Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie HEAVEN & My Favorite Trick

I LOVE treats.  You name it - I love it (and probably have a stash of it somewhere in my house).  I'm a sucker for caramel though.  Any kind.  It's the first thing to go from a box of chocolates and the sneaky late night steal from my kids' Halloween candy.

Imagine my delight, when I thought to chop up some Kraft Caramels and throw them in my very favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!!!  SO yummy!  I'm sure it's been done a thousand times before, but I feel like I thought of it myself, and I'm going with it!!!

On a recent trip to the USA, scouring the grocery isles for "stuff you can't buy in Canada", I found these .  .  .  .  .  .  .

(If you CAN buy these in Canada, DON'T tell me.
They aren't doing my backside ANY favors!)

So here it is - My longtime favorite chewy, soft, Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe accompanied by the newest member of my pantry family!  And at the bottom is my favorite cookie-making tip of ALL time!

"Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies"

1 . 5 cups softened Butter or Margarine
3 cups Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Salt
4 Cups Flour
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Kraft Caramel Bits OR chopped caramels

Cream together butter/marg, brown sugar.
Add fork beaten eggs and vanilla and blend well.
**  I always add my chocolate/caramel bits now, but it's a matter of preference.
Mix dry ingredients together, add and stir well into mixture. 
Spoon onto parchment lined pan or ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake @350 degrees for 8-11 minutes.

My new favorite trick after making and baking a dozen or two cookies is to freeze the leftovers.  I roll the dough into one inch balls and flash freeze them on a pan in the freezer.  When they are firm, they can be thrown into a Ziploc bag and kept in the freezer.  It's super handy to have pre-made, HOME-MADE cookies ready to go for unexpected company, a quick treat or a surprise bedtime snack of milk and warm cookies!  
While your oven is preheating, have the frozen balls thawing on a pan (it doesn't take long at all)  Bake for maybe a minute or two longer than you normally would (incase they're still a bit frozen) and ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning Extravaganza: Task #3

Another silly job, that you probably wouldn't associate with a Spring Clean is up next.  Again though -  quite necessary at my house.

All of us, at one point (I think), have a little pile of things to "return".  None of it is really a big deal, until your pile multiplies and ends up in almost every room of your house.

I personally have my entire family (on my husband's side too), living in the same town.  That adds up to a lot of cookie sheets, baby clothes, toys left behind and the promised returns of borrowed items.
I also have a couple of store bought purchases that I've been meaning to return.  Seems like a perfect time to do it all!

So tomorrow, I will fill up my perfectly clean, spit-polished and organized vehicle, drive from house to house and drop off these items that I have let accumulate and clutter my closets and garage.  Hasta la vista!

Photo credit: theunseensupernova.tumblr.com/

Wednesday TASK #3
  • Return items that have gathered in my home to the appropriate places. 
  • Return any items that need to go back to a store.
  • Don't return home until vehicle is EMPTY!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Cleaning Extravaganza: Task #2

Day 2!  I'm feeling quite exhilarated already!  Is that weird - One job done, and planning a second?!

Here it goes... Again, not really a typical spring cleaning job, but once this is done it will add to my overall accomplished, organizational GLORY!

Welcome to 'Grey Gardens'.  Isn't that lovely?  My SUV was graciously nicknamed by my husband, after a hoarded mansion that belonged to the Aunt and cousin of Jacqui O..  I will NOT share a picture of my vehicle, but I will indulge you in an image of its' namesake.

Grey Gardens Dining Room circa 1971 via http://whitechocolatemess.blogspot.ca/ 

I admittedly have trouble keeping my vehicle clean and organized.  We live out on an acreage, so spend lots of time driving back and forth to town.  Trips are often jam packed, fast and furious, and push the limits of my kids.  By the time we get home, someone is usually crying or asleep, and I'm happy to get the milk in the fridge before it's warm.  Spilled snacks, thrown toys, flyers and errand leftovers usually get forgotten.  Oopsadilly.

Tuesday TASK #2: Vehicle
  • Clean out vehicle - glove compartments and all
  • Clean windows, wipe interior, vacuum and shampoo floors
  • Clean car seats and ensure they are properly installed on seats
  • Quick trip to the car wash for an exterior clean
  • Double check that your insurance/registration papers are up to date
  • Make a list of necessary vehicle maintenance - Book and/or plan appointments
  • Convince husband to be one of those guys that cleans his wife's vehicle on the weekend!

