- I never flush a public toilet using my hands
- I am totally dyslexic with numbers
- I’m anaphylactic to mango, most nuts, and fresh peaches
- I’ve only coloured my hair twice in my life and both times were disastrous
- I hate drinking water and would rather go thirsty
- When I’m really upset or uncomfortable, I laugh involuntarily
- I still get carsick if I’m not in the front seat
- I can touch my nose with my tongue
- The second and third toes on my left foot are lightly webbed
- I can’t drink orange juice with pulp because it feels like bits of skin in my juice
- I’m still a little afraid of the dark
- I still wear pants that I bought over 12 years ago when I was in college
- I’m really worried about my little girl but afraid that saying it out loud too often will only make my worst fears come true
- I believe in karma and try to put some good out into the world every day
- I use a sharpie marker to touch up my black shoes when they start to wear out
- I’m scared of june bugs
- I hate the taste of coffee and beer
- I make a killer pork chop
- 90% of my best friends live more than two hours away from me
- When I was a child, I used to practice using my feet for everything as I was convinced I’d one day lose my hands in some freak accident
- It really turns me on when my husband picks me up without even straining
- I’ve been pregnant 8 times in the past five years, but only have two living children
- I’ve breastfed for over three years now
- The only music I don’t like listening to is heavy metal
- I’ve had the following pets in my lifetime: cats, dogs, gerbils, a hamster, rainbow crab, geckos, tree frogs, fish, an iguana, newts, salamanders, a ball python, ferrets, and a wild mouse
- My feet grow half a size (and stay that way) every time I have a baby
- Women and teenagers who call their father “daddy” make me cringe
- I have to pretend escargot are mushrooms when I eat them or I gag
- I only reveal about ¼ of the writing I do – most of it sits filed but never read
- I stopped using my WiiFit because every time I stepped on the board it made a surprised “Oh!” noise that sounded critical
Friday, November 26, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Truth be told, no, I am not happy to be back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that I have a job to go back to in this economy. And if I have to work, I’m glad that I am where I am. I have fabulous coworkers, a knowledgeable boss, and the compensation is really good. But I would like nothing more than to be at home with Hayden and Fliss all day.
The thought that other people are raising my children grates on me. I drop my babies off at 7am and don’t get to see them again until 4pm. That gives me about ten minutes with them in the morning as we all hustle to get ready (Adam is in charge of getting the kids fed and ready for school), and three to four hours with them at night. I feel like a part-time mother.
Not only do I not get much time with my children, but I often feel like they get the worst of me. I use so much effort and energy at work proving my worth, that when I get home I just feel spent. I often feel like I have no patience, no mental capacity to answer Hayden’s billions of questions, no physical energy to get down and really play with them. All the things I love about motherhood are pushed aside. I catch myself sometimes on the laptop while my children vie for my attention. All I want is five minutes to myself. And all they want is some love and attention from the one who bore them.
There is no easy fix. I need to work because we need the money and the benefits. I need to expend energy and effort at work to make sure that I still have a job tomorrow.
The children both go to an excellent daycare centre that teaches them not just colours and numbers, but also how to play nicely with others, how to share, and how to express themselves.
And so my children continue grow. Right before my eyes they change. They learn things that I wish I could have taught them myself. They surprise me nearly daily with the way their little minds are expanding.
I never wanted to be a working mother. I have a project from elementary school that states quite proudly that “I want to be a mother when I grow up.” In a perfect world, I would be at home with my babies every day. I can’t wait for the day that I can walk Hayden to school every day and have a hot lunch waiting for him when he returns. I can’t wait to spend my afternoons showing Fliss the world around her. I yearn to share my love of nature with them on daily walks. I ache to show them the joy of food by baking and making dinner together. These things all seem to get lost in the shuffle when there is only a few hours together before bed time.
I’ll keep buying my lottery tickets. And until that winning day, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to really spend time with them every day.
