Category Archives: favourites

What I’m Into (April 2013)

Ever wanted to be a fly on my wall?

Of course you have.

Unfortunately I don’t have any openings in that department, so here’s a list of “What I’m Into” as of last month – part of Hopeful Leigh‘s monthly link up. It should give you a feel for life at our house. Just add copious amounts of Wonder Pets, dirty diapers and shrieks of happiness/rage/frustration/surprise/just-trying-out-my-lungs-to-make-sure-they-still-work… the kids are pretty noisy too.

what I'm into

Books:

  • divergentDivergent by Veronica Roth – I’m a sucker for dystopian fiction. This book has all my favourite things: a tough but relatable leading lady, a strange and horrifying new world, with just enough romance to keep things moving. In this new world all people are sorted at age 16 into 5 factions, which were created to counter what they percieve is the most dangerous human failing. These subcultures are called Candor (people are deceptive), Amity (people are too aggressive), Erudite (people are ignorant), Dauntless (people are cowardly) and Abnegation (people are selfish). Beatrice just turned 16…
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – I’m crazy about Brene’s TED talk on the importance of vulnerability. She is brilliant! Her book is more of the same, not quite as compelling, but still plenty to chew on. Self-help isn’t my favourite genre, but I still found this a good mix of entertaining and challenging.
  • coloursThe Colours of God: toward an emerging theology by Dave Phillips, Quentin Steen and Randall “Peg” Peters – So much of Christianity, and the emerging movement within it, seems to focus on what we oppose; this book is about what (and who – hint, it starts with an ‘e’ and rhymes with shmeveryone) we are to embrace. Although the discussion format takes some getting used to, this unique vision of how to BE church is intriguing.
  • Wrestling with Angels: Adventures in Faith and Doubt by Carolyn Arends – I’m reading it again. I’m loving it as much as ever. Enough story to make it feel like light reading, but enough profound to reach deep into my heart and soul. Just what a busy mom like me needs.

TV Shows:

  • It’s more than a show at our house. Chopped has become a favourite game for the big girls. Just like on the show, each participant is given a basket of 4 mystery ingredients. They are given 20-30 minutes (depending on the round – appetizer, entree or dessert) to prepare something delicious, creative and beautiful. They must use all 4 ingredients in their dish. Their Mom (I mean Judge) must eat it and declare a winner. Sometimes the results are surprisingly tasty. And other times… that’s what mouthwash is for.
  • Although I continue to dislike cooking, for some bizarre reason I enjoy watching almost anything on the Food Network – Top Chef Canada, Restaurant Impossible and Pitchin’ In are my favourites. None of them are “must see” but if we have some down time I’ll look for them.
  • Fringe – still working my way through the first season on Netflix. It is creepily fascinating. I can finally see Joshua Jackson as someone other than Pacey. Though I’m still rooting for him to get the girl.

Movies:

  • The Host. I’m always nervous when they make a movie based on a book I love. But, they did an okay job. It’s tricky transfering complexity of plot and depth of character development from page onto screen, so at times they choose simply to focus on kissing instead. I wonder if the editor was a teenage girl? More likely they were hoping to entice this audience. I’d still recommend it – just read the book first, okay?

  • After a week on my own with the kids I missed my husband so much that a few minutes after he got home I ran out to see a movie. Oblivion was pretty good. The entire movie is spent trying to figure out what happened and what is happening, but not so confusing that my brain hurt.

Music:

  • Phillip Phillips, despite his ridiculous name, is the flavour of the month. Most of the time I don’t bother with a playlist – just put his album on shuffle. So good.
  • I downloaded The Parson RedHeads’ latest album and it’s pretty good. They were amazing live, which is saying something, because I don’t even like that sort of thing.
  • It goes without saying that The Airborne Toxic Event is usually heard somewhere in our house throughout the day. After my groupie experience at the beginning of the month, I appreciate them more than ever. Their song Timeless is on repeat in the car. The girls and I had a great discussion about the phrase “Oh my God” as we listened and concluded that in this song it is a good thing, because those who grieve aren’t being flippant.

