Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday seedlings update

As requested ...

Here they are enjoying some beautiful sunshine this morning... 
We've been trying to give them growing time outside in a more natural environment to help make them strong.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Day!

Of course I watched the wedding this morning!  I am half Brit after all!!  It's in my blood.  There was no escaping it and I know that both my parents and sister were up way before me and tuned in.  I also remember getting up many years ago to find my Mom curled up on the sofa to watch another fairytale royal wedding that we watched over and over again. 

Much to my husbands disappointment I have been excited about watching todays wedding.  He doesn't appreciate the hoopla and that's fine.  I've not gone on and on about it and didn't get up extra early or anything but I watched.  I figured it was a girl thing.  I must admit though, I never thought in a million years that it would be my son who would be the one sitting with me so excited about this royal wedding! 

How do I know he was excited?? Well...  there are some things that my boy LOVES and they all seem to be a big part of the coverage on television.  I've been tapped (sometimes smacked) and told to "look" more times than I can remember.  Here are his faves;
  1. Waving - he's been waving back to the newlyweds all day.  You couldn't ask for more waving!
  2. Hats - Caelan loves hats.  It was one of the first signs he knew.  He still points out strangers wearing hats in the grocery store regularly, so you can only imagine his excitement watching all those ladies attending the wedding today.  Although I love the British tradition of wearing hats to a wedding, some of those were pretty ridiculous!
  3. Cars - one after another, after another, delivering guests wearing hats and royals waving (see number 1 & 2).  Could it get any better?  Oh yes, because carriages apparently look a lot like cars, and carriages are surrounded by horses.  Horses!!  Lots and lots of horses!
  4. Clapping - cheering crowds must mean we should be clapping and getting excited!  So we did!
One of my favourite parts of the whole fairytale wedding is the kiss and today the royal bride got an unprecedented two!!  Well I have to say in my anticipation for their kiss I kept telling Caelan to "just hold on we have to wait for the kiss"...  which prompted him to give me lots of them, over and over again!! 

What a great day! 

Did you watch?  What was your favourite part?

glimpse of summer?

Sometimes you have to love when you and the weatherman get it all wrong.  That was Wednesday.
I thought it was supposed to be miserable with rain and thunderstorms all day and instead the warm sun was shining.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  We tried to make the most of it.

That's Darcy proudly riding her bike on the road.  The girls played outside until dinner and then went back out until bedtime... bring on summer!!!

Certainly could have done without the crazy windstorm yesterday!  Can't complain too much since we only ended up with some branches down and no power for about 7 hours... 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

new hairdos

Recently we had the girls hair cut... we were tired of all the belly aching that went on about brushing your hair every day.  I know, we're such awfully mean parents.  Can you imagine having to brush your hair every day?!?  It's been going much better since we chopped it mostly off!

It's hard to get pictures of the girls without a little drama and craziness!

Then there are the boys in the house...
Little do they know it but their time is coming too.
Sooner than they think, if I have my way!!

Ry's holding Caelan's hair up to show just how long it is on top. 
I have trimmed the back along the bottom myself but am nervous about cutting the top.

And then there's Dad...

He's oh so thrilled I'm posting this pic of him!!

He says he's in between styles right now. 
Uh huh.
He's calling it the "Mel Gibson-Lethal Weapon-throwback-hair".
Uh huh.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - crazies

Top ten things I do that I'm pretty sure drive my husband crazy.  In no particular order.
  1. leave cupboard doors or drawers open
  2. always complain about being tired
  3. don't exercise regularly
  4. putting garbage in an already full garbage can (ditto for the compost and recycling)
  5. my love for treats and desserts
  6. micro-manage him
  7. when I finish a very long phone conversation but have no new news to tell him
  8. ask him his opinion but then don't listen to it
  9. hear funky noises coming from our vehicles
  10. my obsessive nature when it comes to reading books

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter moments

first Easter egg hunt with three kids participating

beautiful sunshine

morning tea out on the deck, twice!

big breakfast

laundry (more than twice)

clothes hanging on the line

scrumptious dinners with Family, twice

gathered up all the pinecones from the backyard

homemade granola

quality tested those Easter eggs to make sure kids didn't get sick

practiced baseball swing

some of us went for a walk

others rode their bicycles

made hot cross buns

watched Diners, Drive ins and Dives on food network

afternoon beverage out on the deck

Happy Easter Everyone!  Hope it was fabulous, xo

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ganging up

The girls were wrestling around on the kitchen floor after dinner tonight.

