Mixed Anniversary: 30 Years Since She Died #YMCCommunity

motherlessmomentsheader.jpgIt may have been 30 years ago, but I can still smell her hospital room. August 15th, 1984, the day my life turned. I was just 10 years old. As I have written about before, being motherless can suck. My kids only know their grandmother through the few pictures and stories that I have about her. Breast cancer took her from us when she was 38 years old. To say I am bitter is putting it mildly. I still have moments when I can’t understand why she died.

I started writing about my pain when my kids were young because I was terrified that I would have the same fate as her, and go too young. My blog header is the last happy picture of us before she got sick for the last time. When I turned 39, it was the hardest birthday of my life. Then, I kept living. I took the gift of today and kept being in the moment. There is a mighty chance that I will get to hug my grandchildren.

Many things will cross my mind today, about her and what happened last summer. It was on this day, August 15th, 2013, that the doctor told me that my blood test was clear. After my hysterectomy last June, it was tortuous waiting to see if I would need chemo or more surgery. I didn’t. I have no doubt that my mom had something to do with that.

With that renewal, I dove into being 40 with a vengeance. As I wrote about that on this space, I stopped wishing and started doing. I couldn’t change my fate, but I can change my future and enjoy my family now.

I will still always and forever be the little girl longing for her mother to get out of her hospital bed. When my girls turn 10, it will be a strange place for me. In my heart and soul, I hope I will treat my kids kindly and not lord over them that they are lucky to have me. Because, I am the lucky one. I was lucky to have mom for as long as I did. One day, hopefully in the far future, we will meet again.

I love you, Mom.

A Mother Is..

Me and Mom Header 2

A mother is unconditional in her love

I learned that with my mother.

A mother is patient

I learned that from my mother

 

A mother is sharing anything she has

I learned that from my mother

A mother is always there to listen

I learned that from my mother

 

A mother is there when I shed a tear

I learned that when my mother was gone.

A mother is in my daughters

I gave that to my mother.

I would give every penny I ever had since you died almost 30 years ago so I could have 5 more minutes with you. I hope you are enjoying your grandchildren wherever you are.

Love you and miss you every hour.

Death to The Summer Bucket List

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Since summer started early for us due to the teachers strike, It has thrown us off our routine. I did plan a few summer camps, and my youngest will still have her therapy throughout the summer.

Our Summer Bucket list filled up fast with a lot of stuff.

  1. Use the free bowling coupons through kidsbowlfree.com.
  2. Plan more camps for my oldest. She thrives on social atmospheres.
  3. Read lots of books.  Stock the shelves of books for all of us to feast on all summer.
  4. Sign up for the Library Reading program. Check in weekly to fill up the passport of all the books we read.
  5. Play dates. Connect with friends from school and who live farther away. Clean house and plan a fun filled day with an awesome menu to serve.
  6. Go to Museums. Just because school is out doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop!
  7. Get workbook from Costco and assign homework Monday to Friday for same reason as #6.
  8. Go on family getaways. Visit family and friends from far away.
  9. Balance work with quality time with the kids. They are only young once.
  10. Sign up kids for swimming lessons. It is a life skill after all.

1/10 isn’t bad! The oldest loves her swimming teacher. Viola! I am killing the summer bucket list right now! It is too stressful. Because I am not working as much, there is little disposable money to throw around for trips, camps and theme parks. This is hubby’s busy work time, so I solo parent frequently.

Honestly, the kids are young only once. It is possible to plan too much. We all love waking up without alarms, spending time in our pjs and go wherever the sunbeams take us.

Did you fill a wish list of what to do this summer? How is it going?

 

 

5 things they do not tell you in Prenatal Classes #YMCCommunity

 

IMG_0152I am looking through my girls’ photo books. With every picture I recall snippets of the day each were taken. I see my babies in the various stages of development. I remember the longing for them to grow up so I could understand their needs. The long, long nights of walking with them to lull them to sleep seems ages ago. I read books while I was pregnant to learn what to do. My husband and I attended prenatal classes for our first. All the talks calmed our nerves and filled our brains on what to do. But it really did nothing to prepare us for parenthood. All it did was tell us what contractions were and what to pack for the hospital. It provided nothing about what to do when you bring your baby home. These are 5 things I feel they do not tell you in prenatal classes:

  1. Spoil yourself with downtime while pregnant. Go on a baby moon with your partner: go to the spa, go to the movies on a weekday and most importantly take time for you. It will change drastically when baby comes and you will barely have time to shower.
  2. One thing you may hear is ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’ It is the truth! It is harder when you have more kids. When it is just you and babe-sleep! Forget the housework.
  3. They do not cover in prenatal what happens when breastfeeding does not happen. They go on and on about it, but never give you the materials and resources for when your milk does not come in. Get yourself informed with all options so you know what to do.
  4. When your family asks what can they do? Tell them! Help in meals, housecleaning and watching the baby so you can nap or shower in peace. It will keep you sane.
  5. Enjoy every moment. They grow so fast. Each stage is one to cherish.

