Letters To My Dead Mother: my 11th birthday

Pad of Paper & PenOctober 10th, 1984

Mommy,

Today I turned eleven years old. It was so weird not celebrating with you. That smile you get when we open presents that you picked out to really surprise us. The big house parties. The games. We just went to the local restaurant that we used to go a lot with the aunts, uncles, grandparents and a few cousins. Grandma made my favorite-carrot cake. It was so hard to pretend for everyone that I was happy. Who cares about a birthday anymore? I did get some money and clothes.

When will we ever see each other again? I hope soon. I wish you could tell me stuff. Well I guess I should turn off the flashlight (I am trying to not disturb Katie). No one knows that I write these to you. I hide them in a box of my baby clothes.

Hope you got a piece of my birthday cake.

D

Holiday Shopping Sanity Saver: #AvionVIP

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After spending years working in retail during the busy holiday season, I may have discovered the perfect sanity saver for shoppers. RBC has opened it’s RBC Avion Holiday Boutique in Coquitlam Centre from November 22-Decemebr 31! I have been invited to experience what they have to offer and to share with you why it pays to be an Avioner! Stay tuned to this space for my family’s visit at their Boutique.

 

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

 

 

Letters To My Dead Mother: the day

August 15th, 1984

Dear Mommy,

When we were watching the Facts Of Life Daddy showed up at Grandma and Grandpa’s. He was supposed to be at work. He sat us on the couch and said you died and went to heaven. Katie asked what that meant and he said that you died like our dog Fosh did. He gave us a choice to stay there or come home. We both wanted to go home. When we got there everything looked the same. The bag of chips you like was half opened. Your chair in the living room had your black sweater lying on it. The one you used when you got cold. On your dresser in the bedroom was your half empty Channel #5 perfume bottle. Katie said you were still coming home cause everything was the same. The house was so quiet. We unpacked and went to bed. Katie kept crying. I could not sleep. Something felt very different. I hope you are not in pain and are happy. I miss you so much.

I love you.

Me

Letters To My Dead Mother 1984

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Dear Mommy,

I am having a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa. The plane ride was very neat. We went on a train ride, saw horses and a lot of extended family members.

I hope you are feeling better and not sick anymore. One more week till I am home.

I love you and miss you.

Love,

Me

August 1, 1984

Dear Mommy,

We got home today from the trip and you weren’t there. Dad says you are in the hospital again because you are sick. I can’t wait to show you all the neat stuff I got and I took a lot of pictures. Grandma says we can visit you soon but you might be home soon. I can’t wait to see you.

Love,

Me

Thank You #SIWC14!

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October 29th, 2014

Dear #SIWC,

Wow! It has been just days after #siwc14 ended. It was my first time attending the whole weekend. Last year I toe-dipped attending for the Sunday.  My WIP that I began last year at Nanaowrimo was collecting dust in my drawer. After a health scare this year, I knew I have to get my pen moving despite my grammar ineptitude.

The moment I stepped into the main lobby to register I could feel the electricity in the air.  Through the sea of smiles, I walked into the main room and was immediately struck by how everyone at every table was open and inclusive. Strangers became new keyboard comrades.  I had arrived with the workshops I wanted to take on a list, until I opened the program. There were so many awesome workshops under one roof. It was hard to narrow my list down.

The days went fast. The Pitch and Blue Pencil sessions were invaluable. I got a nibble and amazing advice from one of my favorite authors during my allotted times. I have taken writing classes that are once a week before the weekend. I found the ‘boot camp” style of the conference a great way to anchor my head to stay in the writing moment.SIWC2

There is so much that I took away from the amazing weekend.

My takeaway:

1. There are no stupid questions unless they aren’t asked. I was confident to ask many questions this weekend and was met with honest answers.

2. Cut and Paste your editing throwaways into a document. You never know what gems might be there for future projects.

Hallie Ephron said in her closing keynote, “ What might be crap today might be tomorrow’s compost.”

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3. Dress comfy!!

4. Schedule writing time. You can’t edit a blank page.

5. Read. Read. Read.

6. Edit. Revise. Edit somewhere.

7. The most important lesson: adverbs are lazy.  To –ly no more!

Thank you so much for putting on the conference year after year. I am already counting the days until next year.

Danielle (a forever grammar novice.)

 

 

 

How To Write Around Kids

Office Assistant When the kids were home for an extended summer vacation, I realized I would have to make adjustments to my workday.  Realistically, I knew it was going to be a strange balance. I accepted that things will not go as planned. I did learn a few things along the way.

Generally I schedule social media and blog posts ahead of time, when I know I need to wear my mom hat.  When they are at home, I get zilch done. I don’t have the resources for childcare, so I do what I can, even if it sacrifices the household income.

I have been a writer before I realized I became one. My fingers get itchy when I haven’t had the chance to pen a page or edit a blog post. As my family has experienced firsthand, my crankiness peaks on the days when I haven’t put pen to paper or stroked a keyboard and life isn’t smooth sailing in our house.

I posed the question on my Social Media accounts if I was the only feeling the purse squeeze or creative pinch during the strike of our public school system. Resoundingly, so many said they were in the same boat. A few moms had their kids in day camps. I had done that a little bit through the summer, but it is expensive.

So, how do you write around kids?

1. Steal moments. Yes, that even includes giving them screen time. We have a schedule on weekdays to help keep up with school skills. I have given bonus precious screen time when I had a pressing deadline.

2. Outside PE Time! Backyards and Parks are great for the kids to burn off steam. Grab a notebook and pen to strategize, outline an upcoming article or jot down random notes. Being in the fresh air can stir creative juices to help you when you can be at the computer.

3. Better to write a crappy page than edit a blank one. I wrote a lot of crap this summer.

Life is too short. They are back in school now. I do kind of miss the slower mornings, almost. I will miss them as I ponder over my current deadline while enjoying a cup of HOT coffee in one sitting.

 

How do you write around kids?

 

 

5 Reasons why having a Hysterectomy was a Good Thing

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Early this summer I had to go in for urgent surgery, a hysterectomy. Here is why it was the best thing for me.

Family History

For once, my family history made me a priority when my periods became erratic. I have suffered from endometriosis since I was a teen. It slowed down during my two pregnancies. Last Christmas it picked up speed painfully. It got to the point I wasn’t able to leave the house or be a present mom.

What They Found

After waiting for the best OBGYN in town for months, she sent me for test. Thankfully, I got in quickly. At that time, several fibroid tumors and one polyp was found in my uterus. Surgery was scheduled 5 weeks from the original testing date. There was no time to waste. A partial hysterectomy was scheduled quickly. (Uterus and tubes removed, ovaries were clear.)  My body took a turn for the worst fast.

Baby Factory Closed

Due to the endometriosis, I never expected to be pregnant once, let alone twice. Three doctors told me I could not conceive naturally. After meeting my girls and seeing my youngest go through her challenges with autism, my baby factory is closed. I am at peace with that. If I ever feel a baby urge, I can visit one of my friends’ newborns.

NO.MORE.PERIODS

No more late-night grocery store trips when I run out of pads. No more impossible-to-handle cramps when my girls need me. No more forgetting to stock my purse every week in case I am out when ‘Aunt Flo’ arrived.

I am here!

Because of my high-cancer risk due to a genetic disorder I have for ovarian and endometrial cancer, having the surgery reduced my risk dramatically. I am older than my mom lived. History has not repeated itself. I won’t let it. Apparently my body agrees.

I turn 40 on October 10th this year. I cannot think of a better birthday gift than being alive for my family and me.

How to Nurture a Love for Reading

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

  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.

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!