The laundry, groceries and the rest of the world can wait – tonight I’m too busy being a mother.
Friday, November 5, 2010
He taught me the meaning of the word patience. But more importantly, he redefined the word love.
He became my world with one flash of those baby blues.
As he grew, so did my love for him - though I never thought that possible.
He became our little shadow. Eager to learn, eager to do, eager to make his mark on the world.
He transformed us from a couple to a family. From husband and wife to father and mother.
He looks up to us to guide him, to teach him, to love him.
He taught us never to underestimate him. When his sister arrived, he greeted her not with jealousy but with adoration.
Watching them together warms my heart. Instead of sibling rivalry, he brings joy and tenderness to his baby sister. Even telling me that he wants more little sisters to love.
He is still my heartsong. My snuggly, affectionate, emotional, intelligent, active heartsong.
Motherhood has been nothing like I thought it would be. It's been more difficult, more rewarding, messier, more challenging, more fun, and much more fulfilling than I ever thought possible.
And this little guy...
...he was the catalyst.
Happy 4th birthday Hayden. I love you more than my meager words could ever say.
Thank you for showing me who I could be and for teaching me what life is really all about.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
As a tribute to my wonderful boy, I made him a memorial video. All of the pictures that appear during the Sarah McLaughlin music are from after his diagnosis (the last two weeks of his life). The last few pictures, with the amazing fall sun, are from this morning. His final moments.
Dear lord, I miss my buddy already.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
You know those moments that in themselves seem insignificant, but put together are actually the definition of life? I keep thinking of things about Salem that I adore. Things that I won’t have any more. I then become panicked that I’ll start forgetting these tiny moments. I felt drawn to capture more clearly all the reasons why I love this boy so very much.
- Even after having him for six years without incident, he’s still terrified of thunder storms.
- How that fear leads him to lay under any part of you he can find, or if you’re in bed, to pant forcefully in your face until you comfort him.
- His shiny brown freckled nose. So fair that it sometimes burns in the summer.
- His deliciously soft carmel ears. So silky that they rival velvet.
- How he tucks his rear end down when he’s running to be more aerodynamic.
- When my mum was doggie-sitting, he quickly learned where the treats were and would sit expectantly waiting in front of the cupboard until she obliged.
- The tiny white tip at the end of his tail. So subtle a change in colour from his apricot hind quarters that you have to really know him to notice.
- The way he licks Felicity’s face whenever she comes near, sending her into fits of giggles and making her lean in over and over.
- That his only trick was – sit, shake a paw, other paw, lay down – and only in that order. If you tried to mix it up, he’d get completely confused.
- He has long white eyelashes and knows exactly how to look up at you from under them for the best puppy dog eyes.
- When he’s really happy, his tail curls over on itself, husky style.
- His ears can turn in a hundred different directions and completely independent of each other.
- He cuddles his stuffed bear as a mother would her pup.
- His scar from the car accident gives him a tough guy look.
- When he goes to the dog park, he’s always the loudest dog there. Barking greetings at every dog and human he sees.
- In the winter, he would dig himself a hole in the snow and then curl up in it with his tail neatly covering his nose. All you could see within minutes in a snow fall were his two big brown eyes.
- He knew at night time that he wasn’t allowed on the couch as long as I was downstairs. Sometimes I’d be curled up under a blanket and he’d put his paw on the couch. All I had to do was clear my throat and he’d pull it back quick as a bunny.
- When we lived in the apartment in Ottawa, Salem would bring his bear out every morning for his walk, carrying him lovely in his mouth to the amusement of our neighbours.
- If you leave any piece of laundry on the floor, even a sock, Salem will turn in circles and lay down just right so he can rest his head on said clothing.
- He loved to perch himself on the picnic table in the summer – looking like the king of his domain.
- Salem is actually a keen hunter. A few times we had to bury the body of an unlucky squirrel or rabbit.
