• Puke Patrol With a Side of Gratitude*

    I was really tired last night. Trying to throw together a semi coherent blog post at 10pm was a challenge, and I went up and got ready for bed shortly after I posted it. My house was quiet as I got ready for bed, and at the last minute I decided to use our little dolly to wheel our nightstands back into the bedroom so it would really feel cozy again.

    Am I the only person that has trouble sleeping if I can’t see a clock immediately when I wake? I can suffer through with my phone if need be, but I really like to have a digital clock next to me when I sleep. I need to know what time it is whenever I wake up. I’m weird.

    Anyway, I digress.

    It was a little before 11pm when I finally crawled into bed. My bed. My glorious bed that I was without for two weeks. I had seriously just stretched out when I heard someone start coughing on the monitor. I flipped on the camera (bless you, modern technology) to see H throwing up in his bed. I flew out of bed and ran to his room with a bucket, hoping to catch the worst of it, but he was already pretty much done by the time I got there. Luckily the other two kids hadn’t woken up, I snuck him out to the bathroom so he could sit on the floor and hug a bucket while I called for reinforcements. M came up and cleared out H’s bed while I helped him get cleaned up. We tag teamed looking after H and changing his sheets, this time adding a layer of towels on top for a quick clean up and change if required again through the night.

    H perked back up almost immediately, perfectly content to sit on the floor of our room and watch a show on the ipad while he hugged his bucket. After about 30 minutes of him not puking and bouncing around on the floor while watching Batman, it was clear he was feeling a little better. M got him tucked back into bed and just before midnight I finally, finally got to sleep in my bed. I want to say it was magical because it kind of was, but I also didn’t sleep well because I woke up every time I heard a little noise on the monitor, poised for puke patrol.

    Thankfully, it was a singular occurrence and he slept through.

    More importantly, P was in his bed three feet away and slept through the entire thing. My once terrible sleeper slept through his brother getting sick AND us going in and out of the room with flashlights while we stripped H’s bed then changed his sheets. I really wasn’t sure that putting all three in a room together would be a good idea when we started, but he is sleeping SO MUCH BETTER. Win!

    We were all pretty tired this morning, so we had to decide whether or not to try and go to my family’s Thanksgiving lunch at my brother’s house an hour away. H woke up right as rain, with no fever and asking for breakfast, so we figured the sickness was probably a result of swimming + eating too much junk at the birthday party + having curry chicken for dinner (my bad). He seems to have a sensitive stomach like I do. Sorry kid.

    I called my mom to ask her opinion, as I didn’t want to bring a potentially sick kid to a party and infect the whole lot… and within a few hours we all piled in the vanimal and made the trip.

    I’m glad we did. It wasn’t perfect–H was overtired and cried a lot and P missed his nap and got mean–but I got to spend a few hours with my brothers, parents, aunts and cousins and the food was so delicious. My brother D and his wife T were perfect hosts, and while I missed my sisters, my brother R provided me with some much needed laughter while he and T serenaded us to a karaoke Celine Dion classic.

    So, it was not exactly the Thanksgiving Sunday I imagined, but I still feel like I have a lot to be grateful for.

    I’m so thankful H wasn’t more sick than he was and perked back up right away.

    I’m so, so thankful that P is sleeping better. I feel sane most of the time again and that actually feels really nice. Who knew?

    I’m so, so, so thankful to have the family I do. I’m thankful for M, in ways I can’t even possibly articulate… It’s such a small thing, but I’m so grateful to have a hands on husband who will go on puke patrol with me, with no hesitation. I’m grateful for our wee brood of children, who drive us crazy but also make our hearts basically explode with love. I’m grateful for my family. I know a lot of people say this, but I really do have the best family. We are all so different, but we fit together like parts of a puzzle, and once it’s together it makes something really beautiful. I’m also really grateful for my mom’s broccoli casserole and that my dad is a pie king and makes the best pies in the world. #itsbulkingseason

    Lastly, I’m so, so, so, so grateful that my bed is back.

