Thursday, 31 January 2013

Coming Down from a Birthday Buzz

I think these two pictures sum up how our day went yesterday quite nicely.

Enough said?

Enough said.

Surely, today can't be as bad . . . right?

tee hee!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Our GF Journey

Baby Girl and I have been gluten-free for three weeks now, and I feel great!  Unfortunately, Baby Girl's meds mask her symptoms; therefore, we really don't know what effect it is having on her, but judging from the differences I see in my own body, I am sure her body is pleased.  Initially, I joined Baby Girl on this journey for moral support, but the further down the path I go, the more I am convinced that this is a much healthier way of eating.  Since going off of wheat, the arthritis pain that has been worsening over the past year in my hands has disappeared.  Not lessened, not barely noticeable, it has disappeared.  I find it easier to wake up in the morning.  My mind is less foggy and more focused.  My appetite has dramatically reduced. I no longer go on insulin-fueled chocolate chip binges (even though I still enjoy my chocolate chips in muffin form) and here is the best part:  my waistline is shrinking.  Shrinking I tell ya!  Poor Mr. Level-Headed was eating his breakfast this morning and out of the blue, I whipped up my shirt and said:
Look at this stomach!  It is amazing!

In hindsight, I am sure he did not mind too much . . . tee hee!

 Anyhoo . . . 

 Like my dry shampoo, going gluten-free is going to be the game changer for this thing they call 37!  I can just feel it.

Now, this is not to say there haven't been any challenges.  The first three days of going gluten-free were miserable.  I was coming off a powerful addiction and I could feel it.  My head hurt.  I was irritable, and all I thought about was doughy goodness.  Then it stopped.  Now, I feel terrific and have no desire to eat it again.  Why would you when you can make all your favourite goodies with less-irritating grains like rice, corn or potatoes?  (The Wheat Belly doctor poo poos on all of these forms too, but we like them)  With the right recipes and sugar (as I reassured my sister Hilary, who follows a balance-in-all-things approach to diet, we are gluten-free with sugar, and this pleased her), you don't have to miss out on all your old standbys like pizza, cake, cookies, or muffins.   And now, my kitchen is officially stocked with not one, not two, but three gluten-free cookbooks (thanks to two gluten-free family members and a birthday Indigo gift card)

The other challenge is that being new to this diet-change, I am spending even more time in the kitchen. All day long, I am in the kitchen trying new recipes, preparing lunches and dinners, and washing up after these "experiments".  Recently, a friend of mine came to pick up her daughter and she remarked:

You are always in this kitchen.

I know.  HELP!

I kid.  Please do not rescue me.  In fact, I enjoy cooking.  I do not enjoy the clean-up, but I enjoy cooking, and I really enjoy eating good food and seeing my kids devour my latest concoction and having them exclaim: 

These are awesome, Mom!

What can I say: it gives me a high.

The final challenge I see is that eating gluten-free is more expensive.  The grains and the gluten-free cereals are a lot more expensive than wheat-based ones; however, you tend to snack way more when you eat wheat (this phenomenon has to do with insulin-spikes and its addictive qualities).  And it's true!. I have been experimenting with my two lab rats named Elliot and Avery.  On mornings they have whole wheat toast for breakfast or a sandwich made on whole wheat bread for lunch, they drive me bonkers begging for more food as early as thirty minutes after eating their meal, BUT when they have no wheat in their diets that day, the only snack they are looking for is our 4pm smoothie break. (I guess you could say 4pm is our Mormon Cocktail hour . . . tee hee!)  Therefore, if we take in consideration that my children are no longer snacking on granola bars, crackers or other pre-packaged snacks, then in the long run we are probably saving money.  Yay!  I get skinnier and we save money . . . see what I mean, this just gets better and better.

Here is just a sneak peak at all the gluten-free goodies we have been enjoying:

The boys call these Godzilla squares: chocolate and plain  Rice Krispy squares melted together (we used gluten-free rice cereal)

Blueberry muffins using rice flour

Lasagna replacing noodles with spaghetti squash . . . to die for!


