Thursday, January 31, 2008

This & That Thursday

Dear Girl who works with scissors at First Choice,

I dare not call you a Hairdresser or a Hairstylist. My dear girl, by your own words you are a hip, party-going, non-listening, self absorbed child. For the record, Dorothy Hamill never had a modern funky bob-like cut. Nor does her famous hairstyle come close to looking like the photo I handed to you --- a photo of me, with my hair the way I wanted it. Instead of telling me about your latest tattoo you are hiding from your mother and the great party you are going to on Friday- take a moment and listen to my request.


Anderson (3) was placed in the bad boy's chair for biting his little sister (1). He was alone in the front room, I was in the kitchen and Madigan crawled into the front room. Anderson lowered his voice to a whisper and did his funny imitation of a whistle:

Whooo whoo, Madiginny, come here.
Whooo whoo, Madiginny, I'm stuck in the bad boy's chair.
Where's Mommy?
Come get me out Madiginny. I need your help.
Get me out!
I will not bite you anymore!

Needless to say, I was laughing my butt off in the kitchen....little scam artist looking for his victim to spring him!
This year DJ has been introduced to French. Every day he get 20 minutes of French instruction. It has been great to hear him counting in French, reciting the alphabet and even telling me the words for certain objects. It is great how kids have no fear in saying something wrong or if they do not know the proper grammar. I am currently taking a College level French course and I can only dream of being so carefree as DJ when it comes to chatting.

DJ: Mommy, Badame (Madame) asked me today if I was "comment ca va" that means "How are you".

Mommy: That is right. How did you answer?

DJ: I told Badame I was commie si commie sir.

Mommy: Oh, you told here you were comme si comme ça. That means I am OK, not great, but not bad.

DJ: Mommy you do not know how to speak French. Badame tells me it is commie si commie sir. And she is my teacher Mommy. You are just my Mommy and you do not know French.

Boy, that sure gives me confidence for my upcoming French presentation this weekend and my exam the following weekend!!!!
Madigan is not yet walking on her own. But, if you put on a CD and tell her to danse, she will sway back and forth and eventually make her way across the floor. It is the cutest thing EVER!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Parlez-vous français?

I have to do a French presentation on Sunday on my hobbies and past times.

How could I NOT speak about my love of blogging????

Malheureusement, je n'ai pas le bon vocabulaire!

Can anyone help me with a few sentences on blogging?!?!?!?

Je suis sérieuse! Svp aidez-moi!

Wordless Wednesday - A little off the top!

DJ's first hair cut at the "barber"
January 29, 2008.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Refuge of the Unimaginative

This meme has been floating around. It is kind of fun! It allows you to make a album/CD cover.

So, the name of my band is "The Man Who Never Missed" and our latest CD is entitled: Refuge of the Unimaginative.

I am not sure about the name of the band, but the release title is kind of cool! And I love the cover photo - that kind of fits! I would give this CD a listen!

edited to add: LOVED Jenni's comment on the band's name...she is right!!!!!! Now, I love the name of my band!!!!

original photo by Locaburg

Want to create your own cover? Follow these steps:

1. Click this link. The first title on this page is the name of your band.

2. Now click this link. The last four words of the very last quote is the name of your album. If it does not work at all, click the “New Random Quotations” button for more.

3. And finally, click this link. The third picture on this page will be your album cover. Add your band name and album title, and you’re done! (Please remember to give credit for the original picture.)

Anyone can do it - but I am especially encouraging Andrea from No More Decorators to have a go at this - it may give her ideas for her next project!

Rock on my friends, rock on!

SIDE BAR ---- I am LOVING my new google reader! Makes life so much easier!!!! I am waiting to see your latest entry an then rushing over to read and more clicking and checking and clicking and checking...THANKS!!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Water-colour Portrait

The boys are three weeks into their swimming lessons and I am so proud of them both! You see, DJ and Anderson are so very different from each other. Based on their pool etiquette this past summer, I was a bit worried about how well swimming lessons would go for each of them.

All summer long DJ would get into our pool, but he would cling to the edge, never letting go. He hated to put his face near the water and if you tried to help him "swim" he would wrap his arms around your neck till you almost lost consciousness and his willowy legs would wrap around your midsection. He was petrified. But you could also see that he loved the water, especially at the beach. We feared swim class would be very agonizing for him and that he would not want to participate.

Anderson, who is a year younger than DJ, is our Little fish. At two years old he was swimming on his own and always being a dare devil. Life guards at the local pool would have to warn him to not dive off the edge and would scold me for allowing him to swim further than an arms length from me (never mind I had a little baby in my arms and Mister Strong-Hold wrapped around my body!) My fear for him was that he would get board of swimming class.

I know that it is not right to label your children. But, their natural behaviour around the pool really painted a true portrait of their personalities.

DJ is a perfectionist, never wanting to look silly trying something new. He watches and watches, and then attempts the feat. He was this way with all his milestones - for example, one moment he did not walk, the next he got up and walked across the entire front room. When he does something, he likes to do it right.

Anderson is our dare devil. Always pushing his limits and always trying to have fun - which usually involves speed, danger or thrill. He jumps in with both feet (pun intended!)

Well, three weeks in, and the boys are doing great!

DJ's motto is that Dillon (the instructor) will teach him how to get into the deep water and how to swim. DJ obeys all of Dillon's instructions, watches very carefully and then does exactly what Dillon asks of him. And he does it perfectly! Three weeks ago I could not get him to let go of the side, Dillon has him using a pool noodle and swimming on his own. DJ also does a perfect star float - on his own, with no assistance! DJ responds well to an instructor. He listens and trusts that the teacher will not lead him astray. He is a wonderful student.

Anderson looks like a jumping bean on the side. All eager for his turn. At times not focusing on what Dillon is teaching. Always eager to try and show off. Ander is enjoying himself during the structured class - but he lives for the free play in the shallow water. Here he can let go of the edge and swim under the water and come up for air to Dillon's praise. Anderson's motto is that if he listens to Dillon then Dillon will let him go off the diving board and down the big slide when he is bigger. This is his first experience in a structured class and he is proving to be a wonderful student.

Both boys are focused on a mission: DJ wants to swim properly and do it right, while Anderson wants to be able to do the daring things. Both boys understand that by learning how to swim and do things safely, then they can accomplish their goals.

