Saturday, 31 May 2008

Being away from Mommy

I spent 7 hours yesterday and 10 hours today away from Caleb...which meant that he had to either finally take the bottle, or hold out until I returned. He held out. Persistent kid. But he makes me laugh. Last night I came in around 10:30pm. Caleb had been up for about an hour, waiting for his nighttime feed. He was playing contentedly on the floor when I arrived. I peeked into the living room and when he lifted his head and saw me, a huge smile broke out on his face. It melted my heart and I immediately repented of leaving him the whole seven hours!

I entered the room and unsnapped my green sweater I was wearing over my t-shirt, getting ready to breast feed him. As he watched this motion, he all of a sudden dropped the toy and reached out for me, mouth forming a wide open "O" and gulping impatiently for milk! I doubled over in laughter. The simple act of removing my sweater to him signified feeding!

It's my favourite sweater, and I throw it over my shirts all the time - I just never realized how often I actually wear it until now!

Time Out For Women

There is just too much to say to post all my thoughts and feelings right now, but I do want to just mention the conference I attended this weekend. It was called "Time Out For Women", and over 1300 women attended this joyous celebration of musical performances and inspirational speakers.

The speakers ranged from a CBS Early Show news anchor to an F16 Fighter pilot. The musical performances were by Hilary Weeks (piano/vocal) and Jenny Oaks Baker (an incomparable violinist). We laughed until we cried, and then cried as we were touched and inspired.

Some time in the next few days I will probably compile a few thoughts and ideas that really impacted me this weekend. But for now I will revel in the memories and thoughts and new ideas whirling around inside my head...

Friday, 30 May 2008

Saying Thank You

Yesterday in the grocery I was stopped by an elderly man who was looking for paper towels. "My eyes aren't as good as they used to be," he apologized. I walked with him to the proper aisle and helped him find what he wanted. One of the comments I made got him to talking, and we passed a few minutes chatting about his ailing health, but speedy recovery from a stroke last year. Our conversation meandered about through several topics, and then landed upon the fact that he was a veteran, fighting in World War Two for Canada.

I studied the second world war extensively in high school, reading many books and even having the opportunity to interview a holocaust survivor. It is a subject near to me, and I am always in reverence of the men and women who were faced with such tribulation in their lives, and their willingness to march into battle to defend our freedom.

My gratefulness surfaced quickly, and when he said to me "You know, I'm a veteran" my response came immediately: "Thank you." There was a look of appreciation that shone from his eyes. I don't often get the chance to thank someone for this great selfless work, and I was thankful to share a quick 'thank you' with this gentleman.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

What are your secrets?

This morning James and Colin came bounding down the stairs: Colin in only his diaper and James toting the portable toilet.

"Colin wants to sit on the bathroom," James announced, plopping the toilet next to the table in the kitchen. Excited, Colin pealed off his diaper and sat on his glorious throne. Complete with his own sound effects, he proceeded to "go to the bathroom" five or six times, making a flushing noise and action between each effort. (Flushing is the only reason he wants to use the toilet).

And then James promptly left for work, leaving me with a naked 2 1/2 year old and a hungry 6 month old. As I continued convincing Caleb that applesauce has some worthwhile taste, Colin jumped up from the toilet and disappeared around the corner.

It was seconds. Only seconds. I took the spoon from Caleb and dashed after Colin, but it was seconds too late. There he was, peeing all over the jolly jumper and the carpet. He finished up as I came around the corner. He looked up sheepishly and then ran back to the toilet, and pronounced "I just have to go to the bathroom."

I grabbed a cloth and the baking soda and started the clean up. When I finished, Colin came around the corner and pointed at the white paste soaking up the mess:

"Oh no! Cleo (the cat) spit up!"
"No, honey. That's where you went pee on the floor. Mommy is cleaning up the pee. Remember, you only pee in the toilet, okay?"
"Oh no! Cleo spit up!"

Well, the worst was done. I had barely come out of the shower and hadn't even planned my day yet, but I guess toilet training is now on the agenda.