Meatballs using potato flakes rather than crackers to hold them together

Cheese muffins

Cupcakes using Duncan Hine's gluten-free cake mix . . . yummy!

Pizza with a rice-flour dough

Pancakes using potato flakes and rice flour . . . awesome!

POPCORN!  Sniff, sniff . . . we had to say farewell to our beloved machine because my brother wanted it back.

Chocolate Chip muffins . . . Amazing!

As you can see, we are really not missing our wheat.  Next week, I will be on the hunt for a yummy gluten-free bread recipe . . . wish me luck!  Oh, and if you are interested in going gluten-free, please do some research and don't make the decision lightly. You really need to make sure that your diet is not missing out on essential nutrients and you should also be warned that after going off of wheat for a period of time, reintroducing it into your system is difficult  and can be downright painful.  There, that's my disclaimer.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My Shallow Side

And now for something entirely shallow . . . .

I LOVE my new butterfly punch!

Happy Birthday to me . . . . Happy Birthday to me . . . . Happy Birthday dear Krista  . . . . Happy Birthday to me!

I had the most fantabulous birthday yesterday!  Sunday night, as I was dragging my triple-birthday-partied butt to bed, I began to whine to Mr. Level-Headed that I was not ready for another week to begin.  I needed a three day weekend to recover from all the festivities.  Then, like you see in all the cartoons, a light bulb flashed above my head, and I had the grandest epiphany.

I have the power to make this a three-day weekend.  Me, and me alone . . . . muhahahahahahaha!

(power always goes straight to my head and tends to unleash my dark side)

Kids, my first birthday decree is to pronounce tomorrow a holiday.  Mama is sleeping in!

(This proclamation sent my minions into a fit of giddiness.  They cheered, they sang, and they danced.  It's good to have this kind of power.)

Thankfully, high school is still in their post-exam break because I really don't have that kind of power, and this meant that Baby Girl would be able to celebrate with us.

I drifted off to sleep that night basking in the knowledge that I didn't have to get up and do anything the next morning . . . . ahhhhhhhhhh!  Then I awoke at 7am . . . . ugh!  Clearly my body did not get the memo about my birthday proclamation.  I spent the remainder of the morning lying in bed, writing blog posts, and eating the breakfast my minions made for me. Heaven!

Eventually I did get up, and after much pleading and begging from my minions, whose pockets were alight with the fire of birthday money and gift cards, we headed into the mall, but not until after Mr. Level-Headed had texted me and offered to take us all out for supper to celebrate the birth of yours truly. Gosh darn it, I love that man!  At the mall, Avery quickly picked out a new Hobbit Lego set (obsessed!) and a Lord of the Rings video game.  Armed with a list and a strategic plan to navigate us quickly through the shops, Zoe bought the things she desperately needed as well.  Being the best Baby Girl anyone could ever have, she even bought her mama a couple of gifts . . . . awwwwwwwwwww!   And here is where my always embarrassing, but kind of endearing (I hope!), shallow side comes out:

Back Story!

For the past couple of months, I have been going on and on and on and on and on about dry shampoo.  My favourite blogger of all time, Nat the Fat Rat, wrote a post about how dry shampoo has changed her life. Changed her life, folks!  It has given her the most amazing hair, and having straight, lifeless hair myself, I have been dying to try it.  In fact, ever since I read her post where she poo-pooed on the daily routine of wetting and washing your hair, I have switched over to only washing it every second day.  This alone has been life-altering!  I have discovered that my hair does, in fact, have a wave to it.  Hello!  Where have you been all my life?  Oh right, weighed down by the drying effects of water and soap . . . sheesh!  For the first time ever in my life, I am absolutely in love with my hair.  Okay . . . so maybe that's a lie.  I had a pretty awesome perm in grade nine that I absolutely adored, but we really do not want to hear that back story.  

Anyhoo . . . 

