Monday, December 14, 2009


My thoughts often wander when I'm admiring or thinking about my youngest son. I have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes I'm angry when I think about the things he struggles with that come so easy to most others. All the time I'm protective and want to shelter him from the ugliness in this world... that he most often doesn't see. And too many times to count, I'm so touched by his innocence and honestly that I start to cry. The love I feel for him is so fierce that catches me off guard... much like he does with his comments out of left field.

I rarely know how to put all of this into words though... which is why I was so moved by another mother's post that I decided to steal it and post it here to share with anyone who happens by... she had a wonderful way of capturing how I feel:

A Little Piece Of God
Posted by Anonymous.

I have an autistic son who is truly a bit of God broken off and fallen to this earth. I am fortunate in a million ways that he is oh... let's say autism-lite. He has none of the most challenging behavioral and cognitive elements of the disorder and his therapy is moving faster than anyone could have imagined.

I am in no way brave about this, and his diagnosis did very nearly turn me to dust, but recently someone asked that I write a letter to her friend, a stranger, who is struggling with her daughter's recent diagnosis. So I gave it my best shot.

This diagnosis is a pointing finger and nothing more. And now it’s my turn to whisper the important words - words that flicker just brightly enough to keep you from falling the whole hard way down: Your beautiful child remains your beautiful child, regardless of where a finger points. Mothers of auties pass those words down to new mothers of auties like some families pass down silver, and it may well be that this one act and these few words are the single speck of autism that we mothers hold in common. Autism is so many things, so many different ways of being.

People will ask you “what is autism?”. Believe me, they’ll ask you all sorts of things, but when they ask this particular question, they may as well ask, “what is skin?” How do you answer? How can you? But since no mother begins this trip with answers and since you cannot give what you don’t yet have, leave it, just leave it. . . Also, it’s very important right now that you pack lightly, so you must leave other people’s stuff behind. This is your trip and that pointing finger is where you start. Take this road through whatever terrain you must - anger, grief, frustration - and know that you will come out the other side a changed and stronger mother.

Go ahead and take the long road with all the hills and muddy spots. Stop where you feel the need, think a lot about turning around, and understand that you will always bitch about why you have to do all the damned driving. But you will drive and drive. And then drive some more. You will keep moving forward, I promise. Claim your place now among like-minded mothers and know that we are tough. We will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder, stretch mark- to-stretch mark because we have all done the drive, in our own way, at our own speed with our own stretch of muddy spots.

My autie is a million kinds of magic to me. Just as he had no words for the first five-ish years of his life, nor do I have words to explain our bond. His everyday obstacles show up on time every day, but they loom only as large as we allow. So often, too often, we show off those obstacles —we set them apart and make absolutely certain that we can say, “That’s my kid there, and wow, will you just look at the size of his obstacles ? They are RIGHT THERE and THEY ARE HUGE.”

Let me be very clear now, that those same obstacles have no power over the magic, not the least little bit. Say that outloud to yourself right now. Good. This child sits closest to my heart and I can tell you that even in his worst moments, I can see tiny bits of my best self. He is unbridled joy. He has a lightness that comes in quite handy during the darks. And while my chaos is just boring mommy chaos, his chaos is—well, he’s often quite glorious in his chaos. My own road is occasionally strewn with his gifts of glory wrapped in sticky chaos.

Now, understand that these gifts are rare and precious, mostly unexpected and sometimes quite sticky. Some days you will have to look long and hard to find even the dullest one. Some days you’ll give up looking altogether. Again, please know that giving up on today can never, ever forfeit the gifts scheduled for tomorrow. Keep looking. You’ll see. My son’s diagnosis shattered me like a rock hitting glass - a big ugly hard thing hitting a not very sturdy at all thing. We sat in that tiny room with the tiny chairs and filled out those very not-tiny-at-all pages of parent questionnaires and I cried. The whole time. Long pages. Lots of crying. Not a good day, to be sure, but one that you’ve now survived.

You remember the tiny room with those tiny chairs, and you surely recall filling out the stack of parent questionnaires. You might also recall that your answers were often limited to three choices: Often, Sometimes and Not At All. So do you bend your beautiful child to fit those tight little circles? Oh, you know that answer already. And when you worry that your child's diagnosis might change how you see them, who they are, and who they might become, that answer fits quite nicely into one of those circles:

That answer is Not At All.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Apparently penis-envy is real...

Our drive to school this morning was made to the sound of my sons' uncontrollable fits of laughter. They couldn't stop giggling and squealing after their 3 year old sister announced (among her Christmas wish list items):

"I want a penis!"

(I think that's a little outside of Santa's scope honey!)

But look! She's not the only one:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I get phone calls from the school.

Sometimes from teachers, often from the principal.... but always about #1 son.

You know those calls?

So yesterday, when the principal phoned me, I immediately starting thinking "lovely, what's he done now?"

I was a little surprised to find out she was calling about #2 this time.

Funny how we presume.

The call wasn't the end of the world... just something minor to talk with him about when we got home.

But I couldn't resist the temptation to see if I could make #1 squirm when he got in the van. I was SURE he'd have the same reaction I had when the principal called me earlier.

As soon as he'd hopped in the van and done up his seat belt, I turned to him and said:

"I got a call from Ms. L today"

I was waiting for him to squirm but just about died laughing when he replied:

"Not Ms. L - you mean Ms. M!"

(Ms. M teaches him french and science....this was way too good to pass up!)

"Sorry.... so you know what Ms. M was calling about?"

"I just blurted out a word in class... it wasn't even a bad word! She just said my "timing" was inappropriate!"

Then I was laughing.

"Son, Ms. M didn't call me today, you didn't let me finish; Ms. L called me today about your brother.... but thanks for letting me know about french class - you just copped to something your mom didn't know about!"

The look on his face was priceless. Realizing he'd just told on himself...

And then he was laughing along with me. We were laughing at him for thinking the same thing I had: He hears that the principal called his mom and immediately starts trying to think of what he did that day.

It was great. I owned that boy yesterday ;)

(I may have to try this again some day... who knows what this kid is getting away with?)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Coolest Room in the House!

The beaming smile says it all... He love Love LOVES his new bed and new room.

Isn't this the coolest bed ever?? Our neighbors sold it to us for a song after they bought it for their daughter and she was too scared to sleep up there. SCORE!

He's sleeping in there already - apparently he was moving favorite toys into drawers before Dad was even finished setting everything up.

We haven't even got his blind hung on the window yet but he couldn't wait.

I love putting that kind of smile on this little boy's face.