(A brief pause in my writing just occurred. Colin came back in and announced he had to go to the bathroom again. He once again peeled off his own diaper, but this time he had already gone. In his diaper. And it was a lot messier than a little pee! Then he sat on the newly mopped kitchen floor and left his mess there. Then I chased him around the circle loop of our downstairs floor. He still isn't wearing a diaper. Sigh. It's our first 20+ degree day of the year, and I wasn't planning on spending this inside!)

What are your secrets, you moms of toilet-trained tots?

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Special Conference

I had a marvelous experience today. The Prophet of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited our congregation today. Hundreds of people came for the conference, a gathering in which we are privileged to hear inspirational talks from different church leaders.

For those of you unfamiliar with my faith, I believe that God has a representative on earth today, in the person of a prophet. Just as in biblical times, we have someone to lead us, teach us, and guide us through the turmoil of these times. Listening to him speak, you would mostly hear him testify of God the Father and Jesus Christ, of their divinity, and of the sacrifice Christ made for us.

It was an unusual event - usually if the prophet, (currently a man named Thomas S. Monson) was coming, it would be to a large venue that would seat the thousands of people in Ontario that would want to see him (a prophet has come twice in my lifetime to Ontario - once to Copps Collesium in Hamilton and once to the International Centre in Mississauga). Today was a smaller visit, back to the city where he served as a Mission President (coordinating missionary work) nearly 50 years ago.

It was a spiritual event, full of guidance and testimonies. I was inspired and renewed once again. But what made the event even more unique for me was that I was invited to be in 60 person choir, to sing for the meeting. We had only two weeks notice, and learned six songs in two rehearsals. It was hard work, but an awesome experience. We were encouraged to raise our own personal spiritual bar during the two weeks of rehearsals, increasing our study of God's word and the fervency of our prayers. This focused spirituality readied us all to be taught by God's spirit at this meeting, and added to the practical preparation we were doing as a choir.

Today, as I raised my voice in song and praise, to invite the Holy Spirit to our meeting, the power of the music filled the entire room, sinking into my heart and into the hearts of the hundreds listening. I have sung and led many choirs in the past, and will participate in many more in the future, but an experience like this will likely never be matched.

"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me."

Friday, 23 May 2008

Living in Moderation

God has been teaching me this week - one of those lessons where he knows I'm not going to listen the first time, and so He keeps it coming from all directions until I open my eyes to it. Here is the meat of the lesson:

"The advertising industry of the USA is banking a billion dollars a year on a singular belief: they can convince you that you are not yet satisfied. You "need" a new car. You "need" a new house. You "need" some new furniture. Your children "need" the newest electronics. In a very literal sense, it is their business to perpetuate in you a spirit of dissatisfaction. If you ever realize that you are satisfied, they lose big bucks." (Beth Moore)

I studied the life of King Solomon this week, the perfect example of someone who "had it all" and found only emptiness. If you get a chance, read his story in Ecclesiastes. Some very powerful, raw and honest emotions are recorded there in his pursuit for happiness. It's amazing that life hasn't changed all that much thousands of years later.

"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income." (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

My spirit has been fighting this feeling of "insatiability" for some time, I just didn't realize it. This week I finally have been granted the gift of clarity. I don't need any more stuff. I not only have all that I need, I have way more than I need. I heard a program once on the idea that we live in a world of starvation and saturation - there are those with nothing, and those with everything, and very few people in between.

My mom told me of a friend who wanted to know just how many clothes she had, and so decided she wouldn't wear anything twice until she had gone through her entire wardrobe. 40 days she made it. This, too, is one of the excesses in my life. I certainly don't need all that I have, and somehow I even still manage to go out and buy more! I fall prey to the "need" for another sweater, pair of pants, skirt.

Enough is enough! It's time for a radical change, for that is the change that truly stays with you.

I am beginning a purge. There are many things I have and don't need, of which someone else may be in great need. I have decided to hold a "Free garage sale". I don't need to profit off of others' needs. I no longer need these things, and so I want to freely give of them.

I am buying less. I am putting the advertisers on notice: I am satisfied! I don't need another gizmo, gadget, electronic.

I am ridding myself of clutter. I am losing the fat. I am putting out the excess. I am breaking the chains of bondage that tell me I need more. God has always taken care of me - why do I feel the need to take that burden on myself? All things are His to give and His to take, but never mine to pursue. I will find contentment in the life I have been freely given - because I have every reason to feel joy with the blessings I have.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


I think I have strep throat. I used to get it like clockwork, every Christmas for years when I was a kid. What's worse is that I think Caleb has it, or something like it, or something from the bacteria that causes it. He is only sleeping in 20 minute bits, waking, crying. My throat is on fire.

