Wednesday, 11 November 2015


I am in complete shock that when we wake up tomorrow morning the blonde ball of mischief and shenanigans, who sleeps beside me each and every night and who I lovingly refer to as Thing 4, will be two years old. Two?! Cue the typical responses: 

How did that happen?

Where has the time gone?

Yada . . . yada . . . yada

blah . . . blah . . . blah

But yeah, my baby boy is turning two tomorrow and as exciting as this is, it kind of makes my heart hurt. I love the fact that he is growing up because, in all honesty, the alternative is something I never want to experience, but I hate the fact that no matter how many pictures I take, or how many blog posts I write, or how many nights I cuddle up to him while he sleeps and try to soak in all of his adorableness, or how many hours we spend lying on the living room floor building Legos or playing trains, I will forget. I will forget how he smells when he comes straight out of the bath and I wrap him up and have to show him what picture is on the hood of his towel. 

It's the ducks! Quack . . . quack 

Look, it's a boat!

I will forget the sound of his laugh when he thinks I am about to catch him as he tears through the kitchen with a pen or marker in his hand. I will forget how cute he is when he pulls a chair up beside me saying: I help, while I am making dinner or washing dishes.I will forget how it feels when he wraps his little arms around my neck and I kiss him over and over again just to hear him squeal with laughter. I will forget the look of excitement he gets on his face and how he pats his chest when I ask him who he is:

Nee . . . Nee
(me . . . me)

I will forget.

And that sucks. 

I have been blessed with a gift, the gift of writing, but during moments like this, on the eve of Leif's second birthday, that gift feels far too inadequate.Words cannot capture what I want to capture - the way he looks, the way he smells, the way he sounds, the way he runs, the way he cries, the way he nurses, the way he kisses, the way he jumps and the way he feels. Words cannot express how much I love him, or how much I enjoy spending my days with him. Words cannot stop time or even make it slow down just a tinch, just enough for me to soak it all in before . . . gasp! . . . he becomes a two year old and I no longer have a two-under-two crew. On top of losing my baby, I am even losing my beloved catch-phrase. This is too much!

So, Leif, know this: I tried. No matter how busy my day was, or how difficult you were being (truth be told, Bud, you are difficult) I tried my best.Where words fail, I pray my actions will speak volumes. I pray that each kiss, each laugh, each story, each game, each lesson, each walk, and each hug we have shared will have a lasting impression on you; so much so that will never, ever forget just how much your mama loves you.

Happy Birthday, Thing 4!

I absolutely adore you!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Not One, but Two Amazing Daughters

One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to watch your children grow and reveal bit by bit who they truly are. When they are little, it seems like everyday you capture a glimpse of their identity and it is exciting! Like right now, Harriet has been working hard on learning how to control her hands and manipulate them so that she can grab hold of a toy and place it in her mouth. She would get so angry when she tried to will her arms and hands outward to grasp that toy dangling right in front of her but her fingers would remain interlocked and her hands would not go any further than the tip of her nose. Oh, she was mad. I know she was dropping a few F-bombs in her head. But no matter how discouraged or frustrated she would get, she refused to give up, and oh, how we all laughed when we would watch her eyes cross and her nose crunch up as she tried to channel the force to get those two appendages of hers to move. And then it happened. I am not sure the exact moment when she was finally able to control her hands and arms, but all week she has been basking in the sweet glow of victory and showing off her newly acquired skill. Often, I would enter the living room to find her lying off of her playmat but still holding onto one of the toys attached overhead with the biggest, cheesiest grin on her face.

Yep, mom. I did it. This one is not getting away from me.

It would not surprise me one bit if Harriet breaks the Webster record for walking. Seriously, this girl is determined, and she's a mover and a shaker. I don't remember any of my other kids being quite this mobile at such a young age and my kids are active kids. Go, Baby Girl! You show those brothers of yours.

When your kids get older, though, you begin to assume that you know everything about them. You create a clear picture for yourself of the adult they are going to become, but every once and awhile they surprise you. They reveal another dimension to their personality; this trait was probably always there but just lacked the opportunity to present itself, or more likely had to develop and grow before it could make its appearance.

