Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year of Pain and Loss

On this, the last day of 2011, I find myself thinking back over the events and emotions of the whole year. Unfortunately if I had to sum up the year it would be a year of pain and of loss. Not all of the year was negative of course, but the recurring theme was loss and the pain that comes with it.

As I face the new year I have decided that after spending the better part of the year avoiding the emotions of the last year, as they threatened to overwhelm me if I looked them in the face, that I would give myself permission to vent and let some of those feelings come up and hopefully be released so that I can carry less of the weight into 2012.

I came into 2011 saddled with the weight of postpartum depression and was still finding my footing after a legal separation from my husband a few months before. To say I was emotionally fragile would likely be true although I was doing my very best to refind myself and rebuild myself.

I can't promise this blog post will make sense, and I'm sure it will be long, and I've chosen to divide it by the various events or people that were major points in this year. They may or may not be in chronological order.

One of the greatest losses of my whole life. On the last Monday in March a part of my world went dark when I found out that you had died. A heart attack. Of course. Although, I say of course but I think those of us who loved you thought that after multiple heart attacks, more than one heart surgery (including quadruple bypass surgery over twenty years earlier), a major stroke, and a TIA, that you would just keep on surviving forever. It was unimaginable that the man who was so full of life and right down on the floor playing with my three babies on Sunday night could possibly be dead Monday at lunchtime. Thank you for loving me so completely. Thank you for your physical and emotional support my whole life. Thank you for stepping up to be a father figure to me as well as a grandfather. Thank you for loving my own babies and being so much more involved in their lives than most great grandparents ever get to be. When I woke up on the morning after your death I couldn't believe the world kept on going without you in it. I couldn't believe I could still breathe, and yet even now, nine months later, somehow I am. You've left a hole that will never be filled. I love you.
Love, Your Girl

I'll never understand how it is fair that I had to endure the loss of both of my beloved grandfathers within such a short period of time. One thing your deaths coming so close together showed me was the stark difference between losing someone you love unexpectedly and never getting a chance to say goodbye but also never having to see them suffer vs watching them slowly die over days and having time to say goodbye but also having to know that they are in pain. I am grateful that I got to help you in your journey towards death as much as it broke my heart to know you were going there. Holding your hand and getting to tell you how I felt about you in the dark as I held your hand and said goodbye to you and getting to share what would ultimately be some of your last lucid moments before your death will always stay with me. Thank you for unconditionally loving me. For loving me even though I wasn't your blood and never ever ever making me feel anything less than your granddaughter through and through. I am so glad my oldest son shares your name and that of the other giant man in my heart that I lost this year. I hope he carries the best of both of you and indeed if he does he will be unstoppable.
Love, One of your Sweethearts

aka January
My friend, my love, my soul sister. I grieve for the loss of our connection. The loss of what we were. What I never thought could be lost has fractured and it still leaves gaping open in parts. I never ever thought there would be a time when something major in my life would happen and you wouldn't be one of the first to be at my side even if only in spirit. I wish you well. I wish that I could figure out how the wheels went so horribly wrong or indeed if they ever were on right to begin with.
Love, Me

My sweet sweet baby it is unthinkable to me how close we came to losing you this year. Thinking back to those days when you couldn't breathe, couldn't eat, couldn't even be touched without your oxygen saturations plummeting. I am so very grateful that I got to keep you. So very grateful that although I lived my life in fear for you a great deal of this year that you are growing and thriving and are still with me every day. I love you so completely my sweet boy.
Love, Mama

Maddie Rose
Oh sweet girl. How loved you were and are by so many people. You were so precious and tiny. You changed lives baby girl in the very short time we got to share this earth. I grieve for your Daddy, my love for him stemming for my love for your Auntie and the bond we share in loving our baby brothers. To watch him lose his baby girl was heartbreaking. I grieve still for the loss that was you for him and for your Mama, for your Auntie and Uncle, for your Nanny and Papa, for your cousins, and indeed for everyone who loved you. For all of us who still love you. Fly high baby girl.
Love, Alison

