31 July 2014

The Road Ahead. A Letter to Brinley.....

My Big Sister announcement :)
Dear Brinley,

In the past year and a half, life has been busy. We found out about your sister's diagnosis when mommy was 15 weeks pregnant. We focused on making sure that Adele arrived safely and that while she was growing inside of mommy, she was healthy. We had lots of appointments to make sure that sister's heart was beating properly and that she had no other health concerns. It was a time where mommy and daddy were trying to balance having a baby and taking care of a baby all at the same time. You were always such a good girl.

When you were around 16 months old, our town flooded and we had to go live with Grandma and Grandpa for three months, then your sister was born one month later. Mommy and daddy were so busy worrying about the house and your sister, that sometimes, you didn't get the love and attention that you deserved.

Part of me wants to apologize that you have a sister with special needs. Part of me worries that this will be difficult on you when you are older. Part of me just feels bad. It won't always be an easy journey for you and you will have to stand by your sister and be there for her when she needs you. You may not always want this role, but we need for you to help guide your sister and encourage her to be the best that she can be. Is this asking too much? I don't know, but the journey that we are on will come with some added bumps and maybe a few more mountains that need to be climbed. We need to work together. We need to support one another. Mommy and daddy will always be there for both of you. We will always advocate for you and we will help you reach your full potential. There are no limits.

I worry that when you are teenagers, you won't connect and that you will have different interests. I worry that you won't want to confide in your sister about boys or a crush that you have because you will feel that she won't understand, that she just won't get it.
I worry that you will feel excluded. I worry that you will wish for a sister who didn't have special needs. You will wish for a sister that doesn't have Down syndrome.
I've thought about this many times. I think about the future a lot, although mommy should live in the present and focus on each day rather on what lies ahead. It's tough.

On the other hand, I remember the first time that you met Adele. I remember, you were not even 17 months old and you couldn't wait to hold her. I would put a pillow on your lap and you would touch your sister and hold her hand. You would actually hold her hand. It was so beautiful. I remember taking you to the NICU almost every day and you would sit by your sister's bassinet for hours, you were such a good girl.

I remember bringing Adele home and you were waiting at the front door at Grandma and Grandpa's house. You were so excited. You wanted to feed your sister a bottle and you wanted to snuggle her on the couch. You were so in love.

I watch you when other people come up to Adele and you give them the stare down, you let them know that she is your sister and that they better handle her with care. They also only have a limited time to hold her. You make everybody aware that you are the bigger and older sister and you make the rules when it comes to Adele.

I watch you at home with Adele and how you bring her toys so that she can play. I watch you take her face in your hands and you look deep into her eyes, right down to her soul. You are letting Adele know that everything will be alright. I sometimes wonder if you know that things are a little different.

I watch you kiss her. I watch how you touch her. I watch how you interact with her. I watch how you show her love in so many ways. A love that I have never seen before with other siblings. It's a love that is so deep and so intense.

Every single morning, when you wake up, the very first thing that you say is  "Adele" and you run to her crib. You look in and say "hi", it is the sweetest sight. When Adele goes down for a nap, I see that you miss her and you point out her toys to mommy and you talk about her, you talk about her little nose and her eyes and her tummy. You show just how much you love your sister, in so many different ways.

I worry about the future Brinley. I worry about the bond that you and your sister will have years down the road, but what I see now, is this little girl who loves her sister, unconditionally.

In the past year, I have seen you become a different little girl. Although you are only 2 years old, you have more compassion, you have more love, you smile more, you are part of a world that not everybody has a chance to be a part of. You have a sister with Down syndrome.

Your sister is going to teach this world so much. She is going to teach you to slow down. She is going to teach you that beauty comes in all different forms. She is going to teach you to laugh when you don't feel like laughing. She is going to be your best friend. She is your sister.

