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!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Life Without Our Mr. Level-Headed

Mr. Level-Headed flew out one week ago. I think Avery summed up how we are doing the best.

Mom, I am surprised that it isn't very hard not having dad around. I thought that without him our house would burn to the ground or some other disaster would happen. Even though it isn't hard, I miss him. I really miss him.

Me too, Bud.

And there you have it. Our house has not burned to the ground. I have managed to pay the power bill and pick up the mail twice since he left. I even put the closet doors back on my closet yesterday afternoon all by myself after an extended period of not wanting them up. We are managing quite nicely, but OH. MY. GOODNESS. we miss him something terrible.

I love comparing life to running a marathon. Sure, I have never run a marathon before, but for me a 5K is like a marathon and I have done that plenty of times. Last week felt like the beginning of a run. I was determined to do it and to do it well. I was excited for the challenge and like the beginning all my runs, I let my optimism get the best of me and started out at too quick of a pace.

This week feels like I am a couple kilometers into my run, and I am painfully aware that there are far  more kilometers ahead of me than behind me. The magnitude of what I have set out to do has hit me. I have slowed down my pace to preserve my energy so that I can get over the hills I now see before me,and I am trying to settle into the rhythm of this run. I am uncomfortable, and there is an ache in my heart, but I know that if I keep pushing forward my body will acclimatize to this challenge. I will become stronger.

Last night was the first night I cried. I had to pick Elliot up at the high school after his soccer game in St. Stephen. It was a long, dark drive to the school and without anyone else in the car, I had too much time to think and so the floodgates sprang open. I cried hard, and then I got angry. I always get angry after I cry. I think anger is how I rebuild my courage up. It is my armor and I rely upon it to protect my soft squishy bits. So, after my cry, I slapped the steering wheel and hollered:

I hate you New Brunswick! I. Hate. You. Why can't you get your act together and start thriving?

Yeah, I went there. I know it is the most politically incorrect place to go in New Brunswick right now but I went there. Currently, everyone is shaking their poms poms and cheering New Brunswick on.

Yay, New Brunswick! Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra!

And frankly, it drives me crazy. Irving has lined our highways with billboards celebrating all the jobs they have created and all the people whom they have "saved" from having to move away from their beloved home. Well, we had one of those jobs and guess what, we couldn't pay all our bills and so my husband had to move away, Thanks. 

ra-ra . . .whatever

Years ago, before we had kids, I begged Mr. Level-Headed to move away with me. I wanted to go out west. I wanted to experience something different. I wanted to experience life in a thriving city but Mr. Level-Headed is loyal and he refused to give up on his home province.

Krista we can build a life here. This is our home. Our families are here. We can do this.

Well, eighteen years later, after a really good fight, Mr. Level-Headed was proven wrong. And for the first time in my life alongside Mr.Level-Headed, I don't feel like celebrating this rare occassion. I don't feel like rubbing it in his face, or doing my obnoxious I-was-right-and-you-were-wrong dance . . . as cute as it is. Nope, not this time because this time I really wish he hadn't been wrong.

New Brunswick, you sure are pretty, but, man, you suck!

Friday, 16 October 2015

4 Things That are Making me Smile Today

I have the biggest smile on my face this morning. I probably look absolutely ridiculous and I am sure the kids are concerned that I have finally cracked, but I can`t help it. I am just so darn happy!

First and foremost, there are no hospital visits on our agenda today, tomorrow or the day after. That`s right; Zoe was finally discharged . . . woohoo! Now, she can rest at home and let her new medication work. Thank you everyone for your prayers, your positive thoughts and your voodoo . . . tee hee! Okay, I am kidding about the voodoo . . . I think. But whatever you did on behalf of my Baby Girl, it worked so I thank you.

Secondly, I did not have to make a single meal this week and no one in my family starved. I am truly humbled by all the meals and dinner invites we received from friends and family. With all of you on my side, I think I can face just about anything. Thank you!  

