Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

It’s surreal to me that this is my 4th In Review post. Looking back at 2013, I feel as though I’ve come so far this year. In 2012 I felt I’d gained my confidence yet, in the end, I didn’t have the confidence to be honest about how things were at the end of last year.

This year, I promise to be honest…Life with Elena has been extremely fun…& extremely frustrating!! What is it with Elena & this time of year? It’s not lost on me that Elena started acting crazy about the same time last year as she has this year. Is it some weird Seasonal Affective Disorder…who knows but the girl is certainly expressing her independence & opinions! I’m pretty good dealing with her…but man, it drives me crazy when she doesn’t listen to me! Elena is beyond her years in developing the talent of selective hearing that usually doesn’t appear until adolescence! For the most part though, if I can keep my patience in check, we get by just fine.

One of the biggest issues we had last year was her sleep & how she would fight bedtime. As I learned, sleep with a toddler is always evolving. We went a good long time with easy, peaceful bedtimes…then just in the last month or so, she starts all these games & silliness at bedtime…until finally, one night I’d had enough, I didn’t want to yell & scream & fight with her but I wasn’t going to stay while she futzed around…so I told her enough, to stay in bed & go to sleep & I walked out…I went back in a few minutes later, feeling guilty for leaving her & she was fast asleep. This happened a couple more times before it dawned on me, she fights bedtime because bedtime means our time together is over & more often than not, I won’t be there when she wakes up. She is so tired & needs her sleep but doesn’t want to give in…but if I say good night & leave, she’s asleep in minutes!!

Behaviour is still a big issue…we’ve started making good use of time outs…I’m not altogether convinced these make any sort of impact on her…last year, I bought the book, No Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley…but haven’t read it yet…I’m thinking I need to make the time now!!

Through all of these things this year, I have held onto the lessons & advice I got back at the beginning of this year…accepting that I don’t have to be perfect…believing I am a good mom, not just despite my mistakes but because of my mistakes. I’ve really learned that my mistakes make me better…Like I said, I really feel like I’ve come so far this year. More than that, I feel like I have come into my own. It’s a really good thing because 2014 is going to be a difficult year. I know that as any of the previous versions of myself, I would not be able to deal with & get through what I will have to in 2014. But the person I am now, I am ready to face it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obligatory Christmas Post

Nothing this Christmas has worked out the way I envisioned it back in October when I first started thinking about it…The worst part, & where all my negativity stems from, is we have a major family health crisis come up just a week before Christmas that has sent me into a tailspin…I’m still reeling. Don’t worry, Elena & I are just fine & in perfect health…this all concerns a member of my extended family.

She hadn’t been feeling well for some time but nothing specific. She was deeply exhausted all the time, she was having odd discomfort in her head, not headaches per se, but an achiness that made her vision feel off…recently she started experiencing serious vertigo…all little things that, by themselves, seemed harmless…but hindsight being 20/20 all make so much sense now.

December 17th, after a long day’s work, she was settling down for the evening when she started to feel very weird…all of a sudden her mouth & tongue started to twitch & spasm uncontrollably…she was frightened & called out to her friend who was staying with her…the friend called 911 & they were thinking maybe she was having a mini stroke. She was rushed to the hospital, a CAT scan done immediately then they sent her straight for a chest x-ray. I’m not sure if it was before or after a Doctor had been in to talk to her, but she had another episode of twitching & spasms & they were identified as seizures, not a stroke.

The night of the 17th, I had been exhausted…for the life of me, I can’t remember why now…but I had gone to bed with Elena at 7pm…when I woke for work at 4:30am, I got the messages. I rushed right over to the hospital. I didn’t know what to expect but was not prepared for what I heard.

She was awake when I arrived, about 5:30am, she gave me her account of what had happened then she told me what the Doctor had told her…brain tumor, chest x-ray showing a mass on her lungs…more tests needed to identify the primary sight & what is on her lungs…

A biopsy of her liver was done on the 20th…on the 23rd, while I was with her, she had another seizure…it was very scary to witness.

