Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Turkey

Conversation overheard this morning between Connor (just waking up) and his Teddy Bear and Sheep...

Connor (yawning and stretching) : "Nnnnnn!... *sigh* Hmm... I want a drink."

Animals: silence

Connor: "I want a DRINK!"

Animals: more silence

Connor: "I said, I want a DRINK!"



Connor: "You hear dat? I said I want a drink an' I farted!"

Animals: dead silence, apparently not appreciating the gesture...

Me in my bed: giggling hysterically but silently with the blankets over my mouth.

Connor (singing): "I farted, I farted! I farrr-ted! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! (this laugh is done in his "tough guy"/gruff voice)

Me: tears streaming , still silently giggling like a fool

Connor: "Have a very Merry Christmas am-a-mals!!"

*I hope my present is better than theirs!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Love of My Life

My gorgeous new husband on our wedding day... Posted by Picasa

All the girls...I love how she did this one in Sepia. Sarah, Kayla, me, Sheila and Madeline get sassy. (sort of!) Posted by Picasa

Levi looking very fine... Posted by Picasa

My handsome hubby and I. Posted by Picasa

Me on our Wedding Day!! Posted by Picasa

We finally got our Wedding Photos!! We were hoping to get them earlier so we could send a few as Christmas gifts, but things got delayed with the photographer. The wait was well worth it though, they turned out beautifully. I love how she used black and white and sepia with the color pictures. The album looks amazing, I wish you all could see it. It's like a work of art...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bah, Humbug!!

OOOH! A new post!!!

Just in case you've been wondering, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Our internet has totally sucked, and I've actually been a very busy girl...
I wish I could say that I was busy because I was baking tons of Christmas goodies for my children, and happily assembling gingerbread houses while Bing Crosby croons holiday carols softly in the background.
I even wish I could say that I was busy decorating my home with fragrant boughs of evergreen and garlands made from dried cranberries and citrus slices.
But it would all be untrue.
I still don't even have a Christmas tree. Christmas Eve is a week from today. I have some shopping done, but I'm not finished. Nothing is wrapped, and I haven't sent one Holiday card. The oven was turned on once to heat garlic fingers when everyone was too tired and hungry to even really care what we had for supper. The last thing I made with my own two hands was Play-Dough, and that was just to stop the kids from fighting over the hard crusty ball of petrified Play-Doh that someone found under the sofa. I think it was a hundred years old. Sad times, indeed.

In actual fact, I have been spending about 70% of my time in the crapper, doubled over in pain and sounding like I spent the previous night pounding back the shots of Rhum. Not fun. I eat, it comes out. One helluva way to lose weight. Some days are better than others, but still.
The other 30% of my time has been spent visiting the Dr. trying to figure out what has been going on with my body, struggling with my exhaustion from it all, and trying to be a wife and mother. My calendar now looks like a busy executive's day book, with appointments scribbled here and there, and times and dates are written on the kids' artwork that hangs on the fridge.
So far we (by we I mean the Dr.) think it could be Crohn's Disease or Colitis. We've ruled out infection or a virus, and food poisoning. As a little treat to myself after Christmas, I am scheduled for a scope on the 28th of Dec. Nothing like a little inspection of the lower intestines and bowel to ring in the New Year, right? Wait, it gets better. Dad , if you're reading this, you might want to stop here, things get a little "girly". You too Levi. The next little bit contains way too much information, but that's never stopped me before...
I've also been having period problems. Big time. Like every two weeks and very heavy. And then when that's not happening, I also get treated to nasty little bouts of Candida. (yeast infections) So, I also have appointments scheduled with the specialist for that. What really scares me is that the "H" word has ben mentioned a few times. Even once is too much. I mean, I know I'm not planning to have any more kids, but seriously. I'm only 30!
Did anyone check the warranty on my uterus or colon?!?
As a result, I'm finding it really hard to get into the Christmas mood, and I feel badly for my family. Normally I have the tree up well before the middle of the month, and the gifts are usually under the tree, wrapped and ready to be ripped into. Cookies are often made, and things are generally festive. Levi has been a real trooper through all this, and is keeping the house well stocked with toilet paper for me. He put up the outside lights on Saturday. The kids are really excited for Santa to come, and I don't want to take away from that. We just had two storm days and that helped a bit, now that is is actually starting to look like Christmas. Madeline, Connor and I wrote letters to Santa yesterday, and all of us did Christmas anagrams and Christmas word searches and crossword puzzles. So that also helped.
Still, a part of me just wants to say "Bah, Humbug!" about the whole thing, and put Christmas off until I feel better.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Addition! (Fur baby)

We have a new addition to our family!

Today I found a tiny kitten, apparently abandoned along the road. He's probably about 6 weeks old, seems to be in good health, and is quite affectionate. We're all smitten with him, and even Daisy isn't too offended by his presence. He's a fluffy orange/caramel stripey little guy with the sweetest little face, and we're looking for name suggestions. Got any good ones?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Life is Beautiful

Our friend has pulled through. Her recovery has begun, and though it will be difficult for her, we are hoping that with the proper help and guidance, love and support, she will be able to make herself whole again. All of us are thrilled that she is still with us.

The sun is shining today for the first time in many days. Today I will take Connor outside. We will smell the crisp fall air, hear the crunch of the leaves under our feet, and watch the geese fly overhead. We might discuss where they are going, these honking noisy creatures. We will collect brightly colored leaves. We will likely get sniffly noses and chilly hands, and we will laugh. I will drink in the sight of him playing in the leaves, imprinting it into my memory. I will be reminded once again that life is all about making memories and enjoying the innocence of childhood, whatever your age may be.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I'm finally married, honeymooned, and ready to start life as normal again. The wedding was great, the honeymoon was amazing (I've never eaten so much incredible food in my life!!) and I was able to visit with my best friend from high school and her new family while we were in Ontario. She and her husband have a 20 month old son, Cael, who is super cute and really smart. They also have a new addition, Iain, who was a month old on the day that we were visiting. They are such a beautiful family!! I am thankful for friends like Tanya, who even though she must have been exhausted with her newborn and busy toddler, opened her home to us and made us feel so welcome.