I have known for a long time that Zoe is intelligent. I have known that she is a hard worker, that she is funny, that she is strong, that she is confident, and that she is beautiful, both inside and out, but this past week Zoe unveiled a new trait and it is one I never thought my baby girl had: Zoe is incredibly brave. As many of you know, Zoe's colitis has once again reared its ugly head and has come back with a vengeance. It is mad, and it is smart. It laughs in the face of diet changes and homeopathic remedies, and most recently, it has unlocked the secret to conquering modern medicine. And we are talking about some hefty, expensive drugs. Yep, the latest medication they gave Zoe only lasted a couple of days. It didn't stand a chance . . . RIP Sinfoni.

Upon realizing that her body could no longer be fooled into remission, my big, baby girl, who has battled this disease for four excruciating years, who has had to spend far too much of her teenage years in the hospital or lying on our couch rather than experiencing life, decided that she has had enough and that she is ready to once and for all rid her body of this disease. It was then that my big, baby girl made the bravest decision of her life:

Mom, I am not going to try any more medications. It is time I have the surgery.

  And I cried. Initially, I cried because it felt like were giving up, like we had lost the battle. For a moment it felt like all the doctors we consulted, all the medicines and procedures we tried, and all the hospitals visits we had made were in vain. It felt like colitis had won, and I hate to lose, so I cried. But then, I looked in Zoe's eyes. This was not the girl who I had skipped out of the first doctor's office with when her initial symptoms had disappeared and we were told it was probably just some bacterial infection she had eventually beaten. This was not the same girl who a year later had decided to go on a paleo diet to beat the disease naturally even if that meant she would never drink another glass of milk or eat another white roll again. This was not the girl who also decided that year to be homeschooled in an attempt to reduce the external stressors in her life. This was not the same girl who during our eight day stay at the IWK became so fed up with me that she texted her father asking him to text me and tell me to get out of the room. This was not the same girl who cried in my arms just two months ago when her symptoms became bad once again. No, I was now looking into the eyes of my grown daughter, my daughter who over the course of these difficult four years has become a woman, one of the bravest and most beautiful women I know. So, I wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to be the woman she needed me to be at that moment. As I sat there and listened to her reasoning, I realized that we were not giving up and we had definitely not lost this battle. Nope. My daughter is a fighter. She is the victor of this tale, which if we were in a Disney movie makes me her goofy sidekick, but I am okay with that. My daughter is brave and after witnessing the grace and the courage she has displayed as she has time and time again had to deal with this disease at such a young age, I can honestly say, she is a much stronger woman than I am, and I am so proud to call her my daughter.

I love you, Baby Girl. Now go kick some colitis ass!

Zoe's surgery is on Monday morning. Please keep her in your prayers. And please excuse me while I take a brief hiatus from the ol' blog. My girl is going to need me. Thanks.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Today, Leif, Harriet and I read We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Leif loved it so much that we had to read it three times in a row, and then we had to go out for our very own bear hunt.

Harriet, we're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.

Did he say a bear hunt, mom? I might be a little scared.

Oh-oh! Woods!
A leafy, dark wood.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh no! We've got to go through it!

crunch! crunch!
crunch! crunch!

Oh-oh! Puddle!
A deep, round puddle.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh no! We've got to go through it!

splish splash!
splish splash!
splish splash!

shhhhhhh . . . I think the bear is close. 

There he is!

 I guess in Leif's world bears can fly.

. . . tee hee!

 Then, when Leif was done hunting bears, he grabbed my hand and said:

Home, mom.

Yes, Love. We can go home now.

 I truly am the luckiest woman in the world.

Monday, 2 November 2015

He's Finally Got It!