Join My Spring Cleaning Extravaganza!

Oh, it really is the little things these days, isn't it?  It's better late than never, as I start and share with you my spring cleaning list as it happens.  Hopefully, I can complete one task a day and be on the road to a better organized and functional home.  Hopefully.

I am drawing my inspiration for this post / cleaning bender from a fun blog, MrsJanuary.com..  She recently did a list full of things you may not normally think to include when spring cleaning, which sprung me into action.  That, and I'm 30 now and vowing to use my time more effectively and efficiently.  

We moved into this heavenly, storage filled house 2 years ago from our 900 hundred square foot first home, with one closet.  One.

So here are my excuses for the utterly unorganized chaos I have been living in.
  • We moved in on December 23 (highly UN-recommendable). Boxes were routed into basement, where they would await eager unpacking and new homes.
  • Days after Christmas, I learned I was expecting baby #2.  (Cue utter uselessness for 9 months)
  • Sweet baby girl born in the fall, which still puts everything ahead of unpacking/closet organization.
  • And then - what's the rush, right?!?!

And so tomorrow (Monday), it will begin with a task that I wouldn't normally associate with spring cleaning.  It has been on my list of things to do, but requires more time and know-how than I originally thought!  

Here's my "dirty little secret": My iPhone has 1700 pics/videos on it and needs to be transferred to the MacBook.  My MacBook's hard drive is FULL.  My camera is nearing a full smart card as well, and when that starts beeping at me, I will officially be over capacity!! Oy. 

Apparently, there is this 'thing'', in a box in my office called an "external hard drive".  Today I will attempt to learn how to use it and end my struggles with storage:)  

So here goes nothin' - Like this, I will tell you ahead of time each task at hand, and update you when I'm finished and moving onto the next one.  Wish me luck, and hopefully I can kick start a little extra organization in your lives --- and MINE!

TASK #1:
  • Organize computer, phone, and camera storage.  
  • Transfer important files and extra pictures/video onto external hard drive.
  • Delete old files and bad pics (closed eyes, etc..)
  • Empty / update iPhones/iPad.
  • Wipe & clean all devices and organize camera bag.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sugar, Spice, Frogs & Snails

"What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails,
And puppy-dogs tails;
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And everything nice;
That's what little girls are made of."

No words have ever rang more true in this house!

It never mattered to me AT ALL - For real!

Boy or girl, anticipating the arrival of our first baby with neutral paint, white sleepers, a list of boy names and a list for girls was an experience I'll always hold dear.

"It's A BOY!" The walls almost instantly turned blue and we let the boy games begin.

There is nothing more fun for me than a clothing department filled with little mini-man clothes and I've always tried my best to be the coolest encourager of dirt, trucks, skateboards, cowboys, baseball & superheroes. 

Learnin' the ropes.
A real boys' boy,  it's never hard to find this little guy.  He takes his signature "growl"with him wherever he goes.  It's hilarious.  He does it when he's concentrating or playing with  toys trucks, excavating playdough, or digging a hole outside.  It's cute and handy, for as soon as there's quiet (literally), I know he's up to something or somewhere that he shouldn't be.

My little "Hockey Pwayer"
Growing up in a family of 3 girls, I admittedly am caught off guard sometimes.  It happened last night when I gasped in horror!  I turned around in the kitchen to find the most handsomely devilish grin staring up at me, hands held out in pure delight, cusping a very "wiggiwy fwog".  I award myself major points for playing it as cool as I did.  We got out the little plastic fish tank that housed last springs' creatures and "Hairy" now enjoys his new home on the kitchen island.

Behold... The FROG!
After 4 year of occupancy in 'Boy Town", we welcomed our Princess.  I had a burning desire to know ahead of time with her, and was tickled pink to hear I would have a tea-party partner.  I admittedly put her in one too many blue sleepers, but haved vowed to being a shopaholic of Princess Dresses - the really fancy ones - and we're off to a good start.

Princess Party!
She is a natural girly-girl already.  A hilarious, tutu wearing, chocolate loving, baby kissing, beholder of everything nice, and the Queen of our hearts.  She has inherited her brother's witty sense of humor and his great big, beautiful heart.  

