Category Archives: Tales of my Kids

Lucky ’13!

We are all familiar with the stories about how unlucky 13 is considered to be. Not so much for us here in our home though. We have always considered 13 to be lucky for us.

When we were house hunting and despite the numerous houses we looked at and put offers on we eventually got a house #13 on our street. While our house has needed some love and care it is still the house we brought our 3 children home to and will probably be our home until such time as we don’t need to live here anymore.

Our 13th anniversary came after a double hip replacement and two years of Kevin handling everything and I suffering with pain and developing a dependency on pain killers. The hip replacements were needed after almost a decade after an arthritis diagnosis, dealing with medications and the ups and downs of learning to live with a chronic illness. Shortly after celebrating #13 we found out that our 3rd child would be due just before we celebrated #14.

So coming off of 2012, a year where we’ve had financial hardship, emotional hardship, medical tests and worrying about results, periods of marital stress and where it feels like I’ve lost more than I’ve won I was pretty happy to wave goodbye with my middle finger held high two days ago.

Goodbye 2012! Farewell! You won’t be missed! The Mayans might have been wrong about the end of the world but my world was rocked with trial after trial. Rising above again and again.

Frankly that routine gets old and I’m not sure about anyone else but I tire of having to rise up all the time. Some days it would be wonderful to wake up singing like an old Hollywood movie.

So here’s 2013 and shortly after midnight I mentioned to Kevin that 13 has always been lucky when it seemed like things were just not going our way. When we needed something big, something life changing, something life affirming 13 is part of the chain of events that push us forward.

Not one to sit and wait my first challenge of 2013 starts almost immediately. Saturday I am going to be sitting down and taking the series of test one takes to become a 911 Call Operator. I am thinking positive, I’m determined to pass the challenges and I am thrilled at the prospect of such a big change in my career path. My last few attempts at a career shift haven’t gone the way I hoped they would so I feel empowered to be moving forward and trying yet again to shape my life in a way where I help others. I find I like the idea of being the calm presence when folks are in need, it makes me feel like I would find my purpose.

So come on Lucky ’13! Time for the come back.

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Christmas Time is Here Again….

There is fresh snow falling outside my window. Last year we lacked a really white Christmas and I can remember feeling so sad and lost without that dusting of snow. This year so far has made up for it and I have reacted in that oh so mature manner of grumbling every time I have to clean off the car. Which currently has been daily.

But with Christmas a week away and my stocking stuffers in Dollarama bags next to my desk I find myself realizing about the stuff in life that matters and the stuff that in 20 years no one will give two damns about.

It’s been a hard lesson I had to teach myself this year. To step back and not worry so much about how many gifts are under the tree, if they are big enough, fancy enough or good enough just that there is stuff under that tree come Christmas morning. I made it my goal this year to have only one really big Oh My Goodness gift and to have at least one second-hand gift for each of my children and I did succeed. For my 3-year-old his Oh My Goodness gift will be from Santa and I hope will fuel his spirit for his deep delight in the jolly old elf as his energy and excitement certainly lit my holiday joy this year.

It’s been a tough year and I have been trying like crazy to get perspective on everything. Christmas seems to amplify the stresses that already exist as a parent and while you can say no on a day-to-day basis for every whim and desire that doesn’t fit the budget you have to live and die by Christmas makes it harder.

I’ve been reflecting on the fact that as a kid I never knew we didn’t have much. I know we didn’t eat out every night and probably ate more than my fair share of fish and peas but I didn’t see myself as lacking anything and yet I spend many hours of my life worrying my kids don’t have that same innocence about them. We have a roof, we have food, we have treats, clean water, heat that turns on when it is cold, and there is never lacking for things in our tiny home. Sadly these things don’t often strike a chord of how lucky you are when you are 3, or 7, or 9. Even if you have parents to remind you that somewhere in your city is a child who isn’t cared for as much as you are.

One of the joys of childhood is that you can engage in the ID of I want it all, I want it now and I don’t understand why you just can’t give it to me.

I don’t sugar coat it for my kids…it’s just not in the budget right now I’m sorry.

Oh how I tire of those words coming out of my mouth though.

It isn’t like we haven’t tried to make being budget conscious fun. We’ve started Family Friday where we eat a fun homemade meal and watch a family friendly feature together on Netflix. We throw our rule of eating at the table out the window and eat on the couch and floor in front of the t.v. just hanging together and being with one another. So far it seems to be a success because of the fact that they kids ask about Wednesday what we are going to do for our Family Fun Friday.

So I guess in some ways we’ve been successful at re-directing the ways we have fun.