We skype with Mr. Level-Headed every night. While most of us are eager to talk to him and share stories from our day, Leif has been reluctant to join in. He would sometimes wave to daddy, but more times than not, he would cry and run away from the computer. Tonight was different, though, and I am sure it made Mr. Level-Headed pretty happy. Tonight, Leif dragged a chair over to the computer, pushed me out of the way, screamed "No, Mom" and then proceeded to talk to his daddy. It was the cutest thing ever! Leif needed this tonight and so did his daddy. They talked about his day and about his birthday that is coming up in ten days. How did that happen?! Then Leif showed him his ball . . .  no surprise there. When it was time to go, Leif waved and ran off to play. A little later, while Leif was eating supper and I was seated in the living room getting Harriet ready for bed. I noticed that he suddenly became very quiet and watched as his head hung low.

Leif, are you okay buddy?

He got down from his chair and ran over to me. He wrapped his tiny arms around my neck and whispered:

I sad.

Awwww, baby.

I held him close for a couple minutes and reassured him that his daddy will be coming home and that he loves him very much. Having Mr. Level-Headed away has been hard on all of us, but I honestly think it has been hardest on Leif because he has no idea where his daddy has gone or why. And since Harriet joined our family, he and Mr. Level-Headed had become the bestest of buddies. It makes me sad to think that Leif misses his daddy so much and vice versa, but watching them tonight made me so  happy. Leif is one very lucky boy to have a daddy that loves him and his siblings enough to make this huge sacrifice for them and their future, and before we know it, his daddy will be home where he belongs. I can't wait to see the look on Leif's face when Mr. Level-Headed gets off that airplane. It will be the sweetest of reunions.

We love you, Mr. Level-Headed!

 . . . 7 more Fridays

And yes, that is a beard that is beginning to sprout on my man's face. Is he trying to make this harder on me?! Ahhhhh! I love my man with a beard.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Restorative Power of Rainy Afternoons

It's a dark, blustery day outside, and I have nowhere to go. The babes are both asleep. I just talked to Mr. Level-Headed on the phone, and I have the world's largest and stickiest Sticky Bun in my hands and a rich cup of Hot Chocolate by my side. Can my day get any better? I think not. Oh, wait! Yes, it can get better. What I really need in my life at the moment is a good book, so I am asking all of you for your book requests. I know you've got them. Go! . . . .

I really needed this today; I am feeling pretty worn-out after our week of soccer finals and Halloween activities. Being a one woman show is not easy, and I have a whole new level of respect for all you single moms and dads out there. Seriously, you rock! Single parenting is INTENSE.

At the moment, Zoe, Elliot and Leif are keeping me hopping. Zoe is still sick. Her new medication did not work . . . boo! And she is onto week four of being home from school. My heart goes out to her; all she wants is to be back in school so that she can enjoy her final year of high school. Sometimes life is really unfair.

Elliot is rocking high school. Most days I don't even recognize him because he does his homework without me nagging him, and he has been actively participating in Hampton High's soccer team and basketball team. The problem, though, is that when Elliot thrives, I often forget about his quirks and when he does something that is very Elliot, I lose my mind. Like last night, I sent him and Avery out to clean out the trunk of my van so that I could take the three youngest to MCS's trunk-or-treat. We were in a rush and I will admit, I was barking and yelling out orders like a cranky, old sea captain.  Elliot finds it difficult to operate in tense situations like this one. When I came running out of the house, I smelled something strange. My nose was telling me it was suntan lotion, but my mind was saying that was foolish because it is the end of October in Canada. No one needs suntan lotion anymore. Then, as I was just about to open my door to the van, I noticed it; Someone had squirted suntan lotion ALL over Leif's window.

What is this?!

Elliot did it.


I lost my mind. I hollered and took his phone.

Get inside and we will discuss this later.

As I pulled out of the driveway, I was fuming. I could not fathom why my fourteen year old son would do this, and then it hit me: low impulse control. Right, a classic trait of people on the Autism Spectrum. It may sound strange, but I often forget that Elliot has NLD because he functions so well for the most part. Then I felt bad, really bad. So, when I finally returned home, I apologized and we talked about the incident, and then I made him clean it up. I guess I should be happy that his episodes are so few and far between that I can actually forget about his diagnosis, but I can't help but wonder how many times I have been insensitive or oblivious to his unique needs lately . . .  ugh! Being a mom is never easy.