The morning of the 24th, I was getting Elena & I ready as we were planning on visiting her to have our  little Christmas together…she texts me at 7:45am that she’s just been told that they are taking her to the cancer hospital in my town for a 9am appointment. That’s the only information we’re given. I assure her I will meet her there at 9am…my Mom steps up, as usual, & takes care of Elena plus offers to drive me & drop me off so I don’t have to find parking…Elena, on the other hand, doesn’t understand why she is now not allowed to come with me to visit her…how do you explain this type of thing to a two year old? She cries all the way there while I apologize over & over again…what else can I do?

We are brought in to a see a Radiology Oncologist…he looks to be no older than 28, which makes me feel very old. He is very nice but doesn’t sugar coat anything. He shoots straight & though it is hard to hear, we appreciate his candidness.

She is full of cancer…there’s a lot of it…in her lungs, liver & of course the brain tumor. There is no cure, but they will treat her as she tolerates to keep her with us as long as they can while maintaining her quality of life. She is too unwell to consider chemo at this time & since all her symptoms stem from the brain tumor, they’ll treat that…with radiation, which has its own risks…it will cause the tumor to swell before it gets better…this could mean more seizures…and…

I am being purposefully vague to try & protect her identity but she is a family member & I am her next of kin. Her care falls to me. I am sick at the thought of what she has to face…I am scared to be the one to have to face it with her. I am scared to think about any of it…it’s all so overwhelming…

Elena…she is just too young to understand…but she does understand that I am not here when I should be, that when I am here, she doesn’t have my full attention while I return emails & send texts & take phone calls…she’s acting out & it’s killing me that a lot of what precious time we do have together is spent with me giving her timeouts & her having tantrums. I am not being the mother I want to be…the mother she deserves…
I did stay home with her on Christmas Day & we had our family dinner & I gave her my (mostly) undivided attention…it was a really good day…a Christmas we’ll remember…but not for the reasons I had wanted…

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Still Remembering

I made a promise a year ago & I have stayed true to that promise. I think of Olivia very often. I think of her parents & wonder how they are coping missing their little girl every day. I think of her little brother & how hard it must be for him to understand that his sister is gone. I often think of all the families in Newtown. My thoughts & prayers are with them as they endure this painful anniversary.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Don’t Even Know Where to Start…

I have all the same excuses reasons you read about all the time for not having blogged in a while. My last post (aside from the Crème de laCrème reminder…which you still have time before the December 15th deadline to submit, BTW) was September 24th…So much has happened since then…I’ve had plenty to say but never enough time to sit down & coherently articulate what is on my mind. When I would have time to write, I just couldn’t organize my thoughts enough or decide on which of the many topics on my mind I wanted to focus on…& time continued to pass & many things continued to happen…& the more time that passed, the harder it was to compose a post…Life has felt so busy…I know by the disarray of my home that spare time has been minimal. Yet as I sit here, I am at a loss as to what has kept me too busy to blog…well, that’s not completely true…I know what has kept me from blogging but none of it is interesting enough to blog about! Instead of trying to play catch up, I will start fresh right now with a clean slate.

The biggest news lately was our big vacation! Elena & I went to the Dominican Republic for a week!! We stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe LaRomana…& this trip was 100% better than last year!!!

I feel so very lucky that Elena is such a great traveler! Our flight was at 5:40am which meant getting Elena out of bed at 4am…thankfully (& surprisingly) she went to bed extra early the night before without fuss! She has been obsessed with the dark since the time change & was so excited at the promise that we would be going on the plane in the dark! She did amazingly on the plane, hardly fussing at all & even taking a 40 minute nap! I had a whole bag of tricks to keep her busy plus we had seat back TVs that all kept her entertained during the 4.5 hour flight.

That's a Walmart toy flyer she studied for a good 45 minutes!!


Aside from a couple hiccups (no air conditioning in our room the 1st night & Elena falling of the slide & getting a fat lip on the 2nd day) our vacation was absolute perfection!! I don’t have a single complaint about the entire trip…Spending 7 days with Elena was an absolute treat! Don’t get me wrong, Elena had her moments, she is 2.5 after all, but when all you have to do all day is swim, play on the beach & eat, this leaves little time for her to tantrum.

