Friday, February 27, 2009

Fresh Air From Up There

Although I am obviously biased, but isn't this a great photo? We have this HUGE mound of snow in our front yard thanks to our angel of a neighbour who loves to use his snowblower (who happens to use it on our three car wide driveway when it snows).

I think that I am loving attempting to take photos. There may be some hope for me yet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

6 Inches Under ....

Just when you get hopeful that spring may truly be just around the corner, Mother Nature starts to giggle and then spanks you silly to show you just how much power she holds.

The b%#tch must have a vendetta as she reined supreme last night by hammering us with 8 inches of that white stuff in under three hours.

The only good news is that perhaps I will be able to get a great perspective photo for Beth's next challenge. Kids and snow always make a good photo op ......

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Just when you think that you are having a rotten, never ending day, something happens to make you reflect upon what has occurred since waking up. It is then, that you actually realize that you have had incredible success so far and that you should be patting yourself on the back:

  • Both kids actually got up at 7:30 am this morning as opposed to 6:30 am.
  • Daycare kids did not arrive until 8:45 am this morning as opposed to 7:00 am.
  • Despite Masyn and daycare girl bullying each other (even though they are also true friends), we have avoided injury of any type including bite marks, pinch marks, nail marks, bruises and cuts due to pushing from behind.
  • I have managed to grind only my teeth rather than strangle said girls for being beyond difficult today.
  • Enrolled Kaelen into Kindergarten with all five kids in tow because you can't enroll over the phone or internet.
  • Applied for an office job by dropping off resume in person (I had to bribe the kids with donuts and turned on DVD players in van to do so).
  • Paid bills and still had money (not much) in the bank account.
  • Managed to drop a bowl of vegetable soup on the kitchen floor, resulting in splatter marks in every nook & cranny of the kitchen. This (at the time) fatal mistake actually resulted in making me hand wash the cupboards, floors and yes, even ceiling. The kitchen is now nice and sparkly.
  • Have managed to get supper almost ready (and it isn't even 2:00 pm yet!) so it is slowly simmering, gathering delicious flavour for 5:30 pm.
  • And yes .... actually posted twice in one day!

You Capture Challenge - Week One

Well, I have tried and I have already lost the challenge as I am pretty sure that my flash went off for this picture. Well, then again, maybe it didn't because I actually took it on a "SCN" setting as opposed to "Auto". Can a flash still go off? I mean, there is a shadow and all but that could be because I had every single light on in the kitchen as well as my son holding a flashlight over my shoulder. Wondering what the hell I am rambling on about? Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry for all of the details and examples of what a real photo should look like.

This week's challenge was to take a photo of something you love. The first thing that popped into my mind was my children, but I thought that for once, I should broaden my horizons a little. So, here it is. If it weren't for at least a pot of this necessity in life per day, there would be no me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random Act of Kindness

I have written about it before and am truly passionate about it. When was the last time that you have done a Random Act of Kindness?

Whether it is shovelling the mounds of snow from a neighbours driveway to purchasing the coffee order in the Tim Horton's Drive thru behind you, to baking cookies for the stand offish neighbors down the road that just welcomed their first child into the world? What ever it is, where ever it is, it is something that is not practiced enough in our society today. Everywhere you turn it feels like someone is soliciting a donation for a worthy cause or raising funds for a school trip or needed upgrades to a facility. But if you are like me, money is tight and you feel like a total chump for not giving. And while a $5 donation can go a long way for some charities, it doesn't make me feel good about giving. Instead, putting a smile on somebody's face while remaining anonymous is worth so much more to me.

Sneaky antics that I have been known to use is to leave a well thought out note to thank a fellow employee for their hard work and that they are appreciated, to making a hot cup of tea accompanied with home baked cookies on a desk of a manager when they slip out to diffuse a situation. I have also been that person to buy the order behind me at both Starbucks and Tim Hortons to mowing lawns of the neighbour down the road that seems to be working long hours of late. Whatever the act, it for the most part always remained anonymous and it gave me the satisfaction of knowing that I likely put a smile of wonderment on that person's face.

We had a Random Act of Kindness given to us a few years ago and I often wonder if that person will ever know how much that impacted our lives. And, over the weekend, I was the lucky recipient of a kind, thoughtful person anonymously purchasing my coffee at the Tim Horton's drive thru. Did they know just how close I was bordering on the line of desperation of needing that hot, blissful, satisfying first sip of a coffee?

So, go ahead and drop that quarter in the expired parking meter beside you tomorrow because we all know just how irksome a ticket is. I dare you to drop off a batch of cookies to your local hospital to either the Emergency Room staff or Pediatric/Nursery Ward. You just may be surprised at how under appreciated people feel and your thoughtfulness gave someone else hope and happiness if only for a moment.

Have you been the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness before? If so, what was it? Or, have you been the giver of an act? Care to share?