I wish I was a doctor, to understand better what goes on in the human body. James other passion was medicine. If he hadn't pursued film he was thinking of being a family doctor. That would be very useful right about now.

Probably the best wedding gift we got was the AMA medical guide. It has information on everything you can think of. There are these fantastic diagnostic charts in the beginning that lead you through the same series of questions a doctor would ask you. It recommends if you can wait to see a doctor or head straight to the ER. And then there are the things you can do to help your symptoms. We use it all the time.

Unfortunately, your personal temperament can lead you astray. I always have a "mild headache, backache, stomachache," etc. Even if I should have been at the doctor 3 days ago, I tend to under diagnose myself. James, on the other hand, always has terminal brain cancer with only a week to live.

Colin is overdue for his nap and my oatmeal is congealed to the point that if the bowl overturned, the oatmeal wouldn't budge. The skies are grey outside and it is threatening very seriously to rain any minute. The weather has been kind enough to grant me pathetic fallacy.

Misery definitely loves company. I hope I haven't spread my misery like my infection.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Homekeeper Challenge #7

Ever come across motivational talks that knock your socks off? Ones that are filled with kernels of truth in every sentence? Ones that you know if you could only apply to your life things might go a little more smoothly? Our church has what we term a "General Conference" twice a year, which involves motivational talks given by different leaders. There is also a yearly women's conference, in which the talks are geared specifically to women. This week I decided to find five or six of the ones that spoke to me most, burn them to a CD, and then listen to the CD while I do things around the house like cooking or cleaning, or the few times I'm actually in the car.

You've all read numerous times about how pitiful my memory is, so I 'm hoping that through repetition some of their words of wisdom might start to stick!

Here are the ones that I chose (transcripts and mp3s are available online):

"Mothers Who Know" Julie B. Beck
"My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord" Susan W. Tanner
"Daughters of God" M. Russell Ballard
"What Latter-day Saint Women Do Best: Stand Strong and Immovable" Julie B. Beck
"Strengthen Home and Family" Mary N. Cook
"Three Goals to Guide You" Thomas S. Monson
"A Mother Heart" Julie B. Beck

Crime and Punishment

The other night Colin woke up in hysterics at 12:30 am. As he was yelling for Daddy (small blessings!) James crawled out of bed and went in to calm him down. Listening from under the cozy blankets, I could hear James trying to soothe Colin's tears and screams. Unfortunately, Colin was simply exhausted, which made reasoning with him not an option. He cried to be picked up, and then screamed to be put down. He wanted a hug, he wanted James out of the room. He was too hot, then too cold. He called for me and then wouldn't let me into the room. He didn't know what he wanted.

James tried soothing, cajoling, stern warnings, coaxing - but all to no avail. After an hour James finally just put him back into bed with a firm "No, I won't pick you up. It's time for bed. Go to sleep, NOW." Then he left the room and pulled the door shut. There was only a moment's pause, and then we heard the wailing start afresh: "Mommy! I want Mommy! Come, Mommy!"

(James cracked a smile here, and promptly dove under the covers of bed as I crawled out.) Colin, luckily, was nearly out of energy and tears. Whimpering in bed, I went in and sat down beside him, rubbing his back and feet and speaking in low tones.

"Are you feeling a little tired out now, sweetie?"
Subdued sobbing from Colin.
"Shhhh. It's okay."
" pick me up." (spoken between gulps and sobs)
"Oh, Daddy said he wouldn't pick you up."
"Daddy...said...go to bed."
"Daddy told you it was time to go to bed."
Sob sob. Gulp gulp. Nearly asleep.
"Daddy...gets...none of my Life cereal in the morning."

Stifling laughter, I acknowledged Colin's threat (very serious for a boy who will eat three bowls of the stuff each morning and as a snack any time you'll let him!), gave him a 'big kiss and hug' and sneaked out of the room. James and I doubled over in laughter as I crawled back into bed. Was Daddy ever in the bad books now!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

A reminder

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children."
- M. Russell Ballard


A friend of mine mentioned she wanted to start giving "Messy House" tours - a tour of her house just as it is everyday, before the mad-dash-clean-up that happens when we know company is coming.