- Once, Salem was trying to dig out a bunny den under the shed. He actually dug himself under the shed and then got stuck. Took me half an hour to find him.
- He never did learn how to walk on a leash. To Salem, if you attached a rope to him, you were obviously wanting to be pulled around at top speed. He would have made an excellent sled dog.
- Salem loses enough hair in a shed (which happens at least twice a year) to make a whole new dog. He loses it in clumps so that he often looks like a moulting deer and leaves big fluffs of hair all over.
- In the winter, Salem’s paws grow long tufts of hair between the pads to protect them from the cold.
- He hates eating out of metal bowls.
- He never bit or mouthed any of the kids. Even when Hayden would pull on either sides of his lips to see how far they stretched.
- He loves to completely destroy any stick that dares fall in his yard.
- He once leapt from a porch about 6' off the ground to pursue a squirrel (which sent Adam off right after him – no one had ever seen my husband move so fast).
- Just the sound of his collar tags jingling together makes him happy.
- When a strange man once walked into our apartment while Salem and I were alone, he slowly raised to his feet, issuing a deep, powerful growl with teeth bared and heckles raised. He walked slowly and deliberately towards him until he turned and fled (it turned out he was a lost resident looking for the office).
- His favourite place on earth is Bruce Pit in Ottawa (a huge, treed off-leash park). He could smell it from a mile away and would start whining as soon as he caught wind of it.
- At Christmas Salem would always be right in the middle of the action, slowly being covered in tissue paper.
- We once left a roast defrosting on the counter. When we came home after work, we found only a bloody stain on the carpet to show for it.
- Often times when you drive away from the house, you’ll look back at the big front window to see him perched on the back of the couch to get one last look at you.
- When Salem sleeps on the bed, he likes to have his own pillow to rest his head on (though yours will do in a pinch).
- He has been the best dog ever. The one that all past dogs and all future dogs will be compared to.
- His parting is going to leave a hole in my heart forever.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We both decided that the only way to go was with a rescue pup. We combed the Humane Society’s website for weeks looking for just the perfect dog for us. When a beagle named Tucker appeared in the photo line-up, we decided we had to meet him.
After arriving at the shelter and being seated in the meeting room, a young woman walked Tucker in. We happily called to him and clapped our hands but he completely ignored us. He then lifted his leg and peed on the wall. Our interview was over.
Before she took Tucker away, I mentioned to her that in the front entrance another dog’s profile had caught our attention. Was Salem still available? She clutched at her heart and grinned, gushing, “Oh Salem is just my favourite! I’ll bring him right in.”
Salem walked into the room with only about half of his body covered in fur. The other half was scattered with road rash and shaved patches from an inopportune meeting with a car. He looked a complete mess, but as soon as he saw us, his whole body wriggled with excitement. His tail wagged madly and he bounded over to lick our hands and sniff our pants. He then rolled over on his back to expose his belly for scratching. We were smitten.
The staff insisted that we sleep on it before making our final decision. Instead we ran around buying him a collar, a leash, and some toys – the decision had already been made. As we lay in bed that night, we talked about how excited we were and how nervous we were that someone might make a mistake and give Salem to someone else.
When I went to officially adopt him the next day, it was cold and snowy. As we walked out of the back room, Salem yanked me around on the leash and made a bee-line for the exit. I sat him in the back seat of the car, and by the time I’d come around to the driver’s side, he was perched on the passenger seat. I wondered if we’d just adopted a big hairy ball of trouble.
In the first few months, we really got to know one another. Salem was tentative and a bit fearful. If we ever raised our voices to him, he’d roll on his back and promptly pee all over himself.
He still pulled like crazy on the leash. And despite our encouragement, he would NEVER get on the couch or the bed to snuggle. We learned that Salem used his ears to communicate. His “Yoda ears” registered his fear, excitement, curiosity, and contentment.