I wonder how much this swimming scenario will reflect their personalities or parallel their lives. I see older kids walking along the deck - all different sizes, statues, personalities, and I wonder which one is most like what each of my boys will grow to be.

I hope that I am helping my children learn and grow and to become strong, independent, caring, and all round wonderful adults. Life can be slippery, full of currents and whirlpools - and I hope that I am helping my children not just tread water to stay afloat, but to dive, swim and excel.

For the record, I spend the entire class chasing Madigan away from the side of the pool. She is so anxious to follow her brothers. It is so cute to watch her power crawl up to a foot before the edge and then turn around and start backing up to the edge. A big grin on her face the entire time -or at least until mommy grabs her!

I wonder what swimming stories I will tell when the kids are older. I wonder if these stories will reflect the adults they have become. My mother and father still talk about the day I had to swim 50 metres to pass my swimming test. I jumped in swam about 49 metres, lifted up my head and yelled out, " I do not think I can make it!". I then turned around and swam 49 metres to the other end. (I did not pass, I may have swam almost double the requirement, but I failed because of my lack of confidence!) We all laugh at this story, but then I see, at times, in my every day life, how afraid I am of failure.

Do you see behaviours or personality traits in your young children that make you wonder what type of adult the child will become? Are there traits or characteristics that you see in your children now that you hope are (or are not) part of who they grow into as adults? For example, I see how empathetic my boys are today, and hope that they mature into caring, sensitive men. What are your thoughts on this subject?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Scrolling Saturday - Lies, Cars and Graduation

Thank you everyone for the well wishes...we are all still sick, but slowly improving.

Thank goodness for Scrolling Saturday, I did not have to think too much about this post! I did drag my sorry butt to French class this morning, so, I think it is appropriate to re-post a school story. This post was originally posted on November 16, 2007.

Click HERE if you would like to read more, or participate in Scrolling Saturday. The basic idea is to re-post an original entry. perhaps something from when you first started blogging and only a select few read your blog. It is great fun! Give it a try! Give a old favorite a second viewing!

Here is my Scrolling Saturday entry:

Lies, Cars and Graduation

Thank you everyone for your support and comments related to yesterday's post.

Sadly, I have a confession. I lied in the previous post. I stated that I never cursed in high school. That is not true. I apologize.

I am a bit dumb-founded that I forgot the graduation incident. To this day I chalk up my come-back line to being a classic, one of the best I have ever delivered.

Let's go back 20 years ago to the bowels of a old catholic high school cafeteria. Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

I never really dated through high school. Perhaps I was too busy playing sports, doing extra-curricular activities, or perhaps it was due to the fact that my father taught in my high school. I remember one day getting the nerve up to ask Italian Soccer Player Extra-Ordinaire out. His response was, " You are really nice and all, but heck, I want to pass Geography". Or perhaps my lack of dates grew from my slight naivety and prudence. In grade 10 I was very good friends with a fellow jock. We sat on the bus together every day chatting, laughing and hanging out. Then one day, on the way home from school a discussion around a recent religion class ended our friendship. Hockey Player Extra-Ordinaire basically laughed about how Mrs. Merotta condemned premarital sex. This best-bud of mine straight out asked why I did not find the discussion hilarious and stupid. I innocently replied, "Well, she has a point, premarital sex is not right and it is against our religion, I plan to wait till I get married, like you should". That was the last time we sat together on the bus.

OK. I digress. Back to the graduation swearing incident.

All through high school I was good friends with Nice-Guy-Next-Door. We studied together. Hung out. Had lots of fun. Many of my fondest high school memories are just hanging out with Nice-Guy-Next-Door. As graduation approached we discussed grad-dates. We decided that it only made sense to go together. We were all set for lots of fun. We would double date with another couple.

In honour of the occasion, my parents promised me use of the vintage Mustang convertible that my mom owned. I remember telling Nice-Guy-Next-Door the arrangements. We are pretty excited.

Then, just two days before graduation and the big party, Nice-Guy-Next-Door announces that his buddy's father got them a awesome Porsche to ride in to the dinner. And, perhaps the girls could come in the convertible and the guys could come in the Porsche. I guess his philosophy was that we were all friends and that the big party was not really a date.

Well. I was furious. I had been really looking forward to going to the hall together. I guess I was hoping that in my fancy dress and make-up he would see me differently. Not as just a friend, maybe more than just a friend.

All I remember was taking a big step to be very close to Nice-Guy-Next-Door. I glanced at his buddy, and then looked him straight in the eyes and loudly proclaimed, " Well, Nice-Guy-Next-Door, all I can say is 'You can't f*ck a f*cking Porsche'"....turned, walked away, head high, until I heard the principle's voice calling me by my surname!

So, there you have it. Yes, I did swear in high school. But boy, was the look on his face priceless!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sniff Sniff

I really want to write a wonderful, funny, sentimental, well-written post for today...I really do...sniff, sniff,cough, cough.

But my head is pounding, my eyes watering, my nose dripping and every muscle in my body aching.

I really want to go to bed, pull the covers over my head and die!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Blogiquette Questions!

First off, THANK YOU! Thank you everyone who has been reading and commenting on my blog. I really appreciate your kind comments, funny stories and bits of information. Most of all, I appreciate your support and friendship.

A million times a day I seem to quickly check my blog to see any new comments. I LOVE GETTING COMMENTS! I get all excited when I see the counter has changed. You can only imagine how excited I was to see double digits!

I blog for many reasons, but I never realized how important the comments and support I get from all of you is to me. All the comments I received on Tuesday about Benjamin really helped me validate and understand the many emotions and feelings I have about that special little boy, his struggle, death and legacy. It also helped me further understand my connection and friendship with Donna. Everyone was so kind, and the comments so wonderful that it all brought tears to my eyes. I struggled to get that post out of my head. And it was worth it, because of the comments and support I got from all of you.

I love seeing comments from new readers. I then link to their blog and get acquainted with their posts. And I look so forward to hearing what my regular-readers and blog-pals have to say. I love guessing who will comment!

All the wonderful comments got me thinking. Being relatively new to blogging, I have a few blogging etiquette, or blogiquette questions.

