bye Bye Baby

She is growing up and fast. At the tender age of 19 months, she has decided that the crib is no longer an acceptable means of slumber furniture and instead, would much prefer the $30 toddler bed that Mommy found at a garage sale this summer. We are on day three in the bed and so far, the transition has been almost too easy.


And for those of you that are wondering, "Did she cry on this moment like so many others with her children", the answer is a resounding Yes. It killed me to take the crib apart because I had to come to terms with the fact that my baby is growing up way too fast (like her big brother).

PS - STAY TUNED FOR A VERY EXCITING CONTEST THAT I WILL BE HOSTING! THE RED TAPE HAS BEEN CLEARED SO IT WILL BE UP AND RUNNING WITHIN THE NEXT FOUR DAYS!! YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS IT!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Kissing Booth

Fairy tales do come true ....

I was the princess in her castle and this was my heroic, handsome knight.




Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where Am I?

Life has been busy - like really busy. The days of late don't have enough hours in them to get all accomplished on my need to do list. So what is keeping me busy? Well aside from running a daycare out of my house and Kaelen turning four, I have also taken over (with another girl) the temporary management of the Food & Beverage Department at the golf course. These past three weeks have been hectic with tournaments, weddings, luncheon and issues. But, while things aren't going to change for at least another four weeks (close of season), we have reached a milestone. The golf course just hosted their largest tournament in this community this past weekend. It hosts for two days, 200+ gentlemen from the oil patch in Alberta and theses guys are here to drink, have fun and golf. In two days, I put in 33 hours ensuring that all F&B requirements went off without a hitch. And ... guess what? It was success. In fact awesome - we grossed out $13K more than last year in sales; definitely worth those long hours. Oh .. and did I mention that both kids were sick over the past two weeks? Masyn is still sick and was diagnosed with croup today. Poor little monkey. Sleepless nights are a common occurrence in this household again.

But with the sporadic posting of late, I have a ton to share with you all. Most exciting: I have my first contest coming up and I guarantee that you will all want to check it out. I will be giving away one of my most favourite children's brand of apparel, but I won't say much more until contest time. I also have a belated post in tribute to my precious little boy turning four. Sorry there little man - Mommy had the post half way done and then as poor of an excuse as it is, I just got too busy with work and giving you and your sister all of my extra time that you both deserve.

Hang in there guys - I will be back soon with regular visits to your sites, comments and posting on my site.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Big 4 Is Coming

I am melancholy today. But at the risk of contradicting myself, it is a happy melancholy. Is there such a thing? My son, my first born will turn the age of 4 come Tuesday and this afternoon, we celebrated his big day with six of his neighborhood friends and parents. He of course, got spoiled rotten and as a smug mother, I think that it is well deserved because he is truly a good little boy. Where is the time going though? It seems just like yesterday we were in the hospital in stunned silence trying to wrap our heads around that I had just delivered him 7 weeks early. It seems just like yesterday our excitement of taking him home after 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital and feeling giddy and scared because we were on our own for taking care of him; no more fabulous nurses to guide us in our learning process. It seems just like yesterday that I was sitting here in happy melancholy that he was turning one. Now I have blinked and here I am wondering where these four fabulous years have gone. They have truly been four incredibly precious years. Four years of happiness fulfilling me more than I had ever thought possible in my life. And now I look at my precious boy and despite feeling melancholy that my baby is rapidly growing, I also feel excitement. What does the future hold for this beautiful boy? He is a true gem and perfect in every way. Full of a zest for life yet sensitive enough to soak it all in and appreciate all and everyone that is around him.

All I truly know is that I am one lucky Mommy and feel incredibly blessed to have this privilege to be his Mommy.