It does absolutely no good to compare ourselves to any other mother. Some may seem to have it all together, but nobody really does. We all have our struggles, our triumphs, our weaknesses, our strengths. We know if we are doing our best, according to our own circumstances. And that's all we can do.

Christmas in May?

Today Colin requested we break out the Christmas music, in the form of "Rum-pum-pum-pum" (Josh Groban's "Little Drummer Boy"). I am thrilled he has inherited my love of the Christmas season, and only a little worried that May is too soon to start listening to holiday tunes!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A Discourse on Education - a history of me

(Do any of you have a subject on which you tell people "don't get me started!"? Well, for me, that is education. However my love of education is so strong and it is a subject about which I am so passionate that I feel impressed to leave some of my thoughts on it here. I will start today, but I really feel that this is a subject to which I will return again and again. I will try to be concise, but I cannot promise to be brief. I guess you can call this a disclaimer, or "fair warning". But I do hope you might peruse some of these thoughts, because education is something that affects each one of us, and it is too important to ignore).

I loved school. My education was absolutely fantastic. I came up through the public education system here in Canada, but I couldn't say it was ordinary.

At three my mother enrolled me in nursery school. I spent three mornings a week for two years in this delightful place. I can still remember what the classroom looked like, filled with art supplies and books and toys and a teacher with a bright beaming smile. I got a great kickstart to learning. (It should also be noted that my mother always wanted to be a teacher, and by the time I was 15 had fulfilled that dream. So education was highly valued in our home).

I easily developed my own love of learning, and combined with a gift of intelligence, was soon enrolled in French Immersion, so that I might be challenged at school. By grade two, however, I was quickly becoming bored with the curriculum. I raced through reading programs and found school much too easy. After a series of tests I was placed into a "Mode II" class, that met a few times a week and that challenged me with different critical thinking games.

By grade four, however, it was evident that the class I was in wasn't providing me with what I needed. My parents made the decision to transfer me to the gifted program. So in January of grade four, I moved to a new school, new class, and new classmates. I stayed in the program through to the end of grade eight, and I loved every second of it. The class was structured so that we might pursue our individual interests, with much more freedom than in a regular classroom. I can remember to this day my grade five project on paper airplanes. I devoured books on different designs, made them all, and then designed my own paper airplane that incorporated what I thought to be the best aerodynamic designs of the ones I had tested.

While in grade eight I saw a presentation at my school about a school for the arts. Having a keen interest in dramatics, I was taken with the idea that I could "major" in drama at high school! I auditioned for the school and was granted one of the 50 spots for grade nine. I continued taking gifted classes in my other subjects while majoring in drama for the rest of my high school career.

When it came time for university, I chose to follow my love of the arts. With top marks in science and math, I could have easily fallen into a field that held much more prestige and practicality, and yet I couldn't resist my emerging love of film. I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Studies at university.

Throughout my school years, I also had a chance to spend a few months in grade school attending classes in England, a few weeks in New Zealand, and one semester in high school in France.

With only two exceptions, every teacher I had was passionate about their vocation and eager to impart something to me. I am so grateful for my extraordinary education opportunities, for I know that it shaped my views on the subject today.

Through the years, I have taught in many capacities: piano teacher, French tutor, drama instructor, Sunday School teacher. One day I hope to get my Bachelor of Education and spend some time teaching high school.

So why is education one of those topics that you "shouldn't get me started on"? I have been exposed to some emerging ideas on the current system of education lately that have me thinking and rethinking how we educate today. It all started when Colin was born. Right away I knew I would have to be alert, because he is a "December boy". If you mention "December boy" to a grade school teacher, they will knowingly nod and share a smile of sympathy. Boys tend to be behind girls in terms of school-readiness at the age of 5. But a boy born in December can be almost an entire year behind the rest of his classmates, because he is the youngest in the class. So right from the start my mind was set in motion, learning about the "December boy" phenomenon, wondering if I should hold him back a year from starting school (many December boys struggle in school their whole educational career, and quite a few will be held back in the early grades).

