Wednesday, December 5, 2012


84 years ago today a 17 year old woman became a mother for the first time in Toronto, Ontario. She gave birth to a boy and named him Wesley Henry. He was the apple of her eye. She adored her son very much and he was her pride and joy and only child for almost 18 years until a sister was born.

That baby grew up into a man and got married... in a wonderful amazing story to a woman from a small rural area who moved to Toronto to try out the big city after falling in love with it after visiting to see a play with her father. The two married in February 1951 and at the end of the year a daughter was born and then in the six years following two sons arrived. Their daughter also grew up and gave them grandchildren and one of those grandchildren is me.

Me with Gramma and Grandpa at my wedding in 2008

All of the people in that room 84 years ago have now passed away, including that baby who became my grandfather. Last year was his first birthday that he wasn't alive for and I curled up in a ball and hid the whole day. My heart was raw and angry.

This year, this day was different. My heart is still raw and hurting and days like today bring so much crashing back like a wave. This year I was able to feel more than just pain though.

More than anything my grandfather loved the kids that were his. I remember him adoring my brothers and sisters and I and then once I had children I got to see that love renewed and multiplied. My oldest carries Wesley as one of his middle names, after his great grandfather who saw him as the apple of his eye.

Grandpa with Tobias at 4 days old

Grandpa loved Christmas. He especially loved watching us kids love Christmas. Today as we decorated our tree and sang Christmas songs and watched Charlie Brown Christmas Story and Rudolph in among my grief and pain was also love and gratefulness.

I'll always be Wes' granddaughter. I always be his girl. I will always miss him and I will always be grateful for all the time and memories we had.

Christmas 2007

Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween Movies 2012

We love movies in this house. We also love holidays. We decided to combine the two in these weeks leading up to Halloween and watch a selection of both adult and kid movies (10 each) that were Halloween themed or scary/creepy. I don't normally do scary movies but my husband loves them so we compromised and decided to watch a couple of them when the kids were asleep.

With 12 days to go we've gotten a few in:

Adult Halloween Movies 2012
#1: The Shining
We unfortunately only made it an hour into this one before it gave out. We borrowed it from the library and it just would not work after that mark no matter what we did. The first half of the movie was good, I'd really like to finish it at some point.

#2: Silence of the Lambs
I made it all the way through this one for the first time! I'd tried before and not succeeded. Definitely creepy but overall I was OK. The worst part for me was actually the grossness of the blood on Lector's face in the escape seen.

Kids Halloween Movies 2012
#1: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
This was one of my younger brothers favourite movies when he was a kid. It was awesome to see the looks on my own kids faces as they watched it. A family favourite.

#2: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
We've seen this before and loved it once again. Charlie Brown movies are always a hit in this house because we have our own Linus who loves seeing "himself" on screen.

#3: Igor
First time seeing this one for us. It lived up to the hype I'd heard. A fun movie we all enjoyed.

#4: Tigger and Pooh: Hundred Acre Haunt
Normally Tigger and Pooh movies go over well here but this one fell a little flat. The kids just couldn't get into it.

Still on the list (some are pending availability from the library so it's a list subject to change):

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Young Frankenstein
Ghost Busters
Haunted History of Halloween

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Hocus Pocus
Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie

We still need to pick 1 more movie for us adults to watch and 3 more for the whole family. Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

I don't need a special day to remember... I never forget.

I remember the times that the pregnancy tests turned positive... the joy, the elation, the fear, the disappointment, the ups and downs. 11 sets of pregnancy tests.

I remember how I felt when I looked down at that positive test the very first time. I was 17 years old. I was taking all precautions and we'd talked through how we felt. I was sure I knew how I would feel. I was wrong. That positive test changed everything for me. I sobbed and sobbed and threw up and sobbed some more. I had twelve roller coaster days of emotion. Twelve days. At the time it stretched out and each day seemed a lifetime. And then it was over. I was bleeding and losing something I had been sure before it all happened that I didn't even want. I felt empty and broken and alone in grief. I was not grateful. I was hurting. I was not relieved. I was broken. I was not comforted by those who told me I was young and it was for the best. I was angry.