Speaking of swimming…Elena swims on her own now!!! That’s right, at 2.5 she swims! What’s funny is she doesn’t quite realize that she can swim. She jumps in & swims to me then wants me to help her swim back to the side!! I have some great video but Blogger won't let me upload it :(

I was also very happy that she’s gotten over her aversion to sand & we were able to play on the beach this year!! She & I are very good hole diggers! She even played in the ocean!! Of course she did this on the day I didn’t have my camera with us!! I still caught some great beach fun!


Lastly, I have to rave about one of the single best purchases I have ever made! Last spring, I found the “On the Edge Marketing” Folding Wagon online. It is an awesome alternative to a stroller! Now that Elena likes to walk as often as ride, this has been fantastic!! There’s plenty of space for diaper bags, lunch bags & depending on ages/sizes, can fit 2-4 children comfortably! It folds flat & takes up less space than our collapsible stroller!! It meets airline standards to be checked at the gate same as a stroller…& was a dream to have in the airport!! Being able to load all our bags plus Elena into it while navigating the terminal, security & customs was awesome!! It also made life at the resort so much easier! We would load it up every morning with our swim bags, beach toys, snacks…& it made getting a dawdling toddler from point A to point B so much easier!! There is only 1 drawback…no brakes, so you have to be mindful where you stop. Also be prepared to be stopped by other parents & grandparents everywhere you go!! We get stopped at least 2-3 times to be asked where we got it, how much it cost & a dozen other questions! I don’t mind raving about it though!! Oh, & in case you were wondering, I have no affiliation with “On the Edge Marketing” or any seller or dealer for the wagon in any way…it’s just an awesome product I had to rave about!!
I’ll leave you with a few of our favourite moments…


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's that time again...

Don't forget to submit yours...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daddy Questions

I need your advice…I’m asking for your opinion…on a few things…all related to “The Daddy Question”

I have started telling Elena the story of her…I’m interested in your thoughts…here’s what I tell her:

I always wanted to be a mommy…I waited & waited & waited…until I couldn’t wait anymore. I thought & thought & I looked & looked & picked the very best donor. Then, I went to a special Doctor & he put the donor sperm into Mommy’s tummy & it combined with Mommy’s egg…& it grew & grew & got bigger & bigger…& became YOU!! I always wanted to be your mommy. I love you so very much & you make me so very proud”…then we kiss & cuddle.
The funniest is that she gets so excited when we get to the part about the doctor & she squeals, “Doctor! Doctor!” She also loves the part about getting bigger & becoming her.

What do you think? Can I phrase any of it any better? Am I missing any important info? Am I giving too much info?

Elena is still calling my Mom “Daddy” instead of Gramma. We never refer to her as daddy but my Mom does answer to it. Initially, it felt as though Elena was just confusing sounds. For example, she says doctor “gah-go”…but it has become apparent that she knows the difference between “daddy” & “gramma”. At gymnastics, when a father is there, she will point at them & say, “Daddy!” (I don’t mean she thinks this is her daddy, she is just pointing out he is a daddy) When I encourage Elena to say “Gramma”, she just looks at me slyly…I have even just made it a non-issue, thinking she’ll just switch to Gramma…part of me feels as though this is the name she has chosen for my Mom & it doesn’t seem to bother my Mom…so why not just let Elena call her Daddy?

My concern is, now that Elena is attending preschool, interacting more & more with other children & families, will she be ridiculed for calling my Mom Daddy? It can be complicated to explain to new people all the time that Elena means Gramma when she says “daddy”…when the three of us are out together & Elena is calling “Da-dee!!!” & my Mom responds we get some odd looks for sure. So what are the potential issues with Elena calling my Mom daddy? Do you think I should worry less about what others think & just let Elena call my Mom what she wants? What about when she gets to kindergarten & older?

Elena has become very aware of men lately; she points them out all the time & says, “Maaaan.” She will also identify them as daddies. So she seems aware what a daddy is. Am I harming her psychologically by allowing her to label my Mom “Daddy”? Daddy feels & sounds so much like a term of endearment when Elena says it in reference to my Mom. Am I harming her psychologically by forcing her to call my Mom “Gramma”?