1) Do you/should you reply to all those who comment on your post?
---After reading each comment, I felt like sending a personal note back - or better yet, calling up the commenter and chatting for hours! I felt so connected and supported!

2) Do you read other people's comments?
---I find myself looking at other people's comments, especially if I was touched or moved by a post, and linking to the commenter's blog and peeking around and usually leave a comment of my own!

3) Some of my new blog-friends send me an email commenting or following up on a comment I left on their blog. How can I do that too? Is there an automatic way of replying?

4) I have heard about update lists that tell you when favorite blogs have new posts. Which of these neat tools do you recommend? I love so many blogs (and the list seems to grow every day!) and find myself clicking through to them all and just hoping not to miss a great post.

5) How did I ever live without my blog? I love it!!! Anyone else feel this way? I have found this such a great outlet, therapy, memory keeper and friendship maker!

Well, I will end this rambling with another THANK YOU! I so appreciate every one's comments.

And, if you are a lurker, PLEASE leave a quick comment - I would LOVE to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - with a few words!

Ok - maybe, I need to add a few words since this photo is not that clear!
I am going to see TOM!!!! the Canadian Legend! The wonderful song writer, social activist and awesome performer...the one the only!

I love Tom Cochrane...and I am going on Feb 2 to see him and John Cougar Mellencamp...

I asked David if he wanted to go on a date with me to the concert. He looked at me and sighed...then suggested I ask some girlfriends to go with me!

Why? Well, it seems that David does not think that he would have much fun watching someone on "MY LIST" (yes, THAT list!) preform...he may feel, his philosophy is that I should go, have a great time at the concert, then come home to him!

Double bonus night!!!!

Oh, I cannot wait to hear "Big League", "Victory Day" and especially, "Lunatic Fringe". (ohhhh yes, I am a fan!!!!)

Tom, you rock my world!
David, let me rock yours!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I cannot find the words to begin

I have a post in my head. It has been floating around in there for a few weeks now. Well, actually, it is banging and bumping and pissing me off! I stumble on moments of clarity, where the true essence of what I want to write comes to me, but just for a moment and then it fleets away, leaving me angry and confused. I so want to get these certain thoughts down. To validate them. To give them reason. To give them a chance to help me learn and grow and accept.

I do not even know where to start.

People always say to start at the beginning - but I am not sure where the beginning is for this story, nor do I really know where the beginning for my after thoughts start. Does that make sense at all?

I could begin with describing the friendship I made with a fellow soccer player 13 years ago. Donna and I met on the soccer pitch and we became good friends. Not best friends. Not even call you up to go to the movies and hang out friends. But at the same time, not just soccer buddies.

I could begin with the birth of Donna's son ten years ago. Little Benjamin came into this world during the Great Ice Storm of '98. All of Ottawa, let alone much of Eastern Ontario and Quebec was hit by a terrible ice storm, leaving some people with no power for days, even weeks. Donna was scheduled for either a c-section or an inducing - I cannot remember. Well, the hospital told her to stay away unless labour really started as we were in a state of emergency.

I could begin with how Benjamin became Donna's world.

I could begin with the day that Donna found out her two year old son had leukemia. The day her life shattered into a million pieces.

I could begin with the day I helped to organize the largest bone marrow registry day ever seen in Ontario. I could sadly begin with how we never found a match for Benjamin, but that we did find at least five other matches from the crowds of people we convinced to register.

I could begin with the day that I delivered the first of many care packages to the hospital from the soccer team for Donna and her son. And how my relationship with Donna changed that day. Donna was going through marital problems and needed a friend. Donna was watching her son suffer and needed a friend. Donna was lost and she needed a friend. I became a true friend. It changed my life.

I could begin with the day that I started spending time with Benjamin. Donna was not emotionally stable enough to care for her son 24 hours a day. In addition, her estranged husband was causing additional stresses and issues. Doctors ordered her to rest. She was even hospitalized. To make sure Benjamin was never alone, I went to the hospital a few hours every day.

I could begin with the day that I spent with Benjamin where we painted pictures, laughed, read books and cuddled. It was one of his last days here on earth. I will never forget that day. Benjamin was playful and attentive for the first time in a very long time. I must have read him five hundred books that day, including a lovely book entitled, " I will love you forever".

I could begin with the day I got the call that Benjamin had passed away.

I could begin with the sad day I stood in front of a crowd and eulogized the sweetest little three year old.

I could begin with the day after the funeral when I concluded I would never be strong enough to ever be a mother. I saw what Donna was going through and I knew I did not have the faith, strength or know-how to ever deal with loosing a child.

I could begin with the painful day that Donna informed me that seeing me, her friend, was too painful. That I reminded her of her loss. That she associated me with her died son, and it was too much for her.

I could begin with the day Donna finally returned one of my many calls. And we picked up our friendship, dusted it off and become true friends again.

I could begin with the day my first born son was rushed to the Children's hospital. We did not know if he would make it. He was admitted and we brought him up to the exact room that Benjamin had stayed in two years earlier. I could begin with me stopping at the door and tightening my grip on my husband's hand and telling him this was Ben's room. David explained to the nurses and they all agreed perhaps we should locate another room. I disagreed. I knew that Benjamin would look out for DJ. I knew at that moment my frail son had the best guardian angel possible.

I could begin with the day I stopped visiting Benjamin's grave. When my first son lived one day longer than Benjamin ever did, I could not enter the cemetery. It pained me so much to not be able to go by his grave site, in the past I found comfort in visiting with Ben. But I could not. It did not seem fair.

I could begin with how much of a struggle Donna has been through since her son died. I could begin with how proud I am of her. How much I know she hurts, and how much it must hurt to go on - but she does. It is never easy, and it never will be easy - but she does it. Oh, she has lows that no mother should ever experience, but I think her wounds are slowly healing. I hope that they are healing. I pray that they are healing.

I could begin with how much I miss little Benjamin. I could begin with how much I love Donna. I could begin with how much I worry about Donna.

I could begin with wishing my special angel boy Benjamin a very happy 10th birthday and thanking him for all the life lessons he taught me.

...but I cannot find the words to begin...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Scrolling Saturday - First Day of School Family Mantra

Here is my re-post for Scrolling Saturday! I originally posted it on Septmenber 4, 2007.