So, as Zoe was perusing the cosmetic shelves at Zellers, who by the way still have a ton of stuff left and it is all 40% off, she found a bottle of dry shampoo.  DRY SHAMPOO!  I was ecstatic, and then she offered to buy it for me.  I could have kissed her right there, right on the lips, but if I had, she would probably put it back and refuse to buy me anything ever again.  Phew!  That was a close one.  I contained my excitement and thanked her profusely.  Then, as we were waiting in line to buy my DRY SHAMPOO!, I saw a three-pack of turtles, which was 40% off.  I love nothing more than Turtles, especially Turtles on sale, and so I picked them up and scoured the ingredients list in fear and in trepidation, looking for the dreaded word wheat flour.  And hallelujah they are clean!  Woohoo!  I squealed and handed them and a loonie to Zoe. 

We be needing these . . . 

Turtles and dry shampoo . . . . you would think my day could not get any better, but it did!

When we got back to our car, Zoe pulled out a hat from one of her bags. It was identical to the hat she got for her birthday and that I have been coveting all weekend long and have been given strict instructions not to touch.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

At this point, the angels were heralding.  Life is so good.

a sleep in
no school
breakfast in bed
a new crockpot (thanks mom and dad)
a Fabricville gift card
copious amounts of Facebook birthday wishes
dry shampoo
my hat
a sale on turtles
dinner out with my hubby and three awesome kids

Top that list off with two Indigo books cards burning a whole in my own pocket, and I would have to proclaim:


Thank you everyone for putting a great big, cheesy grin on this 37 year old face.

Now, I am off to spray my dirty hair with some dry shampoo.  I am so excited!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Avery's Story

Nine years ago today, I woke up ecstatic to be the mother of three children.  Three, healthy, happy, adorable babies.  I was feeling very blessed!  Avery had been delivered by a scheduled C-section the morning before, and Mr. Level-Headed and I were still giggling about how easy his delivery was compared to our other two nightmares that wound up being emergency C-sections.

Avery was born at 8:01 am.  I remember sitting in one of the delivery rooms with Mr. Level-Headed, sans pain, and laughing about the fact that we were going to be holding our Avery in half an hour.  It was surreal!  We had decided not to find out the gender of our third baby because Mr. Level-Headed enjoys the surprise.  My only complaint about not knowing the gender was that I really liked knowing the baby's name while I was pregnant with them, and so, in his typical level-headedness, Mr. Level-Headed suggested we call the baby Avery, whether it was a boy or a girl.  It worked for me!  

When Avery was born and they announced he was a boy, I was shocked!  I was convinced that the little bundle I had been carrying around for nine months was a girl.

Are you sure, Derrick?

Yes, I am.

Although, it was a surprise to me to have another boy, I was thrilled with my new son.  He was absolutely perfect!  We spent Avery's first day showing him off to his siblings and holding him very close.  Mr. Level-Headed and I cried many times that day, rejoicing in the fact that our little family was finally all together.

When I woke up the next morning, I thought to myself:

This is going to be the best birthday ever! 

Derrick was going to come to the hospital that afternoon with Zoe and Elliot.  Unfortunately, I still could not stand up after my c-section.  Every time I attempted it, I would get dizzy and faint; therefore, I was bed-ridden.  The nurse came in and helped me clean myself up as best as we could.  Then she brought Avery to me, all bathed and ready to nurse.  After he finished nursing, I held him at arms' reach and told him all about our family and how excited we were to get to know him.  Then he did something strange.  Avery's arm started to pump rhythmically.  Newborns do some silly things and so I scrambled to think if my other babies had ever done this before, but I couldn't remember.  Finally, it stopped.  I chalked it up to newborn weirdness and carried on talking to him.  Then he did it again, but this time, his foot pumped along with his arm.  I was scared.  I rang the nurse's bell and asked her to come to my room.  When she arrived, Avery had stopped his "dance".  I explained to her what he was doing, and she told me to contact her if he did it again.  I sat there in the room all alone with my boy, praying it was over.  Then he did it again.  I rang the bell and thankfully, this time he was still going when the nurse arrived.  She scooped him up immediately, and told me she was going to take him to the nurses' station to get someone to check him out.