As for Leif, he has been over-the-top difficult lately. He is nursing more than Harriet and it seems like all he does is cry and throw tantrums. I keep reminding myself that this is just the terrible two's, or he is probably working on a new cognitive skill with his birthday just around the corner and that can be difficult. I also think it could be partly due to the fact that Mr. Level-Headed is not home. I feel bad for him because at two, he did not know this was coming. He can't understand our explanations. All he know is that he misses his dad and he has no way to express that except by pitching a fit. I feel really bad for him, but still, I can't help but want to throttle him at the same time . . . eeeeek!

All I can say is thank heavens for Avery and Harriet, my happy-go-lucky babies. And thank heavens for rainy afternoons with yummy treats and two napping babies . . .  ahhh! An other hour of this and I will be ready once again to face whatever the rest of the day has in store for me. I hope . . .

Don't forget to leave me your book requests . . . pretty please. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Tigers, Trucks, Candy and Batman

I am so not on the ball for Halloween this year. We have no decorations up, and we don't even have a pumpkin! Can Halloween actually happen without a pumpkin? Isn't there some law that states the universe will prevent you from collecting candy if you do not have a carefully carved Jack-O-Lantern at home? I really hope not. My poor kids.

But I have to say, in my defense, that even though I appear to be the Halloween Scrooge this year, our Halloween social calendar is on point. In fact, I could argue that there are no decorations up this year because we are just too busy partying, and I would much rather party than decorate. Saturday kicked off our Halloween festivities with sugar cookies for breakfast and then a Truck-or-Treat in Sussex. I believe that this may be the most ingenious idea known to man! It combines all of a kid's favourite things - dress up, trucks and candy. How can you go wrong? Leif was in heaven! He was so excited to be surrounded by trucks that he did not even take notice of the candy the truck drivers were
handing out until the end when he began to feel a little peckish. 

Oh, and on a side note, Elliot dropped the word peckish on us the other day and his delivery was brilliant. I love words, but I adore when people use great words at just the right time even more, and this was one of those times. We all laughed, and I may have even professed my undying love for Elliot at that moment as well. That kid is awesome!


Such a great word.

I am just going to apologize now for this blog post. My mind is all over the place tonight.

 Anyhoo . . .

So, yeah, Leif was pretty much having the best time of his life checking out all of the trucks when all of a sudden he spotted a kid in a Batman costume. I did not even know that Leif knew who Batman was, but apparently he does because he squealed, then ran over to the kid, touched his chest and paused reverently to pay homage to this legendary super hero. Even the kid laughed; it was so ridiculous, but cute, very cute.

I can't help but wonder what was going through Leif's mind that afternoon. First, his mom insists that he wears a tiger costume and, since he was not the only toddler dressed in that exact tiger costume, he was almost kidnapped by a young ninja who mistook him for his baby brother . . . tee hee! Priceless. Second, his mom was encouraging him to break two of the most important childhood rules: 1. Never take candy from strangers and 2. Never get into a stranger's dumptruck, or car, or helicopter, or backhoe, or trailer, etc. The poor kid must have been so confused, confused but happy. Oh, so very happy!

But I suppose he probably just figured that it was okay to throw caution to the wind since Batman was there. That's right. No one messes with kids when Batman is around.

I love how his face is covered in flour.

No, mommy. I was not eating the cookie dough . . .

That tail . . . seriously. Toddlers are already over-the-top adorable and then we throw them into plush costumes with tails . . . oh. my. land.

Some of these trucks were BIG . . .

Leif was intrigued by this tiny, talking ambulance.

Let's just pop this hood and see what's going on.

And that was just the beginning! We still have a trunk-or-treat and a Halloween party to attend. Not to mention the grand event itself . . . wow! I think it is safe to say that after this week Leif will be a fan for life. Happy Halloween!