Thirdly, skype! Oh my goodness, I love seeing Mr. Level-Headed`s mug on the computer each night. It is so cute to watch Leif wave at him and hear the kids bombard him with all the tales from their day. Avery has been scoring a ton of goals this week in his school`s soccer games, and I think being able to boast about it to his dad over the computer is really motivating him. 
I also love to hear about how different life in Nunavut is. Did you know that twelve cans of Coke costs $25! Oh. My. Land. It`s a good thing Mr. Level-Headed is the one working up there and not me because I would have no money left to show for my efforts . . . eeek!  He also walked to work yesterday morning with snow on the ground and a brisk -19` windchill blowing off the Hudson Bay right into his face. I guess he should have packed some goggles like his wise wife suggested . . . hmmmmm.

Fourthly, Harriet is totally making me laugh out loud this week. Her unique personality is starting to shine through and I love it! She is ridiculously serious. We really have to work for those giggles and more times than not, she glares at us with disgust or feigns disinterest in our antics. But the funniest thing this week has been her intense attachment to me. Harriet has always loved her mama, but recently she has stepped it up a notch and become my sidekick in all things. She loves nothing more than resting on my hip and helping me make supper, do laundry or reprimand the other kids. When the doctor`s would come in to discuss their grand plans for Zoe, Harriet would sit on my lap and hang onto their every word. A couple of times, the doctors could not help but laugh. The other night, when I had to get up out of bed to clean up Leif`s projectile vomit (gosh, my life is glamourous!), she immediately woke herself up the minute she felt my body separate from hers. She rolled back and forth, grunting and rubbing her eyes until she was able to open both of them and fussed until I propped her up so that she could watch my every move. I could almost hear her cheer me on and voice her disgust over Leif`s inability to aim. Then, when I was done, she promptly returned to sleep as soon as I laid down beside her. Gosh, I love my Thing 5

Now for the obligatory photos:

I call this series the many faces of Harriet. Note that only 1 out of 5 times is she smiling.


Mild Interest:

Total Disinterest:

Eureka! A smile:

The Pout
(Harriet pulls this one out when she realizes that she is no longer attached to her mama)

Seriously, no matter how rough my days can get, I am never lonely and for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Our New Normal

We, humans, are amazing creatures! One of our most extraordinary features is our incredible ability to adapt. No matter what our surroundings are or the circumstances we find ourselves in, we, humans, learn to survive and sometimes even thrive. 

Today, Zoe and I met with a new doctor, who was discussing some options that may help Zoe to manage her colitis in the future. At one point, she remarked upon Zoe's incredible ability to function on a hemoglobin level that is thirty points below what is considered to be normal.

Zoe, this has become your baseline and your body has adjusted to it. I think you have forgotten what it feels like to be "healthy". In a sense, this is your new normal.

This was one of those light-bulb moments for us, and we both quickly nodded in agreement. Over the past four years, it has become normal for Zoe to be pale, to grow tired quickly, to eat lots of tiny meals throughout the day, and to look lethargic out on the soccer field, but yet, she gets up each day, she works, she goes to school and she continues to play soccer even though her body is operating at a reduced capacity. In short, Zoe has adapted.

And I hope Shenanigans Inc. can do the same. 

On Monday, Mr. Level-Headed and I celebrated the 24th anniversary of when we met one another with a couple of donairs from Greco. We are so romantic . . . tee hee! Then on Tuesday morning, we kissed each other goodbye and he boarded a plane for Nunavut. Yes, I said Nunavut and yes, I mean THAT Nunavut, the land of ice and snow and that's pretty much it except for a couple of polar bears, and well, now, my husband.

To all those people who look at me in horror when I say that my husband has accepted a job in Nunavut and ask:

Why did you let him go?

The short answer is that we had no choice. When you have five babies and one of those babies is heading off to university in a year and someone offers the daddy of those five babies a job that allows him to actually afford his five babies then that daddy says:

When do you need me?

and the mommy of those five babies says:

Honey, it is time to buy you a parka.