What do you think? What advice do you have for me? Because I am turning this all over in my head constantly & would really love to hear some new perspectives.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two & a Half?!!?

Yup, that’s right! Today is Elena’s Half Birthday!! Sounds about time for an update, no?

Yesterday was a big day…Elena started preschool!! She’ll be going 2 mornings a week & I know this will be so very good for her. It killed me not to be there, to not be the one to drop her off…I’d always imagined taking the morning off work to drop her off on her 1st day of school…but my Mom had been taking her to the drop in program her teacher ran all summer…so Elena was comfortable & familiar going…if I had gone, Elena likely would have made a fuss…but my Mom did me proud & took LOTS of pictures!!

When I got home from work, I asked her what her favourite part of school was & she said, “Buwee” Huh? & she said it again with earnest enthusiasm…but I had no idea what she meant…so she said it louder…because isn’t that what we all naturally do if someone doesn’t understand us? I still have no idea what Buwee is but I’m glad she enjoyed it so much whatever it was!

It is obvious that language is still a challenge for us…and the major source of frustration for both Elena & I. Her receptive language is remarkable…mine, not so much, lol! At least of her language…I understand so little of what she’s trying to say…& now she’s speaking in 2 & 3 “word” sentences, so it’s getting even harder to understand…some of the time I know intuitively what she is trying to say & that feels good. It’s also amazing when she says something clearly & I stop dead & say, “Did you just hear that?!!?”

The other challenge is that so many of her “words” sound exactly alike…like buwee, bwue, bwoon, & other variations…she could be saying blue, balloon, bubble…but when I correctly identify what she’s saying, boy do we celebrate!!!

Tomorrow we see another Speech Pathologist to be reassessed to make sure we still qualify to attend the program available for Elena…I’m anxious to hear her thoughts. The program sounds amazing. There are 6 Parent only Sessions plus 4 Individual Video-Practice Sessions.
She is a very tall little girl! It's hard to get her to stand still long enough to get an exact measurement but she's about 38 inches tall. She's solid too at 36 pounds...
She eats very well with minimal complaint...pizza is definitely her favourite! Every night we don't have pizza, she says "No buppy, Momma"...buppy means pizza, by the way...she's not big on breakfast but will usually have fruit & yogurt when encouraged...she also loves V8 Fruit Smoothies. She also has enjoyed her fair share of popsicles this summer & has become an expert pudding pop maker! She is so proud to share them, knowing she'd made them herself.
Physically she is very active...she has come so far this summer with her balance bike & has mastered coasting. The park is one of her favourite places & she has no fear on any of the structures. She loves to jump & will jump on or over just about anything!! We couldn't get back to gymnastics soon enough!! Which starts back up this Saturday.
And swimming! This little kid is a fish!! She loves being in the pool & she doesn't even use her water wings any more!! She's tall enough that the water in the kid's pool comes to her chin & in the deeper pool, she's fine with a noodle.
She is so precious playing with her dolls. She is so sweet, cuddling them, kissing them, swaddling them & when she puts them to sleep, we all have to "shhh". She also loves to play with her mega blocks & her Little People sets. She loves to read & be read to...she loves stickers & finger painting.

All in all, our life is good. We’ve had an amazing summer together…so many awesome memories. We have so much to look forward to this fall & winter too!

Happy Half Birthday, my precious little girl!!
Her Cheese Face

1st Day of Preschool at her own cubby -
again with the cheese face!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Government Red Tape

I received a letter from our Canadian equivalent to the IRS. The purpose was to verify my claim of a child as a dependant & that I have sole custody. Fair enough, audits happen all the time & this isn’t exactly an audit so I’m lucky, right?

Just a small problem…here is the documentation requested to prove my claim:

·         Schedule 5, Amounts for Spouse or Common Law Partner

·         Documents to confirm I have custody such as a court order or written agreement which must be signed by both parents

·         In the absence of that they will accept a signed statement from the other parent detailing the custody agreement

·         OR a signed statement from an authority who is aware of the custody arrangement…Doctor, religious leader or recognized community official, etc…


I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Canadian Government wouldn’t even consider that I had my child on my own. I felt like pointing them towards my 2010 Tax Return in which I claimed all my medical expenses that weren’t covered by insurance for my IUIs.