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Night Shift

With Mr. Level-Headed in Nunavut, our sleeping arrangements have changed slightly. Leif no longer sleeps in his crib beside our bed because  . . . well, there really is no good reason other than the fact that I am selfish and I adore squeezing my way in between two sleeping bundles of adorableness each night. Oh. My. Land. This is my heaven! I know for certain that these moments will be those moments I long for when Thing 4 and Thing 5 grow up. I love how peaceful our nights are and how snuggly my babies are when the room is dark and we are curled up under the covers together. I quickly fall asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow knowing that they are safe and feeling pretty proud of myself for having survived yet another challenging day. 

Now, I say peaceful, and for the most part, I am blessed because both babies sleep soundly most nights and if they do stir, they are quickly soothed back to sleep with a quick nursing. However, there are some nights when Harriet's insatiable appetite for milk gets the best of her and she is plagued with tummy pains, or when Leif decides that sleep is a waste of his precious time and that it would be better spent talking to his mama and practicing his gymnastics moves. I will be honest, those nights are rough and during those nights I fantasize about grabbing the car keys and getting out of Dodge all by my sweet lonesome, but thankfully, like I said, those nights are few and far between.

So, the other night when Leif woke up excitedly practicing his newest word, I instinctively began to look for my keys.

Nice knowing ya babies; I am outta here!



butt . . . butt . . . butt . . . butt . . . butt . . . butt


Yes, my niece Ava says words like over-zealous and my boy says butt. I swear I am living in an episode of The Simpsons sometimes.

Anyhoo . . .

Over and over again, while clearly enunciating the last t sound, Leif would whisper butt in my ear and then erupt in giggles. I started to feel my frustration mount as he refused to listen to my soothing suggestions to go back to sleep:

Time for sleepies, Leif.

butt . . .

Lie down on your pillow, Leif.

butt . . .

The dragon mama was about to make an appearance and unleash her fury when I noticed two large blue saucers peering up at me. Harriet was wide awake now and was excitedly kicking her feet and swinging her arms:

Yay! Mom and Leif are up. Let's party!

Knowing that he now had an adoring fan, Leif took it up a notch:

Butt . . . Butt!

And for some reason unbeknownst to me . . . okay, let's be honest, it is one hundred percent due to the fact that I have officially lost my mind, I began to laugh and my heart filled with joy watching these babies giggle and play together. Sure it was 3am and I was exhausted, and yes, we had to get up in four hours to get ready for church, but oh my goodness, I could not get over how cute these two babies of mine are. I really am the luckiest mama in the world!

awwwww . . .

 Then after what felt like an eternity but was probably only a minute, I decided the dragon mama's fury was not my most useful tool at this moment and opted to unleash an even more powerful trick of mine . . . the boobies. The babies did not stand a chance and within minutes they were both back to sleep.

Mom: 1
The two-under-two crew: 234, 768, 999

. . . tee hee!

At least I can say I won one.

Friday, 23 October 2015

At Least I am Not Her

Lately, I feel like Leif, Harriet and I are the Three Muskateers. The situations we find ourselves in are ridiculous! Like the other day, I had to take the van in for an oil change. The three of us had already made four stops before this one and needless to say, the babies were squirrely. I decided to try out the new Mr. Lube by Costco since we had to stop there next after our oil change. I felt unsure as I pulled up because I did not see any cars outside of the garage. Then a man opened up the bay door and waved me in. As I pulled into the shop, I looked around and noticed there was nowhere for the babes and I to go, so I rolled down my window and asked the attendant:

Do we stay in the car?

Yes, you do.

Okay, now I am a bit melodramatic on the best of days, but I kid you not, I swear I heard the angels herald. I have never been so happy in all of my life. Then he asked if I would like something to drink and if Leif could have a balloon.

Yes and yes.

When he told me that I would also receive free windshield wipers, I nearly slapped a big wet kiss right on his lips!