Everything about my pregnancies has shaped who I am and how I react to situations. Three times I've carried beautiful babies to term. Eight more times I've had my body fail me. My babies lost.

I am lucky enough to be able to share my stories with some people in my life. I'm lucky enough when I see a positive test to be able to share it with some of those who love me. Sadly there are those people in my life who I am always hesitant to share the news with. When I've been pregnant I want to celebrate that for as long as I get to. When a woman has a miscarriage the last thing you should say is that it is for the best and yet  too many times that's exactly what I've heard. I've heard a variety of reasons why it's best that I not have that baby. It was never for the best. Two out of three of my living children came at so called bad times. I would not trade them for the world and they are WORTH it. Today in this day of remembrance I will talk about my babies with those who will listen. J and I will remember together. We will light candles with the kids later tonight again.

Today is a day of remembrance. I remember my babies and I remember the babies of my friends and family who didn't get to stay with us. I remember and I grieve with you all. I will never forget.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tobias is SIX!

I can't believe it... My oldest baby is six.

He was born on August 30, 2006 weighing 8lbs 12oz... 23 days after his due date!

A year later he was a running ball of energy who only ever slowed down when he was sleeping:

At 2 he got his first trike and spent much of his birthday on the couch with Mama who was on bedrest thanks to his little brother:

By three he fully cultivated curls... oh the curls!

At 4 his one wish for his birthday was mini golf. I agreed, but only once it was evening time because I was 38w5d pregnant and OMG the heat!

Last year he was a 5 year old who was on his way to full day every day school for the first time.

And now I have a sweet, adorable 6 year old. Just days away from entering first grade. He loves his brothers and beyblades and Superman and his "Auntell" as he says it (Aunt El)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day in Pictures

It is Mother's Day weekend, and Mother's Day for me always brings up about eleventy million emotions. Those emotions mirror all of the emotions I've ever felt as a daughter and mother. As I sat today thinking about my journey through daughterhood and into motherhood I decided to go reminisce with some pictures.

Tomorrow will be my sixth Mother's Day. Here is a look back at the kiddos that I am lucky enough to hold in my arms and parent every day over those six years...

My first Mother's Day: May, 2007 (Tobias: 8 months)

May, 2008 (Tobias: 20 months)

May, 2009 (Tobias: 2 years, 8 months; Linus: 3 months)

May, 2010 (Tobias: 3 years, 8 months; Linus: 15 months)

May, 2011 (Tobias: 4 years, 8 months; Linus: 2 years, 3 months; Malachi: 8 months)

Tomorrow I'll have to try and get all three of them in the same shot at the same time... no easy feat these days!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No One is an Island

My heart is heavy tonight as I ponder many things. This blog post has been brewing inside of me for some time but I havn't known exactly what I was trying to say. I'm going to try tonight.

Tomorrow is the first international Ice Cream for Breakfast celebration. If you don't know what I'm talking about go here. It was conceived by Bruce Rosenberg after he found out that he had stage four metastatic melanoma. He wanted everyone to celebrate life and go on living it... whatever yesterday gave because today is what we have to work with now, and without worrying too much about tomorrow, because after all, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

This was a man who died eight days ago, surrounded in person and beyond, by people who loved him. Who were inspired by him. Who were praying every single day of the previous year that he get to continue this journey with us all longer.

As I was thinking about Bruce tonight, and what I did and did not know about him, and all of the people all over the world who rallied around him and his wife and their beautiful girls, I realized that it was likely that someone didn't like Bruce. It seems almost inconceivable to me, for this was a man of formidable character, and yet, I know life being what it is that someone must not have seen him like we did. It got me thinking a lot about myself, and the people I love, and how people see other people.

As I pondered these things I realized that we tend to view people in vacuums. Not as persons who are walking around with a million different life experiences that may or may not be the same as our own, but rather as mirrors of our own reality, who either measure up or do not to our own standards. For those who don't some of us are open minded enough to find out why, but even with that we judge those reasons against our own set of beliefs, morals, and life experiences and decide whether or not that person is worthy of our friendship, our love, our compassion even.

