Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living in the 'now.'

I have this 'friend' that sneaks in from time to time. It doesn't come invited. In fact, I groan when the visit transpires.

Being relatively healthy my entire life, when this vertigo thing hit about 9 months ago out of the blue, it caught me completely off guard. It shut me down to the point of not driving, not visiting, struggling to work many days. It's not steady. It comes and goes as it pleases. It's a lifeform all on it's own it seems.

At the time when it hit, I was going through a somewhat stressful time in my life. Heavy with reno deadlines, work related issues, plus. I don't know that this issue is even related to stress to this day. But being hit with this so suddenly stunned me into action.

So I did all the moves and tests necessary because something was wrong. But do you know how frustrating it is when you have an issue that no one can find the cause to? Crazy. However I got on with life as best as I could. And one promise I made to myself was, when this fog finally moved upward, I was going to make some big changes in my life. Obviously something was not working as is before, so I made some goals.

And then one day it lifted. Little by little, my head cleared. I was estatic! And started implementing new changes.

I kicked open the door to my adult spirituality and started going to church. I started self teaching myself a few things on the net about blogging and design. I started a new physiotherapist for a new kind of treatment. I've started down a passionate road leading to a 'work' I will adore. I started volunteering. I started some evening spiritual classes. There simply was no stopping me this time!

And then BAM, the big V strikes again. Not cool.

Looking back, I was very busy before this hit. When I chilled and slowed down, things got better. Now that I'm at full speed again, although in new exciting directions, it hits again I have a funny feeling that my body is saying, "Too much. Again, too much."

Perhaps I'm 'lucky.' My body actually speaks to me and tells me when enough is enough. Now... will I learn to listen?

Ok ok. So what to give up I don't know yet. But for today, it's time to chill and be in the moment that Emily speaks of. The moment of now. Just stop all this preplanning and enjoy the NOW. I'm going to stop my spinning world single handedly and be still for today. Even if my head isn't cooperating. Yet.

Thanks Dr. Emily. This is something the docs did not prescribe, but something I will try regardless.

If you are curious about the NOW topic I refer to, visit Chatting at the Sky's Tuesdays Unwrapped where I am sharing this post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are YOU mature enough for a crosswalk?

I happen to have proof my 10 yr old is still young.

Here's a pic from our camping adventures from this summer. He's playing with plastic apes! (wait... I play with them to so what does that make me? Nevermind, that theory may not wash after all.)

Today's dilemma is, my son wanted to walk to school all on his own. We live in a very small town, so it's not that it's a terrible thing to do. It's just that there's an extremely busy road he must CROSS on the way to school that had my stomache aching.

Yes, there is a crosswalk guard manning the road. But you know.. if a mom's eyes are not on their child, it's like throwing him into the deep end of a pool! (yeah, I have issues when I watch him swim too)

Anyway, this fine AM Cody insisted he wanted to walk ALL BY HIMSELF. whimper...

"I'll just make sure you cross ok, then you can go, alright?"

"No mom!"

"Ok, I'll just..."

"NO MOM! I'm grown up now!"


So I prepped him well about waiting for the traffic to STOP before proceeding across the road, regardless of when the crosswalk sign was behing held up. Make sure you have eye contact, wave and make sure they wave back, blah blah blah. I got alot of eye rolling and the like, but I had to have my say by golly!

I know abit too much. I volunteer at that crosswalk and not ALL traffic stops right when you want it to. Being a crosswalk guard is an artform. You wait for a lull in traffic, THEN you risk life and limb and throw yourself out there with your teeny weeny little stop sign and flashy glow in the dark vest, two features that do NOT stop traffic alone. You don't rely on your gear. You rely on your wit and good judgement calls. And pray on occasion too.

I'm happy to report, I convinced him to let me go to the end of our road so I could at least see for myself that there was a guard there. Sometimes they aren't, it happens. When I saw the crosswalk was well taken care of, Cody IMMEDIATELY set me on my way back home.

I do know he'll be ok. There's lots of kid activity on that sidewalk. And I also know the crosswalk guard can see the kids pretty much until they walk into the school yard. So, I really DO know he'll be ok.

But just for today, I feel very immature. I think my 10 yr old has finally surpassed my own age, as I may never grow up after all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

10 yr old wisdom

So, it's bedtime and I'm laying beside my son while we chat about his first day of Sunday School in quite some time. We started talking about prayer and what it can do for us. Amid the converstation came,

Son - "I can't sleep."

Me - "Maybe you should pray to ask God to help you feel tired."

Son - "Nooooo."

Me - "Well yadda yadda yadda this is why sis boom bah flin flan and everything but the kitchen sink."  (meaning, I was giving a pretty good speal)


Suddenly, my son says,
"Dear God, please make my mom stop talking so I can go to sleep."

I have to admit, that did work. LOL!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Positive parenting

Here's my grade 5er on the first day of school holding Teddy Bear.

Back to school is here! We've had a great summer with relaxed schedules and simply taking some downtime to enjoy our surroundings. Temporarily stopping the game Beat The Clock has it's merits!

But we're now back to wearing a watch, making sure the cell phone is charged and there's plenty of gas in the truck. It's time for high productivity again, with work, school and play.

And something else needs tweaking I've found. With a tight new schedule, comes alot of demands on our time in regards to keeping things moving forward in the right direction.

"I don't want to go ! I'm tired! I can't find it!" x whatever else you'd like to conjure up.

And my response is generally, "Don't don't don't don't..." in order to keep things moving. Battlefield!

We were at a BBQ yesterday and right away I saw something going wrong. "Don't keep bumping me, I'm holding hot coffee in that hand." When we approached the food line, it was, "Don't squish me, I need more room. Stand over there as you can load up your plate just fine and yadda yadda sis boom bah blah blah blah!" Went through deaf ears. That's when a dark cloud starts to angrily dance above my head clouding up my sun shiny good mood.

And that's when the gal in the food line serving up grub simply said, "Here, hold your plate like this and load up here." End of story. Done. No more needed. And he complied. (crickets chirping and the sunshine came out)

Ok, truth be told, when it comes from elsewhere, they're more obedient. But the point is, I forgot about those 'positive' directives.

When my son was growing up, I read book after book on positive discipline. It seemed like the kinder way and made sense. And it did work! But somewhere along the way, I just forgot. Summer relaxed our senses and need for speed and order. So basically put, I was rusty.

Now armed with my new and improved way of dealing with 10 yr old fumbles, I tried it this AM. Rather than no's, I put into practice my yes's, simple directions to keep on task, and stepped away from all ensuing and pending arguments.

The result? Much quieter and our stuff got done on time.

Don't get me wrong. There's much retraining to conquer. Testing to be incorporated (from both sides). But we will find our way once again.

It just helped to be reminded from one on the outside looking in. Thanks, lady at the banquet table!

Won't you join me? Let's parent with a loving heart, filled with positives. And watch them grow from it. Because they truly do deserve our personal best.
Sometimes it helps to simply be reminded. Doesn't it?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't let the snore bugs bite!

My son and I have just come home from 2 weeks of camping at a local campsite. It was a nice escape for a short while. But let me tell you, I'm so happy to be in my own bed again!

Our trailer is a 17 footer variety. Which translates to, there isn't a whole lotta room for much in there except for what you've just gone in to do.

There is one bigger bed and one table bed. I generally take the larger one as it has a real mattress for my bad back (thanks previous owner Dan!) and Cody takes the table version. No problem really, we two fit in there perfectly.

And then Grandma came for a visit. She's an avid camper of the past, so I felt she'd be thrilled beyond belief to tap into the wonderfully rustic world of camping for a night. So I bit my bottom lip wondering how the sleeping arrangements (tight) would be, but went for it.

We settled in. And much to Cody's delight, he got to sleep in the REAL bed for a night! Finally! Honestly, it was like he won the Disney lottery. So, it was a little 'cozy', but we made out, well, ok. I'm use to sleeping in a king sized bed by myself at home, so for one night, I figured I could manage with a wiggly 10 yr old while Grandma took the table top bed and the dog got the floor.