Baby G
You were the baby I didn't know I wanted. Indeed, learning of you was a loss of it's own as I grieved the loss of my own plans and control over them. Your Daddy and I quickly grieved our loss and adjusted our plans and indeed made new wonderful plans. We wanted you very much. The physical toll that losing you took on my body was nothing compared to the emotional void that came with losing the reality of another precious baby. Another miscarriage. Bleeding not only from my womb but from my very soul. Tears that could have filled a river. I am sorry my body couldn't protect you. I pray you are safe with Jesus and I am glad there is no pain for you.
Love, Mama

Your Mama and I know each other only online. I prayed hard for her and for you during your journey together. Christmas eve was heavy this year with the knowledge that your pain was going to be over but that it came with the price of your leaving this earth far too soon. You touched so many lives sweet boy and you continue to do so. You were such a beautiful boy.
May your peace be deep, TM

This year was a year of rebuilding for us. From our refirst date on Valentine's Day we began to rebuild our relationship and indeed succeeded to a level you and I had never achieved together before. How unfair it seems that at the pinnacle of our healing, as we were reaching such a good place both individually and as a couple that the demon that is stroke had to take a chunk of you from us. Living apart for three months and being torn from hospital to our babies at home was an agony that I never want to endure again. You have made such strides my love and I pray you continue to do so. I am angry at the things the stroke took and still has taken from us. It, like so many things this year, was not fair. But then, as we both know, life isn't meant to be fair. It's meant to be lived. I love you.
Love, Ali

2011 was a year of pain and loss, pain and loss, pain and loss. And yet, in the midst of all of that it was also a year for me of growth. I have grown in myself, in my relationships, and in my faith. 2012 looms large on the horizon and I have no idea what is in store for the next year but I have faith that my God is big enough to carry me if I can't walk on my own. I have my faith, my Love, my kids, my family and my friends. Here we go. I'm going to make it great.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

You Can't Organize Clutter

So says FLYlady and she's right, you can't. I have gotten rid of a TON of stuff since James and I got married, but still, we have WAAAY too much. As part of my packing journey, and also part of my organizing my life out of chaos journey I need to get rid of a lot of it again.

So far I have five boxes packed and I have sent four boxes full of stuff out to be donated. That's a good start. I need to keep posting and keeping myself accountable. Tonight I'm hoping to get another four full!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1 month/2 months

My Love and I at BGH, October, 2011
Tomorrow will mark two months since James had his stroke. Two months. That's unbelievable to me.

What is even more unbelievable to me is that it is exactly a month from today that he is scheduled to come home. Three months less a day away from his family. Three months less a day that we've been without our husband and father under the same roof every night.

I thought by now I would be adjusted. Adjusted to what, I don't know. But I thought that I would have a handle on what was going on, a routine if you will.

As it turns out, two months later, new things are still being thrown at me constantly. Our lives are still in chaos. He is still not home, we are still not moved (nor do we even know yet or when the move will actually be), I am still struggling with pain and fatigue of my own, the littlest one is still struggling with his breathing, and we are all still living a life that is very unsettled.

That's not to say that we are actively in crisis anymore. Not like we were that night. And certainly we have many people that have stepped up to help us in their various ways, for which we are now and will always be grateful.

My prayer for the next month is that I will get myself more together, that we will all find more healing, and that I will be given strength to not only do what I have to do, but to find the joy and gratitude in it. I'm certainly not perfect, but I love my husband and sons very much and I hope for all of us that the next month brings us further along in our journey towards some sort of new normal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weather Woes

I am the queen of misjudging the temperature with my kids. Add to that the fact that my kids hate wearing coats and you often end up with me being that Mom... the one who gets all of the rolled eyes and nasty looks on the playground because her kids are the only ones running around in long sleeved tshirts and jeans while all the other kids have parkas and touques on.

I decided tonight that I wasn't going to be that Mom. It had been quite chilly when the boys were outside playing yesterday and so when they asked to go outside tonight after supper (after having been inside all day because Mama was sick and Daddy can't get outside without help right now) I said yes. But I also said they would have to wear their winter coats.

It was a struggle to get everyone dressed suitably, but we managed. And since it was their first time wearing their brand new winter coats I also snapped a picture of them before we went out.