First Mani/Pedi with Mom
It's impossible to list all of the things that I look forward to with my daughter...  Painting each others' nails, dance classes, tea parties, shopping, giggles and sharing secrets...  I am so anxiously interested to see the little lady she will become, and look forward to being her partner in crime.

Her smile is one in a million...
These two have completed our family like I never could have dreamed.  Pink or blue never mattered to me, but as we capture this years' first critter and I give the baby girl her first "express" mani/pedi,  I am reminded of the 2 healthy blessings in our life and the fun that lies ahead as we embrace the sugar, the spice and even the frogs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Exciting TV Debut!

Well, it's official...
My kids are FAMOUS! (heehee)

My heart was instantly filled with pride, when Ryder was asked to be part of the Kinsmen Home Lotto Commercial for the Alberta Children's Hospital!  Cool, right?

My excitement probably FAR exceeded his, and he could have cared less about the brand new shoes, jeans, shirt and haircut that we "let" him get for the occasion, but it was a highly anticipated day for him.

He was a stud.

We arrived for the taping, and were already excited...
And then it happened -

"Look how CUTE your little girl is!
How would SHE like to be part of the commercial too!?!?!"

Aaaaaahh!  Instant excitement/mortified gasp!

My pretty little baby girl (20 months old and quite darling if I do say so myself), was a hot MESS!

Lunch on her face, beautiful barrette pulled out & tossed aside on the way there, dumb jeans that kept falling down, a silly hand me down shirt, car seat hair from a 2 hour drive/nap and a scowl on her face. 

"Seriously?!?!  Are you sure???  We would LOVE that!!!"

I was so excited, but couldn't help but daydream of how I would have dressed up my real life mini princess, had I known...  Or at least cleaned her face.

She never quite managed to crack a smile, and the blank stare that they managed to catch is quite hilarious, knowing her personality. 

(Note mini baby girl holding heart sign in video).

It was very sweet of them to include her.

Now it was Ryder's turn (handsome blonde in the red polo shirt).

Our little class clown managed to nail his directions after about 20 takes.

The giggles from the observers probably did the camera man no favors, as he realized how funny it was that he wasn't lowering his sign when he was supposed to.

It was a fun day, and Ryder happily shared the spotlight with his baby sister, Beau.

I am so proud of you both!  You are my little superstars... Although it's safe to say we won't be hitting Hollywood any time soon ;)

Love Mom

"Just Because You're Small, Doesn't Mean You Can't Do BIG Things!" 

This is the 2012 Kinsmen Home Lotto Commercial
benefitting our favorite place in the whole wide world,
the Alberta Children's Hospital.

Buy your tickets & check out amazing prizes @ www.homelotto.com
or call 1-888-531-2273

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Soon, I will share with you all of the fabulous details as to how Team Bumblebee came about.  Long story short - it was "founded" by Ryder, my miracle of a 5 year old son, who successfully raised almost $16,500- for the Alberta Children's Hospital back in February!  Needless to say we now have "the bug", and will continue to dream BIG of ways to 'Pay It Forward'.  (So stay tuned!!!)

For now though, I would like try my best to direct your attention to the importance of a new campaign coming to us through Twitter, called "#MiracleMoms".  10 Mommy Bloggers from Canada and the U.S. are introducing us to 10 amazing families, who have depended on our Children's Hospitals in great times of need.  These awesome Bloggers will bring us different stories of beautiful children, full of love and hope, all while raising awareness and funds for their hospitals.

As I've thought about writing this post, and the raw passion I feel for helping the ACHF, I think about how easily some people may shy away from such a campaign... scared to see pictures of gloom - children in pain, crying and sad.  I understand that.  I am the first to admit that I change the channel as fast as I can, when the music starts playing and the faces of sad, hungry, impoverished children in third world countries show up on my screen.  But as I write this, I vow to change that.  And I vow to try to help change the way you think about our own Children's Hospitals.

Of course the halls are brightly decorated - paintings by children, toys for all sizes and the smiling faces of nurses as they pass you in the halls.  That's a given.  But beyond that, it must all be sadness and tears?  Not as I see it, and I don't think that you'd meet a single person that would disagree with that.