I am thankful for my children as well. They were missed while we were away, but I think the break was a great thing for us. I returned home feeling refreshed and ready to be a better parent than what I have been in the last distracting months leading up to the wedding. I've always felt that they are a huge part of who I am, and they help shape my personality. With a week of no parenting responsibilities, I was worried that I was a different person when childless. It seemed that for the first couple of days, I really had nothing to talk about, and actually felt lost and out of place in my own life. I realized that I have slowly been letting my own individuality slip away, and have been letting the role of mother completely take over. I was desperately in need of some rebalancing in that's OK to love your kids so much it hurts, but you also have to take a bit of time to enjoy things completely unrelated to your kids also, and I haven't been doing that. I'm going to work on that one in the coming months.

Perhaps the things I am most thankful for are the gifts of life and love. Life certainly can have its hurdles, and love doesn't always behave like we wish it would. It is up to us to take what we do have, and create the kind of life we want for ourselves. We are the only ones responsible for the kind of life that we choose to live. Sometimes, the decisions that we make aren't always the right ones, but may seem like the right ones at the time.

This weekend, a very close family friend chose to give up on life. She is, at the time of writing this, in a coma and still clinging to life with the help of a ventilator. I don't pretend to understand the despair and overwhelming emotions she must have been feeling when resorting to such measures, nor am I naive enough to think that everything will be OK for her if she makes it through. Those feelings and decisions are hers and belong only to her.

What I do know is that she is loved, and life is waiting for her to find her way back.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wedding Daze

I am such a bad blogger. No posts for over a month. Were you wondering if I would ever write again? I was.

This whole "wedding thing" is really taking it's toll on my nerves, my ever shrinking bank account, and ironically, my relationship with Levi. Don't get me wrong, things are still as great and solid between us as they ever were. We are still madly in love with one another. It's strange, though, how trudging through all this mucky business of getting hitched seems to have made us "miss" one another. Does any of that make sense?

Normally, we would snuggle up on the sofa and watch TV after the kids were tucked into bed. Now we sit at the kitchen table and try to figure out where all the money for the DJ, the harpist, the minister, etc. is going to come from. We know that on top of all this, we still need to pay our usual bills, and have money set aside for other things like medicine. (yep, its that time again, the kids are back in school and dragging home every viral infection they can get on their hands... but that's another post)

I guess it's not even really about the money. I just miss the normality that used to go on around here. People now call all day and ask me things. Yellow roses with the copper ones? Wine at the head table? Do you want spruce or pine trees? Are the kids going to be here or there? Can we get Terran in again, we think we have his tux the right length now. Do you want the full name or just the initials engraved on these? How is everyone getting to the ceremony, and in what vehicle? Why is the van making that noise? Are you leaking power steering fluid? Can you find out how much to get that fixed? Did Connor say his ear was hurting? His fever was what? Did you sleep at all last night? Did you eat today? Can you sign my homework? What's for supper? Will you be paying with credit card or cash? AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

So. There it is. A two second snippet of my day. I hate to seem ungrateful. I feel so fortunate to be able to even have choices. I am just tired of making all of the decisions. I miss when the hardest decision was "Do I really want to eat before going to bed or no?" It will soon be over, this insanity.

Only two more sleeps!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Story of Us

Only 35 sleeps left until our Wedding Day!!

No, everything is not ready yet.
Yes, I am getting a little panicky.

Sound about normal to you? Thought so.

So a bunch of you have been asking, and some of you already know the story of how Levi and I started out. There's a few different takes on the whole story, like how we met, or how we first knew we were interested in each other, but there was that one special moment when I knew that he was someone I had to keep in my life. What was it, you ask? The moment he kissed me on the forehead.

Before all that happened, Levi was someone I was just starting to get to know. The very first time I met him, I was actually on a date with his roommate. We had maybe a total of two dates, and I felt that was probably two too many. He was nice enough, we just never really had much in common. So that's how I was first introduced to Levi. Through a mutual friend.

A few months later, I walked into a classroom at Holland College to teach a First Aid course. Levi was sitting in the front row. Recognizing him from before, and feeling guilty about not returning his roommates phone calls, I felt a little awkward, but his easy going nature put me at ease, and I was able to get on with my day. Over the next three days that I was teaching there, we joked around, made light conversation, and I decided that I really liked him as a person. I had no idea if he had a girlfriend or not, but I had hoped that I would see him the next time I went out with the girls.

As it turns out, I did see him there. A few times. We would always say Hi to one another, he would usually buy me a drink, and we would dance for a bit. One weekend, my cousin Jason came over to PEI to visit, and I took him out to show him the local "wildlife" in Charlottetown. I saw Levi again, introduced the two, and then we met up with my neighbor. Everyone ended up coming back to my place for a bite to eat. Eventually, Levi and I were the only two left awake, out on the deck talking until about four in the morning and trying to do ollies on the skateboard. (I still do not know what an ollie is) I think we "liked" each other at this point, but neither one of had made it known to the other. That was the weekend before September 11 the happened.

After that, we didn't see each other so much. I was extremely busy at the Red Cross and with my two kids. The next time I saw him, it was October. My friend had decided to take me out, thinking I needed a break from everything. I had a great time that night, dancing, laughing and having fun. Until I had the wine. Levi was with Melanie, Dawn and I, and we were walking to Dawn's house to call a cab. I was wearing my boots with the four inch heel, and sort of walked on the edge of the sidewalk. I snapped my ankle and poor Levi ended up carrying me on his back up to the corner store. By this time, the wine was doing its work, and the pain was excruciating. I felt ill. Very, very ill. He called a cab and bought me a bag of ice and to put on my ankle while Melanie held my hair off my face in the bathroom.