He's going to be okay.

and she walked briskly out of the room.  My heart sank when I realised that she had turned left heading down towards Neonatal rather than turning right to the nurses' station.

I immediately began to cry.  I was terrified.  I was alone, and I did not know what was wrong with my baby.

Then Mr. Level-Headed popped his head in the door with the kids.  I lost it.  I sobbed and told him all about what had just happened.  Luckily, my mom was in the hospital that day.  I can't remember if she was there because she was working or if she was there as a support to my aunt, whose husband was undergoing surgery that morning.  Whatever the reason, Mr. Level-Headed took the kids down to her, explained what was going on, and had her take them home.  He then came back up to me, and we sat there in the room, crying and consoling one another.  Then I stopped.  I stopped crying.  Mr. Level-Headed left me for a moment to phone his parents, and I got angry.  Laying in my hospital bed, I got angry with God.  I prayed to him and yelled at him..

How could you do this to my baby!  My kids are off-limits!  Don't mess with my kids.  We are done! I don't need you any more.  You clearly don't care about us.

And then this eery calm came over.  I felt strong.  I felt confident.  I resolved at that moment that no matter what the outcome would be, I was going to be the best mother I could be to that little boy even if it for just a few more hours.

In my naivete, I failed to realise that even though I had just turned my back on God, He had not turned his back on me.  He was right there with me, the whole time.  He was the source of this peace I was experiencing.  He was the source of my strength.

After what felt like an eternity, we were invited to come down to the Neonatal unit to see Avery.  Mr. Level-Headed put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me down the hall.  There he was, stripped down, connected to wires, and laying in an incubator.  I did not cry.  The nurses explained that they did not know what was wrong, and that he needed to undergo some tests: a MRI, a spinal tap (eek!) and a couple others that I  am unable to remember.

My only response was:

Can I nurse him?

In my shock, this was all I could process at the time.  I just wanted to care for him as best as I could.  In my delirium, I thought that if I could nurse him, I could cure him; I could make him all better.

The nurses assured me I could and that they would call me when he was hungry.  That first night was all a blur for me.  He was a nursing machine.  I would nurse him for 20 minutes and he would fall back to sleep.  Then I would return to my room.  Since I was still unable to stand, Mr. Level-Headed had to stay with me and wheel me down every time they called.  Our phone rang every hour on the hour.  The nurses laughed.

He is a very hungry little boy. We can feed him if you want to get some sleep.

No.  I need to do this for him.

I really did not know how long I was going to have Avery and so I did not want to lose even one precious moment.  All through the night, I was wheeled back and forth from our room to the unit.  I nursed my baby, while Mr. Level-Headed napped in a chair beside us.  I talked to him.  I changed him.  I held him close, but I never cried.  

Two days later, we finally met with Dr. Meek.  As soon as I saw him, I could not hold it in any longer.  The tears began to stream down my face.  I could not control myself.  I remember one of the nurses coming up to me, and exclaiming:

Finally, you are crying!  You really scared us.

Dr. Meek then explained to us that Avery had suffered a stroke in the left side of his brain and that this was what had caused his seizures.  He could not tell us what impact the stroke would have on him.  He did not know if Avery would have another stroke.  He did not know why Avery had a stroke.  He did not know when the seizures would stop, and he did not know what affect they would have on him.

Can I nurse him?

Well, yes.  Yes, you can.

Again, this was all I could process.

I nursed Avery the entire week we were in the Neonatal unit.  I was convinced that this would help him to heal.

And the amazing thing was that he did heal.

Three days later, they scanned Avery's brain again and they could no longer see where the stroke had occurred.  Dr. Meek explained to us that in the first forty-eight hours of life, your brain is the busiest it will ever be, and thanks to all the flurry of synapses firing off and making connections, Avery's newborn brain had rewired itself.  His seizures had stopped and after seven days of intense examination and worry-filled, sleepless nights, we were sent home.  I never thought the day would come that I would get to carry Avery into our home and raise him alongside our other children. 