So, yeah, Shenanigans Inc. has been turned upside down, and it is being forced to temporarily operate on less-than ideal circumstances, but that is okay. I know that like Zoe, we will adapt. When Leif suddenly wakes up and vomits all over himself, me and the bed, I will be able to comfort him, bathe him and change the bedding all by myself. When after a long day spent at the hospital with Zoe and Harriet and my tire suddenly decides to deflate while I am trying to put air into it at the Irving, I will call a family member to come to my rescue. I will learn to do things without him by my side. I will survive, but do you know what? I refuse to thrive. You see I am not scared of the extra work. I am not scared of being the lone ringmaster of this gong show, but I am scared. I am scared of the day when I no longer think to call out his name for help, which I did last night when Leif was sick even though he was not there, or the day when I am in trouble and his phone number is not the first I dial, like I did today when my tire deflated even though his phone is disconnected. I need Mr. Level-Headed in my life. He puts the Inc. in our shenanigans. So, no matter how far apart we may be physically, Mr. Level-Headed and I will never truly be apart because yes, we humans do have an incredible ability to adapt, but even more remarkable is our ability to love.

I love you, Mr. Level-Headed , . . .  right up to Nunavut and back.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


I love words! I love how powerful they are: they can paint pictures, evoke memories, stir up feelings and create worlds.Words are my thing, but there are two words that I detest. These two words should never have to be uttered. These two words destroy people, beautiful people and for this I believe they should be immediately banished from our world. You got that God? And if this was baby school, I would point out that they both start with "C" - cancer and colitis.

Yesterday was a really difficult day. In the morning, we learned that Adam MacNeill, a beloved friend and family member, had passed away after a difficult battle with cancer. Before I knew Adam as Mr. Level-Headed's cousin and way before I knew him as Zoe's godfather, I knew him as Lindy's big brother. Lindy was a close friend of mine from my Seawood Elementary days. She lived directly across the street and I remember fondly spending many lunch hours there and enjoying sleepovers in her basement. Lindy's brother Adam was always around, and he teased Lindy relentlessly, or was that the other way around? But, I somehow implicitly understood that at that time, she was his world. That he loved her and he would protect her with the same tenacity that was typically devoted to teasing her and her young, annoying friends. I didn't have anyone like this in my life, and being the oldest of two girls in my family (these were the pre - John and Emily days), I was somewhat fascinated with idea of a big brother, and Adam was the ultimate big brother. In fact, he risked being born prematurely and coming one month before my Mr. Level-Headed was born just so that he could say he was the oldest of the boy cousins. 

Yesterday, I marveled at how many people posted on his facebook page that he was like a big brother to them; however, if you knew Adam, these statements would not surprise you. Adam was a jokester, with a huge heart, and although he would never ask for anything from anyone, he was the first one to offer assistance if his friends, family, or neighbours were in need. He would go out of his way to help anyone and he was always there for you, even if you didn't ask. After Avery had his stroke, Adam and Nicki, his wife, came up to visit Mr. Level-Headed and I in the hospital. It meant a lot to me and in that moment I finally understood what it felt like to have a big brother.

Cancer is a terrible, terrible disease, and in Adam's case, it has broken all the rules. A father, like Adam's dad, Brian, should never have to sit and watch his son die, especially after having to say goodbye to his wife, Jennifer, only months before. His three young children, Lauren, Carter and Lucas should never have to say good bye to their daddy at such a young age. His wife, Nicki, should not have to face the future without her loving husband by her side and his sister, Lindy, well . . . the world needs more big brothers like Adam and so she should not have to lose hers just yet. None of this is fair and none of this makes sense. I hate you, Cancer. I. Hate.You.

Then because life is well . . . life, my day quickly became even more difficult. As I cleaned up the kitchen with a heavy heart, Zoe, who has been home off and on for the past couple of weeks thanks to a flare-up of colitis, walked upstairs. I took one look at her and knew that it was time to call the doctors. Zoe is a fighter. She has been fighting this disease for four years, but sometimes it gets the best of her, and so yesterday afternoon, Zoe was admitted to the hospital to receive some much-needed fluids and to reevaluate her current medicinal cocktail, which is clearly no longer working.