    Fingers crossed for a puke free night tonight.

  • 100 Days of Gratitude*

    Over the summer I participated in the Happiness Project that was circling the interwebs. All you had to do was find one thing that made you happy every day, and share that one thing with the world via a Facebook or Instagram. It was a fun little project that I enjoyed doing, even on those days when finding something happy was a little more challenging.

    I finished my Happiness Project several weeks ago, and I’ve found that I’ve missed it. As cumbersome as it sometimes was to choose my happy moment, take (and edit) a photo then think of a clever caption to go with it, it also made me focus on something positive every day. I liked sharing that bit of myself with those that were following.

    This season of Thanksgiving got me thinking, and I’ve decided to embark on a new project:

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    It’s going to work like this:

    1) Find something that I am grateful for every day.
    2) Take a photo of (or write a status update about) it, and
    3) Share the photo / status update each day.

    That’s it. The Happiness Project was amazing because it gave me time to really see all the good I have around me every day… and I’m hoping that this Gratitude Project will now allow me to give thanks for it.

    I’m planning to use photos & Instagram for this project, but I’ll share them to my Facebook page so you can see them too.

    I’d like to challenge YOU (yes, you) to do this with me! It won’t take more than a few minutes each day to complete, and you can either post your photos or updates to Facebook, or link up your Instagram photos. Simply add the hashtag #GratitudeProject to the end of your posts.

    After all,

    It’s not happy people who are thankful…
    It’s THANKFUL people who are happy.

    My Gratitude Project starts tomorrow… let me know if you plan to join in! I hope you will. :)

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  • An Attitude of Gratitude*

    I love Thanksgiving.

    I love that this time of year beckons each of us to be with those we love, to eat excessive amounts of turkey and all things pumpkin, and to view our lives through a lens of gratitude.

    On Saturday morning we packed the kids in the car and drove to my Grandma’s house in Muskoka. While the weather didn’t permit us to take our traditional walk in the bush to see the maple sugar shack, some 30+ members of my extended family crowded together around tables to visit and eat. My grandma, Aunts (and my mom) prepared a feast of turkey, two kinds of potatoes, three or four different vegetables, salads and two kinds of stuffing.

    And let’s not even get started on the dessert… there were SIX different options for pie. SIX.

    (I was good and limited myself to a half slice of two different kinds.)

    (Though I may or may not have also had a bit of pumpkin cheesecake. I admit nothing.)

    It was so nice to get together with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I know that everyone says this, but I have seriously been blessed with the best family. We aren’t perfect, but we’re pretty dang great.

    From there we drove to my parent’s house where we spent the night and most of yesterday. Mom prepared a ridiculous lunch for us, complete with turkey and a turnip apple casserole that I am still dreaming about. The kids both napped, and I spent the afternoon curled up on the couch with my sister and brother watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

    My heart is full. I am so grateful to have a moment to pause, look around and give thanks for all that we have.

    I am so grateful for my family. My parents are so incredibly hardworking and supportive, my siblings are awesome and my extended family–on both sides–is large, hilarious and glorious.

    I am beyond grateful for the Hubster and our two beautiful, healthy children. Sometimes I quietly take a step back and watch the Hubster play with our kids, and my heart is filled with so much joy that it almost hurts. I am SO blessed.

    I am grateful for incredible friends who inspire me and motivate me to better. I have been so moved by one friend’s incredible sense of optimism and hope in the face of all that she endures… it has made me want to see life the way she does.

    I am grateful for my health, and for great friends who have inspired me to get healthy again. I feel like this amazing support group rallied around me on all sides, and it has given me the gentle push I needed to begin running again.

    I am grateful for my faith. You may have seen a bunch of “I’m a Mormon” stickers popping up all over Facebook. While that isn’t really my style, you may or may not know that I am a Mormon. I don’t speak about it often, but my faith is woven through me and has helped make me the person that I am today. It is a constant light that guides me through even my darkest moments, and it brings a quiet, constant peace to my heart.