After the kids had shown Avery all their toys and all the rooms in our house, I carried him upstairs to change him.  The minute I walked into our bedroom, I began to cry again.  Being the amazing husband Mr. Level-Headed is, he had rearranged our bedroom to include the futon that Zoe and Elliot slept on together.

I just thought you would like us all to be together.

Yes, this is exactly what I need.  Thank you!

And so for the first few months, until I was quite confident that Avery was not going anywhere, we all slept together in that cosy, little bedroom.  It was there that I began my journey as a mother of three.  It was there that I realised just how blessed I was to have these four remarkable people in my life.  And it was there, that I began to forgive God.

Avery, as I told your sister on her birthday, it is hard to imagine, but I love you even more today than I did nine years ago, when I first laid eyes on you.

Happy Belated Birthday, Baby!

We have always been able count on you for a laugh, or a really good scare!

tee hee!


Birthday Weekend

Birthday weekend was a blast!

It was filled with:
treat bags
movie-theatre popcorn

Thank you everyone for celebrating with us, for all your birthday wishes, and for making us feel pretty, darn special.

We love you!

Zoe, Avery, and Krista
(the January babies)

Friday, 25 January 2013


8 years ago we celebrated Avery's first birthday.  He was such a cutie!

Shenanigans Inc. is in full birthday party swing!  Avery is having a couple of friends over today after school to celebrate his 9th birthday, and as soon as they leave, Zoe's friends are due to arrive for her birthday slumber party. Can you say C-R-A-Z-Y?  Thankfully, crazy usually winds up leading to a whole whack of fun. Then Sunday, our families are coming over for another party, and when the weekend is all said and done, yours truly will be waking up Monday morning a whole year older . . . 37!  37 sounds way older than 36, and you should see the grey hair that has spontaneously erupted on my head . . . eeek!  It's really happening; I am getting old.  Much to my children's dismay, though, I figure I have earned every single one of those grey hairs and they are not going anywhere.  I love grey hair!  I think it makes people look wise, and heaven knows, I could use all the help I can get in that department.

Anyhoo . . . 

If you are any good in math, then you have figured out that we have three birthdays to celebrate this weekend, which means triple the fun.  Right now there are 48 cupcakes cooling on my counter, chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and two boys, who have been up since 6 am, vibrating with excitement beside me.  This could be a very long day.  

Wish me luck!

Oh, and for those of you who asked to read the article I submitted to, here it is:  (Like all writers, I cringed when I read it again, and I wish I could go back and rewrite it . . .  eeeek!)  

How to Show Love to your Children

by Krista Skov-Nielsen

            As parents, we love our children.  We think about them, pray for them, and work hard to serve them, but this is not enough.  Our children need to feel our love and to know that we love them unconditionally.   We need to be their go-to person, the person they seek to celebrate life's victories with or to find comfort and strength from when life's challenges become overwhelming or even scary.  We need to be the person they go to for answers, for guidance, for validation, and for strength.   Do not doubt yourself.  You can be the parent your child needs you to be in order to help them navigate the ups and downs of growing up, and they will turn to you if they know you love them.   Showing love to your child is very simple, and by keeping these key suggestions in mind, it can be made even easier:

·Put down the technology! This goes for both of you.  It is very difficult to make meaningful connections with another person when your face is buried into a screen, checking your emails and your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts.  Turn off the television and the computer, and put away your phone. Then go up to your child, look them directly in the eye, and ask them how their day was.  Find out what is going in their life and if there is anything they are worried about or excited about at the moment.  You will be amazed by what you can learn about your child when you are completely engaged with them and truly listening to what they have to say.

·Get involved in your child's life.  As a parent in today's world, you are alarmingly busy; however, in spite of the external demands placed upon you, you need to make time to become actively engaged with your child and learning a new skill together is a fun way to do this. Many organizations, such as karate and soccer clubs, offer family classes where parents and children can learn and train alongside one another.  You can enrol in an art class, or a cooking class, or learn a musical instrument together. The best part about learning together is that you are placed on equal footing with your child, and they will love watching you struggle or make mistakes.  Perhaps, they will even get a chance to help instruct you.  Learning together will give your  child a chance to see you as a person and not just an authority figure, and this new perspective will help make them feel closer to you.