This small interest soon ballooned. I have become somewhat obsessed with looking at the teaching styles and classroom format of today and wondering whether or not it offers the optimal setting for education as I think important. I have read some interesting ideas and developed some interesting insights into the subject.

(I think this is enough of a tease into the subject...stay tuned for future entries to inspire you in learning and teaching!)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Constantly amazed

Do your kids amaze with their capabilities?

This morning Colin was watching a type of "Baby Einstein" video, that features music by Beethoven. As he was sitting on the couch listening, he started to move to the music. But he didn't just sway to the beat. First of all, he started analyzing the music for me: "It's going to get faster!...It's quiet now...Now louder and very, very fast!" Then when he heard a quick succession of piano notes, he put one hand over the other (so that his left hand fingers pointed up and right hand fingers pointed down) and wiggled his fingers quickly, imitating the fast music. Underneath the piano notes was a repetitive pattern of deeper notes on a horn. Each time the pattern started again, Colin would switch which hand was on top and lean his body to the side. I'm not sure if this description makes any sense to anyone else, but suffice it to say that I couldn't believe he could hear the different components of the music and that his brain could process it all and perform the different actions at the same time!

Yesterday Colin pulled out a "toolbox" set, complete with a little work bench. He found his screwdriver and wanted to screw in the screws. He asked "how's it work?" and I showed him that if he turned the screwdriver one way, to the right, the screws went in, and if he turned it to the left the screws came out. I showed him my hand action, the screw going into the workbench, and then I lifted the bench up so he could see where the bottom of the screw was disappearing to. I barely got one screw in when he took the driver from me and proceeded to screw and and take out the screws for the next 15 minutes - no further help or explanation needed.

This afternoon we went to the grocery store and on the way out the wide doors slid open automatically. Colin stopped in the doorway, touched the open door, looked up at me and asked with amazement: "How does it work?" I pointed up to the sensor and explained that it could tell when a person was coming, and then the computer inside opened the doors automatically. He is full of such wonder and perceptiveness.

Perceptiveness - that's what I really think it's all about. Nothing escapes his view, no question remains locked up inside his head, and he processes everything he sees, hears and learns immediately. I am constantly amazed by him.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Homekeeper Challenge #6

This week I started on a project that will take a little while to finish, but one that I will be super-proud of when I finally get there! I am building a fence.

The only thing we didn't get from our "wish list" for our house was a fenced in backyard. There is lots of space for the boys to run around...but nothing to keep them in. So I knew that one of our first projects this Spring had to be getting a fence in.

Our first instinct was to spend our tax refund on just getting a fence company to do the entire thing for us. But when the quote came back at nearly $10,000 and the job would also necessitate taking out the trees that line the back of our property. And so we were stuck. We love those trees, and didn't really want to spend that much on a fence. We weren't building an 8-foot monster - just a little picket to keep the boys out of the neighbours' gardens.

I then took it upon myself to investigate our options. I like to think inherited my some of my Dad's skill when it comes to fixing and building. And my Dad (wonderful father that he is) is often willing to come out and help me with a project here and there.

I shopped around to see what kinds of fences we could put in and how much each cost. I drew up my plans, measured up and figured out the materials I would need. I ended up with three options which I presented to James. All three cost about the same, so in the end it's just a personal decision on what we'd like to look at in the yard.

I took James down to the hardware store to see the materials in person, so that he could have a better idea what I was planning. (Funny anecdote - I had a few last questions at the store, and each time I posed one, the employee turned and explained his answer to James, turning his back to me. Clearly he figured that James must be the one piloting the project! I just laughed to myself about it, taking mental notes and formulating the next question. Little did he know I'm much more likely to be found with the toolbox in hand!)

That's about where we are now. Of the three options, one involves building a picket fence picket by picket, one involves building just the frame, and the last is simply screwing the pieces together. The adventurous side of me really wants to build it from scratch, picket by picket, but a wood picket fence would need serious maintenance after about 10 years, and so isn't necessarily the practical choice. But I do think we've decided to go with the middle option, so I will have a chance to get out the saw, hammer and nails and go to work on it! I'll be sure to keep you updated with photos along the way. This is by far my most exciting challenge!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Unusual Encounters

Saturday morning our family headed over to the opening of the Orangeville Farmer's Market, to enjoy a pancake breakfast, browsing through the vendor booths, and rub shoulders with our town neighbours. It was a lovely, cheerful morning - one which I would have enjoyed even without any unusual events. But I had an unusual encounter with a local man that I have been contemplating ever since.