Sure there are terribly sad things going on - things that should never happen to a child, let alone anyone else.  There are kids struggling in Intensive Care right now, children waiting for heart surgery, babies born too early to survive without assistance & kids fighting for their lives after unthinkable accidents.  There is Cancer and chemo, complications of Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes, paralysis and Ventilators, birth defects and life support amongst conditions most of us have never heard of.

And that is why those precious kids are there, under the care of the best of the best.  These hospitals aren't just buildings that accommodate our children, they specialize in our kids, and know them darn near better they we do.

But it's not what you think - There is also a myriad of things that are going as thousands of children and families roam the halls every day... maybe for a follow up with their Cardiologist, an assessment for a developmental delay, an annual check up after a surgery done years ago, an ultrasound that requires a special machine or an eye appointment.  There are siblings visiting a little brother after his tonsils were removed, a past patient delivering teddy bears to present patients, volunteers there to cuddle little babies, a Mom headed back home after filling her little girls prescription at the pharmacy and a Dad returning a book to the Hospital library.  The halls are buzzing with hope and with love and with the wisdom that will care for our children for all the generations to come.

It wasn't until I walked through the doors of the Alberta Children's Hospital with my 2 day old son almost 6 years ago, that I knew anything about what went on inside.  I certainly had my own preconceived notions, but really never had any reason to think about it at all.  More than anything, I now know what is inside... love.

As I look at my 5 year old boy, I am constantly reminded of how lucky we all are to have such places so close to home.  Even if it's not as close as you'd like it to be... it's there.  The pure excitement and emotions that come to me when we get to go for a check up with our perfectly healthy son is a privately self professed quirk of mine.  The joy that fills my heart when we drive into the parkade is truly indescribable.  We have a dream team of specialists that follow our son, and greet us with equal excitement and love at every appointment.  We have friends, beautiful memories and a second family.  I thank God for all of these things every day.  I thank God that I am a #MiracleMom.

If you've ever had a sick child, you know "that feeling"...  Up all night, worrying about a fever that often comes with the territory of colds that seem to be never-ending.  Maybe it's wishing you could trade places with your little guy, who is sick with the flu for the first time or perhaps you've had to scoop up your little one in the middle of the night, for a trip to the emergency room, "just to be safe".

  • As Moms, we aren't meant to be walking/talking medical dictionaries - but #MiracleMoms are.
  • We aren't supposed to know how to insert a naso-gastric tube - but #MiracleMoms do.
  • We shouldn't know how to flush a line with saline or change an IV bag - #MiracleMoms do.
  • We should be looking forward to tomorrows' soccer game - #MiracleMoms are praying for tomorrows' test results.
And so here we are... Following the stories of some amazing kids through some fabulous bloggers that have committed their time to raising awareness to the importance of the hospitals that are dedicated to "our" children.  They are bringing to light the bravery of families, and the heroism and strength of kids up against all sorts of odds.  And in between that, they've each pledged to raise $1000.  (x10!)

And so a CHALLENGE is born!!!

I have taken the first step in this "Team Bumblebee CHALLENGE" for #MiracleMoms 
and made a donation of $50.

I CHALLENGE you to do the same.  I CHALLENGE you to meet that, beat that, 
or simply donate what you can.  Invite your girlfriends over for coffee 
and donate the $20 you may have spent going out.  
Use this as an opportunity to teach your fortunate children about what
Children's Hospitals are ask if they'd like to donate part of their allowance?
There are SO many ways that we can help and say thank you.
If you've been looking for a way to give back for incredible care you may
have received, now is that time!
An incredible way to unite and make a difference is to continue this CHALLENGE... 
Make a donation, shout it from the rooftops and reissue this special CHALLENGE
 to your own circle of friends and family!!!
Please use your social media powers to share, tweet and re-tweet your hearts out.
Let's continue to help make this exceptional care available to us.
I know this can work.

I think that we can knock the socks off of these big-hearted bloggers, plugging away to make a difference in the lives of our children and the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals 
that care for them with all they have!

Make sure to comment on these blogs and share what you are doing to help!

From the bottom of our Team Bumblebee hearts,
Thank you!

Check out #MiracleMoms on Twitter
and check out these wonderful blogs...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away....