And honestly, it was ok! Until the show started.

I woke myself up from my own snoring. It happens and I'm honest about it. Ok, no big deal, go back to sleep, self. But that didn't happen.

For some reason, Cody kept kicking his metal blind on the window. CLINK. Repeatedly. Not just every so often. CLINK. You could nearly time the hits by counting. CLINK. What is this?!? I was about to jab him just abit, when Grandma started the chainsaw action.

Ah. I remember now. Growing up, Mom and Dad would nap in two separate rooms on a sleepy Sunday afternoon in order not to wake each other up. For GOOD reason.

Ok, so one one side I have the blind kicker with the odd elbow jab in my face. And he mumbles on occasion too. And on the left is the chainsaw party.

And that's when Cody woke up, and things got abit more interesting.

"Mom, Grandma's snoring!"

Me droning... "Yes, dear."

"Mom, I can't sleep!" CLINK (kicks the blinds)

I'm groggy beyond belief. And it's pitch black so short answers are all my fuzzy brain can decifer at this rate.

"Shhhh!" whew... major effort!


"MOM! I can't sleep!" CLINK CLINK

"She'll stop soon. Quit kicking the blinds and go to sleep!"

snoooorrreeee plus special effects

"Mom, did you hear THAT?!?" (and repeats what she just did)

"um huh."

"MOM! What's that SMELL?"

No, please, no. The dog was passing GAS.

I start giggling. Cody didn't see the humor.

"Mom, it stinks! Mom, I'm going to wake her!"

"No no no, they'll stop soon." (snort!)


snoooorrrreeeee smellllllllll

Ok ok, truce! I woke Grandma and asked her to turn on her side. And all was well. Dunno about the dog. We all fell asleep again. But we survived.

Night two approaches. Question of the day was, shall we all enjoy each other for another evening in the trailer or should we go home for the night? We happened to be camping 10 min from our house, so it was a no brainer as far as Cody was concerned.

"Mom, I want to sleep at HOME! REMEMBER! Jenna(dog) goes tttthhhppp, you CCCCKKKK (snore sounds), Grandma CCCCCCKKKKKK PLUS (snore sounds with massively impressive special effects), and I mmmblmmmble ( mumble sounds)."

"Yeah, ok. We'll go home."

And so we did, and had a GREAT night.

Would I do this all again? Absolutely! Next year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's hot.

I don't even have enough umph to put hot in uppercase. It's too hot.

Our region at time plays with heat in a non meaningful way. We reach the odd high temps in summer to the point of thinking, hey, this is neat! I don't need long sleeves in the PM!

However we're in the depths of a heatwave and the temps only promise to climb to 39 Celsius for early next week.

We aren't accustomed to this grade of heat, so I can feel morale and energy shut down wherever I go. All talk around you has the word hot in it.

Yesterday at a workplace I frequent, we were using pressurized bottles filled with water to spray into a big fan offering you a brief rain effect. That workplace decided they were going to start an hour earlier today to beat the afternoon temps beating down into the bays. I was working high up on a ladder. As if it wasn't hot enough down below.

I'd have to believe, what's saving the neighbourhood this summer is Cody's pool. We put up a 4 foot high x 15 foot wide above ground, and until yesterday, had a real chilly bite to it. The water simply wouldn't warm up. Yesterday it finally did. And that's when we all decided it should have stayed cold. Are we ever happy?!?

The pool has been a Godsend. I dunk in the pool, then switch on the fan in the house and start cooking. Dunk again, and do the dishes. It is what it is. Survival mode has kicked in! Not many other projects are getting done around the homestead. It's about getting home from work and running into the pool before you can even THINK about anything else.

I suppose this is why the good folks in those big box stores carry air conditioners. Who knew? I've owned a house variety before and because it was only used about twice a year, I didn't bother in this current house.

I'm still not quite sold on getting one because I'd probably need 2 or 3 in the open floor plan we've got happening in this place. And then we'd just stay inside on a nice day. No doubt the tv and/or computer would be blaring away, wasting that amazing day outside. Nah. This heatwave can't last THAT much longer. (can it?)

Sleep is proving to be an issue though. I do have plan B in effect if need be. Our cute little travel trailer is sitting in the driveway that has air. We will no doubt be using that by the weekend for a good nights sleep. Goofy beds, here we come!

Well, onto another hot day. I only have one wish for today. Please Tim Horton's, do NOT allow those ice cap machines to quit working as they at times do when overused. Not today. I need you.

If you have some tips on how to beat the heat, feel free to share. Really.

Time to go to work and sweat. See you soon, my little ice cap!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A neighbouring community

Before I lived in this home, I was on a dream piece of property. 5 acres, heritage styled newer home, wrap around veranda, and just one big honkin' glorious yard. I tinkered and toyed with house and yard until I got it JUST the way I adored it. And then I moved.

Today, I'm in a tightly knit neighbouring community. By that I mean, the houses are side by side, you have 1-2 spaces in your driveway to park, and then there's your typical boxed in backyard. I happened to luck out as my backyard faces a gorgeous mountain view with a city owned park behind it, so I feel very blessed for that, coming from where I did.

However, tightly knit neighbourhood means a little more than just how close the houses are situated. For when I chose my home, I chose a neighbourhood community. And I had no idea at the time what a spectacular area I was about to live in.

I'm a sole parent, so it's my 10 yr old son and I workin' on our lives. And while I love that aspect so very much, at times you simply need advice or a helping hand from another adult. Most of you may name that other adult spouse.

My neighbours are pretty special. They loan out their spouses to me when I'm in need. Just 2 nights ago Rudy finally busted down 2 wasp nests I had delayed doing out of sheer fear. Apparently he does them all the time with his line of work, so it was nothing to just go out there in broad daylight, spritz the nests and done. Just. like. that. wow.... Oh, I also borrowed Rudy to show me how to use my circular saw safely too. Oh and then he held up the ladder against the house so I could safely climb up onto my roof. I could go on and on.

And Jake, well, Jake is simply too handy to have right next door here. From tinkering on my troubled at times truck, to helping me lug heavy stuff around, and always smiling while he does it, just amazing.

The gals in the neighbourhood help as well. From simply someone to talk to, all the way to Corinne bringing me over a surprise coffee or Janette handing me over something luscious she just whipped up in the kitchen, it's a pleasure to have my girl neighbours close by. Francis and I love to shoot the breeze about most anything, Elizabeth will attempt to tag a walk with me on occasion. As you can see, I'm well surrounded with great folk.

And it doesn't stop there. The kids in the neighbourhood are always brightening up Cody's and my day. Just today, Lucas helped guide my travel trailer hitch onto the back of my truck. Zach loves coming over to see what's cookin' or what Cody's up to, and gives me the greatest advice on what I should do with this or that. (I LOVE to ask Zach stuff because he's just good at it!) Georgian helps me with my gardening while we nitter natter girl style, Kenny likes to rough and tough it out with all the things Cody likes to do, and Ross is that little background enhancement that rounds things off perfectly.

Aside from my road full of good folks, the small town I live in keeps us in pretty constant contact with others nearby. Vic is always bringing me berries from his garden, helping me with all things reno, and he planted my garden this summer! Dan is always offering some kind of building advice and is a good outlet for creative talks. Gord helps me with my truck and trailer needs, and his wife Rosie and I chat it up about all things decorating as well as her sharing her vast stock of plants. Amazing.

Lately with our recent heatwaves, some of these neighbours have been by up to several times a day jumping in our backyard kiddie pool. It's a decent size to cool off in even for an adult.

Can I just say how totally grateful I feel for having something to give back to them? Not that I have to, but that I CAN. Gate's always open, cover's always off, whether we're here or not, it's free reign to the pool.

I'm just feeling particularly blessed today to be right where we are. I was hesitating hitching up the trailer that I had parked on the road to back into my driveway. But when I spotted the street sweeper closing in on our road, I had to go for it. I had power washed my driveway leaving stuff worthy of sweeping on the road. The sweeper does a much better job than I ever would. So I ran out there, fiddled awhile on my own until I spotted Lucas. And he made all the difference in the world. My confidence is once again now intact.