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Fairy Tale Weekend

Yes, the party was a resounding success! It was easy, quick and just perfect - no more than 1 1/2 hours long, which at the time kind of felt like eternity at times. Biting off more than I can chew is a trait that I have perfected and I almost lived up to that trait come the end of the day. Note to self: running a daycare and hosting a birthday party simultaneously is not the best of ideas especially if said party is planned in the morning. I mean, it was good, nothing went wrong, it just made for an extremely long day for me especially given the fact that hubby and I were taking off for the weekend to curl in a bonspiel with my mom. And let me tell you, it must have been apparent by the time we hit my mom's house 3 hours away at 8:30 pm that night as 2 beer were consumed before we even hit the curling ice for our game at 9:00 pm. Trust me when I say that I am not a big drinker, yet there is just something about the game of curling and going into bonspiels that brings out my nasty, alter ego that likes to shine in the lime light and entertain all that will watch and/or listen. Mix in a few beers into the fold and well .... who needs the Oscars anyways? Especially when said weekend involved dressing up in costumes and living in one's imagination ....

So, hubby and I throughout the weekend consumed way too many beer, laughed until we cried, did a few stupid human tricks, thought a few times "Oh why did I drink those beer" to thought, "Well, one more can't hurt us anymore right?". It was a weekend that the two of us needed to blow off some tension that has built between the two of us with the aftermath of moving, the stress of doing jobs we don't particularly enjoy, the disappointment of a goal/dream not turning out the way we had envisioned to having some time away from our children so they see what life is like away from us and we them.

So here I sit on Monday night on my couch completely exhausted, nursing a wounded ankle (due to a brilliant attempt to make a disco ball spin on Friday night) yet finding myself giggling with my husband as a glimpse of a goofy moment from the bonspiel gets relived in a memory. My children had a fabulous time, getting spoiled rotten with my aunt to the point that my son didn't want to come home with us. If that doesn't tell us that they too needed a break I don't know what does.

Tomorrow, you will get to read all about my precious princess turning two, but until then, I will leave you with a few party pictures from both the princess's ball and the gong show called a curling bonspiel:

Princess Masyn holding court presiding over her minions during her royal feast.

Pirate Kaelen searching for lost gems and coins buried deep beneath rice. The great thing about kids his age is that they will actually close their eyes and keep them closed instead of trying to peek, all of the kids did - it was amazing.

Princess Masyn with her cheesy "Cheese" face enjoying the banquet feast in her honor.

My mom and myself after 47 bottles of beer and a few shooters. If you look closely, you can verify this statement by the glassy look of our eyes. This was prior to my Friday night alter ego of Johnny Disco emerging.

My Saturday Night alter ego front and center: Goldilocks. And while the apron is tacky, I can ensure you that I had the ruffled white ankle socks and black Mary Jane shoes.

Baby Bear, Momma Bear (my mom) and Papa Bear (hubby). And yes, Baby Bear and Papa Bear got a little fiesty within their costumes and put on a show. After all, they claimed it was the costume eyes that caused the fuzzy vision - not the never empty bottles of beer glued to their hands.

Papa Bear. Had to put this one in just to show you the eyes and their claim as to why their vision was "fuzzy".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ahoy Mateys with the Glass Slipper

Although the actual, big day is still 3 days away, tomorrow we are having a Princess & Pirates party to celebrate Masyn's 2nd birthday. She amazes me in the fact that she knows what is going on and was completely wired tonight as I decorated the house for the celebration. And being the smarty pants that she is, hubby tonight only had to tell her once that she was turning 2 and she was off to the races chanting "me two!" and holding each pointer finger up while doing a dance.

Here is the pre-party shots. Tomorrow's will be much better as all attendees of the celebration will be either a pirate or a beautiful princess. Sigh .... this is one of the best parts of being a Mom ... hosting themed parties. I love it!!

The "Lost Treasure" trunk. The party bags will be given out to all of the fair ladies and scurvy lads once they complete the treasure adventure filled with both pirate and princess riddles.

The kids practicing their "aarrrr"'s and practicing digging for treasure in a chest filled with rice and buried gems and coins.

One of the two treasure maps that Kaelen and I made. We got the idea from Mr. Maker (which is a fabulous show!!) and amazingly it was very easy to do - even for an artistically challenged individual such as myself.

Pirate Corner where treasure maps, buried treasure and adventure riddles can be found.

The Royal Feast area. Princess Masyn will preside on her throne while starring down at her loyal minions.

Now I am off to brush up on my pirate slang and royalty etiquette. And, if I get enough beauty sleep tonight, I just make break out the wedding gown and preside over this entire affair as the queen. Wait ... perhaps I should have thought about that before inhaling that second helping of dinner tonight .... Servant. I just may have to do servant.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Holding Your Head High

Need a lift today? Want something to inspire you and remind you just how powerful it is to be a woman and have other women in your life? Well don't wait for another second, head over here for a speech done by Kelly Corrigan, narrating so eloquently the preciousness of friendship amongst women.

A HUGE thanks and hug to my beautiful and one of my bestest friends ever, Debbie for sending this onto me as a hug in the form of an email. I love you too Deb; more than you will ever know. I cherish our friendship beyond belief and feel so blessed to have you in my life. You are that soft place to fall, that secure place to confide my fears and that place to laugh until I cry.