It wasn’t long before love started to work its magic. Salem began to come out of his shell and be more playful. He ignored the multiple toys we bought him and instead adopted one of my very expensive collector bears. Bear became Salem’s baby and he carried him everywhere - even out to pee. Salem would whip Bear around and shake him mercilessly, only to redeem himself by gently grooming and licking Bear as a mother would her pup.
It certainly didn’t take long before Salem was firmly planted in our hearts as our fur baby. He wriggled into our family’s hearts as well; my mum (in lieu of any grandchildren), referred to Salem as her grand-doggy. And like their future grandchildren would be, Salem was spoiled rotten.
When we first brought Hayden home, Salem seemed to understand that he had a new member of the pack to protect. When Hayden cried, Salem would pace from Hayden’s cradle to the living room until one of us went to attend to him. As Hayden started crawling and toddling, Salem endured many hair pulls and ear tugs. His retort was to madly lick Hayden’s face. It worked every time.
Salem was our baby before we had babies. He taught us how to care for another life. He taught us responsibility. He taught us what unconditional love was.
And now, our baby is sick. On September 23 we learned that he has terminal bone cancer. He hadn’t been himself for the few weeks prior and seemed a bit sore. We thought that his arthritis was acting up. We never thought that we were going to have to begin palliative care.
The vet thought that perhaps we would have the weekend with him to say goodbye. But our strong, determined doggie has now held on for over a week. Living on love, morphine, and a diet of delicious people food, he’s been pretty comfortable. But these last two days we’ve seen him slide downhill again. His breathing is quick and laboured. His appetite is gone again. His shiny brown nose has dulled. It’s the beginning of the end.
Yesterday Adam started the heartbreaking process of finding a vet to help us release Salem from his pain. The cost to have a vet come to your home, lay your pup to rest, give him a proper cremation and then have his ashes returned to us is going to be around $700. We’re now faced with a horrible decision. Do we sink ourselves further into debt when we’re already drowning to give him the farewell he so rightly deserves? Or do we do the “responsible” thing and bring him to a place he fears in order to cut our final vet bill in half?
This no-win situation has led me to do something I’ve never done before. I’m reaching out to my readers to help us. I’m asking you to donate a few dollars to help us say goodbye to Salem where he is happiest, at home. But I can’t let your charity end with our little family. Every dollar that you donate will be matched with a donation to our local animal shelter over the next year. Not only will you help our rescued pup, but you’ll help countless other shelter animals too. If you feel inclined, you can donate to our PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org). You could also do an email transfer to the same account.
I’ve said goodbye to five furry family members over the years. But I’ve never had to be the one to make the tough decisions. It seems that even in his final days, Salem is still teaching us. He’s teaching us humility, mercy, and how to say goodbye. How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
But neither of us were truly ready.
And so we waited.
On the morning of your arrival (months later),
I awoke disbelieving that the waves that rolled through me
Were the real deal.
Before long there was no denying.
You were on your way.
Our plans to greet you naturally
Were soon set aside.
As your curious nature
Drew you to peek down the exit.
You were pulled from my belly
With scalpels and forceps.
And with a tiny cry
You were placed forever in my heart.
Happy first birthday my sweet girl.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Before we left, as we matriarchs tried to figure out the logistics of feeding and sleeping this army, I had a mini breakdown about it all. I was envisioning a tiny cabin, a rained out week, two miserable children, and one completely mental me. To be honest, I was dreading this "vacation." As we pulled away from our home on Saturday in our car with no AC, I was in a complete funk. I was sure that I'd have to insult the entire clan by leaving early to retain my sanity.
And then we arrived. While the rain pattered around us, we pulled up to this amazing cottage and I felt my spirits rise.
The great room was huge, baby-friendly, and with wipeable leather furniture. The kitchen was large and industrial, there were two fridges and a huge gas cooker. Our bedroom was bright and spacious with a king sized bed and room for Fliss' play yard and Hayden's Diego bed. It also had a door onto a great balcony - the perfect, quiet alone space I had feared lost! And the path to the water? No steep stairs, no jagged rocks, just pebbles and sand leading to a perfect sandy weed-free beach!