Blogs:

  • The tagline alone is worth the read: Living my life as is, instead of as if. The Actual Pastor has been my go-to destination this past week. It’s awesome. Go read it.
  • I love getting to know a brand new blog. Not just the writing, but the writers themselves. Mewhoami is a kindred spirit. I especially enjoyed Trapped Within – a slice of life, from her son’s perspective. For many parents, autism is something bad to be stomped out at all costs, but to others it is a unique perspective and a mystery to be unravelled. Love.
  • Have you ever found a poem, just a little piece of prose in an unexpected place? It might be the work of Poem Elf. She sets poems free from books, leaving them in public places for everyone to enjoy (then tells the tale on her blog). I’m so glad I stumbled on this site. Poetry isn’t my first love, but it is something I really enjoy in small bites. I’m enjoying this gentle education.

App:

good readsGood Reads is the newest reason I love my smart phone. When I’m at the bookstore, or library, or snooping on someone else’s shelves… and I see a book that looks interesting, I just scan the barcode with my camera and up pops a listing for it. After seeing the rating and reading a few reviews I can decide if I want to add it to my “To Read” list. I can also type in an author or title if that’s easier. The best part is the running list of books I want to read, books I am reading now and being able to rate/review books I’ve just read. Every bookworm needs this app.

Other things I’ve loved this month:

  • At the beginning of the month we spent one day in the hipster mecca, Portland. I would love more time to explore someday, especially Powells Book Store (taking up 4 stories and a full city block of books, books, books… including enough used books to win over my frugal little heart). Such a cool city!
  • Which brings me to the absurd show Portlandia. It’s Red Green for hipsters. It’s the only reason I have the YouTube app on my phone.
  • With more and more sunny days, it’s time to turn my attention to that important spring activity: avoiding yard work. I’ve heard friends complaining about putting it off until the last minute, then doing a haphazard job of it. Amateurs. The best way to avoid it is to run away from home; bring some food and enjoy the sunshine where someone else has done the yard work. Around here we call that a picnic and it’s my favourite thing to do with the kids this month.

On this blog:

little mirror, little me – was written in the car on the way home from Portland. I was thinking about my girls, especially C. I constantly see myself in them, in their strengths and their weaknesses. It is both gratifying and terrifying.

So here’s me, and the stuff I’m into.

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Friday Favourites

So this is the part where I explain why what was once a weekly part of this blog is now an infrequent visitor. I will allude to my busy schedule and my need for blogging to remain a fun hobby and not an obligation. Because DAGNABIT, I control this blog, it doesn’t control me! But every once in a while I will post a list of things I liked that week. And if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it, but I hope you will.

Only this part is supposed to be, ya know, witty and eloquent, maybe inspiring.

But then Glen spent the evening at a work event. And I spent 45 minutes hunched over the crib holding the boy’s hand until he fell asleep. And I sang 3 1/2 lullaby songs to B. And I was sidetracked by C’s new-found love of baking and the alarming questions she would yell at me from the kitchen. And L’s dance carpool fell through.

So, here it is anyway, but without the eloquent.

Quote

A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man.

~ Archibald MacLeish

Song

This song is on constant repeat these days. The first time I heard it I thought of Glen and all he does for me and how wonderful he is and how he takes care of us all. And I felt sorry for everyone who isn’t in love with him.

This letting go is so beautiful, cause you make it so easy, to fall so hard…

Movie

Naturally, we will take the tragic Tsunami in Thailand and make it all about the rich, white tourists… Nevertheless “The Impossible” is a great movie. I cried from the beginning to the end. And yes, I like that kind of thing.

Blog

Joy in this Journey is NOT another cheesy Christian blog, as the title might suggest. I first stumbled on Joy Bennett’s blog to read a post about the death of her daughter Ellie. Not many people are able to tackle the topics of grief, faith struggles and depression with unflinching honesty AND hope. I’m in love with her tagline: “Somewhere beneath the kids’ stinky laundry and my own doubt lies a joy worth fighting for. I’m here to dig it out.” And she does.

Exercise Routine

I don’t care what he says, I invented this exercise. Except, I do it in the privacy of my own home, where only my husband can (and does) mock me.

So here’s me, dancing like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. And that’s the best kind of dancing.


Friday Favourites: Goodbye 2012

We needed milk.

We needed milk and, according to B, hot dogs for lunch. So, I came up with the brilliant plan to celebrate one of our last official day of Christmas holiday with a quick trip to Costco. We’d grab a few things and enjoy a fun and inexpensive meal out, just me and my four angels. Stupid, naive woman.