Just another reminder that the good people around here are making our lives much brighter. Thanks all! You have no idea how much we both appreciate you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Home again, home again... reality sets in."

My bub is home! He's tanned, happy and loaded with cool stories from his most recent overnight camp for 5 days.

Cody spent his time at Stillwood, a christian camp located in Columbia Valley, BC Canada. This picture shows the elevation! The views are amazing, the mountains close, creating the most scenic and serene setting for a great adventure.

This is the 'pool with a view.' WOW... off to the right is where I took that elevation picture.

This is the GYM. From a designer's perspective, what a gorgeous building! And no doubt a great hideaway for activities when it rains like it does in our climate.

There were tons of cabins riddled here and there and an amazing massive main hall that resembled a log cabin in the woods.

Aside from the gorgeous buildings and top notch features the camp holds, this is what truly warms up my heart. The buddy aspect you build when you spend time with good new folks for a week. This is Ace, Cody's cabin councillor that hung with his group the entire time.

So as we two unwind from all the excitement, reality sets in. Cody wore ONE pair of shorts the entire time. Morning and night. The last day they dipped in the lake and he threw in his sopping wet towel into his suitcase to come home. And this is what resulted from that. Bear in mind, these were CLEAN clothes.


And I couldn't possibly leave out the fact that we're now back on track to mom confiscating stolen chips for breakfast. Double sigh...

What the heck. Welcome home Cody! To the life we both know and love so well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


What a different summer this is transpiring out to be. This will be the first year Cody's ventured off to overnight camps. A growing experience for both of us. And two in one summer!

This round is different. The camp is nearby and for only 5 nights this time. I got to drop him off and walk the grounds. We even got to go to his cabin where he chose his bunk. I was kicking myself that I forgot my camera!

When we first arrived on site, I was impressed at how organized everything was. Young adults were everywhere you looked, identified in camp t-shirts. The energy was positive and energetic. I was so impressed that they even flag you to the exact location of where you are to park. When we went into Cody's cabin, the cabin counsellors were so awesome, making the boys feel included and loved. Right then I got that typical sting in my eyes and throat, praying I wouldn't cry so I quickly turned around to chill. But the emotion is so overwhelming when I see other guys in particular being a buddy to my son. He really deserves it.

Cody has been looking forward to this camp as well, so I left him there feeling ok with things. Not quite like the last time when he flew so far away. I could be with him in 30 minutes here. The comfort of knowing that has me more at peace.

So, another quiet week here at the homestead. It's weird changing gears like that. But I'll dive into my work and projects around the house, knowing he's again among a good group and will discover new things that can only enhance his life.

Incidentally, Cody was sent home early from the Tim Horton's camp due to getting ill. Obtaining a fever and scratchy throat, he was placed in quarantine until healthy enough to be escorted home. I was so concerned he'd be sad, but as it turns out, he still had an incredibly positive experience. And the good news is he's on a waiting list to return! Oh no... that 9 day mom-from-son withdrawal again! But he wants to go so if they call, he'll be on a plane once again. This organization has been top notch in every respect, right down to sending a private escort to get him back home. And inside his backpack, I found a homemade get well card made by his friends in his cabin. Very touching and a nice memento. I still shake my head at their generosity. Please make sure you buy a coffee when they have Camp Day at Tim Horton's. It really does make a difference. ALL the coffee proceeds go towards the camp that day only. It's an amazing donation made by the stores.

Because of the return experience, I'm so very grateful he gets this new experience. Funny how things always work out.

I'll be thinking of all you moms with bustling households this week. And may even envy a bit of that commotion from time to time. But I'll try real hard to make it this round. :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

He's in camp at last!

Is this the sign of a happy camper or what!

Today I can finally share Part 3 of Cody's camping adventure! He's on his way today to the Tim Horton's Children's camp in Alberta, BC Canada for the time of his life!

Cody packing and saying good-byes on the phone

I kicked off Friday to pack for him while he had his last day of school. 10 socks, 10 underwear, 10 t-shirts... on and on it went. And everything had to be labeled with first AND last name.. whew! It was quite a list to follow but understandable. Our weather is totally unpredictable this time of year, especially where he's going. He had swim shorts all the way to a winter coat with mitts!

We ventured out very early the next am, woke up at 5, had to leave the house by 6. I was to bring him to a Tim Horton's nearby where the bus would transport the kids to the airport.

My heart lurched for a moment when I saw the bus on the lot waiting. Already?!?!? But I got a good 1/2 hour to warm up to what was to come and had a great chance to chat with the councillors. These gals were flown in from Alberta to accompany the kids to the camp so they'd be from start to finish with the same adults. Wow.

And naturally I had to sneak in a (7am yawn) mom picture. LOL

Cody was sooo eager to board the bus right away but we waited outside until it was time. I'm so proud of his eagerness! Last year he just wasn't ready for such an event and this year he couldn't leave the house soon enough! What a difference a year can make at this age.

Yup, with taunting like that, I most certainly didn't have to worry about him pining too too much I'd say. :)
After I got home, I started to clean the house of all our trails from the days of packing and sorting. Then decided it was time for a nice (what turned into a 2 hour) nap. Travelling days are tough in these parts ya know. LOL
And then, I finally got the automated message 10 hours later. The kids had arrived safely and were in their cabins enjoying a pizza dinner. That's when I cried. He had been so eager to see his cabin and just be there for so long and he was finally doing it. And PIZZA? Hello... the ultimate?
Oh. And then the announcer proceeded to remind parents that the kids would be white water rafting, doing archery, horseback riding... only all the things he's been dying to get involved with. That qualified a couple more tears of happiness for him.
The boy is truly in a Canadian Disneyland. I'm ecstatic for him!
Parents can email their kids too! If you email them, they get to read the messages after breakfast each day. How cool is that?!? He packed some writing materials to write back as they have an hour of quiet time a day, but if he chooses not to, that is cool, I just want him to have fun with no obligations!
It'll take me a bit to morph into the land of me me me, but as I start projects around the house with no interruptions, I have a feeling my continued renos will come along quite nicely. I have no excuses now!
If you missed previous installments to this story.. they are:
Part One
Part Two
For now, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get busy around this place. I can't wait to hear the stories he brings home upon his return. You can bet there will be a final Part 4 to this one!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little boy no more

It all started this AM with Cody and I biking to school. He bolts out onto the road in typical rambunctious 10 yr old fashion with an oncoming car heading in his path.

"CODY!" I yell.

He swerves to the side and says, "Moooom, you don't have to say that!"

Well, yeah, I thought I kinda had to...

We get to school. I note he put on a nice black t-shirt, but the problem is, it's full of CAT hair. Nice. He's always picking up those darned cats after putting on black. It's illegal and cannot be done I say.

"You have cat hair all over your shirt! You can't go in like that!" as I proceed to lick my hand so I can swipe off the cat nest festering all over him.


Shoot. I shouldn't have licked my hand. Dead gross-mom giveaway. Thinking fast, I head for the water fountain on the school ground. I soak my hand, SHOW him I'm wiping MOST of it off (he detests wet on him) and proceed to swipe swipe swipe in true motherhood fashion. I know, what a pain in the butt I can be. He fussed some and kept turning on me but I nabbed most of it. Whew. I can breathe now.

School bell rings. Time to go in! I go to give him that little snuggle of a hug and kiss combo and as I'm doing the forward lean thing, he eyes me weird. Oh, right. Gotta be cool here.

"No more kisses and hugs for you huh?" He looks at me in that little eeny weeny corner of his sparkly eye and gives me a small smirk. He wants it. BAD. I go in for the dive and for fun, glue myself on him as we waddle to the door of the school while we both laugh.

Ah crap. I have to let go. He's been chained to my hip for 10 years. I have some habits to break.

Cody's off to camp this weekend for 9 whoppin' days taking a flight outa town no less. Guess that'll be a GREAT start to me letting go, huh? I'll update on my state of mind as the weekend nears. Right now I feel excitement for him! Let's see what Saturday brings, shall we?