The thing about Christmas is you never want to have your kids build up in their minds something amazing only to let them down. My kids, for as tight as everything is, have been re-assured that everything is going to work out and that Christmas WILL happen. They just have to have faith in their dad and in me to know it matters and to make it work.

Sometimes though I don’t think they quite believe me.

Luckily I started shopping in August :D.


Putting One Foot in Front of The Other

Pretty sure this could rate as one of the shittest weeks on the record of my life. What makes me laugh is I have made more than one in the span of my 37 years and this week probably makes top 10.

On the 21st I lost my grandma. Someone I loved very fiercely who was the centre of my developing life. I learned a lot about life, love, marriage and child raising in the confines of her Snow Lake home. I’ve taken the loss very deeply. I won’t lie as I have processed it a lot over the last two weeks but moment where I weep still come.

I remember all the really great and interesting stuff about her. I am happy she had a life she loved and I embrace those memories. Just not quite where they don’t cause me pain.

Tuesday I had to return to work. Alas mortgage, food and other payments don’t hold for our grief and my grandma was someone that would say that being busy was good for you. So back to work I went dealing with customers and projects.

Tuesday Nathaniel had his first football practice. He was so very excited to be on the field working towards learning what position he will be playing. I watched him work hard, proud that he was listening and trying hard to learn from his coached and put in a strong effort. I know part of him is in football because I, personally, love the sport and he’s trying to connect with me on that level. What he hasn’t realized that I hope he gets more out of it than my approval. Deep down Nathaniel has to learn how to function as a cog in an overall team dynamic. If he gets that from this season I’ll call it a great investment.

Thursday I stayed home from the Bombers home opener because I intended to be at Nathaniel’s practice. He asked me to be there and while I am a rabid fan of the Bombers, I know that he asked me because he needed me to be there for him. It was one of those times when being a mom mattered more than being a fan. Ashleigh went and spent the evening with her grandpa. They had an amazing time together.

More amazing than my Thursday turned out to be.

Thursday afternoon Nathaniel developed a fever. Nothing serious to start off with but as the night wore on it became more of a concern. At about 1 am we noticed he had a lump at the side of neck. In 2008 Nathaniel had this happen and when I took him to Children’s he was diagnosed with an infected lymph node. Upon discussion with Kevin I decide we’ll head to Children’s to be safe rather than wait to go to the walk in clinic first thing in the morning.

Get to Children’s, get checked, confirm that Nathaniel has an underlying virus and what the Dr is pretty sure is an infected lymph node again, get prescription and the requisite talk about what to watch for (Or as I am now dubbing it…This is When You Should Panic). Head off into the pre-dawn night and need to locate a bank machine so I can pay for parking so we can get the car out of the William Parkade and stop for small nervous breakdown.

I think the worst part of what I’m about to put here is that my pretty sick 9 year old had to deal with his mother weeping and having a small panic attack. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that is in the list of globally recognized mommy fails. I have no real defense other than extreme emotional distress.

The last place I really wanted to be was back at HSC not even a week after having lost someone I love dearly there. It’s not a reflection of the staff or the care as much as it is somewhere I lost someone I loved very much. Having to take Nathaniel there to deal with his health as emotionally raw as I am, as tired as I have been, pushed me very close the emotional edge. Having to enter the building through the same doors I entered for almost a week to keep vigil with my passing grandma, walk past the elevators that I entered more than once, knowing the space was so close, was more than I could bear. So I cried, so I tried to get my sick 9 year old to go as fast as possible to a bank machine and back out when he was tired, sore, feverish and sick. I was so distressed that he stopped me to hug me and tell he was sorry for being sick.

Shit.

Mommy fail on so many levels.

I don’t even think I could say I just have a history of having mental moments in hospitals where major life events happen. While I’ve broken down in Concordia (see post Phantoms Feb 2010) where I had my hips replaced I’ve never lost control of myself in St. Boniface, which frankly probably has more personal trauma attached to it than any other hospital in the Winnipeg City Limits, and I’ve been there often.

I’m sure someone would tell me that it was just too soon to deal with things, or that I hadn’t dealt with it enough it doesn’t make me feel better than I caused trauma to my 9 year old when he least needed it. I’m the mom I should have my shit together in these times.

Looking back at it Kevin would probably have been the better choice for this mission.

Hindsight really is a bitch.

After going to the bank machine and getting the car out of the William Street Parkade we head to the 24 hours Shoppers where I learn that while they are 24 hours Blue Cross direct bill is not. Come back in a hour and a half so home we go.