I noticed the man early in the day. He wore shorts and a t-shirt, and a red ball cap slightly askew. He walked with a brace held in one arm, and each step was awkward and possibly even painful. I thought he may have had some sort of mental disability also. I noticed that he, too, was taking in the entire scene.

After I had finished meandering through each laneway, I headed over to volunteer at one of the booths (we're trying to bring French Immersion to Orangeville). Over the next 45 minutes or so I chatted up other mothers and mothers-to-be to drum up support for our cause, talking about my experiences in the program and collecting names of interested parents. Then, during a lull, this man approached me and asked me how old Caleb was. His words came slowly but deliberately. I immediately discerned that he did have all his mental faculties, but that it took extra time for the words to be formed. We casually chatted about Colin and Caleb, busy life as a parent, the beautiful day and the turn-out for the market. Five minutes passed quickly, and then I was called away to another interested parent. When I turned back, he was gone.

I thought nothing more of it, until 15 minutes later when a woman approached me from her adjacent booth.

"I can't believe you were speaking with that man," she murmured under her breath.
"Oh really?" I was a little shocked. Unless a person is being verbally abusive, I see no reason why I shouldn't engage in conversation.
"It's such a sad story," she began. "A while back he was hitch-hiking and was picked up by a drunk driver. The driver slammed his car into a tree, killing himself and severely injuring that man. He actually died three different times and was revived. When he woke, he was angry that they had let him live. He didn't think it was fair that he had to go on living in the state the accident left him in. He hasn't spoken to anyone since the accident."

I managed to mumble something in response and the woman moved back to her booth. Certainly there were no indicators in the conversation I had with the man that he was in anyway reclusive. I would consider the conversation casual, touched with a little laughter and quite neighbourly.

The experience sat with me heavily yesterday, and is still with me today. What did this man see in me that made him approach me? What part was I playing in God's plan for both of us? I have no doubt that I must have impacted him greatly, for him to take this step. Even more interesting, though, is the impact he has had on me. I felt so honoured that, caught up in my own daily life, God still found a way to help me reach out and touch someone. I wonder now what influence I have had on people in the past? Has it been all for good, or have I set a bee in someone's bonnet? Have I taken all the opportunities that have come my way to shine as a light in this world, or do I sometimes hide behind a bush in fear or weariness?

This was the type of experience that stays with you for a long while, and hopefully I will use it to shape my own self a little better.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Carpe Diem

Amid my days of diapers and dishes, this article was a reminder of an expression I used to keep close to my heart as a youth: "Carpe Diem" - Seize the Day. (I think I signed this on countless yearbooks and entered it my "fav saying" on numerous surveys!)

There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most.

I remember reading the account of a man who, just after the passing of his wife, opened her dresser drawer and found there an item of clothing she had purchased when they visited the eastern part of the United States nine years earlier. She had not worn it but was saving it for a special occasion. Now, of course, that occasion would never come.

In relating the experience to a friend, the husband of the deceased wife said, “Don’t save something only for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion.”

That friend later said those words changed her life. They helped her cease putting off the things most important to her. Said she: “Now I spend more time with my family. I use crystal glasses every day. I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket if I feel like it. The words ‘someday’ and ‘one day’ are fading from my vocabulary. Now I take the time to call my relatives and closest friends. I’ve called old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I tell my family members how much I love them. I try not to delay or postpone anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day. Each day, each hour, each minute is special.”


I lie languidly in bed each morning, waiting for Colin to wake up. He announces it to me, from bed, like this:

"I'm wakin' up! Oh! I'm wakin' up! Mommy, I'm wakin' up!"


"A little bit" - Colin's new catch phrase:
"I'm just going to play for a little bit."
"I'm just talking on the phone for a little bit."
"I'm just going to read for a little bit."
"I'm just going outside for a little bit."