I quickly unpacked our bags and cooler and began to feel myself relax. As the other families arrived, I expected my anxiety to return. And yet, I remained completely chilled. Everyone was so happy to be there, so respectful of each other (yes, even the teenagers), that we all easily came together as one huge family. We cooked together, played together, cleaned together, shared kid-watching duties, fished, gazed at the fire in a huge circle....it was like being at Bronte Creek again, only with my extended family.
I surprised myself with how harmonious I felt with my cottage-mates. Instead of stressing over people eating Fliss' special gluten-free food, I roasted marshmellows and played king of the dock, I drank too much wine and caught the first big fish of the trip. I was too busy having fun to worry.
Adam's family tends to have a mantra of "things will just work out" which usually goes against my mantra of "plan for everything so you're not surprised." This past week, I witnessed and experienced just how relaxing going with the flow can be. Truly, with memories like these:
the only word I can summon for my family vacation is bliss.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My first satisfying mom-based purchase was from Debby of Otter Babies. Debby makes cloth diapers that are unrivaled for their ingenious design and super cute patterns. Otter Blotters are my new favourite cloth diapers! I'd totally switch our stash over completely if I had the cash. If you cloth diaper your kids, or are looking into it, check out her diapers for sure! They have a hidden velcro closure that allows for fast diaper changes without the annoyance of diaper chains in the laundry. Plus the inserts dry quickly, absorb a ton, and you can customize them however you want!
When Debby's latest design didn't fit my needs perfectly, she paid to have the cover sent back, repaired it, and then she returned the cover to me with another FREE cover for my troubles! You can't beat that kind of personal service!
Michelle from GEM Cloths is my next favourite super mompreneur. Michelle makes reusable feminine mama cloth menstrual pads. The thought of mama cloth turned me off at first, but I soon realized that it was really no different than cloth diapering. Plus I could benefit from the same chemical-free comfort that Fliss enjoys! I was leery to spend all sorts of money on pads that might not work for me, when some friends pointed me Michelle's way.
For $35, Michelle made me what she calls a "grab bag." It contained pretty much all the mama cloth I'll need for a cycle. And hello! They are gorgeous and so super soft!! I was actually looking forward to my monthly so I could try them out! I can tell you that I didn't have one leak, one shift, and no "diaper rash" like I get from regular menstrual products. I highly recommend all women try these wonderful alternatives! Michelle is wonderful to work with and helped this mama cloth newbie to know exactly what I was looking for, how many, and how to care for them. Plus she's a super nice lady to boot!
My third momprenuer superstar is one that is local to me. Kristen, of Eaton Family EcoBabies helped me to make the jump to be an exclusively cloth diapering family. Through her free diaper workshop (which I recommend to anyone who wants to cloth diaper or who has started but wants to learn more), I got the complete low down on just how diverse the cloth diaper industry is! She helped to demystify washing routines, options (like prefolds - though I still suck at them), and helped me to understand the pros and cons of different fabrics available. Kristen has an AWESOME loaner program as well, that we plan to use for our next bundle of joy (before baby can fit into our stash)!
Kristen is the guru of more than just diapers though. She is pretty much responsible for helping this crunchy mama to be even more earth friendly. She sold me my first Diva Cup, child ear protection (for Hayden's super sensitive ears - seriously, these are amazing!), teething amber, all natural sunscreen, and so much more. Adam has actually implemented an EcoBabies budget because I always find something I love while I'm there!
So the next time you're struggling with a unique gift, or looking for something different for yourself, I urge you to drive past the Walmarts and Home Depots of the world. Search out the little guys who can give you phenomenal customer service without ever having to leave your house! And if you do decide to buy from any of the fabulous ladies above, tell them Lucy sent you!