And I'm proud of his big brother (who's got to be at least a tiny bit jealous) because he's being a really great sport. Mind you, he does have a room all to himself now too. He'll be pretty pleased with himself when we get that, formerly shared, room sorted out and set up for him alone.
Great end to the day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

His RED Room

When we asked him what color he wanted he wanted his new room to be, my 8 year old said "RED!".

So red it is!

We just finished laying the carpet and putting on the baseboards tonight... and he was absolutely thrilled when we showed it to him. The boys have been sharing a room for 3 years now. It's been fine, but they're getting older and this is going to be a wonderful change for them... and they're both looking forward to being able to kick the other out whenever they want to!
This room used to be my husband's shop... although, to be fair, for at least the last year it's sole function has been a collection place for any all items in our home with no other place to go. Basically a junk storage room with alot of tools buried in there somewhere. It had the bare cement floor, the old pull-chord light, exposed frames from the inside of the walls facing out of the room... plumbing and duct work exposed... and the underside of our front entrance way. It was alot to "hide" and a ton of work to finish.

I'm thrilled just to be DONE!!

I've decided that I hate home renovating. Unless we paid someone else to come in and do it... I think I could live with that. But doing it yourself just takes so long... when all the time you have to devote to the project is the bits and pieces of your evenings & weekends that aren't already consumed by two boys in hockey.

Still... there is a sense of pride in a job well done... I'm just happy right now.

(even though I was so excited to take pictures of the "finished" product that I forgot to put the switch-plate back on!)

Tomorrow we'll bring in the new bed we bought for him. Did I say he was thrilled with his new bedroom? He ain't seen nothing yet!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It's got to be their favorite night of the year... except for maybe Christmas Eve?

Probably a toss-up... they definitely don't get this much candy at Christmas!

My oldest got all excited yesterday and went all out... digging through boxes that haven't seen the light of day in who knows how long - adding to the meager Halloween decorations I'd put up. His excitement was contagious... I even got motivated enough to pull out the window faces we haven't put up the past few years. Those things have held up well! They're just black felt and tissue paper... and probably close to 10 years old already. Still fun though... and in one piece!

My Grandmother was thrilled with our before trick-or-treating visit this year... usually we try to cram it in after the kids are done for the evening (and already tired-out from their travels) but with Halloween being on a Saturday, we were ready way too early to start going door-to-door - so off to Great-Grandma's we went.

Last year, at two, my girl enjoyed trick-or-treating and getting candy in her bag from our neighbors, but this year, at three, the pure thrill of Halloween really kicked in for her. She was awesome to watch: "Trick or TREAT!!" she'd yell at the top her lungs at each door (or usually as she was racing up their walks). She'd chatter at everyone who came to a door and most laughed at how adorable she was. "Tank-you! Happy Halloween" was her standard as she was turning to JUMP off their steps in her hurry to keep up with her big brother in the race to the next house.

I love trick-or-treating with the kids when they're little. Is there anything cuter?

My 10 year old struck out on his own this year for the first time... too cool for his little siblings now, I guess - and anxious to hook up with some friends so they could really cruise. The kid scored more than a full pillowcase of loot... I could barely lift it!

All in all, a perfect night... no snow on the ground, not too cold... and more candy in the house than I can possibly think of what to do with.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zero to Sixty...

We just had a weekend, right?

I missed that somehow.

Have you ever felt like you were so busy there just wasn't time to do anything.... but then something happens, like someone flicking a switch, and you realize you had no clue was busy even was??

That's how I feel right now.

Hockey season has come. My husband is coaching one son's team and I am managing another.

I haven't found my bed on the near side of midnight in over a week (not that I was particularly great at finding it before that... but before I was "wasting" time, not "spending" it)

I'm hanging tight to the knowledge that this frantic time at the start of the season... when teams are forming and everything has to be done right now, will only last for a brief time.

Pretty soon we'll be into our standard winter routine and I won't feel so pressed... I just hope we reach that point while I still have hair... or at least some left that's not grey yet.

Word to my husband: I will help you with whatever you need for your team, but if you think hockey is an excuse to abandon our son's partially finished bedroom, you're mistaken! (you don't need sleep buck up!) Sincerely, your loving, but tired wife.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Filling Thier Needs

My oldest son has the most awesome teacher this year. It's the first time he's been taught by a male teacher and I was looking forward to a firmer hand in taming my oldest's ... ummm... energy, shall we say.

And as the year progresses I couldn't be happier... this teacher, Mr. N. has succeeded in gaining the kids respect and maintaining order - mostly through his creative and innovative discipline style. At the beginning of the year, Mr. N. gave parents notice that he would regularly hold kids back for 15 minutes at the end of the day if there were any difficulties during class time that needed extra attention... and asked us if we preferred to be contacted by phone or email if our child would be staying on any particular day.

When he does keep them, those 15 minutes are put to good use. The imaginative punishments doled out during his detention periods have us parents laughing almost every day.

My son's best friend NR was getting in the habit of being really slow getting his morning routine accomplished and getting to his desk during the allotted time in the mornings... yesterday was particularly bad - so he earned an extra 15 minutes at the end of his day.

15 minutes to practice his morning routine.

When his Mom got there to pick him up she got to watch him: He put his coat on, walked to the door... then turned, proceeded back to his hook, hung up his jacket, changed his shoes, sat down at his desk, turned and said "Good morning Mr. N.!". To which Mr. N. replied "Good morning NR!".

Then he did it again. He got in several rounds during the 15 minutes... and by the third "Good morning Mr. N!" it was pretty hard to keep a straight face....

Today was my son's turn.

I guess he was disrupting class with air guitar renditions.... so when I got to the school to pick him up I was informed that he was still in Mr. N's room: Doing "air guitar".

Huh?? I had no idea what they were talking about so I wandered over to his classroom and sure enough, he was standing in there doing a mad air guitar - complete with sound effects... providing background entertainment to all the parents and kids as they were leaving. And any time he quieted or slowed down, Mr. N. would encourage him to pick up the volume or pace.

He told me that my son obviously had a need to play air guitar and he's all about filling the kids' needs. I couldn't help laughing - what a perfectly appropriate punishment!

The guitar was sounding a little tired by the end of 15 minutes.... I don't suppose it's as much fun when you have to do it ;)

I love this teacher.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We made it One Whole Week.

One week to the day of NOT having to visit Children's hospital!

Only this time I got to see areas of the new Children's Emergency that I've never visited before.

After all the trips I made last week to take my youngest son in for his IV antibiotic treatments, several of the staff were familiar - and a couple recognized me... even though I was there with his older brother this time.

First time in ten years that I've ever taken a child in for a suspected fracture. We've gone for cuts (how proud am I? Every one of my three kids has a scar already!) and illnesses... and most recently major infections... But never for a broken bone.