Sigh... 10 going on 20. When did this happen?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Conversation with my 10 yr old - variation #25465

So, we had a nice bbq out on the lawn tonite. Lovely summer evening! I get up and saunter around the flowerbeds and approach the little character building with the old windows and barnwood. Suddenly Cody pipes up on conversation. Desperation like.

"Mom, when Kenny and I had the slingshot, I was aiming at that window but I did it by accident."

"Did what by accident?"

"It was by accident."


I look at the old window on the building and sigh. He finked on himself because he saw me walk towards the damage. That cool little window had the perfect hole with hairline cracks straying from it. This old window was a gift from a friend and I loved everything about just the way it was. Now it has mischevious little boy character it seems.

"You aimed for the window and hit it on PURPOSE didn't you?"



"Mom, I'm eating my carrots."

Why oh why did I laugh out loud? Darn it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

When life hands you lemons... what do YOU do with them?

Some of you know that I keep a small travel trailer at a local lake resort year around. It's been a wonderful and affordable getaway for many years for us as we can dash up the moment the sun shines on nice weekends and be camping.

This year is going to be different. I've been having vertigo issues since December and I'm still actively trying to figure out the whys of it all and attempting to stay safe and cope and work and all that.

So, the decision to pull the trailer home this year and save some funds was recently made. And let me tell you, the decision was worse than 20 root canals all in one day for me!

Think of ONE thing you adore. And it's gone the next day for a whole year. That is what I feel like.

I've done alot of moping and mourning, but things finally clicked in place the moment someone asked me, "Can you guarantee Cody's safety driving up there?" I couldn't answer which gave me my answer. I knew what I had to do.

So, a different mindset has to take place here. I have to LET THAT PLACE GO. For months my mind was flip flopping.. what if I got better? What if I suddenly had more income to support it? What if what if what if? I was driving myself mental. Until I made the decision and decided to make the decision work.

A friend helped me set up our fancy dancy bbq in our backyard recently, so tonite, on this beautiful sunny weekend of being at home, we're going to recreate our beloved campsite. Grill up a couple small steaks, and then go for a walk afterwards. We're fortunate to have an incredible mountain view behind us so we don't stare at other buildings. We walk out back along the creek and among the large willows. It's tranquil and beautiful. Why did we keep dashing from this again?!?

I'll be bringing my propane fire pit home soon from the campsite so I'm going to create a little windbreak area so we can sit and enjoy our evening s'mores right at home.

We have a river at the end of our road that we can take lawn chairs to. I like to sit on a rocky bed and watch Cody and the dog romp and build dams and such. The sounds are absolutely tranquil and provides a neat change of scenery.

I KNOW I can make this work. But I have to change my way of thinking. I look outside at the sunshine and my desire for camping kicks in. My beach walks, my campground, my friends, my fancy coffee, my icecream cone... BUT, that is no more, so I have some rethinking to do.

My scenario is no different than any life adjustment. We tend to look backwards and think what if I miss I wish I wonder I dread I loathe. I'm here to tell you, you're going to drive yourself insane with that mindset. It's done. It's gone. It's time to make a fresh batch of lemonade!

AND, the best part is, you add the amount of sugar you desire to make it perfect. Which means, do all those things that enhance you and your family's lives and you'll end up in a better place than ever before.

I have alot of newness ahead of me. And although it hurts and I still go back to some pining now and then, I'm also looking forward to the new experiences we'll have being at home this year. Rather than dashing away from our beloved nest, I'm going to stay home and enhance it even further. It's already beautiful from the new renovations. What's to run away from this year? Nothing! The fun part of setting up is just beginning! Now I have the time.

Here's hoping your weekend's lemonade turns out with just the right amount of ice and flavour. You can do it if I can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

When life throws you a curve ball... you learn a new way to catch.

The economy stories I've been avoiding for so long are finally catching up in my quaint little area of the world. I thought if I'd just avoid the news and not allow the hype to get to me, the entire fiasco would simply be a myth. Apparently not so.

I see many changes constantly. One of my all time favorite bloggers is moving due to her rental foreclosure. A friend's work has slowed down. I hear of layoffs daily. It's a scary world out there.

And then trouble began to knock on my own front door. I didn't want to answer it for the longest time, keeping busy, avoiding the inevitable. But there comes a time when you are forced to listen to reason or you pay the price.

Indeed some changes are before me. I'm struggling with a slower economy, which creates a slower work pace, which greatly effects lifestyle choices.

For years I have parked my trailer at a favorite campsite during the summer months. It provided a great getaway when my son was out of school. The boy literally grew up on the beach. It was an affordable way to vacation.

The campsite has recently revamped to be all full season, which means to park there 12 months out of the year. But it comes with a price. Basically, a bigger one at that.

I managed to pay my dues last year, diligently saving up monthly ahead of time, so I could pay cash for my leisure for the rest of the year. And yes, it was fabulous taking off on weekends to run and escape reality for a short while.

Things are different this year. I didn't diligently save. I was busy spending on renos and life and needing to dip into savings as the troubled economy started brewing. Basically put, I don't have the funds for my leisurely lifestyle this year. And I'm in mourning. Big time. My gut says my camper is going to have to sit in my driveway as opposed to a campsite this year.

And I'm not alone. Many are revamping their lives to incorporate change.

But does this have to be a bad thing? I've always found in the past, that from troubled times, there always appears to be a silver lining. All the things in my past that have brought me some grief have always become a benefit of sorts. Each and every time.

It's with that optimism that I am slowly forcing myself to think differently. Rather than panic, be informed, do what one must do, and keep watching for that silver lining.

I can already spot some sparkly corners if I dig deep enough. I'll be home on weekends and can work on my house that so badly is in need of fine tuning and refinishing. I can once again bond with my own surroundings on weekends as opposed to running away from them. I can plant a full garden knowing that I'll actually be home to water and eat from it. I can take the time to go on my thrifty hunts and create new and wonderful economical solutions to my house and yard in need. And I can slowly mould my interests and passions into possibly something that can employ me full time one day.

Building a new business?!? Who am I kidding you ask? I'm not kidding. I'm kicking some doors open and looking for opportunities. I'm talking about it. I'm practicing it. I'm researching it. And I'm going to do it. And I've already started. Yup, I'm gonna be a HGTV decorator type with a big 'ol smiley attitude! Alright, that's thinking abit big. I want to stage homes and decorate economically for folks.

And it might take weekends to do this too. Therefore, I'd need to be home on weekends. Hmmm... something tells me the puzzle pieces are starting to fit together. There's still a big chunk missing in the middle, but I imagine as time goes on, I'll find the perfect fit to make this picture one smooth transition. Some pieces just take their time showing up.

I'm here to tell you, there is ALWAYS a silver lining somewhere. You just have to be willing to roll with the punches and tweak as you go along. Eventually it all makes sense.

What will this economy ultimately teach many of us? No doubt to save for a rainy day. That we don't need 'new stuff.' That debt is something to be avoided and it's more important to be debt free than to accumulate stuff that is getting us in debt. To live simply. To reflect on what's really important in life.

Lessons will be learned and I believe, if you allow yourself to work through the new transitions without panicking, you will find your silver lining as well.

I'm looking forward to see what my final puzzle piece will bring me. For now, it's important to be good to people, build your support system around you, let others in that wish to help, go help them, and get through this like one big happy family.

Playing catch can indeed be tricky with those curve balls. But just think. If you learn to catch in a new way, you have built a brand new skill! That in itself, may be the lesson you've needed all along right there.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The BIG answer arrived today!

This is one of my favorite blogs. And today, Emily is asking that we join her in finding the special moments of your day out of the nothings. And honestly? That's what this blog has been all about. So I'd love to share our special news that makes me smile ever so big!

I went and picked up the mail today, thinking today would be like any other day. Maybe a few bills, perhaps even a cheque, and your typical handful of junkmail. I was wrong.

A BIG announcement arrived today.

Click on the picture below to see Cody's reaction on You Tube!

My 9 yr boy is going to be flown into another province (without ME) and spend 9 glorious days at the Tim Horton's Camp!