As Friday goes along we get medications going, children’s Advil keeps flowing and Nathaniel has good moments when the medication is keeping things under control.

My dad sits the kids Friday evening so Kevin and I can go out to a networking event. We go, we meet folks, we have dinner and head home. Check Nathaniel and he’s warm but good. We’ve got time to Advil so we relax and settle in for some t.v. watching. At 10 I go back to check and he’s spiked a good level fever.

Back to Children’s, back to HSC and the William Street Parkade for the second time in 24 hours we go. I was the DD for the evening so I get him in the car and we go. Much to Nathaniel’s anxiety (see mommy fail).

Turns out the virus he has likes to screw with us. As long as he responds to Advil we just ride it out.

I need to ride it out too.


Unexpected Traditions

This may shock some folks but I spent Monday nights as a slip of a girl at Brownie meetings that were held in the basement of St. Ignatius church.

Yes, I was a slip of a girl once.

Yes, I used to be on church property and there wasn’t a bolt of lightning aimed at me. At least not as far as I know. There were a few dark and stormy nights in there I’m sure.

When I joined Brownies they became short a Brown Owl or group leader and knowing my mom had a long history of guiding it took nothing for me to volunteer her for the job. Of course I was good enough to give her a week’s notice about the whole thing.

So eventually our routine on Mondays was to go to Brownies together and then afterward we’d usually go to Pizza Place in Grant Park Place for dinner. It slowly became our tradition and it’s one that I still smile fondly about to this very day.

In recently months I’ve found myself with busy Monday nights again. I started a Mary Kay business in the fall and it turns out I’m pretty good at it. Weekly unit meetings are held on Monday nights, and for me at least, across the city. It puts a bit of a pinch in eating dinner together as a family but enter Perkins with the Kids Eat Free promotion.

Now our new tradition is to go together and enjoy a meal after which I proceed to head out the door to my meeting and Kevin and the kids head home for bath time and bedtime.

Often when we think of family traditions we think of those large occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving but miss those little routines that sit at the heart of the family unit. Be it Sunday dinners, or family game night, or always having ice cream at the BDI the first day it opens or celebrating a new football season with a trip to the Whistle Pig…

O.k. that last one I’m projecting but hope to make it a new tradition starting this year.

I just hope someday my kids will look back and smile about Mondays at Perkins.


Driving Miss Robert

One of the more interesting things is riding in a car with Ashleigh.

Ashleigh has a very eclectic musical ear. She enjoys mostly rock but on occasion would like to hear something off the wall and unexpected.

Of all the kids I think she enjoys my iPod of mixed music the most.

I like taking Ashleigh with me to my Mary Kay Monday meetings because there is girl time for us. Balancing my time between family, work, business and giving each child some one on one mom time is tough so this gives us something that’s just us.

Part of that time is spent enjoying various songs and at the end of them Ashleigh will declare a new favourite from the bunch.

Today’s favourite….Just Breathe by Pearl Jam but she also enjoyed Kandi by One Eskimo, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People and N.A. OK by U.S.S.

It’s kinda cool when we sing together. On a rough day it can be the few moments where we find harmony together.

Reminds me I should add Kaiser Chiefs to my iPod.


Spring!

Spring!

A time of renewal.

A time to open windows for fresh air.

A time to shut off the furnance.

A time to try new things.

A time to clean out the basement (again).

So sums up the last few days. Kevin and I took advantage of some kid free time and worked hard on getting our basement cleaned out and prepping some space for the kids to be able to play and a space where Nathaniel can go and be during nap times when his room is co-opted by his younger brother. The next plan is to start putting in the dream second bathroom we had to rip out to remove mould from our home and eventually a room for Nathaniel all his own.

Nathaniel did try something new. He rode his bike without fear and without training wheels. It was worth the jeans with ripped knees to see the pride in his face when he realized he can do anything he wants to if he really does try and doesn’t give up so easily. Ashleigh is planning to be without her training wheels soon too.

Nathaniel and Ashleigh are also both going to try something new next week…soccer. I can’t wait to get Ashleigh her jersey on Saturday and to take photos of her and Nathaniel both wearing their jerseys. I know they are excited to be doing an out of school activity with their friends which was one of the reasons they left Tae Kwon Do in the winter. I’ve been joking that now I need a Volvo.

Nicholas, I hope, will eventually try something new called sleeping. He’s not slept through the night in sometime now which is starting to wear on Kevin more than myself but lack of sleep travels down the pike and eventually causes problems for all of us. I am pretty sure it is his new and final four molars causing the issue and frankly they can’t cut soon enough for my tastes.