·Get to know your child personally.  Take note of their favourite foods, colours, games, songs, and television shows.  No two kids are alike, and you need to get to know each of your children on an individual basis.  Celebrate each child's strengths and never compare them to others.  Children need to know they are unique and that this is what makes them special.  Then, when you notice they are down or maybe having a rough day, offer to play that game with them or watch that show with them (technology is great when it does not take precedence over people), or make them their favourite supper.  By taking the time to single out your child and to do something specifically for them, you are showing your child that they are special and that you truly care about them.

·Be a physical presence in your child's life as much as possible.  If your schedule allows, greet them as they get off the school bus, volunteer in their classroom, be the coach of their team, or be in the audience for all their recitals, their games, and their award ceremonies.  If you work and cannot be there during or after school, call them when they get home or leave a note in their lunch box to remind them you are thinking about them or to wish them luck in something going on that day.  You can not be there for every moment of your  child's day.  In fact, children do not want you there all the time, but you can find little ways to reach out to them.  There is no greater way to show love to your child than by being there for them.

·Relax and have fun with your child.  Children can know you love them just by the look on your face.  Lighten up.  Smile.  Laugh.  Get excited to see them.  Squeeze them.  Kiss them.  Get on the floor or in the dirt and play with them.  Tell them you love them, over and over again.  It is that simple.  Your child is wonderful, and you can show them this by simply enjoying them.

            As a parent in today's world, you face many challenges, but thankfully, showing love to your child is not one of them.  All you have to do is unplug, get involved, get interested, be present, and have fun.  You will never regret the time spent, the skills learned, the memories made and the laughs shared with your child as you make it a priority to show them how much you love them.  It truly is that simple and oh, so very rewarding.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Open Windows

I firmly believe that when God shuts a door, he always opens a window, and in my case, he slammed and nailed that door shut; therefore, for the past couple of months, I have been frantically searching for my window, and at long last I have found it.  It took some patience.  It took a whole lot of prayers and a giant leap of faith, but I found it, a tiny little window, one that is open just enough to allow the fresh, fragrant breeze of possibility to brush by me, to awaken my weary soul, and to infuse my spirit with hope and optimism.

Now, don't go crazy thinking I am finally pregnant because I am NOT!  Trust me, at this point, if I ever have a viable pregnancy again, I will be hiring a plane and writing that announcement in the sky.  That would be BIG, BIG, like God parted the Red Sea, BIG news.  No, this is just BIG news.  Big, unexpected news.

Are you ready for it? 

Well, let's just say that I have a new title I can add to my name.  Up to now, you have all known me as:

Krista Skov-Nielsen
"retired" teacher

and now:

freelance writer

That's right!  I've got a writing gig for the new website  How exciting is that!  Very exciting, thank you very much.

Now, to back peddle a bit.  Remember, I said it is a tiny window and it is open just a crack.

At the end of November, a dear friend of mine sent me a job posting for this website, who was looking for freelance writers.  I hummed and hawed about it.  I really didn't think I had what it takes to do the job, and I definitely wasn't sure if I wanted to take something else on in my life right now.  But, at the very last minute (literally a couple of hours before the deadline), I made the leap and I whipped up a sample article for them, redid my resume, and sent it off.  

Then nothing.

Two weeks passed and nothing.

Four weeks passed and nothing.

So, I chalked it up to yet another 2012 failure, swept it under the rug with the rest of them, stomped up and down on it, ground my dirty boots all over it, and walked away.  

Then, last night, as I was curled up in my favourite reading chair, reflecting on what a good day it had been, I noticed an email titled:  "Re:  Application for Freelance Writing Position with".  I opened it up fully expecting them to brush me off, but much to my surprise, they were offering me a position.  WHAT!