Adorable Boys Ready for Winter 2011/2012
So we got outside for them to run off some energy and that was when my plan failed on two accounts. First, the intended running around looked more like this:

Oldest Child Laying in Front of the Slide, Middle Child Laying on the Hippo

Secondly, the temperature once we got outside, was a balmy 15 degrees Celsius. They would have been fine in their sweaters. Tobias remarked that next time I said he had to wear his coat he was not going to because it wasn't that cold out anyway. Oh boy... Maybe I need to start actually checking my weather channel app before we actually venture outside anymore.

Hopefully I can get it right for him tomorrow morning. It's a school day. His first one in five days and that means it's already going to be a struggle. I don't need to add wrong about the weather to make it worse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Six Week Countdown

My Little Malachi Elf, Christmas 2010
Six weeks. That's all the time left until Christmas Day. I was talking on the phone with my sisterbestfriend yesterday and we were both a little panicked at the reality of how close it is getting. It's even less time until the season of Advent, which is one of my favourite times at church. A time of preparation. For many things.

There is much to be done. Plans need to be made for what celebrations we will be at when. We need to prepare the gifts we are giving. There will be extra time at church, extra time with family and with friends, and on December 15th, James comes home from the hospital for good so in the midst of this Christmas season we will be readjusting to being a full time at home family of five.

Lots to do. Lots of preparations to make. I better get going on my list.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Half An Ounce

That's how much milk I managed to pump last night. Malachi's immune system and lungs are very unhappy and I am trying to give him the immunity benefits of breastmilk to help him. He won't latch, and so pumping (or actually hand expressing as pumps and I don't tend to get along) it is.

The problem being that my body stops responding to expressing milk after about a year. I am hoping that it will get the hint and increase production. It did in 2008 when I was pumping more. Hopefully it will again.

No matter what any Mama milk is better than none and my little dude needs all the help he can get to stay out of the hospital this autumn and winter.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Are You Sad Mama?

That was the question my two year old asked me when he came upon me today, tears slipping down my cheeks, lost in my own world.

"I'm remembering baby", I answered him.

"Remembering what?" Those big blue eyes looked up at me and he reached out and placed his hand on my own.

Remembering what? This was a harder question for me to answer completely. At two his heart is big and open and wants to take away everyone else's hurt. I didn't want to burden him with the depth of what I was feeling.

I told him I was remembering Poppa, which was not a lie, although it wasn't really the whole truth either. My four year old piped up with his own memories of Poppa John (his great grandfather).

Poppa John was a veteran of World War II and although he survived the war and came home and went on to be father to eight children, we lost him earlier this year, at the end of June. He was not a perfect man, but he was perfectly what I needed him to be as my grandfather. Fitting then, on this day, for me to be remembering him, along with the other men and women who have served and are serving this country proudly so that me and my children can have our freedom.

This day, in some ways, marked the end of my own freedom several years ago. That pain, those memories, were in fact also bubbling over into my tears when my son found me. I couldn't really explain that to him though, indeed I can't really put into words the depth of my feelings at all. That will be a post for another day. Tomorrow perhaps, or perhaps not.

Right now I will focus my thoughts on gratitude for those men and women, for the ones who came home and the ones who did not, for the ones who fought before and the ones fighting today. For my Poppa. For all the others who were and are spouses, children, parents... loved.

Thank you. I will never forget. May none of us ever ever forget.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Helping Hands

This is a difficult blog post for me to write. I am someone who is not good at asking for help. I'm not even really good at letting people know how they can help. It has been pointed out to me that I should be asking for help, as hard as that is... and there are people who have said that they would help us right now only they don't know how.

Mostly what we need right now is practical help. I'm overwhelmed at times with the constant chaos that is my life. Taking care of the three boys, being at the hospital with James (which I'm not able to do as much as they'd like me to because I have the boys with me), keeping up with the housework, packing up the house, etc etc etc. Plus taking care of myself, which falls to the bottom of the priority list and often doesn't get done.