I love you Brinley to the moon and back. I love you for who you are and for the little girl that you are becoming. You, my sweet girl have made this world a better place.  You have shown me a love where there is no judgement. It is a pure love. A love that is innocent.

Let's travel this journey together.

Love you,


23 July 2014



This was a difficult post to write...

Today, I didn't want to be a mom. I hit that wall, big time. I wanted to get in the car and drive, all alone, to anywhere but High River. I needed out.
I had no patience. Not one ounce. It was a tough day with a one year old and a two year old.

I didn't want to be a mom and part of me missed the times when I only had to worry about myself and my own needs. Today, I didn't want to take care of anybody.
I didn't want to get up and out of bed and....

1) Get Brinley her milk
2) Get Adele her bottle
3) Get Brinley's breakfast
4) Give Adele cereal
5) Change diapers
6) Repeat all over again for lunch

I sent James a text and told him that I was spent and exhausted and done. I think that as a mom, you only have so much in you to give, before you need to fuel up again, get more energy, find more patience. I don't live a balanced lifestyle, at all. I take care of my kids and family and forget to take care of me. This is why I hit that wall today.
I honestly wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. Adele is needy. I know that everybody just wants to give her snuggles and love her to pieces, but when you walk away to do something, she cries and it makes it difficult to get things done. It gets frustrating and I lose my patience.
Brinley also has needs and jealousy sets in when her sister is getting the attention. Having two babies so close together in age, is hard. They are still babies and they still need their mommy, but how do you do it, when there is only one of you and two of them??

My energy is drained and the monotony of the day is getting to me. I love putting the girls down for naps at the same times because it gives me time to myself and it gives me time to get things done. Brinley isn't always necessarily tired by 11:00am, so she stays up with me. No time for me.

Adele will go down by 10:30am and Brinley, lately, has been going down at 1:30pm. This is not conducive to going out in the afternoon and it also doesn't give this momma any alone time, the time that I need to breathe and focus on my goals for the day.

I remember the days when I got up, went to work, came home, cooked dinner, sat on the couch and watched TV, headed to bed and life was calm. I just did my own thing.
Even going farther back, I remember when I went to work, went out with friends, had dinner and drinks, planned week long vacations and talked about me. I talked about the music that I loved, the movies that I just recently watched, the trip to Paris, London and Rome, the week long vacation in Mexico, where I drank and ate and loved my beach chair.
I remember these days, when it was all about me, and today, I missed it.

You can call me a jerk but this is how I feel.

My life has become slightly boring and monotonous. I need to rejuvenate. I need to find activities just for me. I need to hire a babysitter to come in once a week, during the day, so I can go out and refresh and become whole again.
Our schedule is usually fairly busy, but it is busy with my children. It is play dates and appointments and feedings and bum changes and naps and schedules.
It's difficult to change things up when it's so important to have routine with children. They thrive on routine. I am a teacher, I love routine, but lately, routine is taking me down, it is my enemy.

I have two girls who don't eat the same food. That is difficult.
I have two girls who nap at different times. That is difficult.
I have this baby who needs extra care. That is difficult.

I am a stay at home mom. That is my title. My title is no longer 'TEACHER', my title is a mom. Just a mom. I need more.

I need to find myself again. I don't need the single life. I don't need a life without children. I don't want a life without children. I don't want a life without James.
I want a balanced life. I want to figure out what my mind and body need in order to get back to where I need to be, so that I can be the best wife and mother to James and the girls.

I need a way to keep my energy and my patience level up with my children, all while taking care of the house, my husband and my own needs. I am only 37 years old. I am young. I need to find me again.

I am going to find me again.


14 July 2014

Dear Jennifer O'Brien

Dear Jennifer,

Your family has been on my mind constantly for the past two weeks. I have been grieving right along side of you, however, I have no idea what you are feeling and the emotions that you are experiencing.
I have felt pain. I have felt anguish. I have felt sadness. I have felt bitterness. I have felt rage. My heart has hurt and I have cried tears of sorrow for your family.