Our brand new baby boy was 3 days old.  My husband sat in the chair across from me, while I cuddled baby Ryder close and sang little songs and nursery rhymes softly in his ear - most of which he was hearing for the first time.  It was a precious moment, but as a first time mom, the moment should have felt different.  I began the next song...

You are my Sunshine
My only Sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You'll never know dear
How much I love you...

And then I paused, horribly stunned at the words I was about to sing.  My husband and I made brief eye contact and then quickly looked back to the sleeping baby in my arms.  Our eyes - already damp, swollen and tired - filled with tears and we sobbed silently, so not to wake Ryder.  I finished the song... 

Please don't take my sunshine away.

We were at the Alberta Children's Hospital. Some time later we were escorted to an operating room, and after a prayer with our Pastor, I hesitantly handed my precious, fragile, sweet Ryder over to a lovely nurse.  I'll never forget that moment as I watched her walking away - rolling an IV pole with her left hand and cradling my baby in her right.

This is Ryder's story ~  

In the months leading up to the arrival of our first baby, we had been spending quite a bit of  time in Calgary.  Driving around one day with family, our attention was drawn to a big, colorful, beautiful building on the side of the hill, that would soon be the brand new Alberta's Children's Hospital.  Naively, I commented on it's fun exterior appearance, and in agreeance, my husband stated his hopes aloud, that it was hopefully a building that we would never have to see the inside of.  

Two months later...

On August 15, 2006, the highly anticipated, most handsome little baby boy was born to my husband and I, in our hometown of Brooks, Alberta.  We named him Ryder Ty, and we knew he was special from the moment we laid eyes on him.  My husband asked for reassurance more than once, that we were indeed the proud parents of a perfectly healthy baby boy.... and that is exactly how it seemed.

There was no need to be worried about Ryder's health.  I had had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, a smooth delivery and now we were officially beginning our journey as parents!  What we had hoped would be a brief hospital stay, turned to worry and constant buzzing to the nurses about issues that our baby was having with holding any of his feedings down.  After two wasteful days of holding him in different positions while he ate and hearing that the amount of regurgitating that he was doing was normal, our fears grew.  Perhaps he had Pyloric Stenosis, the same thing that I had indeed had as an infant?  After much convincing, the Dr. ordered an XRay that showed some type of blockage in Ryder's digestive system (hopefully nothing serious), and sent us along with our brand new baby and an address, to the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary. 

After what seemed like the longest drive in the history of driving (rush hour included), we arrived at the Hospital on Richmond Road.  We were kindly greeted and escorted into the Emergency Room, where the questions began and a sense of something much more serious came over the room.  Before you know it, it seemed like there was 20 people in the room.  One of the first questions we were asked was when the last time the baby had been attached to an intravenous... he hadn't been!  Ryder was dangerously dehydrated, his skin was tenting, murmurs were heard in his heart, his blood pressure was nearly impossible to read, his jaundice levels dangerously high, and he was lacking any vein big enough to accept an IV.  But they did it.  They did everything.  Within minutes, he was being rehydrated, and being cared for.  They saved his life and so began our journey at the Alberta Children's Hospital...

That night it was determined that Ryder would need surgery.  He had some type of duodenal atresia, nothing that could be determined beforehand, but much more serious than what we thought could have been Pyloric Stenosis.  But he was stable, and the next day would be a big one.  With his Daddy sleeping beside him in a chair, we tried to get some sleep - the next day would be a big one and he would be 3 days old!

We met with the surgeons the next morning, when they would explain the surgery process and how things would go.  There would be a number of things that had to happen leading up to the surgery, including an echocardiogram.  Doctors wanted to get a good look at his heart, as they had heard a murmur that needed to be looked at closer before any major surgery could happen.  

By then, our family had all come to be by our side.  We seemed to fill any waiting room we were in and wouldn't have had it any other way.  Our friend and Pastor had also arrived at that time and the timing of his arrival couldn't have been more perfect.  

Ryder's echocardiogram would not deliver good news.  On top of his pending surgery happening later that day, he would also require heart surgery soon after.  His heart had 3 holes, one being very significant.  We left the cardiology unit and with our parents and Pastor John, went to the Hospital Chapel, where Ryder was baptized.  It was beautiful.  