I chose this one since today I start my French course. I think I may be insane, I am about to start back to work in less than a month (crazy hours 4AM to 8AM) and I am taking a college level French course on weekends! Wish me luck, or more appropriately, "Souhaitez-moi la chance!"

First Day of School Family Mantra

The first day of school seems to include multiple rituals or traditions. These vary from family to family and from house to house. To our family, the first day of school meant new shoes, the traditional photo leaving the house, and the reciting of the first day of school mantra.

Our family mantra started over thirty-three years ago at a dinner party of sorts. I was about five or six years old. We were all seated at the dinner table as my parents were hosting a fellow school teacher who worked at my father's school. And here is how the now famous dinner table conversation proceeded:

Dinner Guest (young elementary school teacher): So, Laura how was your day?

Laura: Fine.

Dinner Guest: What did you learn in school today?

Laura: Nothing.

Dinner Guest: Oh, come on now Laura, you must have learned something. Think hard. Tell us at least one thing you learned today.

SILENCE....extended silence...pressure now on while all eyes on grade one Laura.

Laura (taking a deep breath) : Well, um, I guess I learned something...When we were in story circle Mark, with the long hair, burped and we all laughed. Mrs. Hunt told us it is not polite to burp in class. So, I learnded not to burp in class.

Then, when we were working on our math paper, Mark, with the long hair farted and we all laughed. Mrs. Hunt was not happy and told us it is not polite to fart in class. So, I learnded not to fart in school.

Then, during art class, Mark, with the long hair, broke his crayon and he yelled, "FU*$". Mrs. Hunt got really mad and told us that it is not polite to say "FU*$" in school. So, I guess today in school I learnded you should never burp, fart or say "FU*$" in school.

Can I be excused now?????

+++++++++++ Yep - this conversation has become a family legend. From that day forward, as we left for our first day of school my mother could be heard reminding my father, my brother and myself:


So, on Wednesday, when we attend DJ's intake interview with his Junior Kindergarten teacher, I plan to continue our first day of school family mantra and teach my school-going cutie the three key lessons of school - like any good mom should!

+++++++++++ Side bar: I wonder what ever happened to Mark, with the long hair...heck, I also wonder what ever happened to Mark, with the short hair!

----------------Click HERE if you want to participate in Scrolling Saturday

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Busy Lives!

Never mailed!

Never mailed!

Hope to mail!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crabs - the best birth control method

Amanda at Shamelessly Sassy wrote a post about a woman in labour going through drive through DEMANDING a Big Mac. I thought it was hilarious...then I remembered my own food craving during labour and how we scared the crap (or crab) out of a bunch of young servers!

On December 9, 2003 at exactly 7:16 in the morning my water broke. I calmly woke my husband, who had slept through the alarm. After much discussion, I convinced David to head off to work. I would call when things started. I would later find out how stressful that day was for David. Every phone call - to anyone in the entire company - made his heart rate rise and made him run to his phone. He was so worried and anxious and excited. I, on the other hand was calm. I played on the computer, sent emails to all my friends, watched TV, baked four batches of cookies, three tuna casseroles, and a lasagna. I also rearranged the baby's closet and dresser drawers. All by 10 in the morning. And nothing "started".

I consciously decided not to call David unless something did start. So, I continued with my day. David called at 11 (the first of nine calls through the day!)and asked how "we" were doing. I told him fine and that I was just starting to feel a bit of cramping. I told him our doctor gave me the OK to stay home and that he assured me that eventually something would happen!

The day went by and all I had was some cramping and aches and pains starting.

David got home from work - a bit earlier than normal - and by then I was feeling things a bit more - but nothing serious yet!

I spoke to my parents and inlaws to tell them a baby was on it's way - the conversation with my mom deserves it's own post - stay tuned!

David was about to dive into one of the many dishes I had made when I told him nope...our life is about to change, we may never see the inside of a restaurant again! So, reluctantly, he agreed we could go out to eat! I decided that I wanted Red Lobster.

So off we went to Red Lobster.

A nice young waitress greeted us and took our order. I was going all out! Yummy crab & lobster dip as an appetizer, Cesar salad, and the large broiled platter that came with crab legs, lobster tail, shrimps and more! Yummy!

The waitress brought out our appetizers. As she placed them down I nodded at David. He quickly glanced at his watch. I nodded again:he glanced at his watch. We chatted and talked about the little baby we would soon have. Mid-sentence I would nod and David would glance at the watch, and so it went.

When the waitress brought us our salads she looked a bit perturbed. And in a snarky teenager voice said,"If you are in a hurry you should have said so, I can get your meals right away."

We assured her we were not in a hurry. She made the ever-classic, teenage face for WHAT-EVVVVER! So, I asked her why she thought we were in a hurry. And she explained that we looked rushed and that we kept looking at our watch. Then she went on how it is not her fault if the kitchen is slow. I started to laugh. My husband explained that I was in labour and that he was timing my contractions. Her mouth dropped. "You are like having a baby?". Yep.

You should have seen her scamper away!

As I took a bit of my salad, David chuckled and motioned towards the bar behind me. I looked back. There, leaning around the corner was every member of the waitstaff and bar staff. You could just see the look of panic on our waitress' face as she pointed us out to everyone!

David and I thought this was pretty funny. And never to miss the opportunity to have some fun, I leaned over to David and assured him what I was about to do was not real.

I then dropped my fork. Clutched my tummy. Let out a gasp and a moan and scrunched up my face.

You should have seen the waitstaff scatter! It was classic.

Within seconds our meals arrived, the waitress avoiding eye contact! David and I enjoyed our last dinner as a couple, before becoming a family!

Jump ahead almost a year. Yet again my water broke early in the morning. Yet again nothing happened right away. So, keeping to tradition, that evening, my husband and I, with our 11 month old, headed to Red Lobster for dinner!

Jump ahead two years - yep, you guessed it! My water broke early in the morning. First thing out of my mouth to my hubby was, "It's time, time for Red Lobster!" Unfortunately, due to possible baby health concerns we had to rush to the hospital, instead of Red Lobster. But David promised me my traditional sea food meal. So, that evening, after the baby was born, he actually suggested he get take out for us to share in the hospital. Sadly, I was not up to it. But, to keep with tradition, when Madigan was only a week old, we all went out for Red Lobster!