    For these things, and so many others, I give thanks.

    I am one lucky hot dog. :)

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  • A December to Remember*

    Oh, December. What a month you turned out to be.

    I can honestly say that almost nothing turned out the way I planned  or expected, but as things almost always do–it all worked out in the end.

    Let’s take a look back, shall we?

    December rolled in and we found ourselves scrambling to finish our bathroom and get the house decorated before the Hubster’s mom came for a visit. It was a bit of a mad rush trying to balance work + house projects + pregnancy + toddler, but we got it all done and enjoyed a wonderful visit with his mom.

    Then the Hubster got sick.

    In the eight years we’ve been married, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him, ahem, “lose his lunch”. When the flu / stomach virus hit him, it came on like a freight train and I have never seen anyone be as sick as he was that night. We ended up cutting our visit with his mom a little short, and it took him nearly a week to be able to eat properly and feel normal again.

    I was busy trying to quarantine him and look after Ruby before and after work, and I was counting my lucky stars that the virus hadn’t hit us.

    Then Ruby started showing signs that she was a little under the weather. It didn’t hit her with the same force it did the Hubster, but for roughly two weeks she just wasn’t… herself. Luckily between some help from wonderful neighbours and some time the Hubster was able to take off work, we were able to keep her home for a few days and she perked back up.

    Again, I thanked my lucky stars that I had avoided this plague.

    Work seemed to be a little busier as the month progressed–there were units to wrap up, piles of assignments to mark and parents to call. As I plowed through each day, I was hanging on to one thing: December 21st.

    Earlier this fall, we planned a pre-Christmas family party where we could all get together, eat too much and exchange our gifts. As my siblings and I are all getting older, it’s becoming harder and harder to all get home on the 25th, so we thought, why not have an “early Christmas” where we can all be together?

    I’ve really been missing my family these last few months. I’ve made plans to go see my parents twice since Thanksgiving, and each time something has come up with Ruby that prevented us from going. When Ruby got sick mid-December, I was terrified that it would keep us from going… but thankfully she recovered a few days before the event.

    I planned out a fun homemade gift for each of my siblings this year, and (of course) I left everything to the last minute. For several evenings leading up to the 21st, I stayed up late working on their gifts. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get everything done, but by Friday night (December 20th) there was just some painting to finish and it looked like we might make our Saturday morning wrapping deadline.

    I tried out a new chicken recipe for dinner that day, and when I started feeling a little funny afterward I thought that maybe the chicken or herbs I had used weren’t agreeing with me. At 31 weeks pregnant there isn’t much that completely agrees with me, so I didn’t think much of it.

    By 8:30pm I knew something was definitely off. I put down my paint brush and decided to go up to the bathroom–just in case. Ten minutes later I got sick, but I felt much better after so I assumed it was just something I ate. To make sure I got to bed at a reasonable time, I enlisted the Hubster’s help with our projects to speed things up.

    An hour later I was sick again, and this time that awful ache down to your bones flu-feeling followed. I left my gifts in my Hubster’s capable hands and decided to call it a night.

    It was a long, long night. I spent more time with my face pressed against the tiles of my bathroom floor than I did in my bed, and by 7am I knew I had caught the flu that had plagued both the Hubster and little Ruby. I was so weak and light headed that I could barely stand, so I threw up my hands in defeat, called my mom, and cried.

    I was so disappointed to miss my family’s party, but I knew it was out of the question. There is nothing worse than being very pregnant with the flu and fever, and I knew I needed to rest and make sure nothing happened to this little peanut. I spent the day in bed and began to feel a little better that evening, but I fully expected to need another day in my toasty warm bed before I could say I was through the worst of it.

    Shortly after midnight our power went out. They had forecasted some freezing rain earlier in the day so I wasn’t terribly surprised, so I lay awake listening for Ruby until the power came back on again thirty minutes later. After checking that her fan and monitor were back on, I crawled back into bed and fell asleep.

