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.