Yeah, I know, not exactly at my best.
I got home, only having to get the cabbie to pull over once. Levi and Melanie pulled the boots off me, and then he carried me up to my bed while Mel got a bucket for me to puke in. I was in so much pain, and apparently allergic to the wine. He tucked me in, arranged the ice under my hugely swollen ankle, brushed the hair from my face and gently kissed me on the forehead before he went home.

I had a broken ankle and needed crutches for two weeks. During this time, I still didn't know Levi's last name, but I knew where I could find him. I called the College and left a message for him to call me. I needed to thank him for his kindness. Nobody has ever been so unselfishly kind to me like that. I didn't hear from him.

Weeks later, I saw him again. He told me that he was on OJT for school, and hasn't been to the school in two weeks. He invited me to his new place for steak and salad, I got spaghetti and fell in like. The following week, we had our first "real" date, lunch at Pat & Willy's. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some say he had a crush on the teacher. Some say I "fell" for him. I say He kissed me on the forehead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Pilates for Cows ??

This week, I've had the opportunity to spend a few hours a day to myself. I was asked to provide the First Aid coverage at Old Home Week. Aside from the wicked cool rides that is associated with Old Home Week (at least at my house), it is also famous for the Gold Cup and Saucer Race, where the winnings are worth about 50 grand. It is also where agriculture buffs from all over come to exhibit their cows and horses, sheep and other animals, in hopes of winning first prize at the Provincial Exhibition.

On Saturday, I was sitting in the stands watching about 20 or so people walk their year old Holstein cows around the ring. The competitors are dressed all in white, with a 3 inch cardboard band around their head with their entry number written on it. There is the occasional bellow of a young cow, voicing their indignity at being led around in circles by the face. Patiently the competitors lead their cows around the ring, despite the objections.

Cows don't walk very fast. In fact, they sort of just step, stop, step, step, stop. Some call this "plodding". I call it how we're probably going to be walking down the aisle at my wedding. Anyhow, once the competitors are told to stand still, a strange thing begins to happen.

The cows do Pilates.

OK, not really, but what happens once the cows stop moving is really quite interesting. Apparently, a huge emphasis is put on the spinal alignment , body carriage, and head position of the cow. These contestants do to their cows what I would do to my class participants.
A touch here to lift the ribs and straighten the spine. A gentle nudge there to move the tailbone to a neutral position. Lengthen from head to tailbone, shoulders sliding back and down, chest open.

All of this amazed me. I've never seen cows being judged before. I thought perhaps the judges would look at obvious things like color, glossy coat, size, etc. You know, regular stuff. Once I caught on to how these cows were being judged, I began to look at them differently. #63 was a bit "slouchy". #60 wasn't too bad. #53 was long and straight through the back and open through the chest. Beautiful. As it turns out, #53 won first place. I wonder of this judge ever took a Pilates class? Or taught one. I bet he'd be good.

All of this made me think that good posture can make all the difference. I mean, if a cow can be seen as beautiful, even graceful, then why are we so hard on ourselves?? It's not our size, but rather how we carry ourselves that determines how others see us and "judge" us. So whether you are an actual barnyard cow, or sometimes just feel like one... stand tall. Head up, shoulders back and down, open through the chest. You are beautiful too.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wedding Bells are Ringing!

Is that the not so far off sound of Wedding Bells ringing in my ears? Oh, wait - nope, it's just me! My ears are ringing, but it's only because of my (as my doctor put it) horribly infected ears. I actually lost the hearing in my right ear for almost two weeks!! With a little medicine and some TLC, I was able to get my hearing back just in time to go see Blue Rodeo in concert on Sunday night!! What a great show... my good friend Sarah and I went, and she is a HUGE fan. The seats were awesome, I really didn't think that we were going to be as close to the stage as we were. Happy Birthday Sarah!
Okay, for the Wedding Update... well, I'm still stressing out, although not as bad. My mom has Madeline's flowergirl dress made, (she made it out of her own wedding dress! How special is that!? ) and I finally found the perfect fabric for the bridesmaids' dresses in the same shade as the tux vests!!! HOORAY!! It had to be ordered from Montreal, but it should be here by the middle of next week. I cut out the material for my dress on Monday, so hopefully soon Mom will be sticking me with pins while she tries to fit the lace somehow onto the satin. Stuff keeps coming up though! I have to work all next week (First Aid coverage at Old Home Week... need a Band-Aid? Come see me!), and for the first time, it's actually a paid gig this time. Which is good, because money isn't exactly something I have a lot of. Or any of , for that matter...But back to the wedding...
So I checked my comments today and my old roommate Tracey (who is a chef) offered to make the cake!! Hello !?! How could I forget that she was a chef? The thought never entered into my mind that I knew someone who might be able to help us out!! So I'm going to call her tonight and hash out the details. She makes the most amazing stuff!!! Her Parmesan Chicken is to die for!!! (It's no wonder I had a hard time keeping the pounds off when I lived with her!! She can take hot dogs and make them into a gourmet meal!!) "Hello, my name is Amy, and I'm a food-a-holic." As if it wasn't obvious.
Levi and I also went out on Monday night and bought our wedding rings. They are so beautiful! They had to be sent off to be sized, we're both a half size smaller than what they had at the store. So the rings should be here in about 2 weeks. I can't wait!!
I've been getting a great response for my classes since my ad ran in The Buzz. In the last week, I've had three registrations for the aquafitness classes and an inquiry about the postnatal pilates. Whoo-hoo! The fall session starts the week of August 29. I am so excited!!!
That's all I have time to write for now, we have some major cleaning to do... my Dad and step-mom are coming over this weekend. I want the place to look like, well, like a hurricane didn't just rip through here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Summer Vacation

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post!! What exactly have I been up to then, instead of writing?