It all worked out in the end. I called their info line, explained my situation & was advised to write a letter to them explaining it all plus provide a letter from a third party who could verify my statement. One of my bosses was amendable to writing a letter since he was aware of my situation...but that was an awkward request. He was gracious about it…though the first draft of his letter needed some work:
Dear Feds,
Elena got no baby daddy.
Tara’s Boss

When I first received the letter, I imagined having to hire a lawyer & spend all kinds of money getting legal documents drawn up…I received another letter on Friday. They accepted my claim & closed the file. Phew! I am grateful as the tax benefits we receive do make a difference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hide & Seek

I just have to write this down so I don't forget!!
Last night after dinner, Elena & I were playing & being silly & my Mom was telling me about their day. They had met 2 little girls (6 & 3 years old) at the park & they all played - (sidenote: Elena is really taking an interest in playing with other kids, preschool couldn't start soon enough!!) - all of a sudden, Elena runs over to the wall & stands with her nose against it calling for me...she then started "counting" - (Elena doesn't say numbers yet but will "count" by saying, "Meh, meh, meh..." imitating my intonation when I count, so funny) - I didn't understand what she was doing but my Mom clarified that the girls at the park had played Hide & Seek!!
Then Elena has me stand against the wall & count...but she is so excited by this new game, instead of hiding, she stands beside me squealing, laughing & jumping up & down...it was hilarious & precious!!
Elena then has me count again & this time my Mom shows her how to hide...well the squeals of delight coming from her hiding place were hard to miss but I played dumb & kept looking for her...oh the excitement as I got closer to her!!! It was So. Much. Fun!!!!!
Goddamn! I love this kid so much!!! Sharing the newness & wonder of Hide & Seek with her...I can't express how amazing that feels.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What We've Been Up To...

I have been in a funk the last couple of months…totally first world problems, but sucks just the same…thankfully, life with Elena has not been one of those problems…life with Elena has been pretty awesome…we have been having a pretty great summer & have kept very busy…


Tall Ships

Highland Games

Canada’s Wonderland

Elena was in charge of the map


Canal Days
Eating a Potato Tornado! Have you heard of these?


& LOTS of Swimming

What’s up next? Pirate Festival, another Highland Games, another Teddy Bear Picnic, African Lion Safari, at least 2 RibFests, Telling Tales…then on to Fall Fair Season!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GRAB(ook) Club - The Fault in Our Stars

While at dinner in Amsterdam, Gus tells Hazel, "If you don't live a life in service of a greater good, you've gotta at least die a death in service of a greater good."

In the end, Gus says, "The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things..."

What do you think is most heroic? Living a life in service of a greater good? Or noticing the good in life?

After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for The Fault in Our Stars.  You can get your own copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green at bookstores including Amazon.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Help Please...Need Advice/Ideas

Ok everyone, I need your advice...Elena has been in music class for the last year & it has been an amazing experience for her. She loved the classes so much & it was so amazing to see her little personality shine. She now has just 2 music classes left & I want to get something nice as a thank you for her teacher. This woman has a passion for music & passes that on to the children. I'm so glad Elena got to know her...It makes me so sad that Elena can't continue but come September the classes available conflict with her preschool & gymnastics. I have no clue what to get for this amazing & inspiring woman...Advice? Please?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

All By Myself...Again!

It was exactly one year ago today that I spent my 1st night away from Elena...and now here I am at my yearly conference spending my 3rd night apart from Elena...I'm in a much better mindset this year...but I miss her like freakin' crazy!! This year I explained to her that I wouldn't be home tonight...she took it well & we showed Gramma our bedtime routine...I can't wait to hear how she made out...I hope she missed me as much as I miss her!!
Now I am going to luxuriate in a bed all to myself!! Nighty-night!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Upon hearing about the demise of Google Reader three months ago I have been in denial…I’d Google alternatives, become overwhelmed & crawl back under my denial rock. Blissful Mama posted recently about it which prompted me to look at the calendar & realize I was running out of time…so I logged on last night & checked out Bloglovin’ upon Blissful Mama’s suggestion…& OMG! I love it!! So easy to set up, they have an app for my phone, which was a must for whatever I choose…the layout was great. Plus my quick perusal of their terms & conditions seemed pretty straight forward & I wouldn’t be signing over all my rights to them. So thank you to Blissful Mama for making my transition from Google Reader so painless!!