Now for a little clarification.  I did NOT in fact get one of their full-time, paid positions, but what they offered me was a chance to become one of these writers.  I was offered "a position without compensation", and if they and the readers like my work, then I get "promoted".  After my initial shock and excitement passed, my pride started to kick up a fuss: Who do they think they are?  They want ME to write for them for FREE!  I don't think so.  Thankfully, the tiny and almost always suppressed level-headed side of me spoke up: Ummmmm . . . you are a stay-at-home mom, who writes a silly little blog and has no writing experience outside of that.  Everything you do is for no compensation.  Yes, you are going to take this position.

And so I did.  I will learn more details later today, but I am very excited.  Every writer has to start somewhere, and this could very well be my beginning, the beginning of a grand, new adventure . . . . eeeeeeeeek!  The only thing I love more than grand ideas is a grand adventure.  Nice move, 2013.  You've got my attention; now dazzle me!

The view from my window, pretty and full of promise.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dear Dad . . .

Dear Dad, 

We are really proud of you for going back to school to get your MBa.  In fact, we think it is pretty cool.  Mom is doing well without you around too. We are all bathed, fed, and watered daily.  Sure, we don't get as much television when you are not around, and yes, she even made us clean up the basement last night after supper (sheesh!).  It is also true that she gets way more crankier when she does not see you all day and has to spend "every waking moment with us monkeys" (her words, not ours), but all in all, things are going well.

Except for last night, which is why we are writing you this letter.  We are a little concerned about Mom.  We fear that she may have finally "lost her last marble" (again, her words, not ours).  The day was a typical day.  We did school.  Elliot whined and yelled, and whined some more.  Zoe and I teased Elliot.  Then we teased him some more.  We all chased each other around the house.  We wrestled.  We yelled.  We wrestled some more.  Yep, it was pretty much a typical day.  Then we sat down for supper.  Zoe and Elliot started fighting again, and Zoe threw a green bean at Elliot.  He threw one back.  I begged Zoe to throw one my way so that I could try and catch it in my mouth.  Needless to say, I caught it.  Whose the man?  And the whole time this food fight was going on, Mom just sat there, ate her supper and never said a word.  Then she even laughed and sprayed mashed potatoes all over the table.  Of course, being kids, we took this as our cue to rev it up a notch, and, being Webster kids, we didn't hold anything back.

The alarming thing is that even after my dance routine on the table, Mom never raised her voice.  Eeek!  This is so not like her.  We're scared, Dad, very scared.  Please come home tonight as soon as possible.  Clearly, we are all in desperate need of a larger dose of your level-headedness.


Your darling, and a wee bit wild, children.


p.s.  Mom approves of this message . . . tee hee!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

TWO Whole Hours

Lego, Lego . . . oh, how I love thee!  

Yesterday, as I made up our grocery list and library list for the week ahead, the boys played downstairs.  I could hear them talking excitedly and occasionally I even heard shouts of praises for one another.  It was strange.  Really strange.  My boys are the best of friends, but lately, they have been losing patience with one another very quickly.  Parents, you know the drill:

He's looking at me!

Ahhh! He's breathing on me!

Ugh!  I hate the way he chews his food!

and so on and so on.

I blame January.  After the excitement and wonder of Christmas, January is always a major let down.  It is cold.  It is dark.  The regular school week schedule is in full-swing, and there are far too few chocolates laying around.  

Anyhoo . . .

My boys were actually getting along, and so as not to disrupt this cosmic irregularity, I carried on with my chores and did not make a fuss about it.

Two hours later . . . yes, that's right, TWO hours later, Elliot came running up the stairs.

Mom, mom.  You have to come see this.  We built a Lego city without Zoe's help.  (Zoe has always been the foreman on any Lego city projects here at Shenanigans Inc.)

Since I had everything under control upstairs (thanks to TWO hours), I immediately grabbed my camera and followed him back downstairs to the the Land of Lego.

All I could say was WOW!
All their years of apprenticeship under the watchful, and very demanding, eye of Baby Girl, has really paid off:

The gate to their city. I guess enemy attacks happen quite frequently in this territory. 

The Hotel.