By the time we made it through the line up we had a teetering mountain of dry goods (how did that happen?) and a whiney pair of littles to contend with. Food would help. Food always helps, right?

Except now, B has decided that she doesn’t want hot dogs. Not now. Not ever again. She’s offended that I keep putting it in front of her. S removes not only his coat, boots, and socks, but sweeps a fully loaded hot dog and drink onto his sister and my pizza slice onto the floor.

Then the screaming starts. Not your typical whiney fussing, but whole-hearted, top-of-the-lungs, sounds-of-torture shrieks that has everyone stopping to stare. Costco right before nap time… not my best idea.

Somehow we make it out to the parking lot. I’m hobbling on my sprained ankle (did I mention I’m wearing a walking cast today – extra fun). I’ve got one hand on the boy’s shirt trying to keep him from thrashing out of the cart, pushing it with my hip, the other hand is clamped around B’s wrist dragging her across the street while she does her best floppy corpse impression; the big girls are trailing behind carrying our food and various items we’ve dropped along the way. The screaming has not abated.

Somehow, finally, we make it to the van, unload our cart and buckle everyone in. L makes a grand flourish with her hand and using her best director’s voice: “AAAAAAAAND… SCENE!”

I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. It might be maternal pride in a well-timed joke. It might be I’m still slightly hysterical. But mostly, I think it is our crazy, gong show of a morning that makes a good laugh better than ever.

That’s 2012 for us in a nutshell. I know it’s over, but until school starts again, I’m still chewing on last year and girding my loins for the next. So, a few favourites to make the transition smoother.

Quote

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.

~ Oprah Winfrey

Year in Review

26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity This Year  has made the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. I’m not a bit surprised. Stories of big and small gestures of kindness and generosity are welcome reminders that the world is full of wonderful people too.

Source: Courtney Sacco / via: annarbor.com

2012 Election Spoof

It’s not even my country. But US elections are comedy gold. Good times. Although it’s a done deal now, Chris Rock’s “Message for White Voters” may still reassure some of the rednecks out there about President Obama. And makes me laugh. Which I need today.

2013 Movie

Okay, I don’t know if it’s a favourite. I only hope it will be. Definitely something to look forward to.

Every time they make a book I love into a movie I am filled with equal parts excitement and trepidation. The balance of an intriguing premise, several likeable characters and a dash of romance make The Host my favourite sci-fi novel. I have read it half a dozen times. I’m sure I will read it that many times again. And in less than 3 months, we can all watch it!

So here’s me, with 2 days, 17 hours and 47 minutes until Christmas holiday is entirely over and 2013 can start for real.


A Year in the Life

2012A year in the life of our

wonderful,

usually crazy,

often funny,

sometimes lazy,

never dull,

family.

Januaryhands2

When I was 16…

Twenty years ago today, the boy I had a huge crush on took me on my very first date. Turns out, it was my only ‘first date’. Because sometimes one is all you need…

Februaryatlas

Mom Shrugged

… I’d like to be everything to everyone. So I feed myself a steady diet of comparison and perfectionism (and chocolate; there’s always chocolate)…

Read More.

Marchtimeshare

Modern Day Torture (aka Timeshare Presentation)

… Strongly implied is the fact that non-timeshare holders will lead lives of sad desperation. There will never be time or money for a real holiday. The best we can hope for is quiet days spent huddled in a dank basement, braiding armpit hair into a scarf…

Read More.

Aprilhourglass

How Do You Find The Time?

… Whether you wing it from one moment to the next, or plan your day down to the minute, we are all subject to the same limitations.

86,400 seconds – 1,440 minutes – 24 hours

Each day, everyday, it’s all we’ve got. In this day and age, we can do almost anything, but we can’t do everything!..

Read More.

Maypaint

Painting the Pink Room Green

Dear Little Brother,

Your sisters painted the pink room green today.They looked at every single paint chip in Home Depot and picked this colour especially for you. They painted your room themselves. There were a few spills. There are more than a few touch-ups needed. And it doesn’t look exactly perfect.

Except it is. Because they did it for you. They were so careful. And they worked hard all day long. Your big sisters love you already and they can’t wait to show you your new room!..

Read More.

Junekey

Test Driving a Person

… There were several moments today that felt utterly surreal. We have been frustrated with the long wait periods, the endless streams of paperwork and the strange bureaucratic rituals we must complete. But suddenly they seem like so little, considering what’s at stake here. They are giving us a human being. And we get to keep him forever. How weird is that?..