I've been told I'm amazing. That I am so strong. I've had many many wonderful things said about me, and I do not doubt that those people who said them believed them. Heck, I'm not even saying they were wrong. But really if you measure me just by what I have accomplished than depending on what period you look at you would see very different people. If you look at me as the sum total of all of my life experiences, right now, you'll come up with an assessment of me that will vary depending on your own outlook and life experiences.

Not a single one of us exists in a vacuum, or as an island. Every single one of us has made mistakes, and been forgiven by someone. Likely by many someones. No one becomes great without someone else whispering words or actions of encouragement to get us there. It could be simple or it could be large, but in the end, those of us who have no one else in the world to smile at us, encourage us, love us, whither and die.

Why does all of this matter? It matters because life matters. Because as I sit here looking at my self and my own relationships I realize that by looking at others through who I wanted them to be rather than who they are, I set myself up for disappointment, and I set our relationship up for failure. Whether it was a Mom I met at the playground with her kids, a friend, a family member, or a stranger on the street, I've fallen short of loving people where they are. Not always, but far too many times.

I am who I am because of the people who loved me. Who smiled at me on the street when I was having a bad day. Who had a friendly word when I ordered my coffee every morning. Who joked with me as they held the crosswalk sign to help me cross the street. Who held my hair as a puked and my hand as I cried. I am who I am because of those people far more than I am because of those who judged me harshly, spat cruel words or unkind stares at me, used me and abused me. Those actions against me broke me down and shaped me, no doubt, but without the uplifting experiences in my life I guarantee I wouldn't be alive right now.

Life matters. Loving isn't easy but it's powerful. We all judge, but just as it is important to check our Priviledge not so we can make it go away (we can't) but so that we can live our lives with it in mind, it is also important to remember that every person who we meet and judge has a different sum total of their life experiences. That doesn't make them wrong, or bad, just different. And as much as we all tote the line of "difference being good" we don't embrace it in many ways, especially I've noticed in how we try and make others fit our own worldview.

I've seen the other side. I watched my three year old befriend an unshaven, unwashed man with a long ponytail in the grocery store the other day. While I was busy judging, he was busy chatting with the man about Ice Cream and Batman. When we left he told me "That man is my friend Mama. That man had sparkly eyes and he was really nice. Can he come to our house sometime do you think Mama?" That man, who I was busy judging for life experiences that may or may not have been his choice, was radiating a common compassion and human love for my boy, and he saw it, and shined it right back. When I thought about the man some more I realized how many different possibilities there could have been for why he acted why he acted, and how quickly I was willing to dismiss them all as unimportant.

I'm guilty of it not only with strangers but with the people I love the most. The unbelievable loss I've felt this past year has made me rethink and reexamine many areas of my life and relationships are among the most important. To those who read this I offer an apology if I've judged you out of hand. I offer an explanation of only that my life experiences led me to believe what I believed was right. And I offer an open offer to try again, if you'll let me. I think that this world needs more compassion and love and less judging and closing ourselves off from each other.

Thank you Bruce for bringing an amazing network of people together from across the world. Thank you for the lessons you taught us. In your memory I'm ready to love like I've never loved before. Thank you family and friends and even strangers who have loved me to this point. Without you, well, without you I'd be withered away on an island instead of living life to its fullest.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

7 weeks in... Update on my 2012 Goals

First let me say that I *cannot* believe that we are already seven weeks into 2012. Crazy how fast time goes. Life got very crazy with illness and I've not been nearly as disciplined with my goals as I would have liked. However I know that there is no time like the present to restart and so I'm going to renew my dedication to doing just that :)

1. Make a budget every month
-We still have not made a February budget :-( We've been flying by the seat of our pants on this one.

2. Attend 13 weeks of FPU classes
-The class that we were enrolled in ended up being a conflicting time that wouldn't work for us so we have to find a new one.

3. Get a job
-I have made progress on this! Some of it I'm not ready to share yet but it's good stuff *squee*

4. Read 100 books
-I'm done eight books so far. I have a LOT of them on the go though so I need to get on the ball and finish some of those.

5. Go on at least two dates per month with James
-So far we havn't made it past the first date (mostly because of illness). Need to add this to this weeks priority list!

6. Organize each room in my house
-We moved a whole bunch of stuff into the house from the old house so I need to get those boxes unpacked ASAP!