Colin was examining a ladybug who made the unfortunate choice to enter into our house. We looked closely at its colour and wings, and I tried to help Colin know we had to be very gentle with him because he was so small. I left Colin with the bug, only to hear him call out to me two minutes later: "Mommy! There's two ladybugs!" (There wasn't.)

The next day he found the pieces again and exclaimed: "Oh no! The ladybug is broken!"

Two days later I think the concept is closer for him: "The ladybug is dead. Dead. It's dead."


"I'm a boy!" I'm not sure he really understands the difference yet - boys have short hair and wear jeans, girls have long hair and are generally in pink or dresses. Yes, we have had a few embarassing moments in stores when Colin points to a little girl and says "you're a boy!", or maybe even worse, points to a boy and calls him a girl. And by the way, Mommy is a girl, but Daddy is "just a Daddy".


Colin loves watching movies. Even more, Colin loves to narrate movies: "Oh! Woody is on the truck! Watch out, Woody!...Andy dropped his ball....He's scared! Oh no. It's very dark. It's very very's almost's at the end!"


Colin's love of trains is all-pervasive. He refers to each place we visit by the toy train located there. For example, the Early Years Centre has the "blue train and black car", the playgroup has "Thomas, Percy and James", and Ma and Pa's has the "train with the blue track that Pa will fix".


Current Favourites:

Book: any of Mercer Mayer's "Little Critter" series
Food: Granola bars
Song to listen to: Sharon, Lois and Bram's "Newfoundland Medley: Bonavist' Harbour/Kelligrew Soiree/I's the B'y"
Song to sing: "On top of Spaghetti" "The Impossible Dream" "How Much is that Doggie in the Window"
Letters: H and X (yes, that's right, he has favourite letters. He goes crazy when he sees one of them, and then immediately points out that the other is not present. We see these letters a lot as we live near both a Hospital and a Railway crossing. You should see the ecstasy that he displays when the "THX" screen comes up on his DVDs!)
Place to visit: Early Years Centre
Insect: Ladybug

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Not too many entries back I recorded one of my favourite "Mommy Brain" moments, where my memory had completely failed me. It was a humorous event which I met with laughter then and now.

The truth is, I have been plagued with a bad memory my whole life. It served me well during school - I could never rely on a cramming session to get me through a class. I had to truly learn the concept, inside and out, what it was and why it was. The result was that I really understood the things I was learning, and then "recalled" them with ease when I needed to.

There are many moments of my childhood I recall with perfect clarity. I had memories of preschool, family trips to worldwide destinations, friends and teachers, games and playtime. I can bring to mind smells and sights tucked way back in the recesses of my brain.

But for some reason, my memory bank is selective. There are huge gaps - large portions of my past that I wouldn't believe ever existed if it weren't for those around me who also experienced them.

And lately, my memory bank seems full. Many people ask of me how alike or different Caleb is from Colin. And the truth is, I can't remember.

It was with a touch of sadness last night that I gingerly inquired of James to fill in some of the emptiness in my memory. Was Colin as fussy? Would he sit and play or did he like to be held? Would he fall asleep anywhere or did he need the comfort of his crib? When did he roll over, sit, crawl? What was his general temperament as a baby? Did he laugh a lot, with mouth open wide like Caleb, or was he of a more serious disposition? did he have Caleb's eagerness to get going or was he content to sit and drink in the world around him?

I see how important these musings of mine will be as the years go by and memories are left behind on the side of the path I travel. I am grateful I will be blessed by these records, and also blessed by my husband with a memory to rival an elephant!

Inspiration and imagination

"I'm going to imagine that I'm the wind that is blowing up there in those tree tops. When I get tired of the trees I'll imagine I'm gently waving down here in the ferns - and then I'll fly over to Mrs. Lynde's garden and set the flowers dancing - and then I'll go with one great swoop over the clover field - and then I'll blow over the Lakes of Shining Waters and ripple it all up into little sparkling waves. Oh, there's so much scope for imagination in a wind!"

- Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Careful what you say

I made a quick phone call tonight - in fact, I didn't even get to talk with my friend, I simply left a message on her answering machine.

Half an hour later I went into the playroom to get Colin for bedtime. He looked up with big eyes and let me know he wasn't quite ready, that he was talking on the phone. Holding the receiver to his ear, this is what he said:

"Hello, it's Colin. Please give me a call at 519-***-****. Talk to you later. Bye."

