Monday, October 25, 2010

Growing up

As a kid, I used to think that becoming a grown-up was a tangible thing. I almost expected to wake up one day with a note on my pillow saying "Congratulations! You're a Grown-Up!". Well, maybe not a note, but I did think there must be something that delineated between those teen years and adulthood.

I was a little obsessed with growing up (as most teens are - I wasn't the only one right? Right? *laughs nervously*). Part of that could be attributed to my looks - I was the size and shape of an eleven year old boy and hoped to outgrow it - but mostly I wanted to live life on my own terms. When you're grown-up you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. *wipes tears from laughing so hard*

Looking back, I can obviously see how naïve that was, but I did get one part right. I do live the life that I want. Sure, it includes getting up too early (before noon), doing more laundry than humanly possible, and far too much cleaning (okay, so I'm a minimalist in this department, but the house still has to be relatively decent); however, I can do (most of) it happily, because it's part of the life I chose. I'm an at-home mom and I love it!

Obviously my hubby and I take care of business in a responsible way, but other than that, my life has relatively little to do with being a grown-up. Maybe it's from being around these kids for so long, but really, lightheartedness comes naturally, and I love being a kid at heart. Not in the scatalogical humour kind of way, but by living life with a sense of awe and wonder.

No matter how old I get, I still feel like anything is possible. I'm sort of of the mindset that truly growing up means losing that. Sort of like the Peter Pan movie with Robin Williams (Hook) where he forgets who he is and is a grown-up with a capital G.

I mean, we all grow older - but to actually grow UP? I stick my tongue out at the thought. Who's with me?


P.S. I ate a huge piece of pumpkin pie for lunch. That's it. Nothing else. And it was AWESOME.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We never got to see fun stuff like this...

Maybe you've seen it before, but this is what my 5th grader was shown in class the other day, thanks to the teacher being a huge HP fan. Now it's all I hear around the house. (Sorry Mom, you'll think it's lame...)

I know it's a day early, but have a great weekend!


p.s. It seems to be loading rather slowly, so hang in there. It's worth the wait!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Magical Monday

Welcome to another edition of Marvellous Monday! I promise that this week will not be as sombre as the last installment. (Thanks for sticking with me!)

As a kid, I never really thought of myself as particularly imaginative. My younger sister had a fabulous imagination and could make up the most fun stories. I always figured that was her thing. On the outside, anyway. In reality, I loved losing myself in fantasy-type books (one of my favourites was Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles/Black Cauldron series) and on the inside, I would make things up; fancying sprites and elves playing in the trees at the local park. I dreamed of magic and alternate realities, and wouldn't have been surprised to see a portal open up to whisk me away to mystical Avalon or some other fantastical place. If I'd had access to a wardrobe, I'd have been checking for a passage to Narnia for sure!

I had a lot of fun with imagination in my mind, which isn't too far from what I do now. I'm still very much in my own head, but now I write things down in hopes of sharing with others. Even though I now know better than to expect to be carried off to some distant, mythological place, I can't help but keep an eye out for elves in the forest, and if I ever come across an old wardrobe, you know where I'll be...

Seriously though, I do believe magic is everywhere if you know where to look, and I'm grateful for the ability to find it in everyday things (as well as in my head, hehe). It makes me happy and keeps me young (says I)!

What kind of magic is at work in your life?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kindle giveaway!

Sparkling Reviews is giving away a Kindle when it gets to 500 followers, so head over there to boost their readership and enter!


Friday, October 15, 2010

On a lighter note...Happy Friday and a contest!

Shannon O'Donnell is having a contest over on her wonderful blog (one of my faves out there). She's got over 500 followers - woohoo!!! Go check her out here. Tell her I sent ya!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marvellous Monday: Wednesday edition part deux

As promised, here's the continuation of the story...
(Haven't read part one yet? Go here or you'll be wondering what the heck is going on!)

Well, that little fella, he wiggled and jiggled right up until it he finally made it out. However, by the time he was in our arms, he was already gone. We were left alone in the delivery room with our little guy. To be honest, I barely cried. I was all cried out from the whole week before, I think. Not only that, but there was an incredibly peaceful feeling in the room. The only way to describe it, is to say that heaven was close enough to touch. It's the only time in my life where I've felt that way, and I can tell you that it was real, and that it helped carry me through some of the more difficult moments.

