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Dear Mom May 11, 2014

Posted by dreamom in Uncategorized.
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   I thought about wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day on Facebook, but you are not on Facebook, so you would have to hear about it from someone else.  Instead I will do it here.  Because you DO read blogs.  And I believe, if I bother to write in mine, that you read MY blog.  🙂

   I am thankful to you for the way you mothered me.  I am thankful for you being a stay at home mom, in a world where it was not the norm anymore.  You taught me that regardless of the poor pay and lack of social credit, that it IS a worthy endeavour.  Although I felt horribly deprived NEVER having a house key (I NEVER needed it!), I definitely benefited in other ways.  I got to have my mom look after me when I was sick (and the odd time too stressed out to go to school).  I remember sitting on a bus on our way to a field trip and I was SO proud that my mom was a parent volunteer.  I was always excited to have you at the school serving my classmates and I hot dogs.  I was less excited to have you at school for fluoride day, but that wasn’t your fault 🙂  

  I didn’t know growing up, but I have come to see, parenting my own ADHD LD kid just how much MORE you did.  School meetings advocating for me (and my siblings), and ultimately teaching me to advocate for myself, and now my own child.  It has really been the school of experience that has showed me the time, effort, research, and tenacity that was involved in that role.  Still today you are doing it, as you talk me through some of my plans, and gently guide me.  And you are still teaching me the finer art of advocacy as I advocate for my child in a crazy school system that does not meet his needs.

   You have taught me to care about people, and to listen to people, and Dad and my husband might also say how to talk to people.  And talk, and talk, and talk.  And although it is fun to joke, the fact is that while you are talking you are listening, and while you are listening you are caring, and you have a way of following up on things, and being able to talk them out to a resolution.  I remember days in the rough storm of teenagehood when you would sit on the kitchen floor with me with tea, and we would talk.  Now my oldest, and sometimes my second oldest, while in the throws of an emotional storm will say “I want to talk to Nana.”  I believe that it isn’t because they think you can change anything, but rather they know you will listen, and will likely understand them.  I am glad that my children have you as a sounding board.

   As much as you listen to my kids and hear their woes, it is wonderful how you don’t undermine me.  You always respect me as their parent, and in those times where you are not sure you agree with my approach you always bring it up gently and privately as to not create division.  I am constantly learning how to parent from you, but I am also learning how to grandparent, and I can only hope to have half the grace and wisdom of you.  

   That said it is always an encouragement to hear you say that you wish you had done something the way I am now, and you must know that any of those things were ultimately due to your example.  Thank you for the example you were (and are) to me.

   As I prepare to spend my Mother’s Day surrounded by my brood (who have been whispering and scheming…), yours is more scattered.  I hope that through all the cards, visits, and calls, that you remember that we all love you.  Thank you for the giving us the gift of you, your time and your energy.  Thank you for continuing to give that to us whenever we need it.  

  All this to say – Have a very Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you for being you.



Breastfeeding in Public March 13, 2014

Posted by dreamom in family, Life, Parenting.
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Recently, in response to news of a breastfeeding mother being discriminated against while nursing her child, a news station posted a poll asking people whether it was appropriate for her to be nursing her child there.  Although it was presented as a discussion point, the fact is it isn’t.  The Ontario Charter of Human Rights says “What about breastfeeding? You have rights as a breastfeeding mother, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from breastfeeding your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to “cover up,” disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more “discreet.”  ( http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/pregnancy-and-breastfeeding-brochure#sthash.mvmYosh3.dpuf )

I contacted the station to discuss the role they are playing in the discrimination by persisting in this conversation, which is pointless, as the woman was within her rights, and what happened to her was wrong legally.  This was my reply to their response to me.

“No one suggested what was illegal? Breastfeeding in public? I certainly hope not! What IS ‘illegal’ (in opposition with the Charter of Human Rights in Ontario) is asking a woman who IS nursing in public (be it in a cashier line, a park, a pool, Target, Whole Foods, etc, etc) to cover or move and to be more discreet. How is discussing if that makes people comfortable “a fair issue for discussion” with “many different opinions”. I have heard several discussions on the matter, and have worked to end the discrimination against breastfeeding mothers on Facebook. It is not a matter open for discussion. If the woman is legally entitled to be there, she is allowed to breastfeed there. Period. If that makes you uncomfortable you have to get over it. Just like you have to get over a gay couple beside you on a plane making you uncomfortable. Just like you have to get over how having a female coworker or supervisor is making you feel uncomfortable.

In having these discussions based on the comfort level of people, you are perpetuating the discrimination that breastfeeding mothers face. The stories of some women are ridiculous. Most have not made headlines. Poll how many breastfeeding women have been asked to move, be more discreet, to cover up, or to stop breastfeeding by anyone.

I feel your station missed an opportunity to have a really useful discussion about how what the mother was doing WAS appropriate, and HOW can we make it more publicly known that breastfeeding is a protected right for the mother and child. How can businesses make it more known for their patrons and staff that breastfeeding is going to be respected.

I am sorry to say that I simply expect more from the media and the role that they (you) play in shaping public opinion.”


Days Like This February 10, 2014

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It is days like today that are just plain hard to get through.  Between it being difficult to sleep with a little keeping me up last night, an early morning that I slept late on, kids were antsy from too much time in the house (-15C makes outdoor fun not… fun), and just running late on everything today, finding out that I missed an appointment with a friend this week, and finally cancelling a Dr’s appointment for this afternoon when it was obvious that it was more stress than it was worth.  Oh sigh!