We could really use your prayers right now. All of us need them - Adam's family and friends, my family and Zoe. Sure, I know that Adam is finally at peace and we look forward to being reunited with him someday, and I also know that Zoe is going to be okay, but it is a lot to deal with. So, even if you do not believe in God, or perhaps you have not prayed in a long time, or you are unsure of how to do it, could you please take a moment and just try it? I know prayer works, and I really need your prayers to face this day with my typical enthusiasm and energy. 

Thank you.

Adam, Nicki and Zoe

Until we meet again, Adam . . .


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Baby School

At the beginning of the school year, I was feeling very envious of all my teacher friends and homeschool friends who were posting how excited they were for the upcoming school year and posting pictures of their classrooms on Facebook. I felt this nostalgic longing for packs of freshly sharpened pencils, cartons of crayons and stacks of Hilroy books. I remembered with fondness afternoons where I would sit at my desk and plan out the next day's activities or when I would stay up late at night organizing an activity for my own boys to complete the next day when we were homeschooling. I was really sad that I was not teaching this year. 

Can I just say that being human is absolutely ridiculous?! When I was teaching, I was envious of all my stay-at-home mom friends who were posting pics of their littles on Facebook . . . ugh! Can we ever truly just be happy with what we have and where we are at each moment? I think so, and I try really hard to do so, which is why moments after my melancholy hit, I looked at the two-under-two crew and enthusiastically decided that they would be my two newest pupils this year. And so, like all my fellow teachers, I hit the internet looking for ideas and activities, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a link to a website selling Montessori curriculum for babies and toddlers . . . say what? It was like Christmas morning! I was giddy to get my hands on an actual curriculum for the two-under-two crew and impulsively threw those suckers into my virtual shopping cart. Within days they appeared at my doorstep and I have been happily perusing their pages ever since. We, teachers, are nerds . . . what can I say?

Now, baby school looks nothing like real school. There is no schedule and no tests to take. It is just me and my babes playing with a purpose; for instance, this week, Harriet is working on rolling over, so Leif and I place her on the floor on her belly and enthusiastically encourage her to lift that head up and move. This morning she earned a gold star because she actually rolled over, not once, not twice but every time we placed her on her belly. Yay, Harriet!  oh, and I am joking about the gold star . . . or am I?

After working on sorting teddy bears by colour last week, Leif has taken a real interest in colours. Yesterday while we were making some play dough and I asked what colour he wanted to make, he shocked me when he shouted out blue as he reached for the container of blue food colouring. Being a true-blue nerd . . . I admit that sometimes even I find myself to be a bit too much . . . I made an official declaration proclaiming this to be "Blue Week". We went on hunts for the colour blue, we played with blue play-doh, we are wearing all blue today and we sorted out the blue bugs from a colourful pile of plastic bugs. We are having a lot of fun with this and I think we might dedicate the next few weeks to a single colour.

I am particularly enjoying myself because these short snippets of our day are a nice break from all the laundry that needs to be folded, all the dishes that need to be washed, all the toilets that need to be scrubbed and so and so on. These moments are also special because I am able to enjoy myself with my babies. I am able to say yes more than I have to say no or in a minute, and I can laugh and smile along with them.

Hi! I am Harriet Webster and I am running for Prime Minister

There she goes . .  .

I really love being a teacher, especially to my own kiddos!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Recharging My Batteries.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. Not only was it conference weekend for us, Latter-Day Saints,  but it was also just one of those weekends that I love the most - I had no where to go  (we watch the conference talks from the comfort of our home) and my people were all around me. It is October and so the weather is perfect! Chilly enough to wear your sweaters and your toques but not cold enough to keep you inside. Mr. Level-Headed and the boys worked on some projects around the house, while I folded basket after basket of laundry. My house smelled delicious with a large pot of soup on the stove and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter. Divine! Seriously, I could not have asked for more.

Here is Harriet thinking deeply about the talks she heard during conference. This was my favourite talk. It was an answer to my prayers and has inspired me to keep moving forward.

And yes, and I am beyond excited for the cooler temps and here are just two reasons why:

Can they get any cuter?

I think not.