Later that night, and in the midst of this crazy whirlwind, we took our baby boy to the operating room.  Even more fragile that we originally thought, words just can't describe the feeling of handing over your baby.  But we did.

No word of a lie, there was some sort of world fire-works competition going on in Calgary that night, and as our entire family somberly watched the beautiful fireworks out the window of the hospital cafeteria, we were paged over the intercom to meet our baby, back in the ICU.  It was over, and he was okay.  It turns out he had an Anular Pancreas, which means his Pancreas had grown around his duodenum and was constricting it.  He had not been digesting anything at all for his first 3 days of life.  It is nothing short of a miracle that we got to the hospital when we did the day before.

We knew that the recovery from his surgery could be lengthy...  About 6 weeks or so in the Children's Hospital.  We spent our first 10 days in the ICU, surrounded by fantastic teams that would check in on and watch over Ryder.  'Baby's first photos' are certainly different than your average newborn... countless tubes, ventilators, machines, cords and drains... but they're our baby's first photos, and they're perfect.  

When Ryder was 2 weeks old, we graduated from the ICU and headed to the unit.  Things were tougher there.  A lot more work for Mom and Dad, for sure.  Learning what all of the alarms and beeps meant, when to call for help, learning more medical terminology than I'd ever care to recall again and how to hold a brand new baby while juggling his wires, cords, IV and machines.  We encountered a dangerous hurdle soon after, when it was determined after a high fever, that he was fighting a dangerous blood infection.  Not good.  He was way too tough to let that slow him down though... 

And then he was famous!  As the halls of the hospital were optimistically buzzing of the near opening of the new hospital, the Calgary Herald did a great big 3 part story on their "Hospital of Hope", and our Ryder made the front cover!  It was a great little boost that we all had fun with!

My husband and I would take turns, alternating nights sleeping in the recliner beside Ryder's hospital crib.  We were more than incredibly lucky to have family just down the road, who would open their entire home to us during this time.  Whoever wasn't sleeping on the chair that night, would be able to go to a warm bed with a hot shower and healthy breakfast in the morning.   Lifesavers.

Ryder was about three weeks old when he received his first feeding by bottle and ate like a champ...  All 2 ml's of it, which is less than half a teaspoon!  We slowly worked our way up, weighing him after every feeding to ensure he was getting what he should.  He was also on a constant feed by an NG tube, to make sure he was getting adequate food to help his body grow. 

Ryder's heart was working overtime, and as close as we were getting to the finish line of Part One, Part Two was in the near future.  At 6 weeks old, he was ready to come home for a bit of a break before his big heart surgery, and we said "so long" to the Children's Hospital on Richmond Road.  We were one of the last patients to be discharged before they started transferring children to the new hospital.  

We brought our little guy home.  Finally.  We were taught how to properly insert his NG tube, to ensure that he was getting as much nutrition and extra calories as possible.  I was also able to nurse him (starting at about 4 weeks old, and against all odds).  His little body was compared to an adult running on a treadmill all day, trying to consume enough calories to gain any weight.  In his 3 months of life, leading up to our trip to the Stollery, he was able to gain a whopping 2 pounds.  We are so thankful for that time at home together.

On November 16th, 2006 at 3 months and one day old, Ryder had successful open heart surgery to repair Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects.  Another miracle.  Another team of miracle workers and heroes.  Another amazing experience....  And a short one.  I still cannot believe it, but we were home 7 days later... ONE WEEK!  His broken heart was mended, and the rest is history....

Please support the Alberta Children's Hospital or any CMNH close to you.  I never thought this would be our story, and now know how many similar stories there are out there.
This kind of world class care that we have available to our children is essential and something that I will support for the rest of my life.
I hope you'll consider the same. 

**This post is dedicated to all of the Mom's, sitting in a Children's Hospital,  singing to their "Sunshine's" right now.**


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Avery's Bucket List Live On In The Heart of Us All

Among any other person that has come across the story of sweet Avery Canahuati and her beautiful Bucket List over the past few weeks, I was so saddened to learn of her recent passing.  Her family has so intimately and graciously let all of us in, and my heart is aching for their sudden loss, that happened much sooner than they ever expected.  http://averycan.blogspot.ca/

First off, I will say that this post is taking forever to write.  The constant thoughts of Avery's parents making the most of every single moment with her are ringing in the back of my mind.  They knew the time they had with her would be short and made it their mission to make her life as full as possible.  And they most certainly did!