We've been waiting for the approval for awhile since we were invited to register for the camp in Jaunary. (you can read about when we first found out right HERE.

I have mixed emotions to work through, but the one that stands out the most is, this is what CODY wants and he gets to go!!!!!!

I have lots of reading to do and an orientation to go to soon to find out who what when where why and how.

All that matters right now is, I can't wait till Cody gets home to show him the letter!!! My baby is growing up.

And looks like mom has to as well this summer... sigh...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Learning to deal

I have been royally spoiled all my life. I (touch wood) have rarely been seriously ill with anything. I've never spent time in a hospital room except when Cody was born. I am one of those 'lucky' people.

I remember around Christmas time, I heard alot of others were feeling sick. Some I knew had major health issues. And I was busy renoing my house, thinking, how on earth would I be able to do what I do if I had those kinds of issues?!? I simply don't know how some cope day to day! I distinctly remember feeling so very grateful I didn't have to find out, as well as empathy for those that had troubles day to day.

And then it hit. I woke up one morning and couldn't get out of bed. The room spun. I laid down because I didn't know what was wrong. And my neck roared with fire. Huh?!?

I was in a rut like this for nearly a week. Luckily my work was blessed with being on the slow side that week so I was able to sidestep alot of stuff. I promptly made an appointment during that time with my physiotherapist AND doctor to attempt to figure out what this was.

Between umpteen visits here and there pushing aside work projects on a regular basis, between bursts of impatience at everything just because I felt lousy, between frustrated moments where I didn't understand why no one including myself could actually FIND anything wrong in obvious tests done, I started to learn how to deal with an inflicted REAL illness for the first time in my life.

It's now exactly 4 months later and I still have/get it.

The sensation I get is, it's like the entire house is unlevel. I remember feeling a modified version of this when my trailer at the lake was unlevel. I felt a need to grab the edges of things just to gain proper composure. And I was relentless about fiddling with the trailer until it was right, because I couldn't function with unlevel. It was unnerving.

And now I get to live in an unlevel world. Every day.

(I also learned through spellcheck that unlevel isn't a word. Hmm... levelless? Ah forget it. I know you know what I mean)

Unlevel is the way to best describe this. Dizzy comes from unlevel. Loss of balance comes from it too. Generally, all three symptoms are at the same time. Like now. I feel like my head is about to bam on my keyboard.

I have no other symptoms. Just THIS, whatever it is.

Vertigo some call it. But vertigo is a SYMPTOM of something that's gone wrong.

It could be attributed to my neck/back issues. Physio says no.

It could result from a head injury. Your balance mechanism shakes up and may take months to settle down again where one day, you just wake up and all is well. When I was renoing, I hit my head but good on a lower wall partition. The next day I woke up with this. So maybe. BUT I'm well past the time it takes for this thing to pass if that was the case. A few weeks is typical. A few months is not.

All I know is, the more I do, the worse it gets. I've been avidly gardening lately and wake up worse each AM. If I sit still for a day (egads, who can do that?!?), the dizzy diminishes somewhat. I've had about 5 'better' days since Christmas. Most are filled with dizzy because my lifestyle keeps me so active.

You can tell when I'm having an off day by looking around my house. I gasp when the fog clears abit some days. Nests everywhere because I've been too dizzy to put things back. Plunk and move on.

Cody now pretty much knows the drill. If I come across abit grumpy, he says, "Mom, I know you're not feeling good again. But don't get mad, ok?" Meltmeltmeltmeltmelt.... this boy is way more grown up than I give him credit for.

My doctor warned I'd have good and bad days. And she's right. Trouble is, I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But generally, I don't allow this whatever it is to stop me. I have to work. I have to do this and that. I have to feed my boy. I have to keep going.

I finally know what it's like to deal with a real issue. And I am learning to deal.

Going outside seems to help but can be a curse in disguise. When the walls are pushed well away from me which is what outside offers, I tend to feel better and do more. And guess where that gets me. I need to learn how to go outside, park myself and read or something. That's hard to do when it's gardening season and the sun is out and it's not quite all that warm to stay still.

I also believe all things are for a reason. Perhaps I didn't have enough empathy for those that are afflicted with an illness. Perhaps I needed this lesson to become a better person. (there's always certainly room for that one!) Perhaps I'm being tested as to how I reach out for help with this one, in a faithful manner.

I read somewhere we are all given this level of happiness. When something afflicts us, our happiness level decreases momentarily, but after we learn how to cope with said illness, our level rises once again. So how am I coping?

For the most part, I have sooooo much to be happy for, so most days, even when having a bad one, I have the inner strength to appreciate all the good things in my life. But yeah, on certain days, I wear a little thin, more so from impatience than anything else. I don't really like hitting my shoulder against a wall when I walk by a doorway or grabbing for things to stable myself. Who would?

So, I allow some days to be good and some to be not so good. I am allowing myself to learn how to carry on despite a spinning world around me. Nothing has changed. I won't allow it. I WANT to live a full and productive life, and be there for Cody like I always have. But I also have to learn how to modify what I can do on a more so troublesome kind of day.

I use to blog alot. My laptop died for 2 weeks. But now that it's up and running, I haven't gotten full throttle into it yet. I'm just having a challenging week is all. This too shall pass and I'll feel better again. I'm just waiting patiently for my 'better' day.

I truly believe we are given challenges so we can learn more about life. I use to take good health for granted. I use to get up and feel bright and alert and had the energy to GOGOGO.

So I'm here to tell those of you with good health, take care of it. Appreciate it and enjoy it daily. I want you to wake up each and every morning and give thanks to the Big Guy that's offering you ultimate health and do something productive and meaningful with it.

Go for those walks, eat right, play with those that matter, work passionately but know when to turn it off, and perhaps say a prayer or 3 for those that don't have it as good as you do right now.

And those of you afflicted with a health issue, start doing your homework, people! Don't lie still and will it away hoping meds will cure all. Investigate. Try new things. Don't allow someone to tell you no it can't be done. Persevere! Pray! Continue on with life as best as you can. Learn to live with your limitations, rather than having your limitations rule you.

You. Can. Do. This. One moment at a time.

You don't have to, but those of you that are reading this, if you have an infliction of something and you leave a comment, (alert me if you'd prefer me to NOT publish your comment and I won't) I'll put in a good word to the Big Guy upstairs for you. Because I want you to have a supreme day despite the odds.

So, let's go! Let's enjoy the day despite what we are dealing with. Because, it's time to learn how to deal in order to move on and punch through this thing.

Now go have yourself a wonderful day. I'm certainly going to. Hey, walls are all around me to grab for balance. That can't be a bad thing.

Monday, March 30, 2009

People watching at the hospital

I spent a little bit of time at the local hospital today. I happened to be sitting at the coffee shop near the front door for about 15 minutes. Not a magazine or newspaper was to be had, so with coffee in hand, I people watched.

It wasn't hard to do. I was facing the main door. And quite the cast of eclectic characters came forth.

One young gal came in wiping her eyes. Boy I can relate. I've been there before when worried about someone having gotten hurt. I felt empathy for her and shot some good luck vibes her way.

There was the older lady that came in with her daughter. They had a lot to talk about in a pleasant manner, so looks as if their day was going ok.

Then there was the really thin fella with some kind of IV bag tied to him. That had to be awkward. But I could tell it was all old hat for his mom and himself as they made it calmly to the outside door.

None of this was old hat for me. At all. I feel totally foreign in a hospital setting. I don't fear it, it's just that I haven't frequented one all that often. I've been blessed with exceptional health all my life, so when I do go into one, there's always a lot to take in.

And this one guy had me doing a second take. On either side of him were police officers so I inspected a little closer. He was handcuffed. AND his feet were shackled together. He was doing a pretty good pace for shuffling along.

When he walked past, we made eye contact. I had to wonder what he was thinking. As for me, I felt this coldness sneak around me and I actually shivered. And then I thought. The image of him wouldn't go away.

How on earth could someone mess up so bad in life to warrant earning this kind of loss of life? What did he have to look forward to when he woke up each morning? Where are the hugs and laughter from family members? There's so much life to live! And here he was, chained up like a common criminal from a TV movie. I didn't even want to think about what he had to do to achieve where he was.