My boy was playing "Manhunt" with his buddies after school today ( it's some version of tag they're mad about right now). He was racing around the new play structure in his schoolyard... darting to avoid a tag, when he lost his footing in the wood chips and skidded, shin-first, into one of the large, metal support columns.

I thought it was just a bad bump... you know how much really whacking your shin hurts! But a few hours later, the swelling and bruising were impressive enough to warrant a drive for pictures.

So this was the first time I've ever been sent to X-ray with my child. And I have to say, the X-ray department waiting room is so cool - the ceiling tiles are painted dark blue like a night sky and have dozens and dozens of mini-lights embedded... in the shape of the constellations even! It seems like no matter where you go in this new facility, the decorating and playful decor just make being in a hospital as fun as possible. It's awesome.

But even better is having my son's X-rays showing that there is no hairline or compression fractures hiding under the bruise. He may be limping for a day or two... and he'll be watching his first team practice from the sidelines tomorrow, but at least he won't be missing the first half of hockey season or anything.

Here's looking forward to more than a week before my next visit to the hospital!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Cabin in the Woods!

Picture proof of how far we've gotten!

Two weeks ago (or was it three?)... before our boy got sick, my children stayed a day with their aunt and cousins so that we could spend one last fall day working on the cottage before we closed it down for the winter. I've been meaning to post some pictures ever since but have never made the time to do it... between the start of hockey, construction on our son's soon-to-be new bedroom in the basement... and spending the majority of the past week either in, or driving to and from Children's hospital, it hit the back burner. But better late than never!

After two seasons of solid work (along with plenty of non-work time enjoying the place as we progressed!), our cottage is *almost* done! There's plenty of finishing left to do inside, and a deck to add to the front next summer, but we finished the siding on the shed... and my Mom & I even made the time to cut a cute little moon in the outhouse door! (painting still to come).

I've talked before about how much my family has fallen in love with the cottage community that we've built in. The kids love the time we spend up here... as do we, and I look forward to years of time spent at the cottage, building summer memories. We have power now, but just like my years growing up at our "old" family cottage, I don't intend for TV or electronic entertainment to invade our "getting away from it all" time. Right now our time is filled with the outdoors... swimming, boating, walking, bike riding and playing in the woods. In the evenings, or on rainy days, family board games, puzzles, cards and coloring fill our time. We all have so much fun together - and no one ever has the time to be board or miss what we left behind in the city.

It's perfect. And we built it all... it's an amazing sense of accomplishment: from the weekends spent clearing brush, to the early days of the building... all the way to where we are today - I have pictures of it all... including the fun we had... and everyone who worked so hard - or helped along the way: My Dad and husband, my Mom & me... my uncle and aunt and brothers - even the kids! When we're finally all-the-way finished, I plan to document it all in a scrapbook that will have a place somewhere up there... so that my children, future nieces and nephews... and their children, will be able to look back at the roots of this family cottage.

Our own little cabin in the woods.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wishful Thinking!

(He actually asked if he could ride to his friend's house!)

Home Free!

Well we're finally home - to stay I hope! My boy received his 7th round of IV antibiotics Friday night and Doctors finally decided that we've seen enough improvement to switch to oral antibiotics instead! So they pulled his line and let us go... I'm so glad it's over.

He was so excited to have the use of both hands again... on the way home I over-heard him play-acting a conversation between the two:

"Partner! I'm so glad to see you! (picture the two hands "talking" to each other) Oh partner I've missed you so much... I never want to be away from you again. When we get home we can play with our toys and even the PS2"

Funny little man. But I get his relief at finally being set free... it must've been such a frustrating week for him trying to do everything single handed. And I'm thrilled that we didn't have to head out for the hospital for the first morning in 4 days. Thank God.

Now it's just a regular 10 day prescription of antibiotics and we should be able to put this whole thing behind us. He'll probably have a scar on the back of his leg where the infection broke through, but other than that, he'll be none the worse for wear.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

4 days, $51 and a tank of gas...

So we're into day four of our twice daily trips to Children's hospital ER for IV antibiotic treatments. And my boy's been such a trooper.

I suppose it helps that the nurses and doctors there are so wonderful... after 8 shifts, there's usually a few that recognize him when we come in - and he's charmed them all just like he does everyone who spends more than 5 minutes talking to him. I don't know what it is about him that makes everyone around him just want to take care of him... but they're all so sweet and gentle with everything they do, they've made this entire week as easy as it could be.

He's comfortable. He actually likes the ER... he plays for a few minutes each time we come in... gets mesmerized by whichever movie they have playing on the big flat screen - it's such an amazing hospital. Our city is so privileged to have a facility like this here. Every part of it is designed to make being sick easier on kids (and parents). The only thing we're missing is some free parking!

But this is getting old. He cried tonight for the first time during his treatment... he was saying that it hurt and was hot - like burning as it was going in. They stopped it for a minute to give him a break, flushed his IV with some saline and then turned it back on slower... which he still didn't like, but at least tolerated better. Nothing was different tonight than any of his previous treatments... all they could figure was that because he's had the IV in for so long now, his poor little vein is probably just getting tender and irritated.

And he's so over having his hand bound. He was frustrated today at having to do everything one handed... and not being able to play with his toys, or his video games... the poor kid can't even pull up his own pants when he needs to use the washroom. He's eight and he needs someone to zip his jacket and buckle his seat belt. I'd be frustrated too. I'm surprised he went two full days before complaining about it.

I wish it could be done with. I really thought he'd only need one or two treatments before we could switch to oral... maybe three at the most.

Tonight was #5... and tomorrow morning will be his 6th. Because yeah, we've been condemned to another day...

I was disappointed to see no change when we went in this morning... but tonight? When they took off the bandage I was thrilled - excited! The redness had finally receded and was smaller than the last borders drawn... the color was down, there was less heat and the wounds looked like they were finally drying. It's a long way from healed, but the tide has turned I think!

I was totally expecting the Dr to come in and say it was time to pull the line and let him go to oral meds instead. But I respect his prudence in the decision to continue the course another day in light of this first sign of improvement first.

I'm just not looking forward to tomorrow morning's treatment after how much trouble he had with tonight's. I'll just cross my fingers that it improves as much overnight as it did over today so the Dr will decide to cut us loose after the morning dose....

At least I can sleep better tonight now that I can SEE my boy getting better. It's been a rough week...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not so squeaky wheels

I have two kids who will scream blue murder about the tiniest little thing... aches, pains, upset tummies... you name it, it's worth getting some attention over. And then there's my youngest boy. He rarely complains. And if he does cry, you KNOW he's hurt bad.