Caelan watched anxiously to ensure that things were fun before frantically signing to get down from his chair and join in.

Darcy and Caelan join forces and gang up on Ryland.

Ryland cries out "It's not fair, two against one!"  (In between fits of giggles)

Darcy replies "Sure it is, I'm seven and Caelan's two and that's equal to you being nine!"


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - signs

Top Ten {Tuesday}

If you're going to be hanging out near Caelan, it's a good idea to be familiar with these signs as they are the ones he uses the most frequently.  Check them out using this link Sign Language Dictionary
  1. up 
  2. where 
  3. please 
  4. train
  5. car
  6. hat
  7. come
  8. go
  9. sit
  10. book
He's been doing great with his signing and it was difficult to pick only ten for the list!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

slow cooker recipe blog

Who doesn't love coming home to the yummy smells of dinner all ready and waiting for you after a long day? 

I was pretty impressed when I came across this blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.  If you're looking for slow cooker recipes check it out.  There is no doubt that I enjoy using my slow cooker, but I can't imagine using it every day for a year like this person did in 2008. (Let alone posting all the pictures and recipes on a blog about it!)

I have yet to try any of the recipes, but can't wait to try the creme brulee!  Who knew!?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just noticed the date

April 16th.

One month left.

Then back to work.

May 16th.


Saturday's seedlings

Ok I promise that I won't continue to post pictures of our indoor greenhouse but I am completely amazed at how much they have grown in ONE WEEK!!??!

Such a City girl :)

Daddy's tears

Ryland made her Daddy so proud today it brought tears to his eyes.  This is how it happened.

We were in the van doing errands in town as a family and already regretting that decision, again.

The song "Devil went down to Georgia" is playing and Ryland is singing along.  We hear her singing and exchange a glance impressed that she knows more than just the chorus.  Actually she knew all words.

I look over and notice Daddy has tears in his eyes and a grin from ear to ear.

"I'm so proud!"  he tells me.

Then we laugh until tears are running down both of our cheeks.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

another first: playgroup

Well, we did it.  Caelan and I finally went to a playgroup!
Not only any playgroup - a French one in Casselman!!

It's a series of five organized sessions that are running at the Early Years Centre being organized by one of Caelan's case workers.  So, we'll be back the next four Thursdays before I return to work. (ugh!)

Caelan loved it!  He was in awe of all the children running about, drawn towards the brightly coloured playmats, and simply didn't know where to go explore first!  We started finger painting with the supposedly  (as per the label) washable blue paint that wasn't - Caelan had "Avatar" hands for the rest of the day.  We played with blocks, blew bubbles, read stories and enjoyed circle time.  It was great!

We arrived late to this morning's session.  Caelan chose this morning to sleep in after his hectic day yesterday.  (We had two therapy sessions at OCTC and then went to do all our lab work for Nephrology - blood tests and urine samples.  We were both exhausted when we got home over 6 hours later!!)  Anyway, that's my excuse for not talking to many other Moms.  We were late.  Introductions had already been made.  It's a weak excuse.  Really weak, I know, but I'm just not that comfortable in a room of strangers.  It's surprising given how much I can blab that I'm not better at chatting up new people.  Quite honestly though, Caelan didn't really stay still long enough to allow for any conversation.  At the same time, I realized that although I can understand everything spoken in French it takes my brain a lot longer to process my vocabulary and spit out whatever I want to say.  I feel like I'm on pause while the wheels are turning with my eyes like a deer in headlights before I can figure out what I want to say. 

The other big issue is probably part of what has kept me from playgroups for this long.  I don't want to have to repeatedly explain Caelan's issues.  (in French?!?!?  hadn't even thought of that - omg!)  Caelan's differences are there for everyone to see, therefore I expect people to ask.  Sometimes that gets tiring.  When kids notice or ask, I love it.  I actually enjoy taking the opportunity to explain why and how, because in general, kids think it's pretty cool and are accepting.  I don't like the sad eyes you get from adults, or the "poor thing"...  Are you kidding me?  Look at how happy this kid is!  Don't go making sad eyes at him!!