And this is the cake. For those of you who don't know, I am not exactly a culinary expert nor do I possess much creative talent. Masyn got a heart cake for her first birthday, Kaelen the clock cake and unless I take a course or two, Masyn will get a rabbit for her second birthday and then that maxes out my baking knowledge. After that, it will be back to store bought cakes or perhaps I will have to try the expensive pan mould ..... but then I will still have to come up with the design on the cake .....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Now You See Them; Now You Don't

I am a tree killer. There. I said it. Now I will probably have a protester or two picketing my front yard by tomorrow morning screaming at me for being unfair to the environment. And truth be told, I felt guilty chopping those lovely trees down however they were becoming a danger to the house, the power lines on the other side and my sanity. Yep. My sanity. You see ... I now have a fully fenced in backyard. Granted it is dirt and wood chips at present, but come spring next year, it will be (hopefully) lush green grass where I can put in the swing set I inherited as well as outdoor playhouse. Now my children are safe from forgetting to stay off the road when chasing a ball or seeing something excited. Now my anal mommy tendencies can relax a little knowing that my children are safe and secure in a backyard and my house will with stand a brutal wind storm ......


The View From the Front Window - Before

The View From The Front Window - During


The View From The Front Window - After

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The Chase Is On

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Growing Up

Today was a hard day .... for me. My baby boy, Kaelen, had his first day of school; granted it was only preschool, but it was school nevertheless. Now that I work from home with the daycare, we have the means of getting him to and from school where in the past we couldn't because we were both working full time outside of the home. Luckily for me, I can transport with my daycare kids so that means that Kaelen can go to school. He was so darn excited this morning and waited very patiently for 12:15 PM to come. Me?

Well throughout the morning, I would have fits of happy yet melancholy tears. Everytime I looked at him I would think when did my boy grow up on me? How can he be turning 4 next week? Where has the time gone? The tears shed today were happy tears and proud tears as I continued to take a real good look at my boy. Here he was: an exuberant, thoughtful and multi talented young man. He can be mischievous in a blink of an eye, or compassionate upon the sight of a tear. He is up for any adventure one recruits for and is showing signs of being a perfectionist by nature; an inherent trait from his mother. He is proud of his sister and protective of his mother. He has incredible eye/hand coordination that makes the two of us dream (being Kaelen and I) of what he will be when he grows up. Today he is a hockey player whereas yesterday he was a baseball player. Have I mentioned his imagination? Oh the journeys that the two of us go on - I could get lost in them forever. And while I will come to appreciate these two hours apart from him twice a week by absorbing myself in Masyn and my daycare child(ren), there is that piece of me that will mourn the loss of that little boy; my precious baby boy. Yet, I will always look back at these incredible memories of the past four years of him growing in humbled awe and love and look ahead to the future with eager anticipation of what is yet to come for him.

I keep asking myself, if this is how I am feeling with preschool, what the heck is it going to be like for kindergarten and grade school?

Friday, August 29, 2008

We Went, We Saw, We Screamed

Spending time with one's family is certainly the best medicine for the heart and soul. And, I was blessed to have some amazing, quality family time with mine these past two days. As many of your know, we (being the kids and I) don't get to spend much time with my husband due to his employment and the big move that occurred earlier in the year. So, when we do manage to have time together, we pack in the minutes with some serious laughter, love and cuddles.

On Wednesday afternoon, we packed an overnight bag, jumped into the van and headed south for Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. For me, it has to be one of my favourite places in this world. The area in general brings back such happy memories and feelings for me so I was excited to show my family how much fun it could be (as they hadn't been there before). After a three hour peaceful journey in the car thanks to the Backyardigans and Dora The Explorer, we piled out of the van, into the motel and promptly designated the two beds to Boys Only and Girls Only. The beds declared Kaelen, must be tested out to ensure that they were soft enough, so Kaelen and Masyn gave them a work out by jumping like mad rabbits until the laughter got the better of them. After a quick bathroom break, we were off to shop at Target and attempt a dinner in a restaurant. The shopping went well and the dinner? Well lets just say that it was delicious yet quick due to Masyn's lack of ability to sit still and consume food. But, we did manage to entertain ourselves while waiting to be seated by playing catch the poop outside of the restaurant, with a nice full diaper that Masyn so thoughtfully provided us. And yes, that green bag that the boys decided to toss at each other contains a diaper full of crap ....