The theatre:
(the man in the sombrero is a popular entertainer)

The smoothie bar
(ya, gotta love Mormon kids!)
and a taxi cab
(being driven by an armed Stormtrooper - like I said, this territory is VERY dangerous)

The air base:

and a restaurant

Tee hee!

I think they have thought of everything!

Thank you Lego, for turning a cold January afternoon into something extraordinary for my boys and for giving this very busy mama TWO hours of peace and quiet.  You really are my favourite toy of all time.

Monday, 21 January 2013

In a Nutshell

It was a quiet weekend here at Shenanigans Inc. with Mr. Level-Headed working on school assignments and Baby Girl studying for her first set of exams, but it was a cozy one, and I love cozy!

alone time for mama (I love you, Soccer Saturdays!)
and church

Unfortunately, our quiet, little weekend ended on a very sad note.

Next year will be the year, New England . . . next year.

Oh, and if you see any of my boys out and about today, please be gentle.  They are hurting real bad.

Happy Monday!  

Friday, 18 January 2013

We've Come A Long Way, Baby Girl

Fifteen years ago, as a young mom of 22, I was scared.  I remember spending countless hours just staring at Baby Girl's sleeping face and wondering:  How am I going to ever do this?;  How am I going to raise you to become an intelligent, kind, and confident woman when I have just barely reached womanhood myself?.  Luckily, I have never been one to allow my fears or my ineptness to immobilise me.  I face things head on, take the necessary leap, and hope for the best, and after spending this past week travelling down memory lane, I am humbled by being able to say that my leap into parenthood turned out for the best.  We have lived a charmed life for the past fifteen years.  All the decisions, the work, the mistakes, the laughs, the tears, and the lessons learnt have brought our family to this point in life, exactly where we are supposed to be, and the view is spectacular.  I can look behind me and see how everything lined up exactly how it needed to be so that we could get to this point, and I can look ahead of me, hopeful, that everything will line up again to take us to exactly where we need to go.

When Zoe was a baby, I thought about homeschooling her; however, after the revelation that I needed to finish my own education in order to ensure that Zoe would do the same, this no longer became an option for us.  But, in a twist of fate and some divine intervention, we found an even better option for Zoe, Touchstone Community School.  She was four years old and I was looking through the newspaper one evening when I came across a very tiny ad for the school.  Unbeknownst to me, that became a life-altering phone call for my family.  Not only did Zoe get the educational experiences she needed to shape and ignite that great big brain of hers at Touchstone, but I also found and fostered the teacher within me there.  We spent seven remarkable years at that school, and we all benefited it from the countless experiences and opportunities it offered us.  My highlight though, was teaching Zoe for two years in grades four and five.  I will never forget how she would call me "mama" in class.  It always made me giggle, and it became even funnier when the other students would accidentally do the same.  We had so much fun!

Zoe's first day of school

A typical day in class

Graduation day from Pre-K

Elliot thought he should join Zoe:

Another first day of school:

Lots of friendships were made:

Mama decides to get her Bachelor of Education after receiving her BA

Zoe's second International Night 
(an annual event, where the students presented projects about a country of their choice and performed songs and dances from different countries)

At TCS, Zoe developed a love for science:

She also kicked some butt at a few Spelling Bees:

The sign reads: We are cheering for Zoe

For two years, Papa Skov came to TCS to teach karate to Zoe's class.  How cool is that?

Kurty's Angels

And who wouldn't love Touchstone if it meant spending your days with these two lovely ladies:
(I know we were Zoe's highlight . . . tee hee!)

Touchstone was a perfect fit for our family, for a time, and there are many days I miss it and wish my boys could have experienced it for longer, but I am confident that we are where we need to be right now.  I govern my life today the same way I did fifteen years ago: by my heart, and looking at all of these photos this week and seeing just how far Baby Girl and our family has come, I am going to keep on living my life that way because it has definitely never steered me wrong.

Zoe receiving all of her academic awards from MCS

The MCS girls celebrating their volleyball victory

Here's to our next fifteen years, Baby Girl!