He's the tough one I guess. I guarantee he has a higher pain threshold than I do...

Only sometimes that old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease is all too true... and being tough isn't a good thing.

I have one very sick little boy on my hands.

And I feel terrible because it took me so long to even realize it. I know that if it were either of my other two, I would have known and taken them in at least 24 hours sooner....

Guilt sucks. Parental guilt sucks even worse.

When I picked him up from school on Monday, he was complaining about an itchy leg... "an itchy wet leg". The "wet" thing made me stop right there and pull up his shorts leg to look... and what I saw was a small wound (like a scab that had been scratched off, or maybe a bug bite?) that had obviously been scratched at for a while. He'd made it bleed. It was gross but I'd seen much worse... no biggie.

So when we got home I took a minute to clean it up with disinfectant, put some polysporin on it and cover it with a bandaid. I even rubbed some after-bite on the area around the bandaid to calm down the itching so he wouldn't get after it any more. Then we moved on to the chaos of our evening and I never gave it another thought.

That evening, at hockey, he told his Dad that his leg was hurting. I only got this message yesterday when we were putting it all together....

Then the next morning (Tuesday, yesterday) he told me he wasn't feeling good - his stomach hurt. He seemed fine otherwise: no fever, good appetite, no other complaints... and normally I wouldn't instantly keep a kid home just because of some indefinable "sore tummy" on a school day (you know, one of those), but this is my boy who NEVER complains about anything. So I took him at his word and kept him home.

He laid on the couch watching movies, seemingly perfectly fine (no more complaints) for the rest of the morning. I decided, since he didn't really seem sick at all, I wouldn't waste the day and he could tag along with me while I ran some errands. But when he got up to get his shoes and jacket, he was limping. I asked him why and he said "I don't know, my leg is funny".

That didn't make much sense - but I just thought maybe it had fallen asleep or something from laying around for a few hours or whatever... and off we went.

I really should know better. This is my boy on the autism spectrum... he says the most bizarre things sometimes and his descriptive word choices can be totally off the wall. Like saying he has a "nervous throat" to describe that tightening you get when you're upset, etc.

I should have looked at "funny".

Instead, I drug this poor child along with me while I traipsed through the mall stopping at three stores I needed to hit... limping the whole time. But not complaining! He was just thrilled when we stopped for a few minutes at the pet store to check out the animals... and the popcorn I bought him from Kernals more than made up for the boredom of his having to wait while I shopped a bit.

It wasn't until we were back home, at 3:00 in the afternoon, that I noticed how gingerly he was sliding out of the van. It was a full 24 hours since his "itching" complaint before I asked him how bad his leg hurt and even thought to take a look at it again.

I didn't even connect the two issues: small scratched open scab + sore leg... until I looked at the red, swollen, baseball-sized area around my bandaid patch job. We left for Children's right then.

And when we got there it was relatively quiet... I told them I thought some kind of allergic reaction or infection was spreading on my son's leg. They took a look and got us into a room about 20 minutes later. And when the nurse removed my bandaid to reveal not one small wound, but a now large HOLE and a second opening both oozing puss, I think we effectively settled on infection pretty quick.

They took a sample to culture and decided, based on the extent and it's quick progression, to start him on IV antibiotics. Even though we don't really know which bacteria is involved, they've started him on something to kill both strep & staph (the most likely culprits). He has a pill he needs to take a 1/2 hour before the course of antibiotics (supposed to boost their effectiveness?)... so he got that then we had to wait. Then the actual IV takes half an hour. Then the flushing of the IV & wrapping....

They drew a line around the large red area surrounding the wounds with a pen. I remember my mother (or maybe my grandmother?) telling me never to write on myself within ink when I was a kid (after I colored myself some pall-point tattoos?) because I could get blood poisoning or something... I'm not quite sure - I just know that I've always thought it was a really bad thing to do. However, I'm going to assume that it was just another one of those old wives tales because really, these are medical doctors - so I'm not going to question them on their choice in instruments when coloring on my child. They should know, right?

The line was to mark the area so that we could see, at the time of his next IV course, how the borders of the infection area had changed. Then they dressed the wound, disconnected and carefully wrapped the IV port on his hand, and sent us on our way. We were there for about 4 hours, all told.

2-3 years ago, they started doing IV antibiotics on an out-patient basis in the ERs. I think it's a great idea. I mean, what's the point in corralling an otherwise-well child in a hospital room for days just because they need a half hour of medical care every 12 hours? My boy would have been completely stir crazy (like every other kid out there, I'm sure) within hours. But this way, he could be in the comfort of his own home until it was time to come back for another course of the IV antibiotics. And they told me that when they could see that it was working (ie: the affected area was getting smaller) they would switch him to oral antibiotics instead.

I'm still waiting for that.

My boy was so sick on the way home from the hospital after that first treatment last night. We live 20 minutes from Children's hospital - and I had to stop 3 times because he was going to be sick. He didn't actually puke until we made it to our own front yard... but it was awful seeing him feeling so bad. At our second stop he walked out from the van onto the grass area I'd stopped beside and just fell to his hands and knees.... then he put his forehead on the ground, and then lay right down on the cold damp grass. My poor baby. I picked him up and helped him back to the vehicle - I just wanted to get him home! I was so worried. I've never seen him this sick. He looked like the walking wounded... what with the limp and the hunch and now the pale "I'm-going-to-heave-any-second" look on his face.

He slept good though. And this morning when I woke him bright and early to go get dose #2, he was walking better. We had to leave at 6:30 to get there ahead of our 7:00 designated time. Every 12 hours... I guess I should just be thankful right now that he didn't get his first course at 3 in the afternoon or something awful like that! Can you imagine?? 7:00 (am/pm) I can do....

This morning we were in and out in a hour. There wasn't a single person in the waiting room (first time I've ever seen that!). It was too soon for any results from his culture... and I was sad to see that the area hadn't shrunk at all - in fact it was spread a tiny bit past the ball point border from the night before. But we were really early in the course of treatment and he was feeling so much better that everything seemed really positive. He's walking better and says it doesn't hurt much anymore... and he's his usual happy self...

We spent a pretty quiet day at home. He didn't get sick after the second treatment (thank GOD)... but he was a little more tired than usual. To be expected I guess.

We were back there tonight for course #3. And we walked in to a line-up... and a very busy waiting room. I was prepared to wait. They'd warned me that they would try to get us in as soon as possible... but emergencies, understandably, have to come first... and if there just aren't any treatment rooms open... well, you might wait. Evenings are always their busiest times... and It's OK... my kid isn't suffering (now) and I would rather see a baby in respiratory distress or a toddler bleeding profusely from a head wound go first (I've been THAT Mom before too!). But there must not have been any real emergencies... because we were in and out in about an hour & 20 minutes this time. With a Popsicle to boot.