I guess in retrospect, I can relate to the new mom-to-be in Amanda's post!

How about you? Did you have any cravings or interesting food demands in the throws of labour?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scrolling Saturday

A new feature here on the Fringe is Scrolling Saturday! A cool new meme I saw on Kathryn's blog called Seeking Sanity (great blog BTW! I totally connect with my new blog friend since she has a 4 year old, a two year old and a 11 month old! another fringe-walker and sanity seeker!)

The idea is to take an old post that you wrote when you first started blogging (and you were the only one reading your posts) and re-post it. I have only been blogging for a short time, but I thought I would give this a try!

This was my second-ever post called Cleaning for the Cleaning lady. I posted it on August 16, 2007. I thought it was appropriate since I should have been cleaning the house today, but did not!


I have to admit it - I am not a clean freak. And the sad thing is that I HAD the potential to become a clean freak growing up in my parents' house...but I rebelled.

After 2 or 3 years of being baffled how many of my "Mommy Friends" keep their houses so clean, I have discovered the truth...many have cleaning ladies! Not all of them --- but many do. How sweet is that - someone to pick up the toys, clean the bathrooms, wash the floors, the list could go on for pages. I sit here in the computer room that is in disarray...thinking of the unwashed dishes in the kitchen, and the unfolded laundry on my dresser, and in the playpen! Fantasizing of hiring someone to tidy and clean and organize my house.....awe........

But that wonderful image suddenly explodes into a million pieces of Lego, thousands of dinky cars, and heaps of clean/dirty laundry with a vivid for the cleaning lady!

Yep...while my mother kept a remarkably clean house (still does) she and my father opted for a cleaning lady once a week when I was in high school. I guess they must have given up on me ever inheriting my mom's clean-gene. And to give my mother and father a break on the tedious particulars of keeping a house tidy with two teenagers, they hired a cleaning lady. And every Thursday morning I would hear - "Laura Louise, clean for the cleaning lady - I do not want her to see how messy your room is".

WHAT?!?!?!?!? Clean for the CLEANING lady? How ridiculous is that?!?!?!?!

But we did it - and it was all worth it when we returned from school to find the house sparkly and clean.

After hearing the tales of 3 of my Mommy Friends and how much they appreciate their cleaning lady (and the fact that one is accepting new clients!) I started wondering if we could afford someone to come in and clean once a week.

Then, I remembered the rush to "clean for the cleaning lady" and totally related to my mother's desire to not let the cleaning lady see how messy my room was...there is no way I could hire someone to come clean my house...I would have to clean too much!

So, instead, as I type the last line of this post I yell out to my 2 and 3 year old...."guess what- the cleaning lady is coming - let's clean for the cleaning lady..." (If they can have imaginary friends...I can have an imaginary cleaning lady!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thanks for trying!

I have no real post for today, but a few things have been bugging me and I thought I would get them off my chest!

1) I know, I know - it is the thought that counts...and it is the gift of giving that is important...but, PLEEEEEEEEAZE! My kids and their Pepe (grandfather) spent time making wooden candle holders for each of the boys' teachers for Christmas gifts. They are quite lovely!Two of the three pre-school teachers sent home very lovely thank you cards. The third sent home a form letter. No kidding, nothing says sincere thank you more than a Dear ______________ with your kids name written on the line and a generic statement and then signature. I know I am being a bitch, but I was a bit ticked when I saw the effort, or lack of effort that went into the one teacher's thank you, um, computer printed form notes.

2) I go to Boot camp to work out, and not listen to one gal's issues and concerns for 1.5 hours. This one gal went on and on about her issues all class long at any opportunity she got. Then when she over heard me asking about the evening course she went on and on about how she cannot do that evening course as being a teacher is such a long day and she could not keep awake for the 545 PM class after being at school all day till 3PM. I smiled and agreed that would be a long day and then proceeded to get the information from the instructor. You see, on February 18 I go back to work. My work hours are 4 AM to 8 AM in the freaking morning...then I come home and look after my little ones and THEN, I am planning on going to evening Boot Camp. Wonder if that will be too long of a day????? I know, I know, I am being a bitch!

3) I HATE afternoons when Madigan takes a late nap...she just fell asleep and in less than 30 minutes, I will have to yank her from dreamland and bundle her up and then dress Anderson and then the three of us will march in the freezing rain/sleet and pick DJ up at the bus stop. It is only 5 houses down - but holy crow the effort to get us there on time.

Well, that is enough bitching!

It is Friday! Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?

The boys and I are going to go see the new Veggie Tales movie. I am hoping to get more de-cluttering done and also finish the wonderful book I am reading (Bryce Courtenay: Sylvia).

Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Left Isomerism with Polysplenia

Four years ago today my husband and I walked out of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) cradling our son and clutching the yellow discharged form.

The bright yellow form in our hands was our ticket home - to finally experience life as a new family. DJ was exactly one month old. We had all been through hell. The first month of his life was very traumatic and we were so very happy to be heading home.

The bright yellow form was confusing. It listed stuff like Left Isomerism with Polysplenia, Situs Ambiguous, Heterotaxy Disorder, and Ivermark Syndrome.

The bright yellow form made my stomach churn. I hated the words malrotation of the intestines, congenital heart defects, bypass of the duodenum, and Ladds procedure. That is what my 9 day old baby boy endured. Those terms meant pain, heartache, worry and more pain to us all. My stomach churned just thinking of the long nights and days and hours and minutes we had spent in the NICU not knowing if DJ would make it or not.

The bright yellow form also made me smile. I was finally taking my little boy home and he was no longer sick, in pain or dying.

The bright yellow form made me cheer. There on line 4 was the medical term "congenitally corrected". YES! To this day that expression makes me smile. It is music to my ears. It simply meant that while DJ's internal make up was strange, abnormal, the impacted organs (for the most part) had corrected themselves to function, differently from the normal Joe, but function!

Even though that bright yellow form contains lots of information and medical terms, it does not tell the entire story. DJ's remarkable story. And one day, I will recount to all of you his amazing story.