So, there the three of us sat as happy as we could be; Harriet cooed away, while Leif bounced his balloon and I drank my water. I was so happy that I started texting my sister, Hilary, extolling the virtues of Mr. Lube to her. Occasionally, Leif would hit his balloon into the back seat so I would have to climb out of my seat and head to the back of the van to retrieve it, but it was all good because WE WERE STILL IN THE VAN! It was only until my oil change was coming to a close when I suddenly looked around and began to laugh. Here I was sitting in the loser cruiser, with its rusty bits and broken door handle, tossing a balloon around with my boy and loving every minute of it, while there on either side of me are two brand new sports car. Each of their owners, who were coiffed and appeared completely unaffected by the pampering service of their Mr. Lube attendant, stood in stark contrast to me. I love moments like this because they always make me laugh when I imagine what they must be thinking right now:

Thank heavens I am not that poor girl.

The other morning was even more foolish. The two-under-two-crew woke up and, as I was about to change their diapers, I remembered that I was supposed to wash their diapers the night before. EEEEEEEEK!

So, I threw on the clothes I wore the day before (to Mr. Lube no less) and packed the babies into their car seats with wet diapers and jammies on. Then we headed to Superstore where I saw they had their Pampers diapers on sale. While we were driving, Leif began to cry for a snack. It was only then that I realized that I had forgotten to pack any snacks and the poor baby did not have any breakfast. I assured him that I would buy him something to eat at the Superstore, but clearly this did not make any sense to him because he continued to cry. I can only imagine how the three of us looked as I pushed the cart around the Superstore. Again, I could almost hear people whisper under their breath, 

At least I am not her.

What people can't see is how ridiculously happy I am right now. I love spending my days with the two-under-two crew. I love hanging out with my big crew, and I love my Mr. Level-Headed! Sure, I am  that woman whose husband works away and who has been left alone with five kids, one of whom is sick (and yeah is still really sick so please pray for her); the woman people can use to their measure their own lives against to feel better about themselves, but that is okay. Yes, I have my moments, but that is all they are, moments. Deep down I am completely head over heels in love with my life and all of its ridiculousness, and that is worth far more than any sports car . . . I think.

. . . tee hee!

He really was hungry . . . eeeeek!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Toddler To-Do Lists

To go anywhere with the two-under-two crew is an event. By the time I have wrestled two babies into new diapers and clean clothes, someone has usually pooped their pants or better yet, taken off their pants. Then once they are changed, I have to search for misplaced shoes and finally, I have to throw something other than my nightgown and housecoat on and pack the diaper bag. It is exhausting! And not to mention, now with the cooler temperatures hitting, there are hats, mitts, and coats to first find and then put on. So, when we finally do go out, I like to GO OUT. We make it an event because there is no point in spending an hour to get ready if you are only out of the house for ten minutes. So, on Monday, when I had to take the crew with me to vote, I decided we needed to do add more to our agenda, but for the life of me, I could not think of anything. The house was well-stocked with groceries and there were no playgroups or storytimes running that day, so I decided to let Leif take the reigns of our day. The first thing on his to-do list was go to the park. Monday was a really crisp day, but we were dressed for the colder temperature and therefore, we were quite comfortable. The playgrounds in fall are always so pretty with yellow and red leaves sprinkled all over the place, but man, they are a real downer once school gets back in because they are always empty. EMPTY! We have been going to all the different playgrounds in our area for the past two months and we never see another child there. It is sad. But hey, we always make the most of it: Leif gets the biggest kick out of Harriet and I climbing the playground structures with him, or swinging alongside of him. What can I say? We know how to have fun.

Can we all just pause for a moment and reflect upon how adorable and perfect this red, fleecy jump suit is . . .

She's smiling! She's actually smiling!

Then after the playground, Leif needed to go shopping for a few things.

His list included:
pipe cleaners
a treat
and a rubber frog,
 which mysteriously went missing right before we headed up to the check-out . . . tee hee!

I spent the longest time letting Leif lust meander through the aisles of the Dollar Store with his "cart" in tow. It was the cutest sight ever, and we were stopped by all the grammies along our way so that they could bask for a moment in his adorableness.

And we are outta here!

I love having a toddler in my life again!