Read More.

July

Birthday Cupcakes specially decorated by the Big Sisters

Birthday Letters for The Boy

… You’ve officially been part of our family for 1 month. Our lives have been turned upside down, but no one’s more than you. It hasn’t been an easy month, but it has been a very good one. Your Daddy and sisters have discovered that you are the best thing they never knew they always wanted. I wanted you all along, but even I am blown away by how important you are to us all. We are enjoying you so much. You are so much fun: so much mischief-making, full-tilt, maniacal laughing, enthusiastic fun. I’m so glad you are part of our family!..

Read More.

Augustunderwear

The Underwear Crisis

… Attempting to harness the power of peer pressure, we celebrate the universality of underwear. Mommy wears panties, L wears panties, C wears panties, EVEN Daddy wears panties. Manly, manly panties to be sure, but as far as B is concerned, EVERYONE wears panties. If we’ve ever met you, chances are we have assured B that you also wear panties…

Read More.

Septemberinbox

Breaking Up With Normal

… I’m ready to just be. Rough edges, awkward pauses and comfortable pants… the me who isn’t trying so hard…

Read More.

Octobersorry

What Do You Say?

… I’ve been absolutely certain that actions trumped words. Wasn’t that the point? Not what we said or how we said it, but what we DID. Sure, I had been a little bit wrong, but he was wrong-er.

So there…

Read More.

Novemberjam

No Such Thing as a Perfect Day

… I made one of the most crucial parenting mistakes: I took it personally. In my head, it wasn’t bedtime or sleeping or being alone that he was fighting – it was ME. My success. My plans. My time to myself.

So I made the situation worse. Turns out harsh whispers of: “Just. Go. To. Sleep.” are not as helpful as you might think…

Read More.

Decembermine

Staking a Claim

The greatest surprise of this adoption (apart from my pitiful stamina in the going-without-sleep-marathon) is how insecure I feel. In my mind I know that things are going well; that attachment is a process and although messy and overwhelmed much of the time, our family is thriving. But my heart is not so confident…

Read More.

So here’s us, in 2012.


Friday Favourites: The End of the World

candlesToday is The End.

Of the Mayan calender.

Not, it would seem, the world.

Since we don’t actually use the Mayan calender. Since most of us had never even heard of it until this year. Since it’s really not this mystical, prophetic word, merely the end of an ancient system of time measurement (according to our Mayan tour guide when we were in Mexico last year). It’s really not worth panicking about. When my calender runs out, I simply go out and get a new one. It doesn’t have to MEAN anything.

But there are a lot of Chicken Littles in this world. At the slightest provocation they jump right to doomsday scenarios. It’s silly, but kind of entertaining as they run around, wringing their hands, worrying about end of days. Remember Y2K? Good times.

At this time last week I heard about the Sandy Hook school shooting. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. For those families it really must feel like the end of the world, no matter what calendar we use. And as much as we want to find a reason and assign blame and make it MEAN something, it was the kind of horrific violence that will never make sense to me.

This is where Christmas can either help or hurt. Either it is an idealized, pretty holiday full of trite and easy answers. OR it is God of the Universe jumping into the chaos, confusion, pain and stupidity that we call life, to be WITH US.

There were end of the world cults in Jesus day. There was senseless cruelty and systematic violence (see: Herod killing all the babies of Bethlehem, Roman torture methods etc.). He wasn’t the instant-fix, beat-up-the-bullies, end-to-all-troubles Messiah they wanted and expected, but he was GOD WITH US. And somehow, even when it doesn’t make sense, that helps.

Prayer

Merciful God, in this Advent season we thank you that you can rewrite the script of our lives,

moving us from wandering to arrival,

from self-hatred to acceptance,

from distance to nearness,

from loneliness to belonging,

from weakness to energy,

and all this because of the enfleshment of your dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus, who became one of us

and showed us the way.

Amen.

From: Thoughts and Prayers of Advent

Christmas for Dummies

I almost gave up on this video, it seemed slow, but the ending is worth it. The point of all this: religion, christmas, theology… is really so simple.

Revolutionary Approach to Christmas

Both challenging and encouraging as we try to downsize Christmas to a more manageable size, Advent Conspiracy is a new way to approach the holidays.

