Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

I owe special thank yous to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday. I had a wonderful birthday weekend with family and friends. Turning 40 was rough but 41 was pretty good. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Three of the many things I am grateful for this week include:
  • Music. Music has a powerful link to our souls. It can express what we're feeling, even when words fail us.
  • The chance to try something new. On Saturday we went to the Cannington Dog Sled Races and Winter Festival, where we got to go for a ride in a dog sled. I've wanted to try it since I read Jack London's "The Call of the Wild" when I was a kid and now I can check it off my bucket list.

  • Swim to Survive. Swim to Survive is a lifesaving program that Ontario Grade Three students take part in. Swim to Survive teaches just the essentials needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water - an important first step to being safe around water. After three classroom lessons, Jonas's class is in the pool today practicing these skills today. Between the lakes, rivers and streams we hike and canoe on, and our commuinty pool, this program is a real boon to my peace of mind.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Me at about age 1

40 years later and I'm still a work in progress!
(See how I can make myself feel younger? Do your math homework, kiddos!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Three Things

It's been a week of ouchies and colds in our house. Nothing life-altering. We've missed school, work and Scouts, and everything else is a little off-track too. As a result, I'm celebrating Thankful Thursday this week, instead of Thankful Tuesday. It seems especially appropriate to think about such things today, the day before my birthday. 41 years on this planet and so many blessings to be grateful for.

This week, three of the things I've been most grateful for:
  • That I'm over the hill and not under it. Lupus started to put up a bit a fight a couple of years ago and there have been moments when I wasn't sure where that battle was heading. Whenever I start to feel like I did when the last Lupus flare-up happened, even because of something like a cold or flu, my worry gland goes into hyperdrive. It doesn't take long before those primal instincts start kicking in and I get determined to NEVER let that upper hand go without putting up a hell of a fight of my own.
  • Video games. I don't enjoy video games personally, but they are one of the things Steve and Jonas bond over. They both especially enjoy strategy games. They're current favourite is a game called "Portal 2". It's billed as "a hilariously mind-bending adventure that challenges you to use wits over weaponry in a funhouse of diabolical science... Break the laws of spatial physics in ways you never thought possible, with a wider variety of portal puzzles and an expansive story that spans a single player and co-operative game mode." Like a lot of parents, we worry about the impact of too much screen time and have strict limits in place but, I have to admit that I love watching to them play together. While the video game scenario plays out on the screen, the father-son dynamic is in full gear and it brings me joy to be a witness to it.
  • Homemade birthday cake for breakfast. It isn't good for my physical health but it sure does wonders for my emotional health. Tomorrow is my 41st birthday and also a school PA day, so  Jonas and I are going to spend the day together. When I got to the office this morning, the girls had gone all out. The office was decorated, everyone signed a card, one of the guys bought lunch and my boss made a homemade birthday cake. Rainbow chip with chocolate AND vanilla icing AND strawberries. Yumm!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Highlights of Our Morning

Breakfast - peanut butter, honey and banana on whole wheat
- made by the 8 year old

Entertainment during breakfast

Prepping for a cold weather night hike with the Beaver Scouts tonight.
We were sure to pack our thermoses for hot chocolate!

School lunch and office dinner prep for Jo -
mini hotdogs and hamburgers!
Signing the agenda - with two smiley faces in a row!
Had to de-ice the locks and doors on the truck so Jo could get to school and I could get to work
One Angry Bird winter hat was forgotten at home in the garage after taking out the garbage.
Good thing there's a spare in his school backpack.
It's a chilly one today!
Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

The last few days have been status quo for our family. Just our typical, every day life ups and downs.  Kind of like a rollercoaster in the kid's section of the amusement park - it gets your heart rate up and can take your breath away sometimes, but it's not too far up, not too far down, and the bends in the track aren't sharp enough to throw the coaster off the track. Some (not me) might call it boring.

While we've been going through the motions of every day life, close friends of ours recieved devestating, life-altering news a few days ago. The kind that stops the coaster in it's tracks. Boring, it turns out, is a blessing.