Only tonight, when they removed the wrapping, the angry red borders of the wound have almost doubled in size. Again. In 24 hours, again. And I'm thinking they should already be shrinking if the antibiotics are working? I really thought that tonight would be our last trip... that he would be switching to oral meds because he's feeling better and everything's looking good. But that's not what's happening. I'm trying not to panic as news stories of flesh eating disease flash through my head... and I'm trying to believe the Dr's reassurances that it's expected that it will "spread a little". But double in size?? Really?

So I'm clinging to the fact that my boy tells me he's feeling better... and it's obvious that the pain is down. Neither of those would be happening if something wasn't working, right?

So tomorrow morning, bright and early once again, I will take my son to Children's for course #4 of these antibiotics. And there's a hope that the culture might be showing something... and I'm just praying that the infection is finally getting smaller. They drew a new border tonight... it takes up the entire inside and some of the back of his thigh now...

I'm ready for this to be over already. It's so ugly and awful... I took a picture of it yesterday to show my husband - and made the mistake of letting my son see what the abscesses on his leg looked like. He freaked (my bad)... and I'm thinking it's a really good thing it's in a place that he really can't see well himself... if yesterday upset him, the way it looks today would really send him over the edge.

My poor child. What a lesson this is. I have to watch, and really pay attention, to this little man so much more than his "squeaky-wheel" siblings. I have no doubts that I'll always know when something's bothering them before it's too late... but this one? This is an awful way to learn the lesson of how something so small, when overlooked for just a short time, can so quickly blow up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Such a girl...

My daughter, at 3, has more interest in her clothes than both of my boys put together. She has the need to try on several outfits in a day... which is frustrating from a laundry point of view.

I hate the laundry that I HAVE to do... I despise additional laundry accumulating for "fun".

But apparently I just didn't understand this little mini-me of mine....

Yesterday, when I tried to tell her she didn't NEED new clothes after daycare every day, she got really upset... it took me a few minutes to understand why...

All this time I thought it was just her being "such a girl" and wanting new outfits (dress-up is already a favorite pastime).

But it's actually her wanting to be just like me: Every day when I come home I change out of my "working clothes" and into my "playing clothes". And she notices what I'm wearing (which I doubt my boys do even now at ages 8 & 10!).... on days when I don't change right away I'm invariably faced with the question "Mommy, why you still have working clothes?"

So she's picked up my habit: Every day when we come home now, she wants to change out of her "daycare clothes" into her "playing clothes".

It's a ritual... and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

She's so darn cute, I've decided the laundry is worth it ;)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Promises

Open letter to my husband:

We first met in 1992. I didn't know what to think of you then - you were a little wild, a little crazy and really different than anyone else I'd ever met. I had just graduated from high school and had followed my love of horses to the race track... where you'd been for years. One of the few things I did know was that I liked the way you looked in those chaps...

In 1994 we started dating. I lied to my mother when she caught a glimpse of you and asked me how old you were (I swore you were only 24!)... and I convinced you to shave off that awful mustache before I introduced you to them face-to-face (I swear it took years off your looks!). And I know you haven't forgotten the introduction... it must've been shell-shocking for you to walk into a house full of 75 party guests - but trust me, it was much better meeting them when they didn't have time to grill you... I don't know why I was so sure they wouldn't give you a chance (I know they're more open-minded than that) but we were from such different worlds.

Dating you was wild and fun... and all over the place. Not just geography... not just the traipsing across provinces on a whim, but the ups & downs of figuring out whether we really wanted to be together. We were on, we were off... and then we got back "on" and didn't look back. We lived wherever we landed and just fell comfortably into being us... jumping out of planes, riding over frozen rivers... galloping over snow-covered fields. We always landed on our feet... and it didn't matter if we fell through the ice here or there, or hit furloughs hidden beneath the snow and came tumbling down off our mounts.. because all was right with the world, we were falling in love and being together was FUN.

In 1997 we married. We didn't stop playing or living life like the adventure it was to us at the time. Looking back I cringe a little at the risks we took and they way we took everything as it came. We ran off to live in another country with only $200 to our names... and the belief that everything would work out. And it did. And those two years were wonderful and carefree (for the most part) and a perfect time for us. We never had to work at being a couple did we? It just happened when we weren't looking. We trusted and we jumped... and I'm glad we did.

In 1999 we became a family and it was good. We had to make some changes but there was new fun to be had with our little man. It was harder, but really, not much changed with us... 5 years we'd been together and now we had this tiny human depending on us to do things right - which didn't seem so hard... until we found out we'd be adding another. We made some hard choices then. We walked away, for good, from the only life we'd known together... and struggled to find our footing in the "real" world.

In 2001 we bought our house and welcomed our second son. Those were both great things... but I think this was the toughest year for us. Maybe it was the famed "7 year itch" that destroys so many relationships. Maybe it was because money was so tight... or the stress of two little ones and your schedule working nights... or any number of reasons. But we just couldn't seem to find it in ourselves to play nice. This year and maybe into the one following were the hardest times in our marriage. More than once I believed "this is it, it's over". But we didn't let go. We could have walked away and we both would have felt justified... and it just would have been another marriage that didn't work, oh well. But we stayed... and we stuck it out... and we kept that promise that we'd made to each other 4 years earlier.

We made it through "the worse" ... and thank God we did, because if we hadn't, we'd never have survived to enjoy, or truly appreciate, "the better" that was to follow.

We found ourselves again. We weren't the same people that we'd been before, our life had a steadier, calmer rhythm to it. We'd both changed but we grew together... because we chose to... when we could have walked away.

And in 2006, we completed our little family with that beautiful baby girl I never thought we'd have. From where I'm sitting, these past few years have been the happiest and best we've ever had.

You joke all the time when we recall how long it's been and fast time has flown by... "I can't believe you've stuck it out this long" or "put up with me this long". And I always want to toss back "Me Neither!" (with a grin)... but you've got to know it's not true....

There are things about you that annoy the hell out of me and make me want to scream or tear my hair out in frustration. Just like a I know there are things I do or say that make you feel like throwing something... but that what keeps our marriage from being boring. We have passion... and I don't just mean the reason we've added 3 to world's population... we light sparks off each other sometimes without even trying. Aries & Sagittarius.... Horse & Tiger.... we definitely belong... but it'll never be boring. We're different in so many ways... but our cores still ring in harmony. It's solid.

And I look forward to the sparks the next 12 years will bring.