I do love now that my girls are no longer babies. I never had the urge to have kids until I met my daughters. Now they are 5&7 years old and keep me wanting to see what they will do next. Enjoy!

Road Tripping with Kids with Special Needs: A Local Giveaway

IMG_0665Travelling for a day, or a weekend, can bring challenges for any family. Top it with the sensory challenges my youngest has and it makes to be an anxious time.  Recently we were guests of Dintotown FUNLAND for a media tour.  It was the perfect place for BOTH kids. Here are the 5 things that made our family adventure a success:

Bag of Tricks

Most parents of young children learn how important a bag of tricks is after you leave the house. I knew for this trip it would be very crucial for all of us to enjoy our day. I hid my daughter’s iPad and avoided letting her eat her favourite junk foods a week before the trip. For the trip, I loaded up a bag of new toys and art supplies, along with the hidden junk food.

Social Story

Recently, I have learned how to continue my daughter’s PECS success and create social stories for upcoming experiences. I included pictures with the story, and her with her favourite toys in the car (because that is how we were traveling). When we packed up the car to go, I made sure she had the same toy in the bag that was featured in the picture of the social story.

Travel Early

One thing that made our adventure smoother was that Dinotown had just opened, so there wasn’t any line-ups for the attractions, bouncy castles, or the washrooms.  Being there when it opens can make it for a smooth and fun day.

Tell Staff Ahead

If in doubt, don’t be afraid to mention your kids’ challenges upon arriving. They can answer any questions or concerns you may have. We found Dinotown a very inclusive place for family fun.

Exit Plan

Any parents of a child with special needs are always planning ahead with an exit strategy. Look ahead for challenges and have alternate plans in place. Make sure you each know who will take your child out of the situation if needed. There are many calming places for your kid, and family, to regroup.

Have fun! Bring sunscreen and everything else you may need for a fun-filled day.

Thanks to our friends at Dinotown, we are giving away a family pass for 4 to Dintotown FUNLAND!  Tell me a favourite summer memory for your chance to win. To find out more about our day, check out my article at VancouverMom.ca. Contest is open until July 20th, 2014 at 5:00pm PST. Winner will be chosen by random.org. — CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED— Winner has been notified.

A Movie Meant for Couples #BedroomSpice

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.46.23 AMMy husband and I are celebrating 22 years of marriage this November. Before kids, we had full on access to rule the house in any way we wanted to, including sleeping in the nude. This tweet was on The Social TV show, which the current topic was, “Do you sleep in the nude?”

Social TV tweet

After kids came there were many twilight and midnight interruptions. I gave up and began wearing pjs. By the time the kids were finally in bed, we as a couple were done. What was once a chance to have more ‘quality time’, it dissolved into movie night… if we didn’t fall asleep first.

We still are madly in love. We have our grumpy days.  Foreplay is now about doing the dishes (HIM), doing the laundry (ME) and alternating the weekend mornings of whose turn it is to sleep-in. Making a sex tape was far off the radar. You know, I had babies and things aren’t what they used to be. You get the picture.

Let’s just say a certain friend and her husband were trying to reconnect again as a couple. They planned an extravagant night, which included wine, candles and naughty things.  Their kids are amazing sleepers, so it was presumed that all will be good to go.

Mom tucks in her darlings as the husband sets the living room up for a night of delight. Mom slips into something naughty, floats into the living room and is already in the mood. Music is playing so she decides to start a strip show for her husband.

He is very ‘happy.’ As they dance in their seductive haze they hear a cough behind them. They whirl around to find their toddler standing there in barf.

Flannel and Lysol are the new aromas of the bedroom.

When I learned that Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal have teamed up in the movie Sex Tape, I instantly know it would be a hit. I DO NOT know how to save to the ‘cloud’ or erase either.  It is funny because it is true. Just like marriage with your best friend can be. Enjoy the trailer: http://bit.ly/STJuly18.