This week, 3 of the many things I am grateful for include:
  • Our health. I've been counting my blessings just about every minute. Jonas, Tasha, Steven and I are healthy and so is our immediately family. We're blessed to not be dealing with any life-threatening illness or injuries. Yup, there is some stuff going on with some of us but all of it is manageable right now. For that, I am grateful.
  • My circle of friends. It's pretty incredible to see the circle strengthen to support our friends and their family. It's a helpless feeling to realize that we can't do anything to alter the course of these events. What we can do is support them through it and that's exatly what we're going to do. I'm proud and reassured to be part of that, even though I wish I had a magic wand to fix it all.
  • My husband. I don't want to imagine life without him. The stuff that drives me crazy about him pales in comparison to all the things I love about him.

Hug your loved ones today.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Accidents Happen!

I spent the weekend with a group of fellow Scout Leaders taking CPR and first aid training. It's something that everyone should do. You just never know when you're going to need to help someone. Taking a course like this will give you the skill and confidence to be able to help. You're not going to pull a Radar and do a tracheotomy but you will learn how to perform CPR, use and Automated External Defibulator and how treat illness and injury until you get professional help.

You just never know when something is going to go wrong. It's just a matter of time before you'll be faced with the ramifications of heart disease, diabetes, allergies and accidents. These are just four of the things you will probably be called upon to deal with at some point in your life. It might be your mom falling down the stairs, your son choking on a piece of food, you're grandparent having a stroke, your best friend slicing her hand instead of the chicken, a motor vehicle accident, one of your Scouts spraining an ankle.... (Yup, I've dealt with all of these.) If you're a parent or in a position of care for kids or the elderly, you're especially likely to be called upon to help. The life you save might be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a stranger, and even maybe even your own.

I took my first First Aid and CPR course in Grade 9. I hate to admit it but that was 25 years ago. Since then I've taken about 10 first aid courses and used almost every skill I've ever been taught, except CPR. A standard CPR and First Aid course is 16 hours long. That's only one weekend. I promise you that it is time well spent. Call your local Red Cross, St John's Ambulance or ask your employer or volunteer organization to ask how you can get started today!


Friday, January 13, 2012

The Upside of a Mom's Migraine

Jonas making breakfast at 3 years old.
Teach 'em young!

A fascinating thing happened in our house this week. I had a killer migraine for a couple of days and wasn't able to do much of anything. It hit in the wee hours on Wednesday morning, my first morning of the week with Jonas. I barely made it to the living room. Jonas came downstairs ready to start his day, only to find me laying on the the couch with all the lights off, a pillow over my head and big bucket beside me. I couldn't even hold down gravol so getting him ready for school was too tall an order.

He put his blankie on me, tucked Teddy under my arm, and headed straight into the kitchen. He made his lunch, packed it into his backpack along with his completed homework, and then got his breakfast ready. He did a pretty good job too. His lunch had all the food groups, a bottle of Boost and a bag of cheesies. His breakfast was a bowl of cereal (with some berries. He made sure we had signed his agenda even took his pill all by himself. (Proof of that was the smilely face he got at school that day.) He didn't turn the kitchen into a complete disaster zone either.

He got himself cleaned, dressed and ready to go without any prompting from me except for time alerts along the way to keep him on-track. Getting him from the house to the school was a challenge I didn't think I was going to make it but we both survived. He even got there before the bell rang. Phew!

Yesterday was a wash, rinse and repeat day. Once again, he did an awesome job. They were two of the most stress-free mornings we've ever had. I think our mornings might just be taking a new shape.

Not bad. See! There's always an upside!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: Three Things

Three of the people in my life that I am grateful for this week are:
  • My Sister, Tara
  • My Sister-in-Law, Anne
  • My best friend, Nikki
When I was a little girl, I used to lay awake some nights and pray to God that he would send a me a sister. The universe works in mysterious ways and always gives us what we need. These three women are proof of that. They have been at my side through the best times and also the worst. We don't see each other nearly often enough and that's something I long to change. Spending time with them always lifts my spirit. They are the embodiment of caring, strength and wisdom. They also help me keep my perspective and sense of humor along this bumpy ride. They are trusted confidants, valued allies and inspiring role models. I will be forever grateful to call them my friends.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Little Rocks