Today's post is not about the struggle, the surgery or the time in the hospital. It is not about the agony a mother feels when her child is in pain. It is about DJ. I know that his medical condition does not define him, or make him who he is, but his condition is a part of him. And sometimes, for all good reasons, we forget that he is different. When you look at him, it is hard to imagine how different and unique he really is!

At first the doctors thought DJ had a simple malrotation of the intestines. This occurs in 1/200 births. They did an upper GI test and confirmed that there was a blockage of his intestines. But when they opened him up, boy, was everyone surprised! Most of his internal organs are misplaced or not formed properly.

Over the last 4 years we have become very knowledgeable and even intimate with the terms Left Isomerism with Polysplenia, Situs Ambiguous, Heterotaxy Disorder, and Ivermark Syndrome. But here is how one of the many doctors working on DJ's case explained it to us:
His body tried to create two left sides. This syndrome primarily affects the asymmetric organs, including the heart, lungs and bronchi, liver, intestines, and spleen of the body. In DJ's case, his heart, lungs, intestines, appendix, gallbladder, portal vein, stomach, liver and spleen are all impacted.

We were told this syndrome occurs in an estimated 4 per 1 million live births. Approximately 80% of patients with polysplenia have congenital heart disease. Mortality can result from congenital heart disease, biliary atresia, intestinal malrotation, or sepsis.

In one large retrospective review from Canada, the 1-year mortality rate was 32% and the 15-year mortality rate was 49%. The incidence of polysplenia has not been studied extensively, but it appears to be rare, comprising less than 1% of congenital heart defects. In a 26-year retrospective study at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto Canada, only 91 cases were identified.

Looking at DJ now, you would never even guess something was wrong or different. We like to say that he is PERFECTLY IMPERFECT!

When DJ was 9 days old we rushed him to the hospital. We knew something was wrong. He was very ill. Surgery at nine days old found that his main tummy vein, the portal vein grew through his duodenum, therefore the doctors placed a shunt just above the opening of his stomach to create a bypass of the obstruction. Normally that part of the intestines is 25 inches long, DJ's is only about 4 inches long. During the surgery they also repaired a twist in his intestines. Since his gallbladder and appendix had switched sides, they removed his appendix. The main reason for this is that if he ever had an appendicitis, he would have complained of pain on the opposite side and it would probably not have been diagnosed as such, and he could die from complications - better to have it out right away!

Most people have a tri-lobed lung and a bi-lobed lung - both of DJ's lungs are bi-lobed. We are not sure if this will cause issues in the future. Since both DJ's lungs are "left-sided lungs" their intake capacity is not as much as having one tri-lobed lung. This may mean he is not an Olympic sprinter or marathon runner!

DJ's stomach and liver are what they call mid-line, this means that they are out of place and more in the center of the abdomen.

In terms of DJ's heart - well - WOW - is all you can say. DJ has 4 main heart defects:

1) Dextrocardia - Basically, his heart is on the opposite side and flipped backwards. This in of itself is not serious and is more common than one may think.

2) Narrowing of the pulmonary Valve - this causes a mummer since this main valve is blocked a bit.

3) Complete Interruption of the Inferior Vena Cava. The inferior vena cava (or IVC) is the large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart. In DJ this is completely blocked - not good! But in his body, (AMAZINGLY!) a small vein the size of a thread, in a normal body, has re-routed itself and has taken over this function!

4) Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries - this means that his left and right ventricles have switched position and are doing the opposite job than they normally should. DJ has not needed any heart surgeries because his has "corrected itself" and is functioning at good levels. The heart specialist explained it in terms of leg muscles: pretend that the quad muscle now has to do the work of his calf muscle and visa versa. Over time his quad muscle, a nice big muscle would get lazy since not much work is being demanded of it, and the poor, weaker calf muscle may get tired quicker since it has a more demanding job to do. I thought this was a brilliant explanation!

For those who are visual learners, click HERE to see a drawing of a normal (or as we call it) boring heart. Click HERE to see a diagram of DJ's amazing heart!

Every day we hope and pray he has no heart complications. Though we know that stats seem to indicate that DJ may need a pace maker at a young age. DJ is monitored at the hospital and has yearly heart tests.

The final component to DJ's syndrome is polysplenia. This means multiple spleens. Normally, there is one present: DJ has "six sizable spleen, and countless others'.

I had a very hard time understanding this, especially since the doctors indicated that based on a blood test, they believed he has some splenic function. One doctor said that they are not sure if one of the spleen is working or if they are all working together. So, in my head I envisioned all these little "kidney bean" shaped organs, all lined up together, jumping rope. (I know, strange!) So, I asked the doctor if his spleens are all together, trying to look and act like a regular spleen. Nope. They are all over his abdomen! CRAZY! Since we do not know how well DJ's spleens work, he must take antibiotics every day as an infection could be very serious for him.

Well, that is it in a nut shell! Very hard to imagine and to believe. Especially when you look at him now. He is a healthy, vibrant 4 year old.

I cannot believe that four years ago today, we walked out of the hospital with our little baby. Back then, we were not sure what we would face. We did not know if DJ would lead a normal, active life. Well, we have been blessed. And we thank the Lord and all the wonderful doctors every day! CHEO saved my baby's life.

I am proud of the following previous written posts - Mommy Moment (September 5, 2007) and That Means You are Special ( August 17, 2007).

Click HERE to read the newspaper article featuring DJ and our family.

DJ just days after surgery

DJ improving and showing his true personality - or jsut gas!

January 10, 2004 - going home!

DJ today - well, actually July 13 at his last heart check up!

I promise one day to write a bit about our hospital experieinces, as I have so many stories in my head that deserve to be shared and preserved.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Zoom Zoom Zoom
Sledding on January 4, 2008
Photo side-bar: I am now 8/8 on my photo challenge! Click on the photos on the right to see my daily photos!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A love-hate relationship

Dear Sarah,

I hate you. I hate your cute little smile, your engaging personality, your muscular little body, your exercise mats, your exercise balls, your stupid lunges, your ridiculous circuit, your dumb dumb bells, and even your your cute little laugh. Yep, it is safe to say, I hate everything about you and associated with you! I hate how I wake up four times before my alarm goes off to make sure I did not sleep in for boot camp. I hate how it takes as much energy to get out of bed as it does to run that damn long circuit run of yours! I hate how I cannot for the life of me balance on one of those stupid exercise balls. I hate how my abs quiver while trying to hold the plank position! I hate how slow your watch times out each station. I hate how my quads burn as I try to complete my squats. I hate how the hopping up the stairs on one foot terrifies me. I hate that you are so nice, friendly and encouraging. I hate it. I hate it all.