And now some blog lovin’ of a different kind…I received a lovely comment on my last post from a reader who is a regular but hadn’t ever commented before…not only were her words so kind, she also nominated me for a Blog Award! Thank you so much, Laura…both for your kind words & for the award nomination!

The following apply when accepting this award:

·         Link back to the blog that nominated you (thank you again, Laura)

·         Nominate 5 - 11 new bloggers who have 200 or less followers

·         Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

·         Share 11 random facts about yourself

·         Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer

·         Contact your nominees and let them know that you have nominated them


The Blogs I am Nominating:
A Blissful Life
Perpetual Ambition
Chasing the Gerber Dragon
A Planned Life
B is for Baby 

11 Questions from Laura:

1.    Why did you start blogging? After deciding to become a SMC, I gained so much from the blogs I found about other women who had made the same choice. Since then I have been so very grateful for the support & sense of community I have gained from the blogosphere!

2.    Mountain hideaway or a beach house? Tough one…I think I’d have to go with Mountain Hideaway though

3.    McDonalds or pizza? As much as I love McDonald’s, I’ll take pizza any day!!

4.    Summer or winter? As much as I love my summers with Elena, I am still a winter lover at heart…the warm clothes, the smell of snow, the crunch under my boots, hot chocolate with marshmallows…love it!

5.    Hot chocolate or coffee? I think I just answered this, lol. Hot Chocolate for sure…never been a coffee drinker, not even in college

6.    Strength training or cardio? Huh? This sounds like exercise…I avoid that as much as possible, lol!! But if I had to choose, it’d be cardio.

7.    Computer or television? Television for sure…I am a MASSIVE TV-aholic!!!

8.    Rolling Stones or Beatles? The Beatles for sure…but I do sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to Elena all the time!

9.    Sidney or Paris? Sydney…mostly because I’ve never been there & I have been to Paris.

10.  Alaska or Hawaii? Another tough one!! I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska since watching Men in Trees…but I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii since watching Elvis’ Blue Hawaii…I don’t know how to choose!!

11.  Early bird or night owl? Definitely Early Bird! Always have been…I am usually awake before Elena, even on the weekends!

11 Random Facts about me:

It was hard enough coming up with 7 things for the Versatile Blogger Award…now I have to come up with 11? Well here goes…

1.       I’m a Dog Person…I don’t hate cats or anything…but I LOVE dogs! I can’t wait until Elena is a bit older so we can get one…though I did ask her recently if she wanted a puppy & she said no…I’ll have to work on her…

2.      My middle name is Darlene…so is my Mom’s…& Elena’s

3.      I was named after Tara Martin, a character from All My Children…

4.      Currently my favourite TV show is The Vampire Diaries…guess where Elena got her name?

5.      I had a GINORMOUS crush on Kirk Cameron when I was a kid…my bedroom walls were covered in posters of him.

6.      I broke by left wrist when I was 10 by falling from a play structure…I broke my left ankle when I was 32 by slipping on some ice in front of my apartment building…after spending the entire afternoon on a ski hill!

7.      I’ve never had sex in a car…not that anyone ever wanted to know that…

8.      The most famous person I’ve ever met is Ed Asner…my aunt took a photo of us together & he insisted his companion take a photo of us too…so possibly somewhere in all his belongings there’s a photo of me…

9.      There was a bully who tormented me from Grade 4 through most of high school for being overweight…in college, after losing a bunch of weight, I ran into him at a bar & he had the nerve to hit on me & ask me on a date!