Well, there's been a trip to Fredericton. There's been a cast on Terran's arm. There's been wedding invitations printed and delivered. A bunch of brochures for my classes were created and printed. An ad for the local Arts & Entertainment magazine also designed and printed. We've been dealing with high humidity, low energy, heat waves, cool showers, beach days, rain days, outdoor dining, bored kids, a temperamental BBQ, the building of a swing set, un-bored kids (yay!), bridal showers (not mine), more beach days, sand in the car, sand in the tub, sandwiches, (almond butter & jam!), picnics in the back yard, dog hair in the house, thunder storms, the dog upstairs ( a no-no), and a bunch of other stuff. Mainly wedding stuff.

So, it's eight weeks until the wedding. This is the part where I should be saying: "Everything is falling into place." "Um, well, it's getting there" is more likely to describe things. The invites to the wedding are out, the responses are starting to come in, and the invites to the dance will go out next week I think. The tuxes have been ordered, and Levi and Terran measured. I'm jealous now, because he's basically done. He just has to go in and try it on when it comes in and that's it. Done.

Me on the other hand, I'm a wreck. The dresses haven't even been started yet. (Not even my wedding dress!!) I can't find the right fabric for the bridesmaids dresses in the right color. Everything I look at seems too dark or too light. I haven't made any arrangements yet for a cake or for flowers. I have no idea if and when there is going to be a bridal shower, (I'm not a huge fan of surprises... I like to be prepared...) We still haven't picked out where we want to go for our honeymoon, who's going to watch the kids, or even where we are going to spend our wedding night.
I guess weddings have been planned in shorter time than this, but I'm really starting to stress over this. I mean, I'm having nightmares of me sitting at a sewing machine the night before the wedding trying to make a wedding dress! The other night, I dreamed that the cost of the tux rentals was going to be around two thousand dollars!!! I awoke in a cold sweat from that one...

As much as I'm trying really hard to enjoy this time, I will be so glad when this whole "wedding thing" is all over. Some women go totally nuts to have the "perfect wedding" and put so much emphasis on the whole "it's my day" crap. I just want to be married to the greatest guy in the world. Last night, he came home from his ball game with a beautiful bunch of wild flowers that he had picked for me. No special reason, he just thought I'd like them. Like I said, the greatest guy in the world...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Chasing Sanity

Summer vacation is upon us! No more lunches to pack, no more groggy searches for a clean matching pair of socks, no more frantic sprints to the bus. Yesterday was the last day of the school year, and perhaps the last day of my sanity as we all know it.

It's not that I mind having my children home with me all day. I don't. Normally. This year though, things are different. The end of the school year corresponded perfectly with the arrival of my nasty head cold, a hefty dose of PMS thrown in for good measure, and a very determined two year old. Determined to do what you may ask? Well, just about anything except sleep. Climb the dresser? No problem. Scale the bookshelf? Been there. Let's see what happens when we mix half a bottle of BBQ sauce with the margarine. Oh look, Mommy gets funny lines in her forehead...

Normally I would admire Connor's little toddler self, and watch with fascination as he waddles - skips -runs like a chubby little duckling to his next wonderful discovery. Sometimes I catch myself watching him and smiling, just over the very fact of him. Normally I would sit and chat with Terran, mindlessly wondering about stuff and just soaking in life as it happens around us. Being around him lately reminds me of the very essence of those pre-teenage years, and seeing him on the threshold of it all has me scared and excited for him all at the same time. Kind of like a ride on the Zipper at Old Home Week. Normally I would patiently listen to Madeline's latest best friend drama, the latest story she's written, or her latest complaint about not having enough shoes. I know that one day she will be a very successful woman- with lots of shoes. Her feisty personality, stunning beauty and clever mind reminds me of a beautiful wild horse thundering along the shores of Sable Island. To watch such a spirited creature is breathtaking and intimidating all at once.

After the kids were in bed tonight I decided to search for any sanity that I might have left. I first thought that I had found it in the bottom of a Tostitos bag and sour cream container. Now I discover that it was here all along. Sometimes sanity comes in the form of a screen, a keyboard, and sharing the thoughts of the heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

The first man I ever loved was my father. To a little girl, a Daddy is a Hero - someone brave who checks under the bed for the Boogey Man, someone strong enough to toss you into the air, someone who comforts and protects you when the thunder rolls overhead. My Dad was all those things and more. I was in awe of him, he was my Hero.

In my lifetime of thirty years, I have come to realize that my Dad is what all good fathers are. Beautifully human. He makes mistakes, but he is humble enough to admit when he's wrong. He loves unconditionally, even when he's been disappointed. He guides with his wisdom, but gives his children the space to make their own decisions. He feels joy when we are happy, his heart aches when we hurt, and his soul is troubled when we don't call.

It's only natural that I would love and choose to share my life with a man just as great. Levi is an amazing father. His generous spirit humbles me. I am in awe of his selfless attitude and his capacity to love all of my children as his own. I respect him for his motivation and uncomplaining work ethic. He is driven not by a paycheck, but by love for his family.

Everything he does, he does for us, without complaint. He helps with Math homework. He changes diapers. He mows the lawn and fixes plugged toilets. He reads stories. He does dishes. He checks closets for the Boogey Man. He happily embraces his role as a father.

My children are lucky. I am lucky. We love and are loved by incredible men who pride themselves not on what they are, but on who they are.
Fathers. Everyday heros. Beautifully human.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Mountain Man

A few days ago, Levi and I were sitting at the table with Connor eating oatmeal. For lunch. That's right, lunch. Levi and I had done the "what do you want to eat, I'm not really hungry, but we should eat something," exchange, and came up with no options that were especially appealing. We decided that we would ask the wise two year old for his advice, and we were answered with a gleeful "Oatmeal!!" Levi and I looked at each other and shrugged. "Why not? As long as he'll eat it..." our glances said to one another.