It was off to the motel for bed and I of course got the better end of the deal because Masyn still sleeps in a playpen, so that meant a big ol bed all to myself. The blissful starfish pose only lasted for a couple of hours before Kaelen revised the rules at midnight and declared that little boys were allowed on the girls side and then promptly curled into me. When faced with staring in his little angelic face, it is pretty hard to get sad at the loss of a blissful dream when you are faced with a sight like him. Spooning for the remainder of the night, we awoke to Masyn's attempts to talk and confirmed that she has indeed mastered the word "Mommy" in a high and mighty, diva like form.

After a quick breakfast, we were off for a morning walk along the lakefront of Coeur D'Alene and a romp in the fabulous playground. This is a definite must for anyone with children!! It is a HUGE playground built like a fort, appropriately named, Fort Sherman, and it could entertain children for hours. Once they got bored of being in the fort, they can cross a lush grassy boulevard and walk right onto a beach, fully staffed with lifeguards. It is a dream really. Something that we as former Calgarians, are not accustomed to unless it were a man made lake. Before we knew it, it was time to head off to Silverwood; the true reason for this trip. And, much to the stories that we had heard about it, the experience certainly lived up to our expectations. What a fabulous and fun place to be when with your family. There are so many different things that you can do with your children and have fun while doing it. Whether you are into the thrill rides, skill games or learning centres, there is something for you. And, if that is not enough, they have a whole new area called Boulder Beach which is a day experience within itself. Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn't warm enough for us to spend much time in this area, but we are determined to come back next year and spend at least two days here: one for each side.



The highlight of the trip though was Kaelen wanting to ride the rickety old roller coaster called the Timber Terror. Luckily for him, he JUST reached the high requirement and ran up to the line up holding Daddy hand. Neither hubby nor I truly thought that he would go through with it but he did. (Although the picture is fuzzy, that is Hubby in the burnt orange Texans sweatshirt with Kaelen beside him.) After the 20 second ride, Kaelen skips down to Masyn and I talking a mile a minute about how "Awesome" it was. A couple of hours later, he decided to go on it again, this time with Mommy. Lets just say that the ride the second time around wasn't as exhilarating as it was the first time with Daddy. Mommy isn't as big as Daddy, so Kaelen was bounced around a lot more and I am not quite sure who was screaming louder .... Kaelen or myself. When the ride came to a stop, Kaelen turns to me and whimpers: "My not think that was such a good idea Mommy". (Kaelen and I are in the middle, although you can't see unless you zoom the picture)



Masyn meanwhile? Well she was too small to go on any rides, but she was extremely happy to collect rocks and before we knew it, her collection was rather cumbersome in the bottom of our travel stroller. She enjoyed Boulder Beach more, with all of the kiddie water slides and splash zones. She was a trooper though, and walked most of the park complex which lead to a very tired little girl towards the end of the day.


So we are back. Tired, yet happy and wishing that we could do it all over again. This little trip did however make us all excited over our next planned trip in the New Year. Destination: Disneyland, California! Oh ... the countdown has begun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And We're Off!

Sshhhh .... can you hear that? Can you? That is me having an "AAAHHHHHH" moment. You know, one of those that we all vigorously nod our head at when Oprah tries to convince us that we have just experienced a defining moment in our lives? Well, I can tell you this ain't no defining moment, but a moment of tremendous anticipation, excitement and exhilaration. Ready for this? We, as a cohesive family, the Whittinghams, are having an overnight trip ..... TOGETHER!!! And .... I get to go shopping at TARGET!!!!

No, you didn't read this wrong. Hubby dearest has tomorrow afternoon off as well as the entire day on Thursday (his second full one this year). So after all of a 30 second thought process, we have decided to get the hell out of dodge and have some serious family fun. We are off to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho for some shopping therapy tomorrow, justifying our unnecessary expenditures by treating Kaelen to some school shopping as he starts preschool on Tuesday and discretely buying him a birthday present or two (because we are pathetic that way and like to spoil him rotten). After a refreshing night's sleep, we are off to Silverwood on Thursday for some serious laughter and memories.

Can't wait to share the pictures with you all!!!

Halloween in August?