Help could look like a number of things and since I've been asked I'm going to put some of them out there:

*spending time playing with the boys in the park next to our house so I can get stuff done without them underfoot
*coming and chatting with me and keeping the boys occupied while I get things done
*taking the kids away (even just for a short time) so I can get a quick nap in or finish things that need doing
*dropping off a meal that I can pop in the oven for us to eat (you could even join us if you'd like!)
*calling to check in on the phone and just listen, even if that means I cry or vent a lot
*picking up an extra bag of milk (I can even provide gift cards for stores so it isn't out of pocket) and dropping it off... we go through a TON of whole milk here since M drinks it and I can't ever seem to keep up with it
*running errands with me so that I have an extra set of hands (when all five of us go it involves me both pushing James' wheelchair and pulling the cart behind us)
*taking boxes of stuff I pack to get rid of and dropping them off at Value Village (or really anywhere else that will take them, I'm not picky)

I can see how helping us could seem overwhelming. There is just so much that could be done. Really small things really make a huge difference though. There may even be ways that you could help that I haven't even thought of. One of my dear family members has offered to come over and help me put my garbage out every Thursday. It won't take long but it is hard for me to fit into the million other things that take up my time on Thursdays and sometimes the garbage just doesn't get put out (which means I have another two bags that have to wait until the next week). It's a very large blessing for us that she offered to do that. Now I know that it will get done.

Thank you for all of the help that has already been given to us over the last two months. It really, truly is appreciated.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hair Cuts

We are big sticklers in this house for not doing hair cuts until the kids ask for one. Tobias had his first hair cut at 3ish. Linus was only a bit over 2 but his hair is straight and so it gets shaggy looking where Tobias' just kept getting curlier.

Tobias' hair was getting right out of control. He didn't like how it was always in his eyes so we decided to cut it at home. Of course once Linus saw we were doing Tobias' (and Daddy's) he wanted his done too.

I'm happy with the end result and happy that we can save money by doing it at home.

Linus Before:

Tobias Before:

My sweet boys post hair cut:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sick As a Dog

I'm not really sure what this phrase was meant to refer to, but I'm pretty sure that after tonight I know what it means to me. Tonight I was sick. I should back up.

Today was a crazy, busy, full day. By the time supper time was looming the boys and I had been inside together all day and they were itching to go somewhere "fun". I called up my Aunt and she welcomed us to come and visit at her house. The boys love this. She has a castle toy that is legendary. They are obsessed with it.

So we packed up and were on our way. We only made it part way when all of a sudden the low grade nausea that is my constant companion these days turned into raging nausea and massive pain. I pulled over and ended up throwing up on the side of the road. I am pretty sure I was in my own version of hell at that moment. Side of the road, in the dark, my babies in the van, throwing up. Then having to drag myself back to my van to get them home when the pain was threatening to split me in half. Not fun.

To make matters worse, when my babies realized I was going to have to break our plans and retreat back home they were, understandably, very upset. I felt like mother of the year for sure :-(

A few hours and some pain medication and nausea medication later I'm feeling at least human enough to be able to function. The kids are asleep and I'm here left with my thoughts. This being the only adult at home thing is rough. I feel like I'm not enough for everyone. I'm abusing my body by taxing it right the hell out with no sleep, lots of stress, and not the amount of good food it really would like.

*deep breath*

Tomorrow is a new day. A day where hopefully I will not feel like I did tonight. I will pray and hope and sleep.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Project

I've decided that as part of my overall plan of living my life with gratitude to spend some time checking in with all of my facebook friends. I have over 200 of them (closer to 300 really) so it won't be a one day project, but I want to make sure that all of my peeps know that I care that they are on my list. Spread a smile and some love as it were.

I'm grateful I have such wonderful people on my list. I hope they know that. :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes A Little Means A Lot

Sometimes an unexpected visit can be exactly what we need.

Sometimes a hug and a smile and some love is all it takes to turn someones day around and make them smile.

Sometimes a helping hand for a few minutes can make the load seem not so heavy.

Sometimes the little things mean the most.

Today all of the above was true for us. For that, I am grateful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Update

So far, so good on our laid back weekend plan. It's amazing to me to see how the kids are totally different when their Daddy is home with us. They miss him so much and even when they aren't saying it, their body language and actions tell how grateful they are to have him home with us.

The only downside is that it's going to fast. I best go enjoy our time before it's gone and we have to pack him up and go back to the hospital.

40 days to anticipated discharge date. So far, but yet every day makes it one day closer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Whole Weekend Ahead of Us

That's the gift we've been given. The boys and I picked James up at 3:30pm today and he's all ours until 8:00pm on Sunday night. This is the first time in seven weeks that we are all together for a whole weekend.

Our plans? Sleep (well, that's my goal anyway lol), and lots of time spent together. We are going to get some necessary productive work done but other than that just hanging around close to home and relaxing hopefully. No commitments, no timelines.