Must See Video

If you haven’t seen Landfill Harmonic yet, then you’re a rotten egg. Triumph of the human spirit, uplifting, inspirational – I’m running out of clichés… you get the picture.

Quote

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

~ Oren  Arnold

So here’s us, where each day the world begins again. And God is with us through it all.

Also, I mispell the word calander EVERY time.


Friday Favourites 38

Tonight the girls watched part of “Yours, Mine and Ours” about two huge families who become one Mega family. Four kids is hardly a mega family, but the lovely chaos on-screen definitely feels familiar. And fun. And exhausting.

Life with 1.6 children is not historically the norm, so maybe we’re not the weird ones after all. And I don’t think it’s just about numbers. Maybe this is just how family life is supposed to be. Not neat and orderly. Not easily manageable. Not picture perfect. Just real and sticky and loud and bumpy and strangely sweet.

Quote

I’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the modern world who has heard that classic AA staple: the “Serenity Prayer.” But I wonder how many, like me, had never heard the whole thing. You know, the parts that don’t fit on a mug or bumper sticker. The extended version has been a huge help to me this week:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Documentary

The best thing about Netflix (other than reruns of favourite tv series from my teen years) is all the documentaries. I’m not the kind of person who often chooses to rent or go to a documentary when there are perfectly shallow, predictable sci-fi/action/dramas out there, but with all these options I find myself watching films made for grown ups, by grown ups. And actually enjoying it.

This week I watched Precious Life, made by an Israeli journalist about the family of a Palestinian baby who needs a bone marrow transplant to survive and is transferred to a Jewish hospital. My favourite part is when the Dr. explains the process of transplant to the family, how the body and the new marrow may fight one another, but they must learn to coexist if he is to survive.

monkeyappPreschool App

Who wants angry birds, when you can have a happy monkey?

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox has cute games of matching, colours and simple puzzles. Enough of a challenge to help them learn, but enough change and rewards to keep it fun. Definitely the best preschool app we’ve got right now.

Big Kid App

iPod art by C
iPod art by C

For older kids (and immature adults like me) this Art of Glow app is pretty fun. Not only can you make pretty, shiny pictures, but you can animate them. Eat your heart out Lite Brite!

Blog

I’ve been enjoying the blog Laments & Lullabies lately. The author wrestles with serious stuff: mental illness, step-parenting, marriage and raising a toddler. She has the two elements I love most: she’s uncomfortably (for some) honest and she’s hilarious. I especially enjoyed Evidence my Toddler is Smarter than Me. So true.

Preview

Fellow dorks: a new Star Trek movie! Yay!

Music Video

It IS December, though I find it hard to believe… so here’s a little Christmas cheer. Love the song. Love Jimmy Fallon. Love the preschool instruments.

So here’s me, off to visit the farm with my city kids today. I wonder if they’ll still be keen to eat bacon after spending some time with it In Real Life?


Friday Favourites 37: Advent

Last day of November. Blink and you’ll miss the next month entirely, it can zip by that fast.

Advent has so many great possibilities, but this year, more than ever before, I am embracing the adage: I can’t do everything. Maybe you can. Maybe Martha Stewart can (millions of dollars and a household staff would help). But me, not so much.

We’re not skipping Christmas this year, we’re just, downsizing.

Quote

Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.

~ Unknown (aka Common Sense)

Advent Tradition

It’s that special time of the year. The tradition we hold most dear. That’s right: Daily Chocolate.

BUT, I’ve got a thing about mainstream chocolate (which uses child slave labour to pick cocoa: mmmm… taste the suffering). So I’m not buying the standard ones anymore.

Enter despair and depression. I know you think I’m talking about the kids, but it’s Glen who nearly wept at the thought of doing without. On the other hand, I nearly wept at the prices of the fair trade calendars. So last year (when I was feeling more Griswald than Grinch) I put together our Fair Trade Advent Calender.

Christmas Countdown: Fair Trade Style

advent

Once it’s made, it’s not much work to tweak and reuse each year. This year the kids are helping put it together, including brainstorming simple family activities for each day: things we’re already doing or can do with little to no prep/hassle. I wonder if “Clean your room” counts as festive fun. I know it’d be fun for me.

Christmas Lights

This year we are NOT putting up our Christmas lights. After watching this, we may never again. I mean, how can you follow something like this?