A very special thank you to the Little Man's honorary Grandma who yesterday, gifted us with A BUNCH of stuff that the kids found in her basement. And for the record, he hasn't taken it off since .....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hold Me Close

It is a crisp morning with a cool breeze sailing through the windows, such a refreshing break from the heat wave that we have been experiencing. All is quiet for those first few minutes of waking, absorbing the awareness of becoming awake, the twitter of a bird's song and the chatter of the neighbourhood squirrel. A slow, languid stretch and then I hear it: the first little mewl from my little girl. Part of me says ignore it and perhaps she will go back to sleep yet the other part of me is wanting to rush into her room, grab her and hold her close to me. We made it through a whole night of uninterrupted sleep so I am feeling at a loss of not physically being with her for more than four hours. I give into the urge and sneak into her bedroom. She is restless, cold as the blankets are in the corner of the crib and her blurry eyes have now focused upon her true want: Mommy. The sleepy grin comes immediately with the outstretched arms and the tiny, loving voice demanding "Mommy".

Grabbing my precious baby, she immediately curls into my chest and we head off to the warmth and comfort of my bed. Masyn usually sees this as a green light to begin her training for WWE, Queen of the Ring, but today she had a different agenda. Instead, she locked her little arms and legs around my chest and was content to stay curled into me. So here we were, cuddling in bed wrapped in the warmth of each other and the blankets. Feeling overwhelmed with my love for her, I rain gentle kisses on her head while holding her close to me, taking in her scent. In a soothing voice, I told her how much I love her, how beautiful she was and how she should follow her dreams. She looks up, and those beautiful, greeny, bluey, grayish coloured eyes look into mine and shows me a glimpse that she is capable of anything. Masyn is my firecracker. She is my daredevil. She is going to be my child that will break free with independence and accomplish anything she sets her mind to do.

And for these quiet, precious and loving moments, she is content to let me hold her and shower her in my love. I feel so blessed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Value of a Hug

I am a hugger. I love to hug. And on more than one occasion, I have offended a person with a well meant embrace. I was once the person who did not enjoy my personal space invaded. I felt almost violated, very uncomfortable and in short put out. Yet, if I were truly honest with myself all of those years ago, there was that tiny part within me that was warmed. It was secretly saying thank you and it ignited a glow within me.

Hugs can do that to people. Hugs can instill confidence in a person on a bad day, it can quicken the step to a hop and more often than not, it can bring forth a smile, even if only a little one. For me, like my good friend Goofball, we were inundated with hugs at a very special camp put on by Rotary International called RYLA. And, whether you liked it or not, you were hugged to show that you were cared for, to show that people believed in you and to bring you into the fold of happiness. From that first camp that I had ever attended in 1990, it changed my life for the better. And since then, I officially became a certified Hugger, if only in my mind.

Believe me when I say, having this special talent, could have gotten me in potential problems given that my employment background is in Human Resources. As many of you know, being in HR means that you must be aware and practice those oh so many rules and standards brought forth to protect people. And there were times that I likely would have broken one of the golden rules sheerly due to my compassionate nature. My viewpoint was always use common sense and sometimes that dictated giving an employee a hug to instill confidence that everything was going to be already. Hugs were also given as congratulations and good job.

So now my friends, it is my turn to send five lucky people a virtual hug. My good friend Goofball gave this award to me and in turn I will keep up with positive, loving vibes and send it off to five others.



Giving only five is a little difficult as I would like to send one out to everyone, so I will settle with sending five to people that I hope to meet in my lifetime someday but live a little too far away at this point to make that happen.

In no particular order:

1. Stephanie - Adventures in Babywearing. Yes, Stephanie gets many awards, memes and such and it is well deserved. I would however like to thank you so much Steph for your blog. You were the first Mommy blog that I stumbled upon three years ago while searching out baby carrier options. Your blog, thoughts, honesty and support over the years have been inspiring. It has allowed me to overcome that insecurity that Motherhood can bring along by knowing that there are other Mothers out there that have the same feelings.

2. Sheryl - Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats. I met you through Steph's blog site and it is amazing at how much I talk about you as a true friend. I look forward to reading what is going on in your life on a daily basis and love your outlook on life. Your thoughts and honesty on your blog have made me think about a lot of things that I may have put on the back burner. You have a wonderful family and I hope that we will be able to meet one day in the near future.

