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?

Hello Up There

Hello up there. Can you see us? Yes, we are waving to you in hopes that you will wave back. Oh, yes you CAN see us for you just blinked that beautiful twinkle of yours in the midnight black sky. And you there: Are you a planet or just an extra bright star tonight? And you, Mr. Moon, thank you for shining brilliantly in the clear night and showing off your freckles. Oh, and all of you jet passengers, can you see us? Do we look like tiny little ants?

As you grow up, it is easy to forget about the simple joys in life. Sometimes it takes our children to remind us that your imagination is one of the best gifts that Mother Nature and God have provided you. This much needed attribute can take you beyond your wildest dreams and can provide you with a relaxing outlet or even steadfast confidence. Why is it then, as one grows up, that one can lose touch and at times completely forget about this amazing trait?

After weeks of promises, I finally came through for Kaelen on Friday night. It was a perfectly clear night, the house was hot and sticky while outside was cooler with a warm yet soothing breeze. And, because this was Kaelen's first time star gazing, we pulled out the air bed, blew it up and cozied ourselves up with a mountain of soft blankets, pillows and high tech flashlights to catch any bad guys planning on crashing our party.

For two hours, I attempted to teach Kaelen about stars, planets, the moon, satellites and shooting stars. While he was genuinely interested, at the inquisitive age of three, he was more interested in talking to the stars that were twinkling directly at him, and the alien who was driving the satellite and taking pictures of him. He was convinced that the jet passengers were waving to him and that the sheet lightning in the distance was fireworks in heaven. In reality, it was Kaelen who reminded me that using your imagination was so much more fun and interesting.

We named stars after ourselves and giggled into the night. And at one point, we even pretended to see a shooting star and confided our wishes to each other. Lucky for me that Kaelen's was that he would receive a hug and a kiss from someone special. That wish topped off a night that will be in the forefront of my memory for a long time to come. So if you are looking to have a refreshing night, I would highly recommend grabbing your precious child, grabbing a blanket and cuddling up outside. If you don't have a child, then I would be more than willing to loan mine out for two hours max.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


It was the tail that gave her stealthy hideout away ......

Monday, August 04, 2008

So Much To Say

It is Monday morning, a holiday Monday morning at that and here I am sitting at my kitchen table at 6:30 in the morning waiting for my daycare kids to show up in about half an hour. That is when it hit home to me that being self employed certainly has a few disadvantages .....

Check this out! In case some of you haven't surfed over to my very good friend Ellen's site, you should do so. And, Miss Ellen gave me an award!! She exclaimed: "My dear friend Allie at A Day in the Life of the Whittinghams: if you want honesty and authenticity in all emotions, you should visit her blog a visit. "

Sigh, what a truly sweet person you are Ellen!! Perhaps a little wrong, but nevertheless, thoughtful. And for those of you who don't know our past, I have been blessed to have met Ellen when she was on a Rotary exchange 12 years ago. It was through Ellen's persistence and thoughtfulness that allowed our friendship to grow once she returned to Belgium, by sending probably the longest emails ever known to man. Sadly, the last time that she was in Canada, our meet up got cancelled due to my son's unexpected arrival ..... BUT, she is getting married in June and I have every intention of being there to join in on the rowdy celebration.

Oh ... wow. After reading the comments on how to dispose of a fish, it has been brought to my attention that I must have violent tendencies. I put it down the garborator without a thought of anything else. I figured if he was minced to smithereens and then sent down the water chute into the main tunnel that there was no way for him to come back with those sad little eyes accusing me of mistreating him within his 16 hour experience of being Masyn's fish.

Gotta run, kids are here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Biting The Dust

Yesterday was a great day. Hubby had his first full day off since moving here so he happily wrapped his arms around the kids and kept them occupied. That allowed Mommy to get a much needed haircut, squeak a doctor check up in and then I was off to work at the golf course for the night. Thursday nights are my nights at the golf course serving a bunch of rowdy former elite hockey players. It is a great social outlet for me given my passion for hockey and most of these guys played hockey with my Dad so they often share funny memories.

As it often happens, Hubby in his excitement of being with the kids for the day, decided to go a little overboard in their entertainment activities. In his infinite wisdom, he decided that we didn't have enough things going on in our house with the daycare and all, but we should inherit a few more pets. So, we are now the proud parents to our cat, and she is happily grateful to become the sibling to four no ... make that three now, goldfish. Each child of mine has a little tank with these swimming beauties displayed on their dresser.

And those said fish gave us our first lesson of life today. Upon waking this morning, Kaelen came running into my room with excitement to show me his new pets. Stumbling out of bed and into his room, I bleary eye balled his fish, Tricky and Ricky. I admit that I had to lie because I think goldfish are ugly and gross, but I praised those fish and Kaelen's chin went up a notch in fatherly pride. Off to Masyn's room next only to discover a gruesome scene; said baby is standing in her crib with hair going every which way, crying and pointing to her fish tank. Thinking that she is wanting to show me her new pets, I pick her up and take her over to the tank only to realize that the water is so murky and one of her fish is showing off his talent for swimming on his back in the middle of the tank. Kaelen meanwhile is saying, "oh oh ... Mommy, the fish is died already!" "Oh, no..... why?"

Due to minimal sleep, my creative skills were not at the best so I told them the truth: the fish died. That led to a multitude of questions about how, why and when. Just as rapid as the questions were fired, I responded with quickness that even impresses me given the fact that I hadn't consumed a pot of coffee yet. Because that fish looks gruesome and the water even more so, we headed off to the kitchen to make life a little easier for "Goldfish" (the name that Kaelen ceremoniously gave the survivor). That is when "the dilemma" dawned on me: how do you dispose of a dead fish? Do I:

  1. Flush it down the water tunnel known as the toilet?
  2. Place it in a body bag known as a baggie and throw it in the garbage?
  3. Huck it in the magic bullet, puree it and feed it to the cat for a dinner appy?
  4. Ensure that it is really dead by dumping it in the garburator, chopping it up and then sending it down the water tunnel?

What would you do? I will let you know what I did tomorrow .....

Until then, I continue to field questions about the fish and do they go to heaven. I also have to do spot checks on the other survivors to ensure that they do not attempt the dangerous maneuver of the back stroke. Today could be a long day with lack of sleep but at least it will be entertaining.