I don't want to gloss over the aftermath of our loss - it was hard - but we pulled together as a family and made it through. For the most part, I wasn't too sad, but for months afterward, I would have vivid dreams and wake up crying on a soaking wet pillow. On the whole, though, we dealt with it pretty well, and I delivered a healthy baby a short eleven months later. A lot of people thought we were crazy to have another one, especially after dealing with the diagnosis of #2's cerebral palsy. In fact, some people said we should give up and just adopt in case we ended up with more "problems", but I'm stubborn and wasn't going to let a few setbacks keep me from having kids (if I could help it...). Although I had several miscarriages in between my last 2 children, we ended up with five beautiful, living children, and I'd have gone for more if my body hadn't given out on me. I love being a mom, and I think it's something I'm good at. But I digress...

Are you still with me? I hope so, because the purpose of these posts isn't to make you feel sad (and definitely not sorry for me - I'm fine!). Rather, I'd like to tell you a couple of reasons why I'm grateful for the experience and why I wouldn't trade it for anything.

First off, it made me more sympathetic to other peoples' suffering. I still deal with things logically, but I have a much better understanding of what others go through. I'm the same logical, even-keeled person, but I can relate better to others who aren't. This is something that I've not perfected - the first reaction in my head is usually "that stinks, but it's not the end of the world so get on with it" - but just being able to truly empathize with others is a huge improvement and has served me well over the last decade since losing our son.

Second of all, a short time after our loss, some friends of ours ended up in the same situation (only with a different birth defect). They told us that they never would've been able to get through it if they hadn't seen how well we dealt with our situation. Ironically enough, they were our only friends who really talked with us about the baby after he died. Everyone else was too sad, or felt too awkward to bring it up when I wanted nothing more than to talk about his ski feet, and long, slender fingers! Ignoring that he was real, and that we held him in our arms was a little hurtful, although I do understand how difficult others felt about the situation. Also, I was able to tell that couple some things we would've done differently (such as taking more pictures, spending more time with him, etc). In any case, I was so glad that our experience could help them in some way.

So there you have it. A huge trial, and a few of the reasons I am truly thankful for it. I'm really not one of those people who pretends to be happy for the sake of appearances, so I hope you can feel the sincerity in my words. If not, then I obviously need to hone my skills before I'm published, hehe. ;o)

In the end, what I really hope is that others can see that eventually time heals all wounds if you let it, and that you can also find happiness in the painful moments if you keep the proper perspective.

So, I hesitate to ask this for fear that everyone think I'm crazy...but does anyone else appreciate the tough times like I do?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marvellous Monday: Wednesday edition

Sorry I'm a few days late with this one. It was (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend and I was out of town visiting family. I barely got on the computer, and when I did, it was too late to post anything coherent. :-)

In honour of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd do a gratitude post with a twist. Everyone always talks about how thankful they are for the good things in their lives, but I want to something a little different. Not that I'm ungrateful for the good stuff - bring it on! My life is definitely filled with wonderful friends and family, a husband who works hard, and children who are healthy and happy. However, some of the greatest blessings in life come from our trials, and that's what I want to talk about.

I'll be the first to admit that I feel like I've led a prettty charmed life. I will also admit that this is extremely easy for me to say because I'm an optimistic person, and even when things aren't that great, my mind turns the situation into something positive. I'm a very logical person, and my universe has very little room for bad things. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow, therefore, bad=good.

Am I weirding you out yet? Okay, good. I just want you to keep that in mind so you don't read the rest of this and go "This chick is a nut job". (Well, you might think that anyway, but whatever. At least I'm a happy nut.) It's using that logic, that I want to share one of the things for which I'm most grateful. I hope you'll forgive me for getting a little up close and personal.

When I was twenty-five, I was pregnant with our third child (a boy). We had a precocious 2 year old, and a one year old with some developmental delays (to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly thereafter). It was a little overwhelming to tote those little ones around, and I remember praying that our 1 year old (who could finally sit up on his own) would learn to walk by the time the baby was born. Yes, that was a little ambitious, but I prefer that my optimism dictate my reality and not the other way around...