I felt off. I suddenly morphed into the loss of his life. It felt like I was falling into a bottomless chilly dark well.

I took another sip of coffee and decided right then that I need to really enhance upon Cody what kind of awesome life we lead. We have each other, we have for the most part great health with only minor glitches, an awesome home, wonderful things to wake up to, and someone to hug before turning in for the night. Suddenly, I missed my boy very much. It was time to go.

Bless all those good folks that work at the hospital and take care of the hurt masses. They are special indeed. And I was sure appreciating them today.

It never ceases to amaze me how everyone carries a different strength throughout life. Want to also appreciate a nurse, doctor or volunteer at the hospital? Go sit in front of the main entry. I guarantee you'll know exactly what I mean within 15 minutes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An island full of homework

Oh... the house is so quiet! With two 9 yr old boys inside of it. Why the quiet you ask?

There's something that makes me just giddy about seeing this awesome island being used for something so substantially useful!

What can I say? I'm in love. With them and the island. I simply have it all today.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom is one sweet lady. We celebrated her 82nd birthday today with some family members at the local Dairy Queen, which is her favorite fast food place.

Mom is very much loved by many. She has the type of personality that makes you feel she's been waiting for you all day. You most definitely know you are loved, when you're around my mom.

When Cody was first born, Mom use to frequently come and visit for weekends. We lived about 45 min from each other at the time so it's not that it was a terribly long drive. However, our visits were always about spending quality time with each other. She enjoyed coming and staying at the farm I had at the time, and grasped the opportunity to be a part of Cody's upbringing. The two of them would wander around the property, creating pictures out of rocks, picking moss off old trees, finding long lost toys embedded in the vast sandbox. They always found ways of having creative adventures together without having to go too far.

Times are a little different these days. With renos that continue on with my house, as well as single parenthood, added restraints have reined on my time. However, Cody and I love to go to visit her once a week if we can, to enjoy her company alongside a dip in the clubhouse pool and hottub. Different location, but same good company. She's always got a smile and warm hug ready for our arrival and always there for our eventual departure.

One of the most endearing things I find about her is when we drive off after a visit. She will stand on the road and wave until we are out of sight. Each and every time. During one of our visits, as we were getting ready to leave, I coaxed her to go ahead inside to stay warm as it was stormy outside. After ensuring she was in safe and sound, off I turned towards my truck. As we drove down the road, I quickly glanced at my mirror. I just knew. And I had her pinned pretty well. She was out on the road, waving yet again. Even if we hadn't turned to look, she had and was. Is that love or what?

My mom is my biggest fan. And she couldn't be a better friend. Having her for a Mom is simply icing on the cake.

And Mom, if you happen to read this on another's computer, we love you and are proud of everything you do! See you soon!

Love, Donna & Cody xoxo

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Typical conversation with my 9 yr old son

"Mom, you always talk to yourself. You go hmklhjdkalkdfh."

(try and not care what he said. I'm still in my morning fog)

"Mom, you always do that with your mouth. Mom, what are you doing with your hand? Mom, why do you walk there all the time?"

"Urm.." (the mercury is arisin')

"Mom, you always blah blah blah blah (insert another annoying observation, most anything will suffice and probably be fairly accurate)."


"But yesterday you laughed when I said you did something when we were at school."

"Yeah, but I was awake then. I'm sleepy and sick today."

"Can I say more stuff when you're awake and better?"

"Yeahyeah, whatever... just hurry up! "


(I hid my snicker)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Me at a loss of words? Impossible

Here I am noticing I haven't written anything on this blog lately. And I realize I don't really have to, however, generally, I'm just not at a loss of words. Ever.

No matter what I do, I seem to morph the tiniest little things into massive stories. Perhaps not the kind to tell your grandchildren about, but nevertheless, stories generally come easy for me.

Anything can instigate a story. It might be the phone ringing constantly or the crunch of gravel as I walk down the dyke. My head is always spinning with a million things that come out of nowhere.

So what's my problem? I guess nothing. Here I have nothing to write and I'm writing about that too...

I think I'm overdue for a good long dyke walk again. Those walks having me dreaming and thinking and spying on backyards (did I say spy? I meant glance as I walk by) and generally, I have lots to say after a dyke walk.

I think the walks force one to think. We're so easily entertained by our beloved electronic devices that we don't take the time to think from our own selves. It's just way too entertaining reading about or watching others via TV. Thinking is good and ought to be practiced more often.

I also like thinking when I'm working on a project that takes a good long while and it's something I can basically do in my sleep. Staining woodwork components for my staircase was a pretty good example of that one. A whole lotta thinking outside that smelly room was being done right about then. Gardening is a good quiet place to escape within your own thoughts too. But the ground is still too frozen, so strike that one for now.

And apparently I think alot. Out loud even. Cody commonly comments, "Mom, you're talking to yourself again. You said.. giweroiq[oqw[poeoieruui". (I just did a spell check on this one.. it wants me to change this gobbledeegook to 'gerik.' My version is much better) I generally snicker and agree. I verbally play back some stuff I've gone through. No idea why as it's gone and all. But I do it and I get caught alot. While shopping in public too. A few eyebrows have raised my way as I mutter nothings to myself. When caught, I coach myself that I'm not all THAT weird. Just a little, er, eccentric perhaps?

I'm not that nerdy, so I wasn't even sure what eccentric truely meant so I wikepedia'd it.

Eccentric (mechanism), a wheel that rotates on an axle that is displaced from the focus of the circle described by the wheel.

Yup. Sounds like me to a T.

Anyway, I'm glad I could share this insightful post. I have no idea how it can be of help, but if you can find one teeny little thing that clicked for you, I salute you. Big.

What did I get out of this? I think it's that the wheel doesn't fall far from the axle. Unless you're stuck with a bad Costco buggy of course.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The dog dash

Whenever the weather cooperates, Cody, our dog Jenna, and I enjoy walking to school. So off we went this fine AM. It was one of those weird days where there were very few clouds and lots of blue sky but the sky continued to spit nonetheless.

Cody fussed abit about getting his head wet from the sprinkle, but I sort of, well, ignored him really, and moved on. No sooner did he stop complaining about he rain, he was dragging his feet through large puddles, just because. So much for staying dry.

As we approach the school, Cody suddenly goes "shhhh!" and stops. He peers around a tree to the left. Ah, I get it. There's a small stretch of sidewalk where we pass an open field with 3 dogs inside, only being held away from us with a chain link fence. When we walk past this stretch, the dogs furiously bark up a lung or three, watching Jenna happily jaunt past them. But Jenna also gets caught up in the bark-o-war, and although she doesn't bark back, she starts pulling on the leash and jumps up and down like a rabbit, dashing, stopping, going back, just, silly dog stuff that nearly yanks your arm off when attempting to hold onto her leash.

This isn't the first time Cody planned the 20 yard doggie dash. The dogs are generally on the other side of the field as there's a small barn they hang at. Much to Jenna's glee, Cody will suddenly bolt as fast as he can to the other side of the field. As if on cue, the dogs spot Cody and Jenna at the tail end of their sprint, and as aghast as they can possibly be, they surge forward in full yelpfest, thinking that'll stop the passing intruders. The end of the fiasco always has the dogs nearly running into the fence in massive protest, while I'm gulping for air from laughter.

Today was no different. We approached the right tree when I heard the "shhhhh" once again. I curiously stood back to watch today's installment, not really expecting anything to be different, but amused all the same.

It appears Cody has gained abit of confidence in knowing he'll beat the other dogs. Like all other days, he started the dash. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee spot them and off they go. Cody had gained abit on them today so he bravely slowed down near the end of the dash, and started imitating the dogs.

"ROWRWROWEROEOWEORWEOWOEROWO!" He jumped up and down like a monkey powered on batteries on a trampoline. (My first thought was where'd the energy come from as he had complained the whole walk that he was tired.) Jenna jumped up and down like a rabbit. The dogs went FRANTIC.