Monday, June 28, 2010
I think what really stood out for me on this particular visit was the nurses' reaction to Fliss wearing cloth diapers. Those ER nurses probably see hundreds of kids in a month and all three of Felicity's nurses said that they had never seen cloth diapers on a baby before. Each one asked me all kinds of questions about them and the youngest nurse asked for a little tutorial.
It was a sad and proud moment all at once. Sad because it made me realize how few parents in my area actually use cloth. And proud because I'm doing something for my daughter that not only benefits her sensitive skin, but also benefits the planet that she'll be living on long after I die. I happily touted the benefits of cloth to all the nurses and even encouraged the youngest nurse (who seemed the most interested) to suggest that the pediatric ward supply cloth along side the disposables. Yup, that's me - super mum; Saving my daughter and random baby bums all at once!
As a side note to you, gentle readers: If you've never thought about or tried cloth diapering, I urge you to take the leap. I was skeptical at first with thoughts of swishing poopy diapers and my house reeking of soiled cloth, but it really involves none of that. It's nearly as easy as disposables with none of the scary chemicals or the constant output of cash! I also have NEVER had an up-the-back-ewww-gross-total-blow-out poop with cloth. I had them at least once a week with disposables! (Plus, on a totally superficial level, it is awesome to coordinate Felicity's diapers with her outfits! )
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Me: Eat your dinner.
Me: Because it will make you strong and healthy.
Me: Because food is full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to grow.
Me: Because you don't want to stay 3ft tall forever.
Me: Because then you won't be able to reach your own plate or brush your teeth without a stool.
Me: Because you'll be too short because you didn't eat your dinner.
Me: Because you were too busy asking questions.
Me: Because you're crazy.
Me: *snap* BECAUSE I SAID SO!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I know people who have been through the wringer and faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles and yet they face each day with a smile and carry on. I also know people who are blessed beyond belief, but who are so focused on what they don't have that they see life as a frustrating daily struggle.
I choose to see my life as one filled with blessings. I have an amazing family who support me and raised me with love. I have a tender husband who fulfills my every need and walks beside me through all our highs and lows. I have two wonderful children who amaze me daily with their love and innocence. And I have a small circle of absolutely incredible friends who are there through thick and thin. They have given me the gift of true friendship..
Recently, I had to shut the door (hopefully temporarily) on one of my dreams: to be a stay at home mum. Adam and I had been working towards the possibility by reviewing our finances and making some changes. The very idea of it made me giddy. But with the economy the way it is, and with Adam running his own business (read: no benefits, WSIB, or unemployment insurance) it's just too risky to put all our eggs in one basket right now.
I've been mourning the loss of my idyllic life. It was as if I'd received a rejection letter in the mail from a dream job. "Dear Lucy, thank you for your interest, but..." I could feel myself slipping into a negative head space. Focusing on all that I couldn't have. Wallowing in self pity for a dream put on hold. Feeding an anger towards all that was preventing me from attaining my WAHM status. Resentment that others had attained what I could not. But the fates wouldn't have it. They intervened.
Today I stopped in to work to have lunch with one of my coworkers. While there, I fell into a conversation with another colleague (and fellow blogger). What started as a light conversation soon became a discussion about outlook and insight, sacrifice and priorities. Perhaps without even knowing it or meaning to, she helped me to turn a corner in my thinking. She helped me to remember that everything in life happens for a reason. What creates your character and determines your quality of life is how you address and respond to these changes.
While I still hold dear my deep desire to stay at home and raise my children full time, today I am focusing on what I do have to look forward to as a career woman:
- a well paying job to return to
- coworkers who challenge my thinking and creative abilities
- benefits that allow us to never have to worry about health care for our family
- a safe, caring daycare where my children will be together
- the extra finances to be able to pay off our debts and build our savings so that some day soon I CAN stay home
- adult conversation on a daily basis that does not involve any bodily functions
- an opportunity to keep expanding my education and learning
- a reason to wear more than sweatpants and tanks
Have you counted your blessings today?