I don't know how to say that I am sorry for what you have been experiencing. I don't know how to say that my heart feels such pain and sadness and anguish for you. I can not even fathom the courage that it takes for you get out of bed in the morning and how you are able to get into bed at night not knowing about the well being of your son and family. I am sure that your nights have been long and your days just blend in with one another.

The whole city is in pain for you. The whole province has been grieving and praying for the safe return of your family. The world has watched your story on the news, not knowing what they could do to ease your pain.

I am a mother. I have two beautiful girls and I have not intentionally put myself in your shoes, but it enters my mind, what would I do in your situation? How would I cope? How would I carry on? How would I be able to continue breathing, not knowing the whereabouts of my child? I don't know that I could do it. I don't know how I could still be a mother to my other child and in your case, how do you pull together the strength every day to be a mother to your other children. For me, this is just a scenario, for you, this is real. I am sorry.

Today was the day that we all found out the news. We found out that your child and family will not be returning home. I know that my words will not bring you comfort, my words will not ease your pain, my words will not bring back your beautiful son and family.

My heart broke today and I wept. I wept for you and your husband and your children. I wept for your extended family. I wept because I don't know how you could possibly heal from such tragedy. I wept for myself, although this sounds selfish, I thought of my children and my parents. I wept for all the other parents who have experienced the loss of a child.

You have heavy days ahead and many mountains that you will have to climb. I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry. You are not alone. You will never be alone. You have so many people who will carry you through this hardship and tragedy. We will all support you. We will all pray for your healing. We will come together as a community and try to re-build your strength and your faith in humanity.
My prayers are for you.


13 July 2014

Where's the DAMN spare key??? :)

We are back from holidays. We spent a week in Radium BC and loved it. Brinley owned the pool and Adele couldn't get enough of the pool snuggles with mommy, under the umbrella on our lounging chair. So relaxing, co calm and so perfect.
The trip was smooth sailing except for the one day when mommy and daddy almost lost their minds. That was the day when Brinley locked herself in the trailer. Yup, locked herself in, with all of the keys. On one of the days that it would reach 35 degrees Celsius.
It went a little something like this.....

It was nap time for Brinley, so I took her into the trailer, put her down, turned on the spa channel and I left. Brinley immediately got up and came to the door, I opened it and ushered her back to bed.
All good.
She got up again and instead of opening the door, she locked it. I didn't quite realize that the door was locked until I went to open the door so that I could put her back to bed.
Pulled on the handle and yup, Brinley locked the damn door.
James and I were trying to explain to her how to unlock the door and we must have said around twenty times to push on the red lever. She was hysterical and thought that she was in trouble. Every time I told her to unlock the door, she started to cry again. She was getting more upset and James and I were started to get a little worried.
I had turned the air conditioner off when I put her down because it wasn't that warm outside yet, I figured we had another couple of hours before it needed to be turned back on. I cooled down the trailer before nap time so it was quieter and she could hear her spa music. No lack of spoiling!
The neighbours heard us yelling through the door and after a few minutes, they both came over to see if they could help out.

We were trying to come up with a plan. James decided that he would call my parents to see if they had a key hidden somewhere. I mean, come on, everybody hides keys, in flower pots, under decks, under a brick, somewhere, except for my parents.
Brinley decided to go take a nap. She had given up and was tired from crying and from thinking that we had locked the door, we were keeping her inside the trailer.
Another set of neighbours came over. It was starting to get hotter outside and this is when I started to get concerned about the temperature inside the trailer. It got hot fast and I realized that we didn't have two hours, the trailer would be getting warm fairly quickly. I mean, I knew that she would be ok, and if we were that concerned, we would smash a window.
One of our neighbours, Karen, went to all of trailers and cabins and asked for each family to come with their keys to see if one worked.
Key after key after key and nothing worked.