Five minutes later we were seated at the table, the mid-day sun pouring in through the windows as we sat eating our lunch. Natural oatmeal with organic raisins in it, mixed with organic Rice Milk and sweetened just a bit by some pure Maple Syrup. Connor's choice for a great lunch. As we watched him happily digging in, I giggled and said, "At least it's healthy!" Levi grinned and asked, "How many kids would ask for oatmeal for lunch? I can see asking for Froot Loops... Has he ever had Froot Loops?" My spoon stopped in mid air and my mouth hung open. "No, " I said slowly, realizing he's never even seen a Froot Loop, "he never has."

Then I began to wonder about the whole "children are products of their environment" theory. Do healthy parents have healthy kids? By following sound nutrition principles, my children will hopefully be able to make healthy food choices for themselves. At the very least, they'll know what they should be eating. But where did all my thoughts on health and nutrition come from? Why is the "natural this and organic that" way of eating not as strange and foreign to me as it is to many other people? As I thought about the way I was raised, the pieces began to come together.

In addition to my mom making sure we ate all our veggies, everything we had on our plates had come from the garden, or from my grandparent's farm. Pretty healthy stuff. In fact, I hardly remember any of us being very sick when we were kids. One person in particular does stand out though, and not because he was around a whole lot, but because he was different.

When I was growing up, there was a friend of my fathers whom we affectionately referred to as "The Mountain Man." Much like the name suggests, this was no ordinary gentleman. He was a tall, gruff looking sort of man with a wild beard and dark eyes. Underneath the exterior, he was a gentle and kind soul. He was very smart, and always had the most interesting stories. I used to love going to his house, which was of course situated at the top of a hill. Inside it was warm and cozy, and always smelled good. Everything in the house looked hand made, every knick knack had a story. He had tons of books, on the floor in stacks, on shelves that went from the floor to the ceiling. He had food that I had never even heard of before. He wore a fur hat with ear flaps!!! Although he looked scary and intimidating (to a child, anyhow!) I thought he was the coolest.

It was with his guidance that my father began to instill in us the benefits of healthful eating. We had always eaten healthy, this was just a different way. We had a granola mix that I used to love to eat for breakfast. Natural vitamins were used to help clear up the beginnings of my teenage acne. Somehow along the way, all these things stayed with me. I prefer naturopathic remedies over traditional medicine. I prefer to feed my children foods that haven't been treated with chemicals. There's many different ways to do things right. My way isn't the only right way to do things, but it's the way that feels right for me.

All of this is just to say, that, yes, I truly do believe we are products of our environment. Children live what they learn from their parents. As if that's not enough incentive to be our best selves, I think there is more to it than that. Everyone we meet, no matter how briefly, has the ability to create an impression on us. We may never know the impression we make on our friend's children, our children's friends, or anybody else.

If I could talk to the Mountain Man today, I would ask him how he came to be the person he is. Then I'd settle in with a steaming mug of Chai tea. I'll bet it's an interesting story.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Love Nest

Over the past week, my family and I have been able to view nature at it's most wondrous. A pair of robins have decided to build their nest under the eaves of our front verandah, and we are fortunate enough to have front row seats.

I first noticed something was going on when I discovered a robin perched on the beams under the roof of our verandah. He was later joined by his mate. Throughout the day, I noticed that they made several trips from the eaves to get mud, straw and twigs. (Robins can actually make up to 180 trips a day when building their nest!) We all speculated on whether or not they were actually going to build a nest there, until one afternoon we peeked out the window and saw a very defined, very sturdy looking nest snuggled in the space in our eaves. Looks like our new neighbours are settling in quite nicely, and are getting ready for the arrival of their babies.

Inside the house, things are much the same. I make about 180 trips a day to the soccer field, the grocery store, the school, the doctor, the pharmacy, and various other places I need to be. There are days when I feel like my house is all askew, and I need to put things in order again.

Probably the best feeling though, is the one at the end of the day. You know the one...after the ball games and soccer practices, after all the kids are in bed, the toys are away, the kitchen is clean, and the laundry is caught up (almost). That's the time when Levi and I collapse on the sofa, rest our heads on one another and talk. Sometimes it's about the kids. Sometimes it's about the wedding. Other times it's about bills, our future together, or simply how our day was. Whatever it is we talk about, we both feel appreciative of everything that the other has done for our family.

Life with three young kids isn't always easy for a young couple, but we're making it work. Respect and appreciation is the mud that holds our little "love nest" together. It's softened with the warmth and comfort of hugs and kisses, and strengthened by love.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thoughts about Thirty

It's finally happened... I've turned thirty. Does that seem old to you? The "30th Birthday" is a day that some people approach with a feeling of dread and apprehension, but I am ok with it.

I think this is an age where a lot of people like to reflect on their lives so far and measure their actual accomplishments to the dreams and hopes that they had for themselves when they were, say, twenty or so.
When I was 20, I had always thought that by age 30, I would have a wonderful husband, a bunch of great kids, a good paying job, a house and car of my own, and a dog. You know, that happily ever after you hear so much about. And then life happened...

There were certainly some large stumbling blocks along the way. Life didn't work out for me in the smooth, uncomplicated way that I had hoped it would. I've slowly learned to make adjustments, deal with and accept whatever life sent me. Somehow, through all the stormy seas and grey days, I have arrived at Thirty not far from where I had expected to be. I am starting my own business in two weeks. I am marrying my best friend in four months. I have three beautiful children, a great home, and even my car and dog are pretty ok. The waters are calmer. The sky holds the promise of sunny days ahead. I am happy to be here, at Thirty, where I finally feel safe and comfortable in my own life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Thicker Than Water?

We've all heard the expression "Blood is thicker than water." So what do you do when the blood is so thin that even water seems thicker? In my case, nothing. Try not to say anything, for fear of setting off a barrel full of ammunition. That is, until today.

With this post, I'm sure to piss off at least half of my family, but I am prepared to deal with it. After all, I am taking something "private" and making it public. Everything I say here, I mean with no disrespect. My intention is not to be hurtful, as I'm sure I have unknowingly offended them at times. I will not name names, nor will I try to humiliate or hit below the belt.