Happy Anniversary Love.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Isn't it always the way?

I lost my keys yesterday.

Well I suppose I technically lost them sometime over the weekend... this past weekend when I didn't use them because I didn't leave my house for two whole days. I find that hard to believe too... no shopping, no errands, no driving of any kids to and fro... my husband and his car ventured out for task number 3 there a couple of times - but we were so busy purging and reorganizing that I actually didn't leave the house for two whole days.

So of course it was Monday morning... when I had all three kids ready and at the door just in the nick of time to not be late for my first appointment of the day before I realized I had no keys.

No van key, no house key, no office key. I wasn't going anywhere.

Had to be a Monday.

I raced around frantically - trying not to completely lose it, but no matter how many reasonable or unlikely places I searched, nothing but the spare van key could be found.

At least I could drive... I couldn't lock my house or get into my office - but I could take the kids to school and daycare, which I did. Then I returned to the house for a more thorough search.

I was so pissed.... not just that I was on my way to being late for a client meeting and not just because my assistant was on her way downtown to a branch meeting so wouldn't even be at the office to let me (and the client!) in for our appointment.... and not even because I remembered, only after several unsuccessful attempts to reach him by phone, that the only other person who *might* have a key to my office and could possibly get there in time to help me was out of the country for one more day still.

No I was pissed at myself. Because I remember, at some point during the weekend that I saw my keys somewhere they shouldn't be. And I remembered thinking to myself at the time that "I should grab those because I'll never remember they're there". But I didn't. And for the life of me I couldn't remember where I'd seen them. And how stupid of me for not putting them where they belonged when I saw them!

Looking for my missing keys was an exercise in futility... because no matter how many places or pockets or surfaces I checked I KNEW there was no hope of finding them - I knew that they were in some random and completely obscure place... and my brain WOULD NOT spit out where that was!

So I ended up calling my assistant... she was almost downtown, but turned around and we ended up getting back to the office at around the same time. The client was early and waiting in the hall. (Great). But we had a chuckle over a Monday morning from hell and moved right along...

I went and got additional keys cut for the office... resigned to the fact that it could be a long while before I saw my keys again. I'd planned to cut additional keys for the house too... who knows how long it would be before someone in our home just happened upon my elusive set of keys.

And what a set of keys to lose! I can cover the basics (office/house keys) but that missing set included a special security key for the exterior of the building that houses my office. A key with a $125 replacement cost. And my funky-ass van key - one of those new ones that're a key/remote combo unit (it doesn't even have a metal shaft that goes into a keyhole anymore... just a plastic stub with a microchip in it that meets up with a slot in the van's console to start it!) would probably cost even more than that to replace. And then we got a new alarm system just last week that comes with a Handy little key chain remote... also on my missing keys - and $80 to replace.

Ugg. I chose not to think about it. I mean I KNEW they were in my house somewhere... at some point, in the next decade at least I would surely find them again....

Only I didn't have to wait that long. Because this morning I decided, at the last minute, to wear a different pair of shoes to work today... and when I went to step into them, my foot found those missing keys hiding - completely out of sight, in the toe of my shoe!

The shoes were sitting on the step directly below the hooks we hang our keys on.

And then I remembered!! (my brain will work... just a day or so later than I need it to!)

I was coming in the front door... balancing several items, hands completely full... when I reached up to hang my keys and they missed the hook, landed on my shoe and slid down into the toe. I watched them go... unable to reach down and grab them because of whatever I had my arms full with. And I thought to myself "I need to come right back and grab those because I'll never remember they fell in there".

But of course we all know that didn't happen. Who knows why... I probably set my stuff down and was instantly distracted by one of the three short people that live in this house. Maybe someone was bleeding... or about to - who knows. But I promptly forgot about the keys and went on with our weekend.

And if I hadn't hated my choice of outfit this morning and decided to change (meaning I needed different footwear too), I probably wouldn't have found them for days to come.

I suppose there's a lesson here about listening to myself... or being more organized... or even just being tidier and not leaving things where they lay when I know they belong somewhere else.

But I'm big enough to be honest with myself. I've "lost" so may things, in so many different (and yet familiar) ways, It's just a matter of time before I lose them again....

Next time I'm just checking the shoes first!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apparently there is someone out there who would want that...

The scavengers have been out driving non-stop all weekend.

And we've been busy purging this house. Every time we find something new to discard and set out on the boulevard it disappears within the hour. I can't believe it... I keep on thinking that there's not much time left and most of the people are probably finished their treasure hunting by now... but by the time I think to look out the window for it, whatever we've set out there has again disappeared.

This has to be one of the best ideas our city has ever gone ahead with. It's saved us a seriously loaded trailer load of trash to the landfill... and given us the boot in the ass to actually get rid of a bunch of junk NOW (as opposed to later... which we're really good at).

The mind-blowing list of things someone actually wanted:

- an old worn-out play kitchen that is missing parts, filthy and been outside in out back yard exposed the weather for over a year
- 3 old VCRs... one even had a remote
- OLD speakers for a surround sound system (surround sound system not included)
- huge twin mirrors in a wooden frame that used to be attached to the back of a dresser
- an old rusty travel BBQ
- an old wooden desk with the top veneer separating from the plywood underneath (and chipped to boot)
- an old, used (and replaced for cosmetic reasons) cook top for a kitchen
- an old, cracked baby sled with no pull rope
- an old plastic push-em, ride-on trike that my dog chewed the handles on when she was a puppy
- a big & clunky old wooden kitchen chair with plush red seat (yes - it was VERY ugly)
- a bicycle with the chain hanging off... the part the chain attaches to on the back wheel had snapped off and was hung up in that rusted chain
- an old lawn mower with a seized engine
- a lexmark printer whose copy function never worked... and I couldn't find the software to go with it
- and I can't remember what else but it must've been worse than these since they're so forgettable.

Now I have 8 bags and several boxes for CD to pick up on Tuesday... and 4 boxes and 2 large toys to take to the consignment store as well. We are clearing space!

My husband has been working like a dog all weekend. He's relocated alot of our "shed" items into the secondary "lean-to" shed we built beside it and transformed the shed (with the addition of shelves etc) into a new "work-shed" for all the tools and construction paraphernalia we have. This was necessary because he's losing his work room in the house.

That's right, construction on our middle child's bedroom has finally begun! I only wish I'd thought to take a "before" picture of the workroom with all it accumulated clutter and crap before we started. After two days of solid work, the room has almost been cleared right out. It's amazing how much bigger it looks now. And the shed is going to work really well now that it's properly set up to store everything we need it to.