At the end of the second trimester, we discovered that our incredibly active little baby had a condition known as anencephaly where the skull doesn't form completely. Basically, he had a hole in the top of his head, and only part of his brain was there. When the time came to have this little one, we wouldn't be taking him home from the hospital. It was devastating news. We were told that these babies generally don't trigger labour, and rarely even survive the birthing process. When they do survive, it's for a very short time, and there was no telling how much baby would suffer before dying. On top of that, they can bring a lot of complications for mom during delivery.

Since I was already high risk (I'd had a c-section and a forceps/vacuum delivery already, as well as going 42+ weeks with the first 2), we decided to induce labour a few months early. Really, it would be no different than inducing my other babies - all but one were induced, and even that one was 13 days overdue - and anything that could make it easier on me was a good thing.

It was just over a week between the diagnosis and the induction, and I was literally sick with grief during that time. I just kept thinking that these things only ever happened on TV or in books. I was too young for this (as if there's an age-appropriate time to have your child die...) and wondered why it had to be this way. It was pretty surreal. Even the hospital stay was crazier than it should've been. The doctors and nurses were baffled when it took so long to get my labour going. Anyone who came into my room said "It never takes this long". Meanwhile, this baby was busy kicking up a storm. It gave me hope that we'd get to hold him while he was still alive...

I hate to cut it off right here, but this is getting pretty long, and I've got to run. I'll post the rest of it tomorrow. Stay tuned...


Friday, October 8, 2010

How cookies saved the day

My 13 year old came home from school one day this week, and was looking a little out of sorts. Being the excellent mother that I am, I asked how his day was. (I know, my skills are astounding...) He plopped himself on the couch next to me and said "I'm so angry." This surprised me. My little fella is pretty easygoing, and usually comes home from school all bright and cheery and eager to chat about his day. He didn't elaborate, so I prodded a little and got out of him that his teacher had told the kids that if they worked well in class, they wouldn't have to do any math homework. The class wasn't good, so they all got homework. He was extremely frustrated. "Why would they do that?", he wanted to know. He did what he was supposed to do, and now he was being punished for their bad behaviour.

My heart went out to him. He works hard, and because his cerebral palsy affects his fine motor skills, it takes him a little longer to do things, so he often has homework anyway. Homework that he does diligently the minute he gets home from school. (So not like his mother. I seriously love that kid.) Anyhoo, I just gave him a squeeze and told him how much it stunk to be lumped in with lame-o classmates, and that it really wasn't fair. Then I told him that I'd baked cookies, and that he'd better go get some with a nice glass of milk.

He looked at me with his slightly teary puppy dog eyes (seriously, they're a little droopy like a puppy) and said "You made cookies???" People, this teenage boy was too upset to notice that our house smelled like cookies! (To which I say: shame on you, evil classmates!)
I gave him an extra big MOM hug and sent him to the kitchen for his treat. After consuming the goodies, he happily finished his homework in record time.

And that, my friends, is how cookies saved the day.

This week's lesson is: Never, EVER underestimate the power of baked goods. (Also, in yo' face, healthy snacks!)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Marvellous Monday: Favourite songs, childhood memory edition

I think we're all affected by the music our parents listen to. It's not that I like all of the same music my parents listened to (sorry, Mom, but Hoyt Axton??? It still makes me cringe...), but I've definitely been exposed to some excellent music over the years. Knowing that my parents were teens in the 60s and 70s, you probably won't be too surprised by the memories that music has etched into my brain.

One of my strongest memories associated with music, has to be waking up to the Beatles blue album - Back In The USSR to be exact - blaring on a Sunday morning. My bedroom was in the attic, but I could feel the bass all the way up there. I always knew that meant that mom and dad were making a yummy breakfast/brunch, and I think I still drool in anticipation when that song plays on my iPod!

Another couple of childhood songs that I still love to hear, are Sympathy for the Devil and Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones. I think the lyrics for Sympathy for the Devil are extremely clever, and if you believe in the "devil" as a literal being, it really gives you something to think about. Even as a kid, I was a real sucker for lyrics with either a message, or a good story to tell. That said, Ruby Tuesday is just something I liked to sing along to. :o)

One last memory that gets triggered, takes me back to early elementary school (I was about 7 or 8, I think). There was a boy in my class that used to sing Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy". We all thought it was hilarious, even though we didn't know what that was supposed to mean...I had classes with him all the way through grade 12, and he's never been able to live it down. Poor guy!

Anyone else out there with some fun memories associated with music? I've barely scratched the surface of mine, but I don't want to bore you. :o)