As for me I’ve decided that I need to loose 15lbs the sooner the better. My issue is that I love food and I love eating all of the flavours that Kevin brings to our table. My other issue is that with my arthritis I find it very hard to stick with standard weight loss regimes because I have good days and bad days with my disease as well as my medication regime. I do like to dance and loved when I did bellydance. I was invited to try a pole dancing class and I think I’m going to give it a try with some friends. I do also want to go back to bellydance and give Zumba a try as well. I want to dance my way back to my previous weight. Unfortunately a round of Prednisone at Christmas of all times helped me to gain weight and has made it hard to loose weight but I am determined to loose these pounds.

I need to for the future of my hip joints.


Back again!

No, not Slim Shady…just Bionic Mommy.

I thought back when I let this blog go that I has said all that there was to say and that I didn’t have more to share but turns out I was wrong so I’m back with more to say, more to share, and more to work through.

What can I say? I don’t have the time for therapy these days.

Quick sum up…Ashleigh turned 5 and Nathaniel turned a stunning 8. Yes, stunning as in I am stunned I have a child almost half of the way to the age of majority. Nicholas is working his way up to 2 at a rate quicker than I am ready for.

So here I am back writing in my personal space here on the net. An outlet that turns out I had come to depend on, and in the end I need.

Today I’m killing time. Waiting on a phone call that can either be really great or really scary. Those are the phone calls I think that are the worst. It’s hard when it is just for you but when it’s for your child it is absolute torture.

I’m waiting on results for Ashleigh. My one and only girl who seems to be tougher at 5 that I was at 30.

I always knew that Ashleigh was a tough girl and that she was firmly her own person. She’s stubborn in a way that makes my hair turn white but that I remind myself when she is a teenager it will be good because I can be assured that no one will tell Ashleigh what to do and that she doesn’t bow to pressure from others.

If Nathaniel is the child I predict will suck the marrow out of life by experiencing all there is to it Ashleigh is the child that will live her life on her terms every day and Nicholas seems to be the one that for the most part just loves life.

Ashleigh has no fear.

An example: Ashleigh is in the washroom at school and an older girl looks at her and says “I’m going to punch you in the face”. Ashleigh looks her in the eye and says “I know Tae Kwon Do and I can defend myself”(meaning get away and run to an adult like her teacher or someone in the school office). The older girl leaves the washroom and Ashleigh hasn’t seen her again since. She’s 5 and she stands up for herself. She’s 5 and has confidence in herself to know she can protect her body and self by following the lessons of self defense she’s been taught.

Ashleigh’s been having issues with her stomach for over a year now. We’ve been giving her medicine for over a year to deal with her issues and despite what appears to be working things are not improving. Last week she started being sick at random times and complaining of stomach pain so we agree it is time to take her to the her Dr and just have her checked out.

Now let me say that our Peditrician isn’t a cry wolf kind of guy. He’s pretty laid back about most stuff, seen it all, still remembers when his kids were young and this is all stuff I love about him and why he’s still my kids Dr after 8 years. However, one look at Ashleigh’s tummy yesterday and he expresses concern which takes Kevin and I from concerned to really worried and I, personally, am crossing over into mild panic.

Leave the office and take Ashleigh for X-rays, blood work and a urine sample. X-ray went well she was serious as she climbed up on the table making sure she was in the right space to get the good X-ray. The tech asked if she wanted to see inside her tummy and so we went over and I had a look with her. She thought it was cool I asked the poor tech (who just takes the films and makes sure they are readable) a hundred questions. There are two dark shadows in her abdomen but odds are good it is just gas. The Radiologist will be able to tell us more because they know what to look for.

Then it is downstairs to the Lab for blood draws and urine collection.

Here’s where Ashleigh blows me away with her inner strength. The tech mentions we should try to do the urine collection while she gets someone to help her with Ashleigh’s blood draw. After a failed attempt to collect the sample we go back to the chair where Ashleigh calmly puts her arm on a pillow and waits while the prep for the blood draw. They stick her, she doesn’t flinch, she doesn’t cry, she doesn’t panic. She watches as the blood travels down the tube in to the collection vial. The two techs are blown away by her zen like approach to having her blood taken and the recruited tech comments that she wasn’t really needed for this one. Hell Ashleigh turned down holding my hand while they did it.

She’s 5 and in this way stronger than I am at the age of 35.

So now we wait. While we wait I watch Ashleigh as life goes on it’s merry way. She goes to school, she plays, she reads, she still keeps up with the big kids in her life. She lives without fear.

I fear what the tests will tell us.

The waiting is killing me.