7. Complete The Love Dare
-We are going to restart this, this time together <3

8. Get rid of all remaining TAPS inventory
-This goal is actually going to change. More on this coming soon ;-)

9. Send out cards and letters on a regular basis
-Still havn't done this.

10. Get all three boys sleeping in their own beds and the two little ones out of diapers
-Big boys in their own bed we are still making progress on. Diapers not so much.

11. Complete C25K and the Walk With Leslie program
-I didn't do any of this this week :-(

12. Read through the bible
-I have finished Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and I'm done the first 18 chapters of Joshua.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 Goals Update End of Week #1

Ok the first week of 2012 is coming to an end (is it just me or is time FLYING?). This was not as productive a week as I'd like but I managed to sneak in a fair amount of reading while the kids were asleep.

1. Make a budget every month
-January budget done! Unfortunately we had two unexpected expenses this month and so it's tightened everything up but other than that we are staying on track.

2. Attend 13 weeks of FPU classes
-These start on Wednesday. I can't wait. We just need to get a sitter interviewed and hired and we will be set.

3. Get a job
-Nothing done on this so far but it's moving up the list

4. Read 100 books
-I am finished four books so far (will do a separate post for reviews. I have two on the go, one "real" book and one ebook for when I'm reading with the lights out.

5. Go on at least two dates per month with James
-First date night was last night and we had a great time! We had some drinks and curled up watching Grey's Anatomy. All three boys spent the night with their Auntie and Uncle and cousins. And tonight we are switching off and my niece and nephew are soundly sleeping with their cousins here while their parents get a well deserved date night.

6. Organize each room in my house
-I am working on the bedroom and loving how it's coming along.

7. Complete The Love Dare
-I decided to spend more than one day per "dare" (there are forty). I have done day one and day two so far. It's challenging me more than I thought it would but I love the readings and the effort I'm putting in is worth it for sure.

8. Get rid of all remaining TAPS inventory
-Did not do anything with this this week.

9. Send out cards and letters on a regular basis
-My new address labels came on Friday so I am going to start on this this week.

10. Get all three boys sleeping in their own beds and the two little ones out of diapers
-No progress at all on diapers, however the big boys have both started every night this week except one (when I wasn't here) in their own beds! And Tobias stayed there all buy one night! Two miracles I didn't think would come nearly so fast. Linus has only had one night of not sleeping at least part of the night with us (and even that night I had to carry him back to bed a couple of times) but even that is an improvement. Malachi is in with us for now until the other two are more settled.

11. Complete C25K and the Walk With Leslie program
-I didn't do any of this this week :-(

12. Read through the bible
-I managed to make it all the way through Genesis this week and through Exodus chapter 1-35. I am exceedingly happy with myself for taking quiet time to myself to do this.

Overall a pretty good week goal wise when I see it all written out. I hope everyone else had a good first week of 2012 too!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals for 2012

The title of this post sums it up. I have some big plans for 2012 and some little steps along the way for things to do to help me along my way. I want to keep myself accountable and so that means starting with a list. And what better day to do that on than this first day of the week, month and year?

OK my 2012 list:

1. Make a budget every month
-we are firmly planted on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon and this is a major part of that

2. Attend 13 weeks of FPU classes
-another part of our Ramsey plan

3. Get a job
-as soon as we have James' physio figured out this will become a huge priority

4. Read 100 books
-I actually started this on Christmas Day and have finished two so far

5. Go on at least two dates per month with James
-living in Niagara Falls means we can trade date nights with El and Ry which means no babysitting costs

6. Organize each room in my house
-would like to get at least one fully done per month

7. Complete The Love Dare
-I just got this book and I am excited to read through it and do the exercises

8. Get rid of all remaining TAPS inventory
-I am ready to have the space back

9. Send out cards and letters on a regular basis
-I got behind on this when James was in the hospital and I want to get back on it

10. Get all three boys sleeping in their own beds and the two little ones out of diapers
-this might well be the hardest one on here LOL

11. Complete C25K and the Walk With Leslie program
-I want to get in shape again

12. Read through the bible
-I'm hoping this will take me less than a full year and I plan on carving out time to tackle as big a section as I can during these cold months that keep us inside so much.

I can't wait for this year to unfold!