By the time this winter is upon us, my family will be comfortably settled in our now 5 bedroom home. I'm tired, but feel great about how much we got done around here this weekend.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My city is one giant garage sale today... a garage sale where no money changes hands. The city announced a few months ago that they were going to have this city-wide "free-cycling" weekend. So basically any junk you want to get rid of can be set out by the curb with a "free" sign on it... and everyone is welcome to drive around and pick up whatever they want.

People started putting things out last night... and it was barely dark before the first scavengers were out snapping up other people's give-aways.

A perfect example of "one man's junk is another man's treasure".

We've got CD coming for a pick-up of clothing and house-hold items here on Monday... so we've been busy bagging and boxing up old items for them. With this free-cycling day also hitting this weekend, it's the perfect opportunity for a major purge of our domicile.

We put out numerous items on the boulevard last night... and by this morning when we woke up, only an old wooden desk was left! So we filled the boulevard up again. Strangers have hauled away 12 items of what was trash to us so far... and only 6 things remain.

This has saved us hauling more than one huge trailer-load of crap to the landfill... all at no cost!

I'll be taking a few boxes and some nicer large toys to the consignment shop this week, a few bags will loiter around waiting for garbage day on Wednesday... and when CD shows up and takes away their windfall from us tomorrow, we will have disposed of more than a full, floor-to-ceiling-stacked room's worth of unused items from our house!

Amazing. I'm such a pack-rat by nature... I never realized purging could feel so good!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now you bring us summer?

So mother nature has finally decided to grace us with more than 2 days of beautiful, warm summer weather in a row.


Now, when school is ready to start and time for going to the cottage has grown short.

What was she thinking?

All summer it's been blistering hot during the week.... only to dissolve into days of rain and thundershowers in time for the weekend.

It's been cool and it's been wet - and it's not been a summer for enjoying time at the lake.

But maybe we should just be grateful and say "better late than never".

We still have this one, last long weekend.... with a forecast worthy of journey up to the cottage and all the effort that requires.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Lady in the Muumuu

I was watching a really great comedian on the comedy channel a while back... wish I could remember his name, he was an absolute riot.

I love watching comedians... and the best ones always use universal truths as the basis of their routines and jokes - that's what makes them so funny I guess: What they're joking about resonates with the audience because, underneath, you know it's true. We laugh because we recognize it.

He was doing a bit on Tornadoes... commenting on the fact that they always seem to hit trailer parks - or at least, when you see reports on the devastation left behind, a trailer park always seems to be the hardest hit. It wasn't a trailer park getting blown away that he was making fun of, but the fact that the TV news reporters always seemed to find the most backwards, hill-billy-ish person to interview for the report: most likely a woman in a muumuu, missing a tooth or two, to exclaim about how it all went down - and which red-neck activity of hers was interrupted in the process... or how many of their "yard" cars were tossed.

It was hilarious... because everyone's seen a report like that, no?

Probably not so funny to anyone actually IN the community being reported on though... the ones staring at the television screen thinking "seriously? you picked THEM to represent us all? Oh my God... the whole world is going to think we're all like that!"

(And we know they're not, right? We must know that not everyone who lives in a trailer park is a redneck... or wears muumuus and has multiple broken-down vehicles littering their yard... but there's still an impression out there when THAT lady gets interviewed)

Unfortunately, every community has one of THOSE folks... and invariably, they end up in front of the camera - leaving their impression of how all of us must be. And when it's YOUR community, you sit there staring at your screen thinking "NO - don't listen! It's the lady in the muumuu!"

But too late... the impression is there.

Here, in Canada, we have our very own "lady in the muumuu" ... it's Quebec. My saying that will probably piss off a bunch of people... but I don't care - my blog, my opinion. Quebec is NOT representative of the "rest of us". They have their own rules, their own laws, their own taxes, their own daycare, school and health care systems. They march to the beat of their own drum. Whenever we have rules for something, it's always "this is how it is in Canada... with the exception of Quebec who will do it their way".

Every few years, Quebec has another referendum - a mass vote on whether or not to remain a part of Canada or to separate and become their own country. And it's always close: 51% chose to stay part of Canada last time? The vote has nothing to do with the rest of the country... we just sit back and watch the proceedings - and argue amongst ourselves about what the best outcome would be. There are huge numbers in the "just let them go!" camp... butting heads with the "OMG, NO... we can't let our country be split" camp. But it's really up to Quebec.

I've been on the fence. I don't want to see my country broken apart... and there's a bit of pride that would be lost if they left too: Canada would no longer be the biggest country in the world (since the fall of the soviet union), Canada would no longer share the longest undefended border in the world with the United States, Canada would no longer stretch "from sea to shining sea" (we might have to change our national anthem!).

But it's kind of insulting to have one member of the group constantly saying "we don't want to play with you any more" And it's kind of frustrating to have that one dissenting member be the one constantly caught on camera... with their thick accents and broken English, representing the rest of us to the world. They've been individual, "unique" (their battle cry) and doing their own thing forever... they've been talking about leaving for decades already.

So I think, the next time they want to leave, we should stop bending over backwards and kissing ass to keep them part of Canada. Let them go already... North America is big enough to handle 4 countries - and if we could come up with a new theme song to Hockey Night In Canada after all these years, coming up with a new national anthem should be a piece of cake.

At least when Quebec officially becomes their own country, the lady in the muumuu will no longer be placed front and centre, representing all that's out-of-wack in "this" country.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Come again??

8 year old: "Mom! Mom!! My tooth is almost falling out!!"

Mom: "Cool buddy! That's so awesome... I guess that means the Tooth Fairy will be coming to visit you again!"

3 year old (not to be outdone): "Mom! Mom!! My chin is almost falling off!"

Mom: "???" (seriously... I had nothing... other than laughing my ass off. I guess it made as much sense to her as a tooth falling out?)

One Decade Down

We survived another year... and another birthday party - barely. My oldest turned 10 years old on Tuesday. We were going to take him and his friends to the corn maze and let them run wild for a few hours.... but the incessant rain this summer forced a change in our plans. I suppose we could have taken them - the puddles on the mud paths throughout the maze were only ankle deep.... but I just don't think my van could have handled 6 (my vehicle's share) suped-up-on-sugar, mud-covered 10 year old boys on the drive home.

So a last minute change in plans: I took Tuesday off and prepared for an at-home party.

Which turned out to be way too much work.

My three years as a camp counsellor has left me capable (even if not completely enthused by the idea) of entertaining a group this age... which can be really challenging because, well, they're TEN - so just getting to be a little jaded... and a little less willing to be silly for the sake of having fun (even though they secretly still want to). But I was a teenager when I spent my time coming up with fun activities.... and had so much more energy for keeping them going. It took me the entire day to set up activities and build props and organize games. I was a little more than half-way through running the kids through them when I really started questioning my sanity (which I would never have admitted to out-loud because my husband was calling me crazy enough... minor points to him for at least helping though) - I was just exhausted.