And so every time I hear those little feet coming my way, I remind myself to jump off my stool and take the time to roll around, giggle, and share a pretend cup of tea.  All of these beautiful stages of our kids lives are so short, and although in a completely different context, will be over in a  heartbeat.  Enjoy the moments and make the most of every single one of them, for as most of us will move onto the next phase with our kids, we should always remember how lucky we are to do so.

Avery's Mom and Dad can be sure that she is smiling down at them from heaven.  What a legacy they have created for their daughter, for a cause and for other parents to learn from.  So many lives have been touched, have hope and will carry on in new and exciting ways because of their daughter and all she brought to us in such a short time.  We are all changed, because they selflessly shared her with the world.  Thank you.

The Canahuati's are a shining example of the power of parenting, and although what we have seen has of them has been happy and fun and powerful, they most certainly experienced days where they needed something to keep them going... To keep living so optimistically and strong for their baby girl.

The poem that I want to share with all of you has popped back into my mind as I've been thinking of their journey, as it was something that had a profound impact on my own in the weeks after the birth of my son.  He was incredibly sick and we spent his first months in the Alberta Children Hospital facing tremendous obstacles.

It kept me going.  It was (and still is) in a baby blue frame, and I read it more times in a day than I could count.  Sometimes it was the boost when I didn't think I could handle any more.  I had to be the best Mommy that my little guy knew I could be and this was my reminder that he knew I could do it.

I still read it today, and although it means something completely different today than it did back then, I draw some new encouragement from it almost every time.

I hope that you'll read it and be touched or re-energized.  Who knows what the author had experienced or was going through when she wrote this?  It can be so meaningful in SO many different ways.   Please share it with someone who could use a boost or frame it and send it as a gift to parents who may going through a tough time with their children, as my sister did for me.  To this day, it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Maybe because this poem was such a big part of the most difficult time of my life, I still find it so powerful?  It should reign true for all of us though and be a reminder that as we exhaustedly raise our families, we are truly the best and only parents that our kids could ever hope for.  I truly believe that Avery's short and heroic journey could have never been as wonderful without her Mom and Dad, and she planned it that way...

Did you ever think, dear Mother,
As the seeds of me you sowed,
As you breathed new life inside of me
And slowly watched me grow,
In all your dreams about me
When you planned me out so well,
When you couldn't wait to have me there
Inside your heart to dwell,

Did you ever think that maybe,
I was planning for you too,
And choosing for my very own
A mother just like you?
A mother who smelled sweet 
and had hands so creamy white,
A tender, loving creature
Who would soothe me in the night?

Did you ever think in all those days
While you were coming due,
That as you planned a life for me
I sought a life with you?
And now as I lay in your arms,
I wonder if you knew
While you were busy making me,
I was choosing you.
~Colleen M. Story~

Ryder - My Homecoming King 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bumblebee... BLOGS?!?

Well here goes nothing!  I'm... blogging?!?

The thought crossed my mind a couple of months ago, and I quickly laughed it off with the realization that I simply did NOT have the time.  In fact, I'm in the hole for extra time and certainly can not justify squeezing in any more "computer time"...  Or can I?

My list is SO darn long, and grows day by day.  I admittedly have too many things on the go, another wish list of big projects constantly on my mind, an acreage that requires my eager attention, pets to care for, Pinterested 'Pins' that I know I will never have time to complete, house to keep clean, laundry to fold, meals to cook, groceries to cook them, Facebook and Twitter time (who are we kidding), babies to love, extra-curricular activities to schedule in between doctor and dentist appointments, and a husband whose work keeps us on the road for a greater part of our year (super fun, by the way)...  I have never, ever, EVER been bored and I love that!

Maybe this new little time-consuming adventure could help me check some things off of my list though?

I started thinking about the great big world out there and all of the people that I could potentially connect with.  Among a bazillion other things, my most important job is to be the best Mom I can be - and I am a Momma on a mission.

And so a blog is born.

I look forward to sharing how the "Bumblebee" namesake was born and how it has become such an important part of our lives.

I look forward to a long and meaningful relationship together... New friends, great connections, shared stories, laughter, tears and a few guilty pleasures in between.