I'm grateful for days like these.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Memories of a Baby I Never Met

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of a baby girl I never got to meet, but her memory is an important one to me.

Baby K was born in 2009, many weeks before her expected date of delivery. She was stillborn. Her mama and I were friends even before she got pregnant with her. We had been out of touch due to busy lives and I hadn't seen her in a while but she was all of a sudden constantly on my mind. I don't know what made me think of her but in the weeks after the birth and death of K her mama was frequently on my mind. I emailed her finally to check in and she told me the news.

Now I have talked with my friend about her sweet baby and I am glad she trusted me enough to share those memories with me. It always surprises me in situations like this that everyone doesn't want to know. That anyone could mistake this life as a life that didn't really happen.

She happened all right and she left tiny sized foot prints on my heart and on my life. I wish I'd been able to meet her. I watch her two siblings now grow and change and it makes me think of her often.

Happy Birthday Baby K. You are missed and loved. And to your Mama I offer love and many many gentle hugs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday November 2nd

I'm going to cheat for my blog post today and post a picture instead of a long post. I'm not feeling great so it'll have to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Blog Post A Day...

It's November first. A new month. The beginning of the second last month in the year that has been 2011. A year of a whole lot of a whole lot of emotions.

I'm taking on the task of writing everyday. I'm hoping that like the proverbial apple it may help me ward off the illness that comes with staying alone in your head as your stress and emotions and thoughts all build up and bubble over.

It's a challenge but hopefully also a release. Day one, check. Onwards and upwards.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

These are the moments...

I wish I could bottle them up and hold onto them forever. I love these boys. With the whole of my being I love these boys.

This. Them. Makes everything else worth it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day... to my Dad

Today was a bittersweet day for me...

Father's Day always is. As I celebrate the father of my own babies and am surrounded by friends and family celebrating their own special fathers I feel alone in my grief over not celebrating my own. I can neither join in the celebration of the living, present fathers, nor join in the solemn grief over fathers who were present and have passed away into whatever is waiting for us after this life.

My father is alive. He is well as far as I know. He lives not two hours away from here. He is not a criminal or a violent man. He is not batshit crazy. He lives and works and functions in normal society and has friends and even family in his life.

The last time I saw my father was in October, 2008. Almost three years. He has never met my middle or my youngest sons. Despite living only three streets down from us when my oldest son was born he saw him only a handful of times in his two years of life before the last time I saw him. Even though he regularly came into the city where I live to pick up my much younger sister for weekend visits he has never been to my home.

Two years ago, after over half a year of not seeing my father. After not hearing from him after the birth of my second child. After years of hurt and disappointment had built up, I made the decision I couldn't pursue him anymore. I couldn't put myself, and now my children, into the path of being hurt when we felt like we didn't matter enough to him to warrant his care.

It was, hands down, one of the most painful, heart wrenching decisions I have ever made in my life.

And still, even now... I miss him. I grieve for the relationship I wish we had. Right now, as I sit here typing this I am not a rational, calm, collected almost 25 year old. I am a hurt little girl with tears running down her face desperately missing a man who has always been there... but never really been there.

My Dad is alive. I hope he is well. I hope that today was filled with laughter and life and music, because if there is one thing my Dad loves it is music. Happy Fathers Day to the man who gave me the gift of having music in my soul. Who taught me that having a play list with every type of artist and song and time period on it together (except rap, that was our one agreed on type missing from the list) was the way to express everything in life, all the ups and all the downs to help your soul feel better. Who only yelled when it really mattered (which was less than a handful of times my whole life) and never, ever raised a hand to me, to my siblings, to the woman he loved in our home, or to our animals.

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad who grew up without a Dad, but also without the ability to grieve that Dad because his Dad too was alive. And my Dad never stopped loving him.

With tears on my face and a lump in my throat I wish my Dad a Happy Father's Day. I wish it was different. I miss the good times we've had.

I'm off to soothe my hurt with some music... and while I grieve I'll remember that gift of music in my soul and I'll remember that I'm lucky to have that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What Makes a Family

I am one of those people who has all sorts of notions in my head about what family should be. About what a family should look like. About what is best, in terms of what family should be doing, for the children involved who have no say yet.