10.   One of my all time favourite movies is Clue…when it premiered on TMN when I was a kid, then ran it 3 consecutive Saturdays, each week playing one of the alternate endings…I had nightmares for weeks! BTW this movie is a hilarious comedy based on the board game Clue starring Tim Curry…

11.    Finally!! #11! & speaking of  nightmares…the final random fact I’ll share with you is that I have very vivid dreams & nightmares & slept walk all the time when I was a child…one night, after hearing the front door open, my Dad found me half way down the driveway!!

11 Questions for my Nominees:

1.       Do you believe in ghosts?

2.      Which celebrity or public figure would you most like to meet?

3.      Have you ever shop lifted?

4.      Do you have a tattoo? If so, where/what?

5.      Facebook or Twitter?

6.      Nick has 8 cups. He gave Sam 5 cups. How many cups does Nick have left?

7.      What is your favourite childhood birthday memory?

8.      Are you more like your Mother or Father…or neither?

9.      What is your Dream Job?

10.   Other than this current one, what era would you have most liked to live?

11.    What is your proudest moment?

Sunday, June 16, 2013


It was three years ago today that my heart’s deepest wish started to become my dream come true. I can’t believe it’s actually been 3 years! As I mentioned last year, Father’s Day kinda sucks for me in a big way, this year being no different…but it’s also easier to bear when I have Elena to distract me…I do have to come up with a better label than “conception-versary” tho…I really like SurlyMama’s calling it their anniversary…any other suggestions?


We do seem to be developing a tradition as we went to the Teddy Bear Picnic again…& had even more fun!! Just a really great day!



I mentioned recently that Elena is calling my Mom “Daddy”…She says it, “Da-DEE”…we are trying to get her to say “Gramma” & we never say Daddy…well almost never, it’s hard sometimes when we’re distracted…it really is hilarious. I believe Elena senses the irony & feeds off our reactions…it’s made for some comical situations, like in the parking lot at Wal-Mart one day, it was raining & I was rushing us into the store & Elena calls out, “Daddy!!” As my Mom was lagging behind at the car & I responded, “Yes, yes, she’s coming!!” & got the craziest look from a woman loading her trunk! It really was funny! Anyway, I found this card & gave it to my Mom this morning for “Father’s” Day…



Hope you all had a great weekend!!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

GRAB(ook) Club - Measure of Love

In Rachel's blog post in Chapter Sixteen she writes, "We should never sit idly by and say nothing. That isn't how we act with people we love; that's how we act with people we're indifferent about. For people we love, we hold them accountable, we push them to be their best selves."
Do you agree? Is it possible to meddle too much, even if it's for the right reason?
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for Measure of Love.  You can get your own copy of Measure of Love by Melissa Ford at bookstores including Amazon.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Easy for You to Say

I have been waiting for Elena to talk for so long…remember her alien voice? I thought for sure back then she’d be “talking” so soon…now here we are & she’s not talking how I expected she would be at this age…

This is a list of her vocabulary that we’ve been able to interpret:

Momma – Mami – Ma

Da-dee or Dada = Grandma – yes, she calls my Mom “Daddy”!

Gaw-cor = Doctor

Geesh = Cookie plus uses a very similar sound for cheese, cheek…& light, go figure

Boowa = Bubble & very similar sound for balloon

Boo = boots – both the Dora character & the foot wear

Eesh = teeth

Do-or = Dora

Do-or while shaking her head = she wants to watch Toopy & Binoo

Bwu = Blue

Bwu while shaking her head = any other colour other than blue

Buppy = up, which is strange since we never say “uppy”!

Nayna = Raina, my aunt

Na-nee = catch all sound that can mean many different thinks

Bwa – another catch all sound that can mean different things

Meh = can mean “what’s that” but is also a catch all sound with a myriad of meanings

For animals, she’ll often make the animal sound rather than attempt the name…and the rest of her communication is made up of grunts, gestures & jibberish. I’m not sure if she’s stringing words together, likely she is but I only understand a word or two. She will say a word while shaking her head meaning “not that” & she'll get frustrated if you’ve missed the head shake & give her the thing she didn’t want. She is trying to sing which is absolutely precious but loves most when we sing songs with actions like Wheels on the Bus, Zoom Zoom, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc to which she participates animatedly. I’ve even been spared the dreaded toddler habit (so far) of “NO!” If you recall, she use to say, “Nien!” then, “Niet” but for the most part she’ll just shake her head. What breaks my heart is when she’ll hold my face in her hands, looking at me pleadingly as she repeats the same sound that obviously means something to her but I just don’t understand. Often we get by with me asking her to show me what she means but sometimes what she’s saying isn’t showable & she gets so frustrated…but worse than that, sometimes she gets this look of abject defeat...it guts me!