Some dinners with my family are less than a treat for me. There are often negative remarks made about someone, rude tasteless jokes told at another's expense, and often complete disregard for another's feelings.
But how far is too far? And when you speak up to draw the boundaries, should you expect to get your feelings dismissed, or worse... more of the same for being "too sensitive?"

On Sunday, I was basically snubbed by one sibling. I was informed by another that, because I wouldn't allow my kids to eat foods that they were allergic to, I was "psychotic." I instantly got defensive and tried to explain that I'm not going to give them food that's going to fill them up so much that they're puking all night. My explanation about the allergies was impatiently shushed by another. My past relationships were brought up in the hurtful form of a joke that I had "frequent flyer miles" at the Wedding Place. This was done in front of my future husband, who was also made to feel uncomfortable by this.

I was grateful when another of my siblings, who had remained silent throught all this, tried to alleviate some tension. This was done by voicing an understanding about the food allergies, and shrugging about the relationship thing by saying "We're all going to hell anyways, so we might as well enjoy life."

I came away from dinner that night feeling badly about myself, questioning my parenting, and my place in the family. I wondered if I had said anything to anyone that might have been taken the wrong way.
I felt that I was treated unfairly, and that some pretty low shots were taken.

It's unfortunate that misunderstandings and hurt feelings have to happen within a family of adults. What's even more unfortunate is that many of us will just add these misgivings to our pile of ammunition, ready to use at the next family gathering.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day

Everyone who has ever had a child will share with you the joys and the frustration of raising a child. Many stories are humerous, some are heartbreaking, while others are simply so honest and real that they seem like your own.

The thoughts I share with you had their beginnings eleven years ago, with the birth of my son, Terran. With his arrival, I became what I always wanted to be - a mother. Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of my own emotions, and never would I have imagined that such a small child could teach his mother so much. It was my first born son who taught me about sacrifice, devotion, and about a love greater than anything I've ever known.

When he was a baby, I would bury my face in his hair and breathe in the newborn smell of him. When he was a toddler, we were each other's best friend. I lived for his huge hugs and how he would press his cheek against mine and exclaim, "Snuddle cheeks!" My heart ached on his first day of school, when I felt as if I was losing a part of myself. I cried all that day.
I cried again, only this time tears of joy, when he rode his bike for the first time.

The traces of the baby he was have long since disappeared, and his need for my hugs and cuddles have been replaced by video games and playing with friends. By the moon glow at night, though, he is still my baby, and I make silent wishes for his happiness. He is my sensitive, loving child, perhaps the most like me. His spirit is easily crushed if I speak sharply to him. Beautiful music touches his soul. He enjoys the peace he finds in solitude. He is smarter than he knows. He has taught me how to be a mother. He has forgiven me when I made mistakes, and has loved me unconditionally.

I wish for my children all the things a mother wants for her child. I wish them radiant health, and a life full of love and happiness. I want to thank them for loving me as I am, and for accepting me even when I am my very worst self. Being their mother is a wonderful gift, and that is all I need.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Cloud

Yesterday started off on a strange note. When I awoke, my mood was as grey as the sky above, and my mind as clouded. I was not feeling unhappy, I have so much to be thankful for. I had finished preparing the taxes for the year, we were going to be able to afford the new roof after all, and Levi and I were excitedly counting down the months until the wedding. We were all healthy, and things were going along as they should be. I'm not quite sure why, but I felt the sudden need for space and solitude, and my soul in need of rejuvenation. I snuggled deeper into the warmth of my blankets, closed my eyes, and let my mind wander. Whatever the reason for my blue funk, I found myself revisiting the past, and missing my childhood.

There were happy memories of my family playing a sort of volleyball game on the beach, sliding around in the wet sloppy sand and gleefully getting covered in the soothing goop. There was the time that my grandmother took my sister and I for a drive, and we found ourselves in the provincial park hiking through the woods. That was the day my sister was chewing gum and lost a tooth, while we were listening to Nana Mouskouri crooning "Love is a Rose". There was the really long bike ride my cousin and I went on, we rode all over the countryside that day, and visited my grandparents and later my godparents. There were memories of early mornings with my dad, heading to my grandfather's barn to milk Bessie the cow.

I seem to have a lot of memories about the barn, I loved playing in there. I used to love searching for the newest litter of kittens, or singing to the animals. My favorite was when my sisters and I would climb up into the loft and set up our own little "houses" with the hay bales. We would visit each other's houses, sit on the sofas made of straw, and pretend we were grown up ladies with families. Other times, I would go the loft myself and just daydream the hours away. There was something soothing about being there by myself, surrounded by the sweet smell of the hay, as a gentle breeze blew through the open doors below. The only sounds were of the of the cows moving about, the bleats of the new lambs as they frisked in their pen, and the chirping of the birds outside in the trees. The barn cats, many of them tame, would spend hours clamoring for the attention that I loved to lavish on them. The contented sound of their purring as they rubbed against me often lulled me to sleep in the warm sunny patch that I would build my "nest" in.

It may have been at that point that I dozed off for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes again, the sun was trying to peek through a cloudy veil and was warming my face. I took a deep breath and stretched. I was still feeling a little lost in my own thoughts, but my mood had shifted considerably and I finally felt ready to face the day, whatever it might bring.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