These things have nothing to do with what sorts of couples should be allowed to marry each other (whether decided based on sex, sexuality, race, religion, age etc.) or how many children they should have (because quite frankly, if a couple wants zero children I am so all on board with that plan if it's right for them... in the exact same way I am totally on board with the couple who wants a dozen).

They have to do with what family means beyond the outward appearance of the people that make it up.

They have to do with loving each other, supporting each other, being there for each other. I feel it is important to not belittle or cut each other down, and that it is important to remember that family is forever and fight for those bonds to remain intact unless and until it reaches such a point where it will harm the people involved to continue. Even then, for me, family is still forever. I have certain family members with whom I have no relationship any more, by my own choice. And yet still, even now, if those family members were to be open to having a relationship with me that was healthy enough to not do harm to me or my children I would have it. I could never just be done, although I know I have family members who could/can.

Also family for me isn't just the people you are born with. I have a third whole family (my other Mom and her family) that I didn't have when I was born. I also have friends, no blood relation, who are some of the closest family members that I have.

Tomorrow I will be blessed to have some of my amazing family members with Malachi and the rest of us as he gets welcomed into our church family and also into our world in general as right after he was born I wasn't well enough to gather everyone to welcome him. I will have some of the family I was born with there... including my mother, my grandmother, several of my aunts and uncles, and some of my cousins. I will also have some of the family I got after I was born such as my brother and sister, and my mother in law and father in law. I will also have a family who are way to much to be "just friends"... aunt and uncle to my kids, and my children's youngest two cousins. Also known as my best friend, her husband (also an amazing friend) and their children. All of these people are taking time out of their busy lives to join and celebrate and support us tomorrow.Some of our family aren't able to be here but would really love to be but distance and poor timing (not a lot of notice on our part, and it's also Fathers Day) prevent it. They will be missed very much.

I am very excited about tomorrow. I love celebrations, and I love being with my family even more. Doing both together is best of all. I am so grateful to the people in my life who are family who gets it and care enough to be here with us (even if they aren't able to be physically here). We are blessed indeed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reading Update June 13th

My goal for myself was to read more this year. So far since starting midway through April I have been successful, but not as successful as I'd like to be. I am going to update my reading list once a week to try and keep myself accountable.

So far I have finished reading five books:

1. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

*This book broke my heart for Nujood. She is a child bride forced to marry a man much older than her in Yemen. He treats her horribly with the excuse that he is her husband, she his wife, she of course must just do whatever he says because that's how it is. This brave young girl manages to escape and go to the high court to ask for a divorce. It's a true story and one that left me feeling haunted that this sort of thing happens daily, and yet hopeful for the amazing spirit Nujood shows. I'd highly recommend this book but be warned that there are graphic details in it about the abuse Nujood suffers at the hands of her husband.

2. A Dad's Many Hats by Wade B. Mumm

*This was a short book (less than 100 pages) about the different roles that fathers take on with their children and how to best be a good father in those different roles. It is written from a strongly Christian perspective. Most of the ideas in the book were good ones although I'm unlikely to read it again because I couldn't really get into the style of writing. All in all a quick read but unlikely to be a book I'd recommend to others.

3. My Journey with Jake by Miriam Edelson

*Wow... this book had me laughing and crying and angry and nodding along with the author, also a mother of a child with significant special needs. Her son was not expected to survive very long but as of the publish of the book he was ten years old. She writes about the challenges facing parents in Ontario (or really... across Canada and even into other countries) who are raising children who have special needs. She discusses some of the wonderful programs available and also some of the flaws in the system. I'd highly recommend it to other parents with children who have any sort of special need that requires intervention within the system.

4. Roots by Alex Haley

*This book takes a look through seven generations of one mans family back to Africa and follows through the journey of being captured as a slave and brought to the United States and then sold and owned and more generations being born until they are finally free and the journey right through to the author himself. It is an amazing read. I couldn't put it down. It is graphic and real... not so much in the details that are specific to this one family but in that this really happened to countless people and families through the years. It's a horrifying story at times but also one which I was glad to gain more perspective on. I would recommend this book highly and I am grateful to my coworker who introduced me to it.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

*Another fabulous read introduced to me by my coworker. Written in three different voices... two black women and one white woman they join together to tell the true story about what it is like for the black help to be working for the white people who hire them. Written during a time in Mississippi when it was incredibly dangerous for black people to be getting any ideas about doing anything except what they are told this story unfolds revealing the true heart of the people in it. This is one I'd read again.