Jonas and I had the opportunity to go curling this weekend with our Area Cub Scouts. Neither of us has ever done it before, except on video games, and it was something that we were both looking forward to trying. So, we got up early Saturday morning, bundled up and headed out.
I didn't set foot on the ice but I learned a few things nonetheless. Number One - not all Canadians associate the word "helmet" with a hockey helmet. Number Two - curling is full of movements which are not natural, even for Canadians, including.... Number Three - walking on ice is a lot easier if you've got teflon tape on one of your feet. Number Four - falling on the ice isn't as much fun for kids when they're not doing it to delay going to school. And Number Five - there is a reason why my Scotish ancestors associated curling with alcohol consumption, though I learned this anecdotally because Scout Leaders are not permitted to drink when we're on duty.
In the spirit of the day, Jonas and his fellow Cub Scouts had a great time. Called the "Little Rocks" program, the coaches taught the kids the basics of the game. Jonas learned how to throw a stone. (To my mind, "slide" would be a better term but I was raised a hockey player.) He learned to sweep the ice. (They don't use brooms anymore, by the way, but it still did a mom's heart good.) He was quite proud of getting a couple of his rocks down the sheet of ice and onto one of the rings, called "The House". He did pretty well, if I do say so myself.
His biggest disappointment of the day was that they didn't get to play a real game to validate his belief that he was pretty good at this new endeavor. He enjoyed himself and left the rink with a longing to try it again. I think that's something we'll indulge.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Beautiful Moment

Jonas woke me up this morning by crawling into bed beside me and whispering "Mom please come and watch the beautiful sunrise with me." It wasn't the way I planned to start the day and, despite the early hour, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It was early dawn. The sky was starting fill with light but the sun hadn't yet broken the horizon. We kneeled on his bed, elbows on the window sil, chins on our hands and our eyes eagerly looking eastward. Neither of us said a word. We just watched. What an incredible moment. The innocent wonder of an eight year old who wants to share such a simple treasure is amazing. That he wanted to share it with me, an honour. Cheers!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Life and Death

It's been a week of dealing with life and death in our house. After a wonderful weekend away celebrating the new year with family, we came home to a very sick cat. This morning Ivan joined Snoopy, Rainbow and Jessie in pet heaven. It's been especially painful for Jonas. There have been lots of tears and hugs, and lots of talk about life and death.

The older Jonas gets the tougher these big life events become. Making Ivan as comfortable as possible, and letting him live his last days surrounded by the love of his family, prolonged the inevitable by a couple of days, giving us the opportunity to come to terms with it. It also resulted in many discussions about death and, just as importantly, about life. Despite the difficulty of the topic, these have been wonderful converstations between the three of us. They've given Steve and I a glimpse into the inner workings of that beautiful, ever-evolving mind and, hopefully, reaffirmed for Jonas that he can talk to us about anything and not have to keep his feelings bottled up inside.

There's always an upside, right?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: One of My Favourite Things

One of my very favourite things is the relationship that Jonas and Steve have. Even though I don't always understand some of the boy stuff, I love watching them together. Their relationship has blossomed with all the time they've spent together this year and that makes me smile.

Experimenting with electronics together
Campfire making together
Hiking together

Hoping for a good outcome in a board game together

Enjoying each other's company

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thankful Tuesday: Two of My Favourite Things

One of my favourite things about 2011 is how much Jonas has grown. He's matured so much this year. He's becoming more complex, which can be a mixed blessing sometimes, but mostly it's just pretty cool to see how much he's grown. He's playing outside with his friends without supervision, he can go to the store down the street on his own, he's helping more around the house and he's even had his first crush. It's more than just things like that though. He's thinking deeper thoughts, doing more complicated things, he looks older and he even carrys himself differently.

One of my other favorite things about 2011 is that, no matter how much he's grown, he's still got the heart of a little boy. He's dealing with some pretty weighty issues but he's still the optimistic, happy little guy he's always been. He loves nothing more than to share his things and his experiences, is quick to smile and laugh and is sensitive to other people's feelings.

And one more thing - I LOVE that Teddy is still his BFF!