There's still that element of the dogs crashing into the fence that's kinda freaky, so right before they did so, Cody disappears from their sight.

And all is quiet.

Except for me. I'm on my knees on the sidewalk, pulling my giggle act. That was some fine entertainment there!

Every morning we go for this walk, I forget about the dog dash. And every day we get there, I look forward to it. Today's show had that extra creative actor element attached, leaving me wonder how he'll top that one.

Daily dog dash is regularly scheduled at approx 8:10 AM near the local yokel school. Free viewings are weather permitting, not including puddles.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The new homework way.

I'm really proud of my 9 yr old. This is how he does his homework.

All I can say is..


Typing in grade 4! I'm still thrilled when Cody comes home from school and gets started on his tasks via laptop.

He use to have to hand write so many assignments and we were going through white-out like we drink water.

The first time he told me he could use a computer for his homework assignments, I wasn't quite sure if it was for real, so I confirmed things with the teacher. They actually have a choice. By hand or computer, as long as the use of the program itself doesn't take away from the assignments. And if by computer, all fingers are to go on the right keys. This isn't two finger typing. This is the real deal.

I didn't take typing until high school. I'm a pretty fast typist, that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't build up the skills from years ago. Back then, it was sort of a girl's subject although some boys took the classes. I'd bet all those other boys are now wishing they sat with all those girls and clicked until their fingers were sore like the rest of us. Noisy subject, and hard work, but to me, enjoyable all the same.

These days with laptops, typing is pretty effortless and quiet.

We kids in my family grew up with a typewriter where you had to push the keys down pretty hard. SNAP. SNAP. SNAP. Remember trying to go fast only to have all the keys knocking against each other like a fight breaking out in a hockey game? I have some school reports stored away with the funky type. Complete with plenty of white-out corrections.

Then I hit the jackpot. I got a typewriter that actually plugged into a wall! Built in correction tape even! And it had a lovely ghosted plastic cover which made it look like quite the item hiding underneath. My mom would have called it 'high society.' (her favorite term when you're using the latest something or other)

And today, the kids can use computers.

The computer usage has actually made homework time much more enjoyable. It sort of feels like playing. Things are easy to correct, the output looks soooo professional and it's actually (just about) enjoyable!

And thanks to our lovely new island, homework can be done right beside mom cooking away.

Life is good! Homework time is (almost) fun! The kitchen island rocks! It's all good.

Except for the fact that the laptop is currently a little sick. It currently has a bad doodad fan in the thingamajigger and at times you have to cover your ears to minimize the BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Not so useful when you have to type.

One miracle at a time, right?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day kindness

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. So once again, the little cards are written up for Cody's school class, and we bring out the baking sheets to create our annual cookies.

See all those little cards up above? There's 30 of them. And they are of the utmost importance. And we just got them today. Because we just got the list of kids from Cody's school to remind me today. Oy..

So we flew out of the schoolyard and head for the Yellow Barn, the only store I know of in our hometown that sells kiddie Valentine's Day cards. Know how I know that? Because yesterday I drove by their sign and they had stuck a big red heart on it. Talk about impeccable timing for everything here.

There was one box of cards for what Cody would want to give out left! WHEW!!!! That saved us hours of hand cutting our own at home let me tell ya.

And guess what. I left my wallet at home.

Soooooo typical of me. I'm holding these cards, exasperated, and flat out frustrated with myself and my fading memory bank. The store clerk heard some of my mumblings and she piped up with, "Hey, this is THE YELLOW BARN. Bring me the money tomorrow."

Bless Colleen's heart! With no time to waste, I profusely thanked her (and she's getting a handful of cookies along with her money) and flew home so Cody could start writing them up.

You know, it's those little things that make a whole big difference in someone's day. I most certainly could have wasted another $5 in gas to return home to pay for $2 cards, but this gal made it so I didn't have to do that. She saved me valuable steps and time to boot. Because of her kindness. Seems suitable for the object I brought home, doesn't it?

For Valentine's Day, Cody says he wants to do puzzles. Good idea! And maybe munch on a pretty cookie or 3 while we're at it. And it's my guess that Colleen will be munching on the same thing.
Happy Valentine's Day folks!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The pet barracade

Do you have any pets like these guys...

that at times you like to keep out of certain rooms in your home? Boy do I have a product for you!

The new and improved PET BARRIER at your service! Designed and fabricated by the one and only Cody Williams in Yarrow, British Columbia Canada!

Note the incredible detail on this one. Complete with a stuffy of a pet to symbolize just what it's suppose to keep out! A colour coordinated, timely piece that's sure to make a mom chuckle. And storage on top to boot! What a little multitasker this product is!

Interestingly enough, the one cat that tends to bother Cody the most isn't among these pictures. She's chocolate brown and her photos pretty much never turn out or she runs away. I'll have to keep trying.

Nevertheless, the other two come for visits on occasion as well. And it doesn't always work with Cody's bedtime schedule.

Teddy the choc brown cat, always jumps on Cody's bed right at reading time. Every night on schedule. Then she purrrrrrs and kneeeeeeeeads to the point of total distraction. Try settling down for the night with a noisy fan with something fluttering in the blades. That's what she sounds like.

Beethoven the black and white cat always wants to sleep against your face. If you like fresh cool air at night, this is not your night time cuddling kind of cat. Try wrapping your head with a hot fleecy blanket. Right against your nose especially. Weigh the blanket down with something heavyish, such as, I dunno, a box full of stuff. And then turn on that noisy fan again. That is Beethoven to a T.

So the cats get locked downstairs for night. Every night. We need our sleep! But it's a good place for them. Their food and litter box reside there as well as a couple big plumpy quilts for them to shed on.

Jenna the non barking dog on the other hand, is as quiet as a mouse. But annoys Cody with her bone chewing. At Cody's reading time she too wanders into Cody's room but she carries her bone and grinds on it while we try and concentrate. While I think it's hilarious and somewhat endearing, it isn't Cody's cup of tea. And for night as I like to separate the dog and cats anyway, she does stay upstairs. So Jenna's bed is at the foot of my own. She'll lay down and not even move all night. I'm a light sleeper so trust me, I'd know if she moved an inch.

We love all our animals! But they each have their place. They do roam the house at free will during the day. (that's why bedroom doors are closed as well as a sheet draped over the sofa and coffee table pushed up against where you sit. NO DOG ZONE ya know but can't really stop the cats from jumping up) Jenna stays outside for the day if I'm not home during the summer months but not winter. The cats are strictly the indoor variety.

Hence, we at times just really 'need' that cat/dog barricade. No need to go out and buy a fancy dancy pet or kidlet safety gate. Get a local 9 yr old boy to make you one!

I promise, there's no copyright infringement stamp on this one. Go at'ter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New snow = new happy!

It's snowing again! And I say that in the most very positive way possible. :) (pic is from previous snowfall)

We've had quite a real winter this year so far. When the snow finally melted and the weather reached somewhat balmy conditions for this time of year, I had visions of getting outside and gardening! I went outside one day and started picking up reno stuff that had blown into any nook and cranny possible from our high winds, when I realized, yikes, it's kinda cold out here!

Sunshine does a number on me. It fools me into getting outdoors for that vitamin D. It gives me energy and just makes me happy! I need out when the sun hits.

So what's up with this snow glee I feel? I have no idea. It's just about like white fluffy sunshine.
It may stem back to my childhood. Snow days were awesome. I remember the country roads disappearing so the milk truck couldn't even get through on occasion. Or the drifts being so deep you could walk on top of barn roofs! You could dig the coolest ever caves into massive drifts for the best forts ever. Snow evokes intense joy in my crazy corner of the world. And Cody feels it too. May have something to do with me pounding into his bed in the AM waking him with, "CODY IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!" :)

Honestly, I kinda like rain on occasion too when you know you are stuck indoors for abit and are content with working on a reno project. I adore the sound of rain hitting a roof. It stems back to when I had a full wrap around veranda at my last home. I loved going out on that veranda with a blanket wrapped around me just to listen to the rain pound.