At first I thought this song was saying something about “Gangland Style.” Some kind of hip hop nod to the mean streets. But then they did the dance at the Wiggles concert and it didn’t seem very gangster-ish after all. What language is that? What does it mean? When did I get so old that I am bothered not understanding the lyrics of a song?

Amphibian Video

C watches this and decides that she really MUST have a pet frog for Christmas. I watch and think, “ha ha ha… ew… NO.” Sorry kid.

Meanest. Mom. Ever.

So here’s us, celebrating Advent without a pet frog or Christmas lights or a daily dose of brown wax popped out of an overpackaged “calender”… and all the better for it.


Friday Favourites 36

Birthday celebrations continue. Several times a day B looks at me, as if it has just occurred to her, “Happy Bir-day Mummy! I luv YOU!”

It never gets old. Apparently, Glen doesn’t feel his McCain Deep ‘n Delicious chocolate cake quite made the grade, so rumor has it the girls will be making me a cake this weekend. I’m hoping to milk this thing right into December.

Quote

The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment.

~Doug Larson

Randomly Generated Compliments

Feeling down? Depressed? Wondering if anyone cares about all your hard work? emergencycompliment.com offers a steady supply of Emergency Compliments to be used at times of great insecurity.

It told me: “Rumor is Disney is basing its next cartoon on you.” and I clicked the I-still-feel-crappy button over and over again until I hit “Your blog is the best blog.”

Thanks. I DO feel better!

Video

I had Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability on my “To Watch Someday When I Have Time” list for over a month. Guess what? I never have time, but I finally watched it anyway.

It was BRILLIANT! Funny and inspiring, and I have found time to watch/listen to it 2 more times since.

I want to be this person. Someone who lives wholeheartedly. Someone who is “willing to let go of who I ‘should be’ in order to be who I am.” A person of Compassion, Courage and Connection. Someone who knows that what makes me vulnerable is what makes me beautiful.

I’m convinced that vulnerability is the first step to being WHO God meant me to be.

Blog

One of my favourite ways to avoid vulnerability is to explain it all away. I slap a clever title on it and make it into bullet points and post it on my blog. Idelette McVicker knocked me upside the head this week when I read She Rises While it is Yet Night.

“I can’t be in my story, if I am constantly trying to make sense of it first.” Ouch. Right.

This article and many like it are the reason I enjoy SheLoves Magazine. I’ve hardly scratched the surface, but there are brilliant writers here, all driven by the same engine: “Let us be women who Love.” They manage to pull it off without being sugary or churchy or insipid.

So here’s me, learning to be a woman who loves, who is vulnerable, who is content.. who is Disney cartoon material.


37 Reasons to Celebrate

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me!

I sound just like one of my kids (B still wishes herself a happy birthday months later). By my age, most women are less enamored with the birthday process than I. They ignore, complain, avoid or simply celebrate “29” year after year. I’ve never understood that.

I’m not gonna lie. I do feel older. And not in the gee-I’m-so mature-and-sophisticated-and-sure-of-myself way. In the I’ve-never-felt-so-tired-and-out-of-touch-and-wth-is-that-cracking-noise-my-knees-are-making way. It doesn’t help that when asked, my husband tells people we are “almost 40” and reminds me that “by his calculations, our lives are nearly half over.” Such a ball of sunshine, that man.

BUT, and this is a big but,

(if you just heard Sir-mix-a-lot singing in your head, that’s a sign you are getting old, too)

I wouldn’t trade it. Not for extra time or a younger body or even the ability to start over. Because it’s been a good life and it’s only getting better. God has blessed me with an embarrassment of riches.

He does it so I can spread it around, make the world better, but also, enjoy what I’ve been given.

So Happy Birthday to me!

At the beginnning of the year I chose One Word to represent this year: DREAM. And though I chafed at the cheesiness of the word itself and the project, it’s forced me to see how powerful they can be. I have so many great dreams. And even though I may not achieve every one (especially all my travel dreams), each one is a reason to celebrate and look forward. It’s not the years under my belt that matter, it’s the ones still to come.