We did a "10th birthday challenge" with 10 games... 5 team and 5 individual... where they collected points - for the team and for themselves. At the end there were prizes. There were winners and there were losers... which is good for them at this age, right? Because kids don't lose enough these days... it's character-building. There was a prize for everyone... but WHICH prize they eventually walked home with depended on the final standings.

I didn't get a prize. And I worked harder than any of them.... just saying. (minor over-sight on my part).

I did spend less on the prizes than I would have on taking the group to the corn maze, which is good. But man this party was way more work than I envisioned it being when I came up with the idea.... I don't know what I was thinking. My husband, he just thinks I'm crazy and tells me I've gone overboard... which I suppose I did a little bit.... but really? The eye-rolling doesn't help. Just because he never had a birthday party as a child, doesn't mean our kids shouldn't have them - or that the kids shouldn't have the time of their lives on this one day of the year meant just for them. He'll have to get over it.

And the kids did have a blast. My son was thrilled with his birthday and his friends were well-entertained for a few hours. Unfortunately, I was so run off my feet that I didn't get a single picture of the event. No pictures of my son's only 10th birthday party (that would be zero mom-points to me)... it was an hour or so after the party ended... and I was already wishing I could be in bed, when I remembered that. Damn it. Not that I actually had time to take any pictures... just sucks that no one else in the house thought of it either. I should have assigned one of his aunts to camera duty...

It was a good day - and I'd say *almost* worth all my time & effort. I'm glad it went over well and I'm pleased that my boy is happy.... but next year? We're going to find a much easier way to put a smile on his face. I think this was his last "big" (or at least parental-labour-intensive) birthday party. Maybe next year we'll take them to a movie.

To make up for missing the pictures, I had the bakery re-create his cake from the party... to take to our smaller family-gathering the following night. I took some pictures there.

And I'm happy to report, that along with what he'd already saved, my boy collected enough birthday money to buy the Wii he's wanted for so long... we're going to get it tonight. I'm telling myself that THAT will be worth the 10 hours of my life (and conveniently ignoring the fact that he still would have collected that birthday money even if I had done something much simpler).

Anyway, that one decade down for offspring #1. And I don't feel old enough to have a 10 year old yet. This one keeps me on my toes... which, I suppose, is his job - being the oldest. Almost everything with him is something new... something I've never had to deal with as a parent before... something I'm never quite sure I'm handling right. But he's a good egg... and I think I'll be able to handle 10. Just starting to get a little nervous of those rapidly-approaching teen years now that we're counting in double-digits!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Was it intentional?

Did you know that Mastercard Inc. is based in the town of Purchase, New York?

Just struck me as funny....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grindstone Days Racing

We actually found the beach where they do the kids races and hot dog lunch this year! (last year, although we KNEW there was racing/activities for the kids, we were too new to the area to figure out WHERE they were being held.... we actually showed up at the wrong, and very empty beach so the whole family missed out. Clever, no?)

But not this year! We found the right, and VERY busy beach - with plenty of time to spare before the start of the activites. The kids had a blast.... there were rounds and rounds of various types of races.... and plenty of prizes (and freezies and ice cream!) for the participants to go around. They lined 'em up in their various age groups and the crowd cheered all the kids on. My girl, in her 3 & under category, did great for her first competitive showing! (see her in the middle in her purple shirt & jeans?)
** After scrolling back through these pictures, my daughter felt it necessary to point out that I didn't post any pictures of them eating their freezies. Sorry for the slip... there WERE freezies.... many many freezies.


And two out of three actually managed to stay upright! Although we can't blame the nephew for coming down half-way through.... it's hard not to trip over other fallen bodies when you're not looking where you're going!

Remember these?

Yes, apparently someone still makes giant potatoe sacks.... and there are those of us who still punish our children by making them attempt to race in them!

(this one ended up with a turned ankle - but no lasting damage ;)

These rarely end well - but at least I stayed dry!

Against my better judgement (and fear of being soaked!), I partnered with my oldest for the water-balloon toss.... because "I really want to win a prize in this one Mom!" (ummm... and you're picking ME kid? Good luck with that!). My little man partnered with his cousin. My son & I actually made it down to the final 5 teams....which was only one round past the other two boys. Perhaps my oldest should have chosen his cousin as a partner after all... it was my little man & I who were responsible for both balloon bursts!

Shoe Scramble!

This was a funny race.... I've seen them before, but don't remember if I ever did one as a child? Somehow or other my oldest ended up winning a prize during this one... despite the fact that both his brother & cousin actually crossed the line before him?

Ah well, it's all in fun.... and I think he honestly believes he was 3rd? Not going to spoil it for him ;)

A little hard on a girl...

So all the races were divided into age groups... only not ALL age groups were included in each category - there were only a couple that were for "3 and Under".... and the shoe scramble wasn't one of them.

Now not having the little ones doing all the activities might work for some 3 year olds... but not ones like mine, who really believe they're just very short 8 year olds. She wants.... expects actually, to do everything her big brothers and cousins are doing.

So we let her line up with the 4 & 5 year old shoe scramble.... she raced up to the line at the very last minute and I quickly put her shoes out right where she could see them. She didn't have a hope of getting them on as quick as the other kids.... but at least she could be part of the action.

The first pic is her determined little face as she zeros-in and makes a beeline for her shoes (front and centre in the pic).... and the second pic is her collapsed in grief as the nasty/mean/heartless/warden-like organizer of the race saw the paired set of shoes and jumped ahead of her to toss one away.

Nice. Like my 3 year old needed an additional handicap against the "big" kids. I wonder if it made her proud to make a toddler cry?

(since I figured it would be really out of line to slap her or anything else I was thinking of at the time, I just collected my girl off the grass and helped her get the shoes on. But I still think the lady was an over-zealous b**ch... they're little KIDS for crying out loud! Ah well, my girl forgot about it within a few minutes... and it was only a *small* black mark on an otherwise great afternoon)

These kids are NUTS!

They're like maniacs.... little mini sugar-addicts maybe - scrambling over each other, hats in hand (the better to collect their bounty) - desperate for a fix.... ruthless! (but fun to watch ;)

Aren't candy scrambles fun??

Monkey see, monkey do...

In the cool of the evening, when my girl's big cousin snagged her mother's jacket to wear, my little copy cat couldn't resist the urge to wear mine too... and drag it along through the wet sand, of course. Shorty.