But what I hate more is how much I need you and your silly boot camp. I need it badly! And underneath all the hate is respect, and a bit of love. After all the hard work, I love how my achy body feels. I love how I feel stronger. I love having a bit more energy through the day. I love that my diet is slowly lining up with my new commitment to exercise and loosing weight and feeling better about myself and my body. I love that I am doing this for me. I love that if I keep working the pounds will come off, my self image will improve and I will feel better. I love that my children see their mother taking control of her situation and trying to live well. I love the possibility I may one day get into my pre-three-pregnancies pants!

Sarah, please do not take this personally. And please, keep doing what you are doing - your encouragement, support and crazy, ever-challenging circuits are awesome! You and your boot camp rock! But I still hate it all!

Thank you and see you Thursday morning, bright and early!


A sore, tired, boot camp participant!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


This morning while feeding Mags her cereal I was humming a little song. DJ was munching on his toast and he started to hum a song. It was so cute. Here is the conversation that followed:

- That is awesome humming DJ. Mommy could tell it was Frosty the Snow Man. Good job Buddy!

- Thanks Mommy. You heard it because you have ears.

- Yep. My ears love hearing you hum, sing, talk and I am always here to listen to you.

- Some people do not have ears.

- You are right. Some people do not have ears or they have ears that do not work very well.

- I am glad I have ears. And you to. And Anderson and Daddy, and Madigan. Some people have ears that got sick and now do not work and God made some people with no ears and some people cut off their ears. Right Mommy? And some people do not have any legs.

- You are right.

- Some people have accidents and hurt their legs and some people get scratches and sometimes God makes people with no legs. How do people with no legs run Mommy?

- Well, some people get artificial legs made for them to help them and some use a wheelchair and some use crutches.

- Oh. You know Mommy, maybe the doctors at the children's hospital can learn magic. Then they could use magic and medicine to help kids with no legs. Kids should have legs. I am happy I have legs. When I go to the see Dr. Van Stralen next week I will ask her if she knows magic.

****My heart almost burst! Would it not be wonderful if by waving a magic wand we could take away all the hurt - physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

I remember the feeling I had when we finally realized that DJ would be OK. It was December 31, 2003. We had a meeting with the doctors in the NICU. DJ's condition was now stable and he was going to be OK. We were not sure what the long term prognosis was going to be, but at that moment, the team of specialists working on DJ's case had most definitely waved a magic wand before us. That evening, we relaxed for the very first time. We even left the hospital and had a wonderful new year's eve meal at a local Thai restaurant. What a beautiful start to the new year!

We have kept up our annual tradition of Thai food on new year's eve. This year we shared a wonderful meal with our friends David and Dawn. And one of my prayers as we start this new year is that, if possible, they experience the magic of conceiving a child. And if they cannot, may the magic wand of acceptance and love wave over head and allow them to accept their situation and help their marriage continue to grow and flourish. I love them both and hope for the best for them.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Reaching the curb

There she sat, next to her brother, across from her mom and dad. Gobbling down her dinner. Spaghetti. Shovelling it in, hardly chewing. She had to finish fast. Real fast. Her title was on the line. If she strained her ears she could her the squeals of the other girls as they each took a turn to beat her record for double dutch fasties. One last bite. A chug of milk. Quick wipe of the face.

"May I please be excused?"
"Can I go to Jackie's house to play double dutch?"
"Yes, you may"
"Thanks Mom!"

And with that she bounded out the front door. She jumped all 3 steps off the porch and ran down the driveway and across the street to Jackie's house. But she did not make it across the street. Before she could reach the curb she felt a tug. Something grabbed her. The force turned her around in mid-air. Before she knew it, she was being pulled back towards her house. A mighty hand had her by the scuff of the neck. In order to keep up, her little legs had to pump and run in double time.

She knew she was in trouble. No words were being said. Her own words caught in her throat. She fought back the tears. There would be no defending her double dutch fasties record. Instead, there would be a scolding and a licking.

As they approached the porch she felt the massive hand unclasp her collar of her t-shirt. Terrified, she glanced over at her friends across the street. Play had stopped. All eyes were on her and her dad.

"Laura Louise! You know better than to run across the street! You could have been seriously hurt! You could have been hit by a car! Get inside!"

Petrified, she looked up at her father. The setting sun making his face appear shimmery and distorted.


And with that, she turned, just as her father's hand smacked her behind.

That little girl was me, many, many years ago. But I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the striped t-shirt I was wearing. The cotton shorts. I remember that one of the skipping ropes was pink and the other a lime green. I remember how anxious I was to get back to my friends after dinner. I remember how mad my father was at me running across the street without looking. I remember the licking I got.

To this day, I always look both ways before crossing the street. To this day, I (usually) insist on walking to an intersection to cross the street. To this day I remember the licking I got that evening. That form of punishment was effective...and still is, over 35 years later!

My parents were (and are) great parents. I have a very special bond with both of them and I love them very much. I credit them for raising me so well. Growing up, spanking was a component of our household discipline. It was a last resort, but it was in the arsenal. Fortunately, I rarely misbehaved which equated to very few disciplinary actions. But my brother sure saw his fair share.

Now that I am a parent, do I resort to corporal punishment? In a recent post, Kelly, over at Don Mills Diva (AWESOME BLOG BTW!) asked for my thoughts on spanking and discipline. WOW - what a complicated topic! But I will try my best to put into words my parenting theory on discipline - I am sure it will be complicated, chaotic and a bit wishy-washy. Sorry. Like most moms, I am usually flying by the seat of my pants in most situations.

The bottom line is that I am against spanking - fundamentally I believe that spanking does not teach the proper lesson. Ideally, I hope to intervene before discipline is required - avert and distract seems to be my model! But, I am human, I am emotional and I am a mom in a very crazy world.

In the past 4 years, I have tried my best to discipline in a meaningful, appropriate, civil manner. Sadly, there are a handful of times that for whatever reason I deviated from my ideology. And, there are even more times that I have contemplated deviating form plan.