What could I possibly have in common with any of these mothers?  I realize I'm making assumptions.  I know better than to believe that just because a child looks "normal" that there aren't underlying differences.  There are many things that you can't see that can be just as difficult to deal with, if not more so.  But frankly, if your child looks healthy and is running around as most two years old are, I can't help but be a little ... something.  Bitter, resentful, jealous... I don't like any of those words and I don't like to think I am any of those things ...  Wistful, contemplative, reflective?   I can't help but think of all we've gone through. 

I wouldn't change a thing.  Caelan is who he is because of all he's been through and although I dream of the day that we can be rid of that trach, this journey has taught us so much.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saturday's seedlings

I took a peak inside our little indoor greenhouse that we planted on Saturday and couldn't believe my eyes!!  
Look at that lettuce reaching for the sunshine.
We also planted cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkin, zuchini, butternut squash, sugar snap peas, yellow beans and peppers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Here are my top ten positive thoughts about returning to work in just over a month after two and a half years of being home.  In no particular order;
  1. showering without Caelan's supervision
  2. regular adult conversations
  3. lunch hours to myself
  4. being in the city daily without going to the hospital
  5. getting back into a routine of putting on makeup & getting dressed up
  6. getting my hair cut
  7. not having to make lunches for the girls
  8. not having to get the girls ready for the school bus
  9. having great intentions of returning to the gym
  10. coming home to a clean house, happy kids and dinner ready on the table every night... right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

worst case scenario

It isn't something you like to dwell on, much less give a moments thought to, but you do anyway. 

You can't help it.  I'd be lying if I didn't admit to it still happening even when things are going so well.  It's that dreaded, "what if..."

I figure it was expected or understandable during the NICU days.  Although I really don't remember thinking it often.  Was I thinking anything?  Yes I was thinking everything.  Nothing coherent or logical.  All emotional and all over the place.

I honestly believed we would be bringing our boy home, it was just a matter or what life would be like when that happened.  It was certainly overwhelming. 

Surgery seemed like another 'reasonable' time to consider those miserable thoughts.  Unfortunately, we've had to face those more than once and it never gets easier.  Sometimes you can attempt to evaluate the risk involved and try to reassure yourself  that this time those thoughts can be kept at bay, but they always surface.  What if...

I do believe that the worst case scenario needs to be acknowledged.  The key is to not focus on it.  Much easier said than done.  For me, those miserable thoughts might creep in during those awful hours before falling asleep or on the long drive home from CHEO.  What if...

I don't think this is something that any parent should ever have to go through and yet lots do.  It's awful.  Thinking it is unthinkable.  Living through it... well I can't even imagine it.

I don't remember ever thinking about it with the girls.  Not once, not ever.  And yet, with Caelan, I can't count the times that it's been thought.  Again, I think this is understandable and expected, but I don't like it.

I don't like thinking it.  Ever.  It's choking.

It sucks.

And I hate that I still do it. 

More than once I have been away from him and am on my way home.  I become overwhelmed with concern and panic,  what if....

This is not normal.  But for me and some other amazing moms, it is our normal.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

thrifty, cheap, frugal, call it what you want

Some people think I'm a little obsessed when it comes to flyers, meal plans and lists.  Ummm, anyone watch Extreme Couponing on TLC last night?  Now, that's insane!!  I only wish we could get coupons and deals like that here.  For those of you who missed it, one family got over $1800 worth of groceries for around $100!!!The coupons available in Canada don't seem to compare to those in the States.

We have been a single income family of five for over a year now.  We've been able to do this because we watch what we spend, including groceries.  I actually enjoy a good deal and take great satisfaction in knowing I've saved us some money. 

I take pleasure in going through all the flyers and making lists of what's on sale.  From there I determine what we're going to eat for the week.  Some people have asked how can I know what we feel like eating on any given day.  The answer is simple. We can't afford the luxury to not. 

If we bought our groceries daily based on what we wanted to eat on a whim we would end up spending more.  More time in the grocery store, more waste, more money...  and we'd eat out a lot more!  We don't have time to waste in the evening trying to figure out what's for dinner.  My brain turns to mush around that time, nevermind trying to plan a meal with kids going crazy! That does not appeal in the least!!