And that’s the thing! She is SO expressive, even with her lack of language. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when she adds words to all that expression! Her preschool teacher said it perfectly, her emotions are written all over her face!

I know in my heart that Elena will come around to talking but there was that part of me that wondered, “what if?” What if there is some issue? What if I’m hindering her in any way?

We have a wonderful program in my province, Early Words…at Elena’s age, I was able to self refer & have Elena assessed by a Speech Pathologist, all covered under our healthcare.

We were sent a package of assessment forms to fill out prior to our meeting with the Speech Pathologist. The form had a number of lists of words & we needed to mark if Elena understood them or understood & spoke them…seeing it all out on paper like that was interesting…she understood pretty much every word on each list…& the ones she didn’t had more to do with not being exposed to that item than not knowing it, words like babysitter’s name, playpen, coffee…or words we just don’t use, like bad (I’ve avoided using that term feeling it is too negative) & owie/boo boo, we just say hurt, cut, bump, etc…

The first thing the SP mentioned was how surprised she was to see how expressive Elena was. Based on the paperwork, she expected a child that would be a lot more reserved & quiet…& the longer we were there, the more Elena became comfortable & opened up. The SP was impressed with how well Elena had adapted to express her wants, needs & opinions while lacking the language skills to do so.

The SP got right down on the floor to play & interact with Elena & observed that she didn’t try to mimic in any way which generally kids do a great deal. She also found it interesting that instead of pointing at things & labeling them, she brings them to me & has me identify them…basically Elena would make little to no effort to venture out of the small cluster of sounds & words she knows to try new & different ones…but she wants to know, Elena definitely has a thirst for knowledge.

Basically the SP diagnosed that it was entirely fault, I was hindering her! Oh, it’s not as bad as that sounds, lol! You see, I had decided that I would never talk baby talk to Elena…I would always use proper words & language, plus, until very recently, Elena was rarely with children her own age. She was left with nothing to emulate & mimic. My language was too difficult & she just didn’t have the ability to form the sounds needed to speak like me…

The SP explained that I (& my Mom) needed to speak more simply to Elena. She’s not suggesting using baby talk in any way, instead just simplifying how we speak. For example, when Elena would bring me something, like a ball, asking what’s this (Elena knows what a ball is, this is just an example) I would respond with a full sentence, “That’s a ball” & that is too many sounds for Elena to try to mimic so she just doesn’t. Instead I just need to say, “Ball” pause & say it again, “Ball” & pause again then say it a third time…there’s no need to ask her, “Can you say Ball?” or tell her, “Say Ball”…the pause is when she can try & she will in her own time.

Another example is when we play, I would have a running dialogue going…"Okay, let’s go play bubbles! This is so much fun! Look at them all! Pop them! There you go! Now you blow! Wow, great blowing…” Elena of course would understand all of this & participate excitedly…but it left her no room to try to learn the words! The SP suggested that I dial it way back…say, “Bubbles! Pop! Blow!” leaving lots of pauses & chances for Elena to mimic me.

In the week since our appointment, I have become hyper aware of how I speak to Elena & really realize that I talk to her like I would anyone else…& I’m now making a concerted effort to speak more simply. Already I’ve noticed a difference!! She is trying to mimic me more & her sound repertoire seems to be expanding quickly!

Having her in preschool in September will make a world of difference too, I am sure. She has been going to the school Fridays with my Mom for a drop in group. I had last Friday off so got to take her & see her interact with her friend, who talks quite a bit. It was amazing seeing Elena attempting the words this little girl was saying!
I really just can't wait to hear what Elena has got to say! I swear, I will never complain that she is talking too much! If I do, you have my permission to slap me!