For example, when DJ was 2 and Anderson 1 we flew to BC. In the Vancouver airport (a very large airport) DJ wondered off. He was gone for about two life-times, or 4 minutes - the longest four minutes of my life. When we found him hidden away in a privacy phone booth I did not know if I should hug him or hit him. He scared the crap out of me! I wanted to smack him - smack some sense into him - but then I realized he was 2 and that he really did not understand the seriousness of his wondering off. Plus, I should have been a better mother, I should have kept a better eye on him. For the record, I did not spank - but I did hug him very, very tight for two reasons!

As a mother, faced with disciplining a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and an almost 1 year old every day, my limits are tested. But before I decide how to discipline, I try to examine the situation. I do not think it is right to punish a child if you, the keeper of that child, caused the situation.

For example, last week, I knew the boys were tired and the girlie was cranky. It had been a long day. But, I insisted on taking them to the grocery store. Well, I do not need to go into detail - let's just say it is amazing that all 4 of us made it out alive and that Loblaws did not ban us for life from their premises! In all the commotion, I suddenly realized that I caused the situation and that the kids were hungry and tired and that misbehaving was their way of expressing their frustration with having to grocery shop. Instead of screaming, instead of enforcing timeouts, instead of spanking, I just walked out with all 3 kids in tow. What was I thinking trying to get a few last minute items? Their poor behaviour could have been averted if I had been smarter.

The bad boys chair. Yep - we have one. Poor Anderson sure has chalked up many hours in that chair. In our house, three warnings, and you go sit in the bad boys chair. Now that Madigan is getting older, we may have to change the name since she may have to spend time in the chair!

Time outs. I think they work. DJ gets time outs. Anderson gets time outs. Toys get time outs. Mommy and Daddy even get time outs. They are not long. And usually not timed. Instead we allow a few moments to calm down, think, and regroup. It usually works.

Hand squeezing. When the boys were small, and now with Madigan, we sometimes revert to hand squeezing. A child goes to touch the fireplace, we squeeze their hand and firmly say, "NO, HOT." They usually get the idea after a few squeezes. Though you should ask my father about stopping me, as a 15 month old, from turning off the TV!

Consequences. Every parenting book or course offers a bit on setting natural consequences. This is a good strategy and we use it in our household quite often. Last week I kept telling DJ to play nicer with his super hero. I warned him he could break it. And that is exactly what happened. I did not get mad or discipine him for playing rough or for not listening to me - just let him experieince the consequences of his actions.

Avert and distract or remove. This is a very popular form of "discipline" used in the Storrie household. Two kids want the same toy, offer a different one. One kid is being destructive, remove him/her from the situation and offer a different activity. The remove aspect can involve removing a toy or removing a person. You should have seen my mom's face when I followed through with my threat to leave Nana's house if the boys misbehaved.

That brings me to an important discipline theory I try to use: always follow through with your threat. I never make a threat I cannot or will not keep. As mentioned above, I threatened to leave Nana's house if the boys misbehaved, and that is what we did. After driving the 50 minutes to get there, our visit was cut short when two little boys would not nap. We came home early. It aggravates me to no end when parents make idle threats. My husband is guilty as charged...he threatens to spank!!!

I am not sure if any of this post makes sense. Nor, do I even know if my discipline theory is ideal. But, for the most part, it works for us. Yes, I have spanked my two eldest boys - but I can count exactly how many times and I know exactly why I reverted to corporal punishment - DJ reached for the stove burner (March 2005), and Anderson bit me (December 2006), and he also put his baby sister in danger once (April 2007), both boys got a spanking when they ran out into traffic at playgroup (February 2007).

In our house, each child seems to react to different forms of discipline. Anderson needs the bad boys chair to calm down. For DJ, it usually only takes a certain look or tone of voice and he understands he crossed the line.

But whatever the situation, in my opinion, both react very well to hugs, encouragement, and praise. So, before bad behaviour can even take place, I try to use those weapons of love to keep them on track. Reinforce positive behaviour to avoid having to discipline bad behaviour.

This parenting gig is tough. Right now, most issues revolve around toys, bed time, being nice and sharing. In time the issues will probably get larger, more complicated and more serious, it may be school, or sex, or even drugs. I can only hope I am doing the right thing now...and I hope that however I discipline, it allows my children to grow into healthy, well-behaved, confident, secure individuals. Individuals who ultimately choose being good over being bad.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I have never really been one for new year's resolutions, but I think I need to make a short, realistic list to help me be GREAT in EIGHT!

Firstly, I want to be the best mom I can be...I am not really sure what that all entails, but I am up for the challenge.
- I promise to take care of myself, so that I can take care of my wonderful family.
- I resolve to never skimp on hugs and kisses - but at the same time, be a bit more strict and set better limits for my kiddies.
- I resolve to make quality time for each child, a special mommy-and-me time to smother each of my darlings with the love and attention they deserve - but at the same time, allow each of my children the space to explore, grow and learn on their own.

Secondly, I want to loose weight, get control of my food intake and work out more. I want to find that body I had before I had 3 kids in 38 months!
- I promise to cut my portions, but at the same time, allow myself a treat every now and again.
- I resolve to get more active, but at the same time, get more sleep - even if it means missing a late night soccer game! (I go back to work in a few weeks and waking up at 3:10 AM is going to be tough!)
- I promise to write down everything I eat during the day, but at the same time, I will not beat myself up if I slip and eat inappropriate items OCCASIONALLY!

Thirdly, I want to continue to scrapbook and blog. These are wonderful releases for me and I love doing them!
- I hope to take a photo every day to document and preserve my wonderful memories, but at the same time, I promise to be less camera shy so that my kids have some photos of their mom!
- I hope to blog daily fun, loony happenings on the fringe, but at the same time, I hope to explore deeper my own self and my own feelings, beliefs and desires.
- I resolve to learn my new digital scrapbooking software, but at the same time, I promise to keep my traditional books up to date.

And while doing all this, and keeping up with daily life, I promise to never take for granted my wonderful life - I am so lucky to have such a wonderful life filled with such wonderful people!

Two-thousand and eight, will indeed, be great!

What are your resolutions?