I don't like having to pay full price for things, especially things that go on sale regularly.  Meat is the perfect example.  We don't buy meat unless it's on sale.  When it is, we buy in bulk and freeze it in individual packages.  Therefore meals need to be planned so, if it's necessary, the meat has a chance to defrost.

The challenge I'm feeling lately has more to do with our choice to try and buy more local foods and eat healthier.  We do very little shopping in the middle of the grocery store, shopping the outer edges for fresh fruits, veggies, dairy and meat. We're trying to eliminate most of the pre-packaged processed crap.  We're trying not to buy anything
  • where some form of sugar is listed in the first three ingredients or
  • with ingredients you can't pronouce or
  • made with ingredients you don't have in your own cupboard. 
It's tough.

In our attempt to eat more local foods we would like to visit some farmers markets this summer.  However, last summer we found that often the prices at the farmers markets were quite high.  Unless you're buying a very large quantity of produce, there weren't any deals to be had.  Therefore we're in the process of planning our own vegetable garden.  We're also looking into a local program that runs from May through Sepember, that will provide you with a weekly box of local produce delivered to your door.  I digress.

I regularly check coupon websites like websaverbrandsaver and gocoupons.  These websites allow you to select the coupons that you can use and want and then mail them to your house.  I've signed also up for all kinds of savings websites like Groupon, Bargain Moose, and Wagjag.  I find you have to be careful because sometimes these websites almost entice you into spending when you wouldn't normally... because the deal might be to good to pass up.  You know what I mean?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

after the shower

ok.  my son's been paying attention.

When I step out of the shower, Caelan already has his pants pulled up all ready for some lotion. 
Then we need to put moisturizer on our face.

Now how do I get it off my hands...

Time to comb your hair Mom!

That blow dryer is so loud!!

Oh wait, now you need this brush!

Such a smart boy!  Keeping Mommy in line and on schedule.

Monday, April 4, 2011

mud and puddles

This child claims she doesn't play in mud puddles and doesn't need to wear rain boots, but still... 
Sometimes I wish you still would.  It would keep you young.

This child doesn't walk or run so hasn't experienced the joy of wading or jumping in puddles, yet. 
Still he has managed to learn that muddy gravel driveways have a certain appeal for exploring feet.  Guess he does have a use for rain boots.

This child... well I would expect no less.  Mud and puddles she loves and is drawn to them like most other children.  We have a healthy ditch in our front yard and recently it was more of a pond.  I cautioned her that she didn't have a lot of room for splashing as the water was dangerously close to the top of her boots.

I was reassured repeatedly that this was understood. 
She frustratingly tells me that she's just walking in the water.
I've been your Mom for almost 8 years now and I know how this is going to turn out.   You're having so much fun and are all smiles with the sun shining down on your face.  I leave you to your water. 

The next thing I know, you're soaked.  Of course. 
Grinning.  "I fell." 
Big deep breath.  I remind myself that this is what being a kid is about.
Laughing. "I can see that." 
"Please dump out your boots before you come in."
 "I think I better wring out my socks too, 'k Mom?"

Saturday, April 2, 2011


warm sunny weather
open windows with fresh breezes
laundry drying out on the line
the first flowers blooming

the dirty mucky snow that lingers behind
the mud and puddles that are so enticing to little people
resulting in many extra loads of muddy laundry
the unbelievable amount of litter that's uncovered

Friday, April 1, 2011


I may have recently been complaining about clothes not fitting as well as I'd like, but that's no reason to break with tradition, right?  Not that you'd ever mention it... but others undoubtedly will.

An impromptu quick visit was organized as we both had errands in town to do.  Time restrictions were set as we had to be home to get our beloved children off the bus.  I don't know when the tradition started but we've embraced it whole heartedly.  Who wouldn't?

Today's was a quick and easy decision as we both fell back on our old standards.  Time was limited, remember?  Not long enough to drool over 31 flavours and hmm and haw about this one or that one.

Plus we had those two small curly-blond-haired beasties with us.

Mint chocolate chip for each of us, with peanut butter & chocolate for me, and rocky road for you.  You knew my flavour and I knew yours.  Topped with hot fudge (was there any question?) whip cream, nuts and a cherry.

Love sharing this indulgence with you.