I'm currently reading:
6. The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair by Marion Roach
7. On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross M.D.
8. Telling Tales edited by Nadine Gordimer

My goal is to finish all three of them by the end of the week. Hopefully the children cooperate ;-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Friends From in the Womb

Today we've had a wonderfully lazy, fun Sunday. We slept in (some of us at least...) and lounged about until after noon and then did some much needed grocery shopping to feel like we'd actually accomplished something today. After bringing the perishable stuff home and putting it away we headed off to the Pirate Ship Park to meet up with some friends we hadn't seen in a while. It was good times catching up with R while her daughter E, who is just 5 months younger than Tobias played at the park along with our three boys.

Tobias and E were destined to be friends before they were even named LOL. Rachel and I met at the bus station when we were both pregnant still. It turned out we worked together. We chatted and enjoyed each others company and then realized we planned on doing a lot of the same parenting things with our yet to be born babies. Then after Tobias was born and I'd left my job she ended up moving on to the same street I lived on without even knowing I lived there. In fact, it turned out we even shared family!!! One of my aunts was her partners Dad's partner (did you follow that? LOL).

E was born on a cold clear February morning and I headed to the hospital to help with breastfeeding when she was just a few hours old (our local hospital is not known for it's support with breastfeeding... but that's another post). I ended up staying there until about 10:00 at night. When they came home I was there every day and it was the start of a pattern that lasted the whole time we lived down the street from each other. We never went a day without seeing each other unless we were out of town and therefore the kids spent nearly as much time together as they would've if they had been siblings.

It's funny to see them together now. The five month age spacing doesn't matter much now that they are both four, but yet she is still a "baby" to Tobias who sees her more as the annoying little sister (whom he is of course fiercely protective of) than the best friend. Of course she feels the same way about Linus who is less than a year younger than her so I suppose it's just the way of the world.

We don't see them nearly as much as we used to (although we can always count on the August long weekend visit as it's a family reunion that we share together), but still I remember those days fondly. The kids have grown up like crazycakes. I can't believe that once upon a time they were just hopes and dreams of possibility inside us.
Tobias' WTF face when I held her as a new baby

T and E Father's Day 2007

Wearing Two for the very first time! Summer '07

Tobias (almost 4) and E (3.5) in August, 2010

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Books I'm Going To Read

This is an ongoing, ever growing and changing list... but I need to keep it all somewhere so here is the first draft. I'm including the books I have already read since the start of my challenge to myself.