My daughter, Madeline, tiptoed into our room this morning as the sun was just peeking over the horizon. Giddy with delight, she whispered loudly, "Mommy! I'm eight!"
Smiling, I stared for an instant at this person who had once lived in my body. How beautiful she is, with her stunning blue eyes, long dark hair and porcelain skin. I was instantly reminded of the morning that she was born.
After a merciful two hours of labor, my wailing baby entered the world at a mere 6 lbs. 14 oz. I remember the doctor asking what name I had chosen for a girl. "Madeline" I had whispered, exhausted. I was unable to believe that I had the daughter I had so desperately wished for. "Well hello, Miss Madeline!" he said to her as he cleaned her up. "She's a dainty little lady!" he commented later as the nurse placed her on my chest.
After she was was safely in my arms, I gazed in awe at her tiny fingers and toes. A dainty little lady indeed! My heart was bursting with joy. I had a daughter!!
"Mommy! It's my birthday!" She whispered again, her eyes sparkling with excitement, returning my thoughts back to the present moment. I hugged her close to me. "Happy Birthday Sweetie!" I said into her hair. Connor, who had arrived in our bed only moments before Madeline did, was nestled between Levi and I. Poking his head up from his little nest of pillows, he said in his politest, grown up two year old voice, "Happy-day Maddie!" Giggling, she thanked him with a hug.
I want to savour every moment of her girlhood. Her contagious giggle could melt even the coldest of hearts, and her compassion for other people shows a maturity beyond her eight years. She is still very much a little girl though, and loves wearing pretty skirts to school, playing dress up with my shoes, and wants to decorate her room in pastel pinks and purples. I know that someday I will miss the days of pony-tails, barbie dolls and hysterical giggling over the word underwear. Until then, however, I will embrace the joys and challenges of parenting an eight year old girl. I will enjoy the fleeting years of her childhood with her. Just as she is learning from me, I am learning from her - about life, love, and family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Visitor

There are some things in this life that we just naturally take for granted, like good health, digestion, and really soft toilet paper. You guessed it, the flu is visiting our house this week, and everyone is miserable, has been miserable, or is about to be miserable.
It all started with Connor, who, after a night of restless sleep, suddenly sat up in bed and decorated my night shirt with supper. The poor little guy had no idea what was happening, only that he felt awful and had somehow made a mess of the bed. As Levi and I were "cheerfully" cleaning everything (and everyone) up, Connor started saying sleepily, "sorry mom... Sorry". I was heartbroken! We were trying so hard to console him and make him feel better, and his little two year old mind was concerned that he had offended me! After we had changed the sheets on the bed and Connor had settled into sleep again, his fuzzy head nestled under my chin, I lay awake wondering if we were about to enter the Twilight Zone.
Things were fine Friday and Saturday. "Maybe it was just something he ate." Levi and I lied to each other, knowing that we were about to be hit with the flu.
Did it ever hit.
I was the next victim, spending Saturday night/Sunday morning in the bathroom, first in denial (maybe it was the cake I ate before bed...), and then in desperation ( please, God, make it stop, I promise I won't eat cake anymore!) and then finally acceptance ( I have the flu. How did we get the flu? Why do we always get the flu? I HATE the flu!) Needless to say, I was VERY glad that I had bought the Super-Mega-Jumbo size rolls of Charmin toilet Paper. I had gone through half a roll already! The torture continued until sometime early Monday morning, when I awoke feeling as if I was an 80 year old woman made of glass, with an iron belt still cinched around her middle. I learned that Connor had his share of diaper changes Sunday as well, and that Levi was handling everything and all the kids like a pro. What a guy!
Well, today is Tuesday, and Levi came home from work today at 11am. So far, he hasn't been too bad, mainly in that "waiting to puke purgatory" that we all hate so much. I went out yesterday and bought Pepto-Bismol and Immodium, so he will hopefully benefit from some of that. Connor and I are feeling close to normal again, and hopefully Terran and Madeline will be forgotten by this nasty visitor.
In the meantime, I'm taking it easy, and appreciating the little things. The great hubby-to-be, the fact that things could always be worse, and I'm REALLY appreciating the super-big, super-soft rolls of toilet paper!!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Juggling Act

Wow - It's been a busy week, with lots of meetings, appointments, and lots of little loose ends to tie up !!
Sunday was my BORN group, which stands for Birth Options Research Network. We're a volunteer group working towards having Midwifery and Doula services legislated and funded in PEI. (the Atlantic provinces are the last to get on board with this) We're having our first AGM at the end of the month, so there's lots of work to do as far as getting presentations in order.
Monday I spent much of my day on the phone. It turns out that the location in which I was going to start teaching my Pre/Postnatal Fitness Classes shut down! All of a sudden, with no warning... anyhow, now I have to look for another location. It could be worse though, at least my flyers, posters, etc, weren't printed up yet. (That was supposed to be this weeks job!!)
Tuesday Connor had his Dr. appointment - his ear and sinus infection is completely cleared up! Yay! My ND. sent me a protcol to follow the next time he seems to be getting an infection... if we can tackle these things without antibiotics, I'm all for it!! Tuesday evening I had my Home and School meeting. Lots going on in the final months of the school year. There is a new Sobeys scheduled to be going up by the school, and there are safety concerns since there will be a new "main" road going right in front of the school. We are hoping to have a new crosswalk (with lights) and crossing guard as well as a sidewalk put in place for the safety of the walking students. I am in charge of the fundraiser for May, called "Pennies for Learning". I will supply each student with penny rolls, and they will go home and hopefully fill them up with all the pennies laying around the house. If every student contributes $2.00, we will raise around $800.00 for new books for the library. The class that raises the most money will win a movie and popcorn afternoon. Wish us luck! That night, Levi found out that he and his dad have another house to build after this current one is finished!! Whoo hoo!
Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day, but it was a "work day". I went to a business luncheon/seminar on Niche Markets. It was very interesting, and I made some very good contacts. I may have a new location sooner than I think, and two of these new contacts are very interested in working with me and there is even a possibility of some funding!
All this brings us to today. Thursday. Nothing on the calendar except for getting groceries and watching The OC later tonight. I still have a lot of stuff to do, there's more meetings and seminars next week to prepare for, locations to pin down, posters to print up and distribute, a bedroom to paint, but today I'm taking the day off.
I'm thankful for the breathing space. Today I think I'm just going to do regular mom stuff. I might even have a decent supper ready before 6 tonight. Maybe.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Spring Training

Ahhh, spring! A time for renewal and growth. A time when all that lay dormant during the long months of winter begin to stir with new life again...