    Half an hour later we lost power again. This time, it didn’t come back on right away. I checked on Ruby again, then tossed and turned until I eventually fell back asleep. We woke up a little after 7am to find our power still off. Our house was extremely dark, so the Hubster began hunting for flashlights and a radio as we tried to figure out what had happened. It was then we learned of the severity of the “ice storm” that had hit Toronto, and we peeked out the windows to see everything around our home covered in layers of ice.

    At that point, our home was still 17 degrees and we figured we could manage through the morning. After all, the power would certainly come back by lunchtime, right?

    As the day progressed and the temperature inside our home continued to dip, I began to get a little nervous. I still wasn’t feel well, Ruby was scared, and we didn’t have a set plan for how we’d make it through the night. We heard a radio broadcast asking people to stay off the roads wherever possible, and also that it could take until Wednesday for power to be restored.

    So, I did what any sick, emotional, extremely pregnant woman would do: I cried.

    It just felt like everything that could have gone wrong this month, did.

    And then our wonderful friends / neighbours / extended family came to our rescue and took us in. After a cold, dark day, we were so grateful to spend the evening playing board games by candlelight, and to sleep in a room next to a woodstove.

    We were lucky. It took 37 hours, but we had our power restored and our home warm by dinner the following day. I still wasn’t feeling 100%, but aside from feeling a little weak with no appetite, the flu was mostly gone. It had been a long, long weekend, so after we unpacked from our impromptu getaway, I threw some laundry on and got ready for bed. It was December 23rd, and I convinced that after all that had happened, nothing else could possibly go wrong before Christmas.

    Ha.

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  • On Feeling Loved*

    As I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to write tonight, inspiration literally knocked on my door.

    I’ve mentioned in the past how much I adore living in Pretty City. When we decided to move here two and a half years ago, I did so with a great deal of trepidation. It was not where I wanted to be.

    Or so I thought.

    From almost the first day we moved here I have loved everything about this city. It’s beautiful, we have everything we’d ever need at our fingertips, and most importantly–the people are wonderful.

    In the past several months we’ve been reminded time and time again just how wonderful the people we know here are. A few weeks ago we came home to find our lawn beautifully mowed by our neighbour. Shortly before that we woke up one morning to find out that our lawn had been “knifed” and I loved it.

    (I’m not sure if I blogged about that one, but the photo evidence can be seen here!)

    …and then there are the countless other acts of kindness and love we’ve experienced from the people we’ve met since moving here. Invitations for dinner, neighbours and friends helping with projects around the house, offers to help wherever possible and our lovely neighbours down the street even invited us to a pumpkin carving party this week and bought us a pumpkin.

    (Blurry, but that be a Pac Man punkin!)

    Seriously. Can you see why I love living here?

    So, tonight I was holed up in our office watching Hoarders working on important things when I heard someone knock loudly on our front door.

    I was already half in my jammies with an over sized sweat shirt on, and I am sure that I had chocolate stuck in my teeth from the brownies I just made.

    And ate.

    I seriously debated whether or not to answer the door, but as I was home alone I figured that maybe the Hubster had misplaced his keys so I ran down the stairs to open it.

    And of course by “ran” I mean pregnant waddled. Quickly.

    I opened the front door and there was no one there. My crazy brain immediately kicked in and I thought,

    “Oh no! This is how those awful horror movies always start!”

    I was about to be scared, and then I looked down and found this on my stoop:

    Seriously. How cute is that?! Check out the loot!

    Those are ghost-shaped cupcakes, spooky cookies (which may or may not have been eaten already. I admit nothing), some type of magical chocolate brownie and my favourite chocolate bars.

    I was hoping that the note on top would tell me who the thoughtful giver was, but instead I received a cute Hallowe’en poem:

    I have a sneaking suspicion about who may have left me and the wee-bean this perfect little plate of treats, but instead of outing them, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I feel so spoiled.

    And loved. :)

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