37 DREAMS for the years to come:

  1. Catch a fish.
  2. Try scuba diving.
  3. Write a Novel.
  4. Watch the Hobbit and all 3 LOTR in one sitting.
  5. Tour Europe.
  6. Publish a book.
  7. Watch the Anne of Green Gables play in Prince Edward Island.
  8. Go hang gliding.
  9. Snorkle on the Great Barrier Reef.
  10. Get a blog post on “Freshly Pressed.”
  11. See Les Miserables.
  12. Go on an African Safari.
  13. Finish my Psychology degree.
  14. Spend a weekend in New York City.
  15. Kayak with the whales.
  16. Walk the Cinque Terre (Italy).
  17. Attend a blogging conference.
  18. Visit my sister in Boston.
  19. Speak to a large audience about something I’m passionate about.
  20. Road trip with each of my children (one-on-one).
  21. Learn to crochet.
  22. Celebrate our 20th anniversary in Mexico.
  23. Eat chocolate cake for breakfast
  24. Ride a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs (Venice).
  25. Spend a weekend by myself, in silence.
  26. Take a painting class.
  27. Make my own salsa.
  28. Take the boy to Disneyland.
  29. Tour Israel.
  30. Lead the cheering section each time one of my children graduates/gets married/performs/gives a speech/wins an award/cures cancer…
  31. Go to Comic-Con.
  32. Go on an overnight white water rafting/camping trip.
  33. Reach my ideal weight (and stay there).
  34. Get a PhD.
  35. Become a Grandma.
  36. Ride a motorcycle.
  37. Celebrate our 50th anniversary with all our family.

So here’s me, tooting my own horn. Kind of obnoxious, but it’s my party so I’ll write what I wanna.

What about you? What dreams are on your bucket list? As soon as I cross a few of these off, I’ll need to add some more…


Friday Favourites 35

Life has been steadily improving. Despite a lingering cough we’ve overcome the worst of the flu and are eagerly (and by eagerly, I mean with denial, bargaining and depression) awaiting our flu shots next week.

Halloween was a success. The boy could NOT understand why we wouldn’t let him go INTO the houses we were visiting. He held onto the doorframe and tried to angle his foot in the door, then screamed when I pulled him away. By house #3 we gave up. But Grandma made him the most amazing crab costume, so he looked adorable. Like I said, success.

The girls collected more candy than any one person/family/small nation need consume and we are quietly smuggling buckets of it to Glen’s work. They are allowed to keep whatever fits in a large ziploc. I keep whatever I can stuff into my mouth when they are not looking. Everyone wins.

Hurricane Sandy Photo

You never know what to believe these days. It seems like most of the photos floating around the internet from Hurricane Sandy were photoshopped or of another time or place. But I think this is my very favourite one:

A close runner up is this REAL photo of my family waiting out the storm in Boston. My Dad and Brother-in-law had to put my one-year-old nephew in the playpen, so he wouldn’t mess up their toys. Boys!

Awareness Week

When we brought our daughter home from the hospital and word spread around that she had Down Syndrome people were very supportive. I remember thinking: what a great day and age to be born in, when so many people understand and accept this syndrome. Then my neighbour brought over a plate of muffins, patted my hand and told me she was “sure she’d outgrow it.”

Turns out, there are a lot of people out there who don’t know much about Down Syndrome or what it means in the lives of those who have it. I saw this video a few years ago and I loved it. Despite all the challenges my daughter will face, she has a bright future. Because we’re more alike than different!

Here in Canada it is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week. Now you know.

Way to Build a Family

As you all know, we adopted a child locally from foster care. It is not the easiest route to adoption (though probably the cheapest), and we are huge supporters of it. Reece’s Rainbow works to put children with Down Syndrome in families who will love them forever.

Christmas Gift Idea

I don’t usually sell things on this blog. But for this I will make an exception. It’s one thing I never knew I always wanted. Until now. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I’m a sucker for anything with meaningful words. Not only is it a beautiful bracelet, but it ALSO raises money for Spectrum Mothers Support Society.

This organisation is VERY near and dear to us. It was founded by Sally, the Foster Mom who has held our hand and won our hearts as we walked through adoption. She is the real deal, not only helping children, but Moms too. She and her team help and encourage young mothers, single moms, women in crisis and the like, in hundreds of practical ways. “Shining light into the lives of mothers when they need it most.”

The bracelet is made by her sister (Naturally Heartfelt) and on sale at etsy here.

Quote

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

~ T. E. Lawrence

So here’s me, and my heart has a thousand dreams. One of them involves halloween candy that helps me LOSE weight. I’ll put it in the “unlikely” pile.


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