Apparently my ass got the memo on that one, because after being dormant all winter, it has decided to renew itself as a beach ball. Or maybe a wagon wheel. Whatever it is, it's big and round. I discovered this "juicy" (not so)little piece of information today as I was trying on a jacket and looking at myself in the mirrors at Wal Mart. What the hell?!?! How can a jacket make your butt look big?? Are they trick mirrors, like the ones in the fun house at Old Home Week??

Needless to say, I left the Clothing Section and went to the Sporting Goods section. This booty is gonna need some work before bikini season and the big Wedding Day! (Which, by the way, is in a little less than 6 months!) So, now that spring is finally here, it's time. Forget New Years resolutions - nobody ever keeps those anyways. Time for me to lose the "junk in the trunk". It's time for Spring Training!!!

So, here's my challenge to all of you. Go to Wal Mart and find out where they get their mirrors. Then grab a buddy and get moving. Get motivated. Dance, run, bike, play. Get outside and MOVE! Get rid of all those magazines that tell us we have to look a certain way. Eat less junk, eat more veggies. Do something you love! Have fun with it! Imagine what you can do with all that extra energy and improved health! (Imagine a beach with no fat hairy guys in Speedos!) It's not about losing weight, but about losing the mental picture we have of ourselves right now.

Those baseball guys have the right idea with this spring training thing. Only, I never really understand about all the pats on the rear. Whatever. You take what you can get, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

It's Over!

It's that time of year again! Parents all over are breathing a sigh of relief. March Break is over and the children have returned to school! Although I am glad to have some normality return to my life, I find myself missing those guys. What funny little people they are, my two, with their constant chatter and horrid attempts at knock-knock jokes! Terran with his running commentary of everything skateboarding related, and Madeline with her quirky sense of humor and contagous laugh. I find myself watching the clock until they come bursting through the door again, covered in mud, complaining of hunger pains and lack of anything decent in the house to eat for snack. I have to prepare myself for this on most days, dreading the sound of the bus pulling away from my driveway, but today I am looking forward to hearing about their days. What has changed so much?

Our life this last week has been hectic, but in a strangely satisfying way. We have survived the fevers, runny noses, endless trips to friends houses and the movie store, and a Candy-Free Easter holiday with all our feelings intact. Something like that doesn't happen very often. They played. They ate. They told jokes, giggled, and watched tasteless movies. They groaned over the dog puke and gagged over the smelly diapers. Connor loved the attention he got from his older siblings, and I loved getting to know them a little better. I did not realize that my son had a huge crush on a girl from his old school. I was not aware that my daughter was such a bad joke teller. (although I did suspect this for some time!) I loved having them home this last week, filling the house with kid noises.

As much as I enjoyed the week, I am also enjoying having my alone time back with Connor. I find we both missed this, and he seemed to be a little jealous ond overwhelmed with the constant whirlwind of activity. I look forward to getting back to the business of normal living again. And nap time... I'm really looking forward to nap time again!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Nothin' But Blue Skies

I have always been a believer in the power of positive thinking. Not that I pratice it as often as I should, but I feel everyone who generally has a positive outlook on their situation tends to handle things better. Sometimes I just need a gentle reminder of this.
When I awoke this morning, my room was awash in the beautiful red, pink and purple glow of the sunrise. Normally the alarm would go off, rudely suggesting the beginning of another day, but not this morning. Today was different. I woke easily from a dreamless sleep, and opened my eyes to discover the brilliance that was streaming into my window. "Wow" I whispered in awe, as I nudged Levi awake, so he too could enjoy this.
It was then that I realized that something felt different. We were alone in the big bed. Connor had slept all night in his own bed! And his fever of six days had finally, finally broken. I wanted to weep with joy.
Spring is in the air. I am loved, and have many to love. And I am reminded once again that the beauty of life is in the everyday things that surround us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


There are days that you wish could last forever, and then there are days that you wish you could just stay in bed until it's over. I never really understood this concept until I became a mother. On the good days, the children are playing together, the signifigant other tells you how much he appreciates you, and all is generally right with the world. The bad days are a little harder to take, but you do it because you have to. On Tuesday, I took the baby to the doctor. He had a fever of 104 for about four days, and he was showing no sign of getting any better. At the doctor's office, there was a mother, who, much like me, looked like she hadn't slept in a few nights. She was pressing her lips to the head of her feverish little baby, consoling her, and trying not to cry. I could relate to her overwhelming fatigue, and see her sense of helplessness as she held her child. I looked down at my own armful, and felt tears stinging my eyes. Perhaps it was the sleep deprived state that I was in, but most likely it was the tiny little person with the hot dry skin and the glassy eyes staring back at me, totally dependant on me to help him feel better. He is still too young to tell me what he needs, but he was finding comfort in my arms. Occasionally, he would whimper "mum" and snuggle closer, as if to make sure I was still there. He eventually fell asleep.
Later that evening, as Levi (my hubby-to-be) and I lay on the couch, I found myself snuggling deeper into his warm embrace. My tears were threatening to find their way to the surface. As if he could read my heart, he simply kissed the top of my head and whispered "It was a hard day for you, wasn't it?" I just nodded, and savored every moment of being there in his arms. Everything would be all right. He understood, and there was no need for words. Was this how Connor had felt earlier that day? Safe? Loved? Understood? I sincerely hope so. I mean, isn't this what love is all about- the feeling of being home?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Here we go!

Hi there! Welcome to a little piece of my world. I've named it after some of my favorite things: the hugs and kisses I get from my kids. You know the kind... the sticky kisses that you get after your two year old has been drooling on a sucker for the last half hour... the hugs with the chubby little arms wrapped around your neck, sometimes cutting off your air supply... those kind. This blog isn't going to be entirely about my kids, it will mostly be my ponderings, rants, and just, well... the stuff that is going on in the life of a mom with three kids and a dog that pukes a lot. Seriously. Like everyday. But anyways, here it is, and I hope that you enjoy.