3. Amber - Crazy Bloggin Canuck. Like with many of Amber's readers, she has the ability to make me laugh as she pokes fun at herself and her family as they grow in life. I feel a connection with Amber (like I am sure many others do) and know that should our children ever get together, the world would never be the same again. Amber, your humour and ability to laugh in the face of trying times matches mine so much, yet you have this amazing ability to share it with others in your writing.

4. Ashley's Mom - Piper Cleaner Dreams. Ashley's Mom is an incredible, inspirational woman. A true woman who provides the voice for special needs individuals. She shows you that individuals who have special needs are just like us and we as a society should recognize that. She has an incredibly beautiful, special family and captures that beauty and shares it with the world. I would be incredibly honoured to meet Ashley and Ashley's Mom one day and my biggest wish is that it will happen.

5. Beth - I Should Be Folding Laundry. Aside from providing me with this fabulous look on my site, Beth owns a piece of my heart. While not in the same circumstance, I can understand some of the feelings that Beth is living with on a daily basis right now with the loss of her twins. I admire Beth immensley for having the ability to voice her despair, confusion and fears. During my times of grief and loss of my babies through miscarriage, I felt alone. Completely utterly alone as every time I tried to voice my thoughts, they either didn't come out right or I felt that I wasn't supported. So Beth, if you are reading this, you need this hug and I wish that I were there in person to wrap you in a warm embrace and give you that support.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Fish, Grey Fish, Blue Fish, Dead Fish

Fish, fish, fish. That is the topic around this house of late. It all started a couple of weeks ago with the goldfish that unfortunately did not have longevity on their side in this house. We learned about the facts of life like how short their life span can be and how they compare to that of cheap toys. We learned that Beta fish are more durable and dependable and down right social when becoming the honored pets to both the kids and cat. I am not too sure who spends more time talking to the fish: Kaelen or the cat. Luckily for the fish (one in each kid's room), they have tamper proof lids on them so no one but an adult can get into them with ease.

With all of the fish talk around the house of late, it seemed like a brain child of an idea to take my children and the daycare children to the local provincial fish hatchery. I mean why not? You get to feed fish and fish for free with help. Because let me tell you, there ain't no way this princess is going to beat that fish senseless to become tonight's dinner. Sure I can de-bone it and fry or bake it up with the best of them, but I draw the line at baiting the hook and then having to put it out of it's misery. This is where the hatchery comes in: they have a children's pond with volunteers that actually take the kids out and teach them how to fish.

So, packed into the van like sardines in a hot, steamy, humid day of +33 which is actually reading at +36 C, with the a/c cranked we are off on an adventure. Sadly, no one told us not to go out on a Monday, so after 20 minutes in the van we arrive only to realize that they only thing that we will be doing is feeding the slippery things rather than eating them for lunch and dinner. The place was pretty much shut down due to "slow traffic visits on Mondays". And due to the heat, I was hard pressed not to comment about putting that disclaimer on their website to inform us slow traffickers that the facility would not be open for the children. But, I should not complain as we did feed the fat buggers food for about an hour, plumping them up for some other child to proudly catch and take home to their parents. AND .... I didn't have to be faced with the awkward situation of bonking the stupid thing to death and grossing both the kids and myself out in the process.

Instead, we marvelled at the talent of two or three trouts and their abilities to swim on their backs for long periods of time. And, emotions were avoided until Kaelen crushed the Olympic dreams of gold for these finned swimmers by remarking, "hey guys, look at those dead fish. Mommy says they are like cheap toys and can break (or die) at any given moment". At least that got a few snickers from the other slow traffic visitors. All in all, we had a fabulous 30 minute visit with the healthy fish and headed for home. Next trip, I will be sure to call ahead of time too to ensure that all facilities are open.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Big Girl Now

Yesterday my little girl turned 18 months old. Where has the time gone? It seems just like a moment ago, a blink of the eye, that I was crying in joy and wonder when holding her for the first time after birthing her ......