Smile Adele!
In the meantime, I was trying to google locksmiths in the area. I couldn't find anything. One of the neighbours, Bob, pulled out his trusty AMA card and called to see if we could get a locksmith out immediately.
The locksmith in the area was currently out of the area and there was no cell phone coverage. They would call back within 10 minutes.
I could do ten minutes.
As long as Brinley stayed sleeping, I was doing ok.
A couple of the neighbours asked how I was doing and when I was asked, I was wondering if I should be panicking. Should I be crying? Should I break a window? Should I bang on the door and slide my hand down the glass in despair? Maybe I needed to be a little more emotional? Maybe I am too calm? Maybe I should call the fire department and have them axe down the door???? No, my dad will kill me. I will stay calm and drink heavily later! :)

James and I don't do well when chaos hits. We lose our patience quickly with each other and get snappy. We get irrational and say things that are silly. We need to work on how we deal with stressful situations. It obviously doesn't work when you aren't supporting each other.

Best swimming tube!

The manager heard about our situation and came over to help. He told us that he had a friend ten minutes away who is a locksmith. OK! DONE!
It took him around twenty minutes to get to the campground and just as he pulled up, Brinley woke up.
The neighbour and James had removed the screen in one of the windows, in hopes that James could get Brinley to grab the trailer keys and bring them to him.
She woke up and was a little teary. James told her to bring him the keys and she listened. She was rescued!
I opened the door and it stunk like poop in the trailer.
Poor little peanut had shit her diaper, probably out of fear. Glad we haven't started potty training yet. That could have been a whole different problem. :)
We still paid the locksmith, although I thought that maybe he would have given us a deal. There was no sympathy. Oh well!

The trailer tragedy turned out ok. Toddler was rescued, no injuries, no extreme heat, no therapy needed, hopefully.

Daddy snuggles :)
We took the girls to the pool after the eventful morning. While we were at the pool, there were two little boys playing. They were around six and seven years old. They were constantly arguing, hitting each other and using words like; crap and hell. They were used in a way that I know this is how they speak at home.
I was a little surprised but thought that it could be worse.
What came next? The seven year old told his brother to FUCK OFF! Yup, that's what he said, loud and clear and it just flowed too easily out of his mouth.
I gasped, loudly.
Then I said "dear lord!"
This is when the mom decided to get up off of her chair and go take her son out of the pool. She didn't move immediately after he said it, she moved after I gasped and made a comment.

A lot of growing happens in two years!

She yanked him out of the pool and went into the bathroom and actually washed his mouth out with soap. A mouthful of liquid soap, a verbal licking and told him he wouldn't be going back in the pool for the remainder of the day.
Within twenty minutes, he was back in the pool.
She went up to James later on and told him that she has no idea where he gets that from, that language, but mentioned to somebody else earlier on, that she sometimes says it while driving.
I am far from perfect and I have said things that I have not been proud of, but let me tell you, if my child came out with that kind of language, there would be hell to pay. It's not ok, it's not right and it's trashy. But wait, would I give my child a whoopin' or would I re-evaluate how we speak at home? They are learning this from somewhere and my guess is it involves how you are parenting your child.
It made me realize just how much our children soak in our actions and our words. They are listening to every word that comes out of ours mouths. They listen to our arguments with our spouses. They listen when we are talking on the phone. They are always listening.
A seven year old should not be dropping F bombs and saying it without any hesitation. The whole week that we were at the pool, it was constant, the boys were always in trouble for saying something, for doing something wrong, for bullying each other. I was getting annoyed.

Driving back home :)

So, this week....I have a goal and I hope you will give it a try. Be conscious about what comes out of your mouth. Be conscious of your actions towards others. Be conscious of your words and behaviour when in front of your children. Be a good role model. Be somebody who your child looks up to and who respects.

Children are great imitators.
So give them something great to imitate.


Adele's Over the Rainbow Baskets - Down syndrome LOVIN