1. 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
2. A Dad`s Many Hats by Wade B. Mumm
3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
4. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey*
5. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens*
7. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
8. Accept No Mediocre Life by David Foster
9. An Adoration by Nancy Huston*
10. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
11. An Unexpected Apprentice by Jody Lynn Nye*
12. Atonement by Ian McEwan*
13. Baby Wars by Robin Baker and Elizabeth Oram*
14. Backing Into Forward by Jules Feiffer
15. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
16. Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong*
17. Bone Dance by Martha Brooks*
18. Born Round by Frank Bruni
19. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
20. Buying a Fishing Rod For My Grandfather by Gao Xingjian*
21. Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley*
22. Come Away by Anne Hines*
23. Consumption by Kevin Patterson*
24. Dead Boys Can`t Dance by Michel Dorais*
25. Discover the Power Within You by Eric Butterworth
26. Dream Catcher by Stephen King*
27. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
28. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert*
29. Emma by Jane Austen*
30. Everything`s Eventual by Stephen King*
31. Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
32. Fatherhood by Bill Cosby*
33. Fearless by Max Lucado
34. Fifth Life of the Catwoman by Kathleen Dexter*
35. Find Me Again by Sylvia Maultash Warsh*
36. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
37. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
38. Great House by Nicole Krauss
39. Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies
40. Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo
41. History of a Suicide by Jill Bialosky
42. How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
43. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish*
44. How We Live by Sherwin B. Nuland*
45. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
46. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith*
47. I`d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
48. I`m Sorry You Feel That Way by Diana Joseph
49. I`m Too Sexy For my Volvo: A Mom`s Guide to Staying Fabulous by Betty Londergan
50. In The Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje*
51. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
52. It`s Your Time by Joel Osteen
53. Kids Are Worth It! by Barbara Coloroso*
54. King Solomons Mines by H. Rider Haggard*
55. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
56. Letters from Across the Country by Marsha Boulton*
57. Letters from Dad by Greg Vaughn
58. Life by Keith Richards
59. Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses by Paula McLain
60. Linchpin by Seth Godin
61. Little Boy Blues by Malcolm Jones
62. Lopsided by Meredith Norton
63. Lost in the Meritocracy by Walter Kirn
64. Lost in Translation by Charlie Croker*
65. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
66. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen*
67. Master of Souls by Peter Tremayne*
68. Moby Dick by Herman Melville*
69. My Journey With Jake by Miriam Edelson
70. My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe
71. My Name is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye*
72. Night by Elie Wiesel
73. No by David Walsh
74. No Great Mischief by Alastair MacCleod*
75. No Pretty Pictures by Anita Lovel*
76. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*
77. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller*
78. On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross M.D.*
79. One Drop by Bliss Broyard*
80. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy by Clive Woodall*
81. One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman
82. Opium Dreams by Margaret Gibson*
83. Parallel Play by Tim Page
84. Parenting Through Crisis by Barbara Coloroso*
85. Persuasion by Jane Austen*
86. Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America by Rickie Solinger
87. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen*
88. QBQ: The Question Behind the Question by John Miller
89. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisa*
90. Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier*
91. Return to Dragon Mountain by Jonathan D. Spence*
92. Roots by Alex Haley
93. Rules for Saying Goodbye by Katherine Taylor*
94. Runaway by Alice Munro*
95. Sacred Balance by David Suzuki*
96. Salvation City by Singrid Nunez
97. Say You’re One of Them by Uwar Akpan
98. Second Wind: One Woman's Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents by Cami Ostman
99. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen*
100. Shade by Neil Jordan*
101. Someone Will Be With You Shortly by Lisa Kogan
102. Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint*
103. Stuff Christian`s Like by Jonathan Acuff
104. Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
105. Telling Tales edited by Nadine Gordimer*
106. Tess of the D`Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy*
107. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
108. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill*
109. The Books of Fell by M. E. Kerr*
110. The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
111. The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas*
112. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
113. The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin
114. The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley
115. The Glorious Ones by Francine Prose*
116. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers*
117. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
118. The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn*
119. The Interpreter of Silences by Jean McNeil*
120. The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney*
121. The Known World by Edward P. Jones
122. The Long Goodbye by Meghan O`Rourke
123. The Masterpiece by Anna Enguist*
124. The Murder`s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
125. The Orange Trees of Baghdad by Leilah Nadir*
126. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
127. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver*
128. The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen
129. The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville
130. The Power of Two by Susan Foster*
131. The Road by Cormac McCarthy*
132. The Room by Emma Donoghue
133. The Roots of Desire by Marion Roach*
134. The Sakiad by Brian Hall*
135. The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards*
136. The Skating Pond by Deborah Joy Corey*
137. The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough*
138. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
139. The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker
140. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke*
141. The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp
142. The Ultimate Insiders Guide to Adoption by Elizabeth Swire Falker*
143. The Uglies, The Pretties, The Specials and The Extras (4 books in a series) by Scott Westerfeld
144. The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro*
145. The Wars by Timothy Findlay*
146. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
147. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
148. Travels With Our Fellow Creatures by Phyllis Hobe*
149. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
150. Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel
151. Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells*
152. Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D.*
153. You Don`t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers

So far I've read five of them all the way through. I need to get the reviews up. That's next on the to do list.


A New Blog... Mmmmm

Today I start the blog I've had on my to do list for the last several months. The blog which I hope will finally be the key to my jotting down memories and thoughts on a regular basis. The blog which I hope will hold details that my head forgets.

I am excited.

About a month ago I decided I wasn't reading enough and I wasn't writing enough. I've compiled lists of books to read (which I plan to store on this blog) and I've already started my reading list. Between this blog and my plans for more postsecondary education I believe I will also have the writing aspect covered.

A new blog... full of possibility. Love love love it.