Look at her, she is just getting so big now; almost a true little princess. If her stature doesn't quite capture it yet, she certainly has the defined attitude down pat.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Yesterday - It Was DONE

Running a daycare is certainly a time consuming venture. Keeping the little monkeys busy and entertained takes a lot of creative skills, something in which I don't have a vast amount of talent in. I mean, I am all over using one's imagination, but it must involve running around outside. With fall just on the cusp and winter shortly thereafter, that kind of frightens me. I mean, my kids are used to going out in -20+ C weather, but I know not all parents are for that. My biggest fear is that I will be under house arrest for two or three days and then what will I do to entertain the troop? Then the thought comes crashing into my mind ... I might actually have to learn how to ... gulp ... do crafts. Trust me when I say that it is a miracle short of the birth of the Jolie-Pitt twins that I can even glue two Popsicle sticks together in hopes that it looks like an airplane. I am extremely challenged when it comes to creativity skills. Any suggestions? Does anyone know of beginner craft friendly websites for kids?

On another note, remember my post from Monday? Pondering the great question of "Am I Done with Having Children"? Well, after my day yesterday, it would have been a resounding YES. The day started out with one of my daycare kids having a run in with the fireplace resulting in a trip to the emergency room for stitches. Then just when I marvelled at how well that child was doing post hospital trip, two other children, one of them being Masyn, decided that they were going to be miserable for the remainder of the day. At one point, all five kids were either screaming in blood thirsty wails trying to capture one another or crying their little hearts out over who knows what. In that particular moment, the thought actually went through my head "You have to be nuts to even contemplate another child". And then I envisioned, with having another child, that this is what I would get to deal with on a daily basis without daycare children present.

Today, I have six kids in the house - 2 over the mandated allowance. However, they are two sets of families and each parent gave me the thumbs up to do it. So far, so good. But, truthfully I am spoiled because one of the children is 11 years old so they are very self sufficient and in that stage of tween where helping out the little ones is still fun ...... Whew!

Monday, August 11, 2008

When Is It Time?

I know that I posted about this before and I have read about it from other women, but I have this burning desire to know. How do you know when you are done? I mean as in done having children.

I have friends who say that it just felt right, or that they just knew. Others tell me that they continue to yearn and dream for another. Others just tell me that they accepted that they would not (or would) have another because of life's circumstances or respecting their spouse's desires.

For me, I feel like I am lost is a deep abyss. Some days it is crystal clear that I am not ready to be done. That my body and mind yearn to experience that spectacular yet humbling process called pregnancy; to grow, nurture, feel and bond with that precious baby within my womb. I yearn to experience the excitement of childbirth working hard for that precious moment of holding and gazing into your newborns face. The wonder and awe of believing that this precious little one is yours. All yours. The trying yet exhilarating times that follow with breastfeeding and watching that newborn grow into an independent little person every time you blink your eyes.

Yet, there are moments for me that I feel distinctly content. I look at my two precious children and the challenges that we went through to get to the point that we are with them and I feel blessed. I feel that I should be grateful for what I have been given and be content with that. There were many occasions that I would pray to God and my Dad to take care of my beautiful son who shocked us all by arriving 7 weeks early. At that time, the concept of prematurity never crossed our minds. We didn't even know that it could happen to us. We were ignorant. The first week of my son's life was filled with anguishing moments and scares with the talk of open head surgery and the ramifications that could come with that. I remember praying and crying and begging for someone to make everything alright with Kaelen and that I would never ask for anything again. Thankfully, my prayers were heard and we were blessed that everything worked out for Kaelen.

Apparently I suffered from memory loss because I found myself praying, crying and begging again shortly thereafter to God and my Dad or anyone else who would listen to me that all that I wanted was a sibling for my son and if they could please ensure that the pregnancy was healthy, that I wouldn't ask for anything else. Thankfully, once again, my prayers were answered after my third miscarriage and I was able to carry out my pregnancy with my daughter to 37 weeks. Because of those prayers and the promises that were made, I sometimes feel that I shouldn't be greedy and hope to have another child. I was blessed to have my prayers heard and answered twice and I should feel blessed and thankful for that.

I think because of those feelings and because they are strong, they are at the forefront of my mind when my body has those urges and yearnings for another child. Or, perhaps that is my inner voice truly telling me that I am done.

How do you know really? Do you know? How is it for you?