And to all of my women blogging friends: a huge hug to you. You guys make my day by sharing your lives with me and all of the encouraging support that you give to me by offering comforting or jesting comments. Despite never meeting most of you, you all hold a very special place in my heart.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Security in Knowledge

There is just something to be said when you can find the humour in the irritating, short tempered moments. You know, the ones that you can see your spouse's tension sky rocket yet for some reason you have the urge to take a suicidal moment and burst out laughing?

Case in hand:

After being holed up in the truck for 4 hours on our way home from Disneyland, we struck the jackpot in finding a McDonalds equipped with a Playland. Why is it so hard to find one when you actually need one? Upon ordering our lunch, we let the kids loose in what we hoped would provide a much needed energy release for the two of them. All went great until they decided to become fearful right in the middle of the mesh tunnel high above us. Overcome with fear, both kids froze and began crying, no make that screaming, in fear and would not move if their life depended on it. Instantly irritated, hubby decided that he would rescue the kids.

My question to you: Have you ever seen a 6' 2", 240 lbs man try to contort himself through a plastic tube obstacle maze? Add in the fact that he is not exactly flexible? Yep, it was a sight to be seen hence the fit of giggles that overcame me when watching Super Dad attempt to rescue his still screaming kids. This is what his reaction was upon my sweet request for him to smile:

I don't think that he was finding much humour in the moment do you?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


It seems just like yesterday, yet in reality today marks 23 long years since my father died. And, one would think that one learns to move on from the pain, but the truth is that the pain can surface at any time. Granted, the pain isn't as devastating as it first was, but it has turned more into a nostalgic, wistful pain. The yearning pain of wondering what life would have been like growing up with a Daddy. Having the experience of being Daddy's Little Girl, to having him give me away at my wedding. Most of all though, I constantly yearn and wish that my children could have the opportunity to be wrapped in his warm, loving embrace. My Dad was truly a wonderful father. He loved my sister and I with every ounce of his soul and showered us in love, laughter, kisses and great big warm bear hugs. I know that he would be so proud of his grandchildren and would shower his love on them just the way he did with my sister and I. And despite the years that have gone by with his absence, this year it feels fresh. Fresh with the knowledge at just how truly young he was to have left this world. When growing up, the later years of the 30's always seemed old. As you get closer to those years, you realize that you are just starting to live life to the fullest. This year, I will be the same age that my father died at; 37. And with that knowledge, it has infused me with the determination to enjoy each and every moment of my children, husband, family and friends.

So today, I find myself very reflective. I keep taking those trips down memory lane, reliving those tragic moments of his death to glowing in the happier times. This morning, in an attempt to post something very profound, I found myself laughing and crying as I took a short trip down memory lane on my blog site in an effort to link you to my post about my dad from last year. What that trip gave me is the gentle reminder of just how enriched my life has become with my children and I feel so incredibly blessed to have shared this with my husband. It also gave me the gentle reminder that my dad is with me in spirit, my heart and memories with every step that I take.

I can't tell you how much I miss him or how much I yearn for him because I just don't know how to put it into words. But I will share this with you, he is there for me in my moments of weakness and need. He has infused me with courage, warmth and acceptance. I haven't shared this story with many because it is so hard to aptly put into words, and at the time, the warmth of acceptance was still too fresh for me to share on the off chance that it gets met with cynicism or contradiction.

Back in December of 2005, during the Christmas holidays, I had experienced my second miscarriage. I was devastated, inconsolable and alone. I had to go into work as my manager was away and I had already missed a week of work due to the surgery needed for the miscarriage. I was physically sore and emotionally a wreck. The CEO of the company came into my office and questioned why I was there; I told him that I needed a distraction because I was going to fall apart. That is when he told me to go home. And then he imparted this wisdom on me. He said, "Allison, I want you to go home, but when you walk out of that door, I want you to walk across that bridge, into the park. Find a bench and sit down and then I want you to look up. Look up at that beautiful big sky out there. Look around and see all of the beauty that is surrounding you because too often, when people are down, they forget to look up and then get lost in the dark." To be honest, I had no intention of doing so but he was watching for me when I left and basically bullied me into doing so. So, to appease him, I started across the bridge. I took a deep breath and then lost the battle. Tears from my broken heart and soul came pouring out. I couldn't stop the flow and stumbled for that bench in a blurr. Muttering to myself, I asked myself why this happened to me again. Why because I having a hard time understanding and accepting. A moment later, the cloud overhead opened up and the warmth of the sun embraced me with what felt like a hug. Upon lifting my head to those rays, I asked my Dad to watch over my babies that I would never get to hold, hug nor shower with love. To love them as much as he loved me. In that moment, I heard bells ring in the distance. They chimed a beautiful melody that comforted me and gave me a measure of peace. With tears of hope, I thanked my Dad for being there for me when I needed someone the most.

Now some people would argue that it was chance that these incidents would happen all in sync, but I know that it was my Dad telling me that he is there for me when I need him.