I do that on occasion here. I've finally cleaned up reno junk off my little back patio and have my lawn table and chairs set out in a nice and inviting way, beckoning me out there for some fresh cool air. So that is what I did one AM. I took along a blanket and sat on my chair, listening to the rain, overlooking my pretty mountain view out back with hot coffee in hand.

I just love the outdoors!

Now pounding rain month after month gets rather depressing. That's when I have to seek out people and get social again to keep my spirits lifted. I love alone time and hanging with Cody and all, but its as if too much doom and gloom sucks out the happiness factor, so it's time to replace it somehow. Adult socialization during those times is like a much needed vitamin. Just do it if you need to.

Living in a region with 4 real seasons I'm very grateful for! I visit online with lots of folks that live in very warm places with palm trees and everything. I dream of being there on occasion, but I smile when I look out my own window. I love it here! No matter what the weather, really.

So for today, I'm going to rejoice in the new fallen snow once again. The world looks as if God threw this incredible fleecy blanket over the whole works for us to enjoy. He sure makes the nicest quilts!

Happy snow day to me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When a simple charm offers so much more

Indeed. And suitable for a little Sunday story.

This awesome gem is a gift to Cody from Vic. (Vic is an integral part of the Extreme Team helping us with our house renos.) A ways back, Vic use to teach a class and had a handful of these little guys to loan out to those going through a difficult time. They were brought back when their troubled time was somewhat resolved.

This keepsake is about 20 years old and there was only one left. And Vic gave it to Cody.

The night of receiving this, I talked to Cody about it's meaning and how to put it to good use. I kissed him goodnight and I left his room. He was suddenly up and walking into the kitchen rubbing sleepy eyes.

"What's up?"

"I forgot something." He went to where I had placed the charm and wanted it around his neck to sleep with.

I followed him into his room again and asked why it was important to wear it for bedtime.

"Because I want to. Vic gave it to me. I'm going to give it to my son when he's 9 and he can give it to his son when he's 9. It's going to stay in the family forever."

Cody wanted to wear it to school the next day so I ensured the string was short enough where it couldn't go over his head. We again spoke about the true meaning and off he went. I noted he proudly kept pulling it outside of this shirt to ensured it showed in full view. Cute!

The next night he slept with it again but in the morning, I noticed the soft metal had bent. I was worried that the precious 20 year old charm wouldn't make another Cody kind of night tossing and turning or even during the day kind of squiggling, so I offered to put it on display where we could always enjoy it, but with the promise I'd find Cody AND myself another that we could wear all the time if we wished.

So this is where it sits. Right in our new kitchen. And it's beautiful. A subtle reminder of how we ought to guide our moments/hours/days ahead.

When I look at it, I look at the new beautiful kitchen surrounding it and how this symbol simply and perfectly completes the entire picture. It was a blessing of sorts that it was abit too fragile to wear daily. It's now situated in the heart of our home, the very room where we make so many of our daily decisions. Now the gentle visual nudge is there on how to base those decisions. I believe every home ought to have one!

And the bonus? Vic said the metal went with our kitchen. Boy was he right!!! I LOVE this thing.

A timeless piece to stay in our family, indeed! With so many stories and meanings attached to it.

Thank-you Vic!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On the quaintness of creaky floors

Have you ever walked into an older heritage type home and heard the floors creak? Or perhaps your newer up to date home does the same thing.

While we were renovating our current house, it was a challenge to stop all the creaks. Hardwood flooring was the plan, so we took great lengths to make the floors as sound as possible. A bazillion new screws littered the plywood floors in an effort to stop the eeeeeeeee.

There was this one particular creak that we could not lose! It was right in the pathway of Cody's room so an area you simply couldn't avoid walking on. And being that we were caught up in the spirit of all things highly productive and sound, we worked like the dickens to fix this!

No matter where I placed a new screw, it was not working. I was always greeted with yet another taunting eeeeeeee. I gave up. Cody heard my frustration and wanted a go. I gave them the entire box of screws, cordless drill and happily left that negative energy to someone more up for the challenge.

Cody worked HARD on that one. And he continued to test the floor upon each screw being embedded. I smiled while I worked on something else, hoping he wouldn't be to let down WHEN he failed at that impossible task. Well, he didn't fail. He fixed it! And this is what it took to do so. For one lousy little protesting squeak.

As the floors went in, I proudly tried them out and noted how we stopped so many of those annoying squeaks. Wow, we have good sound strong new floors!

A few days later, I remember talking to Phoenix while he was working on the fireplace. I was still working on screwing in the floor here and there where the floors weren't yet installed. That's when he piped up and said, 'Squeaky floors are awesome!"

I had to think about that for a moment. Whenever I visited an older heritage type home, I've always loved the slam of a screen door or the squeak of the old floors. Those sounds are those of comfort in an odd way, the very sound effects we strive to eliminate in newer homes of today.

Huh. Now I had a slightly different view of the floor. I walked up and down them not finding squeaks at all. Did I just remove the quaintness of a home that squeaked and slammed of all things speaking comfort from long ago? Talk about a mindset challenge!

And then the weather turned very cold. We had a blast of winter storms and ice chilling temps that kept us indoors and snowbound for quite awhile.

Do you have any idea what the cold does to wood floors? They not only slightly separate, THEY SQUEAK!

Now when I walk in an area and I hear that once annoying eeeee, I smile to myself, so very grateful to have some character back in this place.

Phoenix was dead on. Squeaking floors are awesome!

And useful. For Christmas mornings when Cody sneaks up to the tree...

So, what are some of the quaint quirks you are enjoying in your own homes? Feel free to share them here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cody's first computer report

I think my boy is growing up!

Normally an afternoon of homework constitutes sitting at the kitchen island together with pen and paper in hand or in front of the dry erase board. Thursday was different.

Cody was to do a report on salmon habitat. And the kids had an option on how to go about their good copy, either by hand written ink or via computer.


Cody chose the electronic way. I was enticed to watch. He placed his fingers in the proper position for typing. One by one, in their own time, the appropriate letters appeared on screen. In grade 4, they learn how to type! Oops, I'm showing my age. Is it called keyboarding now? I don't know.

No matter. I was pleased as all get out to see him tab, enter, cap lock, and using the right fingers in all the right places! I quickly rounded up my laser printer from downstairs and found a permanent spot inside a cabinet in the kitchen. I had a feeling we'd need it more so in the future.

He printed out his work. And he got a lesson on how things can appear differently on screen than how they print out. Going back and forth a few times with needed tweaks, he proudly printed out his work. He was so pleased with himself!

Throughout his typing phase, he kept looking up at me exclaiming, "Am I doing good?" LOL Oh he knew he was doing good! I told him he was anyway. He wanted major acknowledgement on his new venture, over and over again, due to sheer newness.

He drew a picture to simulate his paragraph. Being that it was on another piece of paper, I suggested he cut it out and perhaps add a nice coloured border to it via construction paper. So I dragged out the bulk pack, scissors and glue, and let him do all the rest.

Can I just tell you how much I love our metal topped island again?!? Welcome to All-Things-Done-Here Central! Cody was cutting directly onto this very table top. I'm now convinced, everyone needs one of these in the center of their upstairs!

Back to Cody. I found a page protector so he could slip his elite work inside for the best protection ever. I placed it in his binder to be returned to school, and showed him yet again, what the final product appeared like, holding up his book.

He was amazed at his own work. He kept revisiting the page over and over. It was crystal clear that he impressed himself.

Here's to our growing children and all the new things they continue to surprise and inspire us with everyday. Each day is a new adventure just waiting to happen. And today, it was about a 9 yr old boy and a laptop and some artistic smarts on his behalf.

I think we are well on our way.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wacky photo day

Sometimes growing up is way overrated.

Remember those silly booths where you'd put your dollar in and 4 shots of you and your friend would appear through a little slot? The poses were NEVER serious! Alright I admit, I'm speaking for myself. You always pulled faces because you could and your mom wasn't telling you to smile NICE.

This mom and her kiddo didn't bother smiling nice either on this particularly silly day...

This end shot of Cody has me snorting! Harry Potter high on Fun I call it. Wait till I show him this shot on his wedding day...