Yes. He repeated my message virtually verbatim, including our telephone number. I was astonished and reminded yet again that little ears are listening to every word!

Monday, 5 May 2008


Today I am able to find a few minutes to finish some tasks only by propping Caleb up in front of a large mirror. He is cooing adorably at his reflection, occasionally breaking out into huge smiles.
Apparently he is the only thing worth looking at.

Homekeeper Challenge #5

(Week 5 - I wonder if I'm actually more motivated, or rather am just recording things I manage to get done around here!)

This week might nearly have been a disaster in the house. I became utterly frustrated with some kitchen shelves and the annoying task of having to unshelve nearly everything from its precarious balance to access items I use daily. So one afternoon I was about to grab a garbage bag and randomly toss in anything that was in my way.

Of course, this was not a practical way of tidying. Many of the casualties would have been things I would sorely miss after a day or two.

And so I decided a better option would be to actually go through the offending shelves and try to organize them in a more useful fashion.

The results were quite positive. My "baking" shelf, previously crammed with no less than 20 items, now holds only four canisters: flour, sugar, oatmeal and salt. The rest of the baking ingredients found a new home on the top shelf of my pantry. They replaced an assortment of canned foods and miscellaneous cooking ingredients, all of which I realized don't need to be at my fingertips, and which made their way downstairs to our food storage.

There. Nice and tidy, convenient and clean. And an unbelievable amount of less stress. Funny how a little organization can go a long way.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

There are just some things...

...that I've accepted are not my strengths. Okay, I know that we are supposed to work on our weaknesses, that they have been given to us by God so that we can become strong, that we can learn to depend on Him, and to be humbled by our limitations. This weakness, however, is something entirely different. And instead of stressing myself out continually pursuing something that is driving me crazy, I've realized that I can embrace the idea of it in a different way, still fulfil the purpose of it, and keep my sanity.

Scrapbooking. It's a huge hobby right now, with unlimited resources in stores, workshops, online, and seemingly all of my friends engaging in this art form.

It is not for me.

I collected all my photos. I bought books and papers and layout ideas and stickers. It's all in a box, sitting in my living room in plain sight, a constant reminder that I want to artistically capture my life of memories thus far.

It's been sitting there for months.

The task is daunting. I'm afraid to start and not like what I do. It seems so permanent (not to mention the cost of materials) that I'm afraid of not getting it right and the time and money gone to waste. And yet I want to preserve photographs, memories, and stories of our lives for my children and grandchildren and generations to come to cherish.

Then the other day, I realized that I am already doing this. Firstly, I have been very diligent in taking photographs of my family. (I think I even have more photos of Caleb, my second child, than I do of Colin, my first!) And in this digital age, I have been even more diligent about acutally printing the photos, dating and labeling them, and compiling them into an album.

Secondly, there is this blog. For over a year now I have been recording my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I could never keep a handwritten journal faithfully, but this blog has enabled me to journal "our daily treasures". I plan to print them out each year and have them bound into a little book. (Who knows what might happen to this virtual online world in the future?!) Staples Business Depot, our local business supplies store, will do a fairly nice book binding for only $1!

So as it turns out, I may be terribly discouraged by the formal art of scrapbooking, but I have found other means of making sure my memories do last forever!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Just wondering...

Why Caleb hates his sleeping so much?
Why I will immediately regret 5 minutes of quiet (when I find lipstick on my furniture, all the board game contents overturned, a trail of crackers throughout the house)
Why white things call out to be decorated with lipstick?
Why a 2 minute snooze in the car means Colin doesn't need his 2 hour nap?
Why the word "no" has no meaning to a 2-year old?
Why Caleb insists on shrieking when he is tired, hungry, needs a diaper change, instead of just whimpering like most babies?
Why "eau de diaper" is Colin's preferred scent and why I can't seem to rid my house of the smell?
Why my children demand so much attention that I can't seem to get caught up on laundry, dishes, cleaning, yard work...?
Why I need to follow Colin around with my dustpan...and why I don't just attach it by rope around my waist to save time?
Why Colin and Caleb insist on falling to pieces at the exact same time?

Why children are so cute? (Oh wait...I do know the answer to that...if they weren't we'd send them back!)