You can also find a link to the trailer on the Sex Tape (the movie) Facebook page.

Thanks to Sony Pictures, I am giving away a double pass to see the preview on July 16th 7:00PM at Silvercity Metropolis Cinemas in Burnaby, BC.

SONY Pictures is giving away a Sex Tape gift basket containing: Sex Dice, Girl’s Booty Shorts and Guy’s Boxers, as well as mini posters (approximate value is $30) to one of my readers.

That is two prizes up for grabs! To enter leave a comment about what spices up your life. Please enter by July 14th, 5:00pm PST so the winner can get their pass. The two winners will be decided by random.org.

Please note: although you may enter across many blogs, you may only win on a single blog.  Entrants must be a resident of Canada, however those in Quebec are unable to enter the giveaway.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sony Pictures Blogger Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

How to Nurture a Love for Reading

boy reading book at the library

 

Need to figure out how to nurture a love of reading for your kids? There are many ways to do that, especially through summer:

  1. Doesn’t matter what they read, comics, novels, and magazines. All that matters is they are reading.
  2. Have your kids help write the shopping lists. By practicing writing it helps to promote reading.
  3. Take turns reading during family time, just one page per person. Ask the older kids to read to the younger kids.
  4. Play games that are reading related like: Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Minecraft.
  5. Leave lots of reading materials around the house. Joke books count too!
  6. Show by example by reading around the kids.
  7. Enroll in the library summer reading programs. Kids are motivated when there are prizes involved.  Ask at our local library for the adult summer reading programs too.
  8. Limit Screen time during the summer break, but utilize book apps. There are many wonderful apps that can encourage even the reluctant reader.
  9. Find local bookstores to support. Second hand stores might offer a trade-in opportunity for you to reduce and save money by being able to get more books to enjoy.

10. Have fun! School may be out, but a love of reading is for a lifetime.

Hope this list helps. Summer is a time to slow down and enjoy the moment. Reading isn’t something assigned in school. Reading is an addiction that can’t be taught. And it’s surely one that I don’t want to be cured from.

Summer Reads for All Ages

Canada Doodles Cover

Summer is a time to step back from the crazy schedules and unwind. It is also a great time to share a love of reading with your kids. I made a short list of books that should be on your wish list this season.

 Canada Doodles

By Megan Radford. Drawings by Peter Cook.

Perfect for Canada Day, this handy little book is filled with many Canadian art delights. This book is filled with many hours of activities: the personalized nameplate, the many Canadian facts, the loonie/toonie and hockey references. My personal favourite is the Anne of Green Gables reference when talking about PEI. It is also perfect for road trips to avoid the, ‘Mom, I’m bored.”

Thanks to Raincoast Books, you can download sheets for you and your kids to doodle.Pg 84 Pg 180. Enjoy!

Connect with the author on Twitter: @meganradford. Buy the book here.

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle

This is a book for every home and school library. It is aimed for kids ages 9-12. Having said that, every parent could benefit from this novel. It is about Nate Foster wanting to star in a Broadway show. He currently lives in Jankburg, Pennsylvania where no one (except his best friend, Libby) appreciates a show tune. With her help they hatch an overnight escape to New York so he can audition for ET: The Musical.

Follow along to find out if Nate sings his way to his dreams and into a place where he is accepted.

Push Girl

By Chelsie Hill & Jessica Love

This emotional tale is inspired by Sundance Channel’s Original Series, Push Girls, which is based on Chelsie Hill’s real life. It may open the eyes of any reader who has never met someone who lives with paralysis. It is honest and feisty.

Kara is a high school junior who is popular, has a steady boyfriend and a large group of friends. She goes to a party where she spies a girl draped all over her boyfriend. Kara leaves angry. The next minute she is waking up in a hospital and can’t feel her legs.

Kara begins to adjust to her new reality. Life truly can change in an instant.

The Girl Who Never Was

By Skylar Dorset

Selkie’s family doesn’t celebrate birthdays. They don’t even talk about them. She wants to have a celebration like no one has ever seen. However, her life has been nothing but a lie; an elaborate tale meant to cover up that Selkie is a half-faiere princess. After being left on her father’s doorstep by her mother, she was raised by aunts who never told her that her mother wants her dead.

What she uncovers as she searches for her mother.  Will it be okay or will she wish she hadn’t started to search for her?

It is witty and suspenseful. Put it and those mentioned above in your shopping basket the next time you are at your favourite bookstore.