It’s on days like this that I really wonder how to stop the spiral.  How do you press reset and get back on track?  Seriously – if anyone reads this PLEASE post your ideas!  Today I resorted to chocolate covered almonds (and now the diet is out the window for today!), and going to bed with the hope that tomorrow is a new day (hopefully preceded by more sleep), and to try again.  

No. Really. I HAVE ADHD… January 30, 2014

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I was at an appointment today and found myself in a conversation that left me feeling like banging my head against a brick wall.  It started as a conversation about caffeine, and its use as a performance enhancing drug.  I commented that I believed that I rely on it to self medicate as I have attention deficit.  In response someone in the room asked me how many kids I have.  “5”.  They inquired how many were under 10 “4”.  To which they said “I think THAT might be why you need caffeine.”  And a discussion ensued on how tiring children are, and how he feels like he has ADHD somedays.  

Whether it was implied on purpose or not, I was left with a sense that my claim of ADHD was overstated, and that all my trouble staying on top of things could be explained simply by how many children I have.  I watch people with similar sized families, and I WISH this was true.  I have to say that I have gone through various stages in my life of accepting my ADHD as a part of me and how I operate, and writing off my symptoms as other things.  The fact is that I have always had it, and the nature of it is that I always will, and that although I can control a number of things in my environment to make it less problematic, that I need to function in the world where it is not the norm.  Someone who simplifies my thought processes or behaviour down to the number of children I have clearly has no clue.  

I showed my husband this video I saw on Facebook the other day…

My husband and I laughed, because many of these things are very realistic.  The part at the end when the friend suggests that she might have it – that is so common and true that it is almost not funny.  It is like me stubbing my toe and saying I am just like a guy with no leg.  Being busy is not having ADHD, nor is being lazy, or hyper.  ADHD does not just pop up here and there to make my day more interesting.  It is there all the time.  It is why days will go by where I won’t eat until dinner because I get distracted and forget, despite feeling physically ill.  It is sitting trying to figure out what to do for supper and not being able to THINK at all through the chitter chatter – even if in the next room.  It is standing in a room, trying to force yourself from curling up in a ball because it is a mess, and you can’t think of how to start to clean it.  It is impulsively agreeing to projects that are too big, and spending hours neglecting your life, up until 5am working to get it done so you don’t disappoint someone, or worse – fail.  It is NEEDING appointment reminders because I rarely am in tune with what day it is, and WILL miss it.  It is looking at a form and not being able to focus on the fields I need to fill out, or figuring out which one to do first.  It is spending your time being constantly pulled from one thing to the next, like you are being pushed down a river with a heavy current, and not finishing anything. 

The list can go on and on.  Although my husband and I can tell you that those things are very true, I am not keen to.  I don’t want people to know that I am that close to failing on any given project.  I don’t want to hear about how you think ADHD is made up to handle troubled kids in school.  How you didn’t think adults had it.  About how you thought you had it when you had trouble studying for your Chem320 exam.  Lastly, the last thing I want to hear is that the only reason I have trouble keeping up in life is NOT the Dr diagnosed ADHD that I have had my whole life, but rather that I have too many kids.  If that was my problem, I sure wish someone could have told me in university.  Maybe I would have finished ONE of my three degrees that I started…

One of Those Days January 9, 2014

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You know the days when you are out on your own with 5 kids and people stop you to say how wonderful the children are, and how wonderfully behaved they are?  This was not one of those days.  Today was one of THESE days…


Now – there was certainly some mess there before the untimely arrival of the tree in the middle of the living room.  This was a result of none other than Wild Man (who else?) attempting to turn on the Christmas lights that he has been told over and over and over, and over to leave alone.  Sadly one of the casualties was Monkey Man’s treasured ornament given to him by his grandmother several years ago.  It was a glass ball with kids playing pond hockey in Canadiens sweaters.  There were more than a few tears over that.

This was after a HORRIBLE day of the kids being wild, and me being unable to cope or keep up with it.  Hardly a surprise.  Sigh. Along with soothing myself with adages that tomorrow can only be better, I am finding that I NEED to find a new, creative way to deal with the wild misbehaviour.  It is not a usual thing, but it is becoming too frequent, and breaking too many hearts.  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Snow Day! January 7, 2014

Posted by dreamom in Home, Life, Uncategorized.
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When I was growing up in rural southwestern Ontario, just on the southern edge of the snow belt, there were few more highly anticipated days than the snow day.  With Monkey Man attending school, the tradition of hoping for snow days every time there is a flake in the sky has been passed on.  This winter he got more than he could have hoped for.  Just as the Christmas break was ending a blizzard hit, we only narrowly got home from visiting family before it really settled in.  On what was to be his first day back the school after the two week and one day holiday, the first of the snow days was announced.  Oh the rejoicing!  It was CERTAINLY a snow day.  The snow fell and blew, and the temperatures plummeted.  All the snow day fun was indoors this time!  Having gone to bed, and feeling more ready, perhaps, to go to school today – We got the message “Jan. 7, 2014 – ALL buses have been canceled and ALL schools are closed due to drifting snow, high winds, road closures and extreme cold.”

Growing up this was like the impossible dream!  To have TWO snow days sandwiched up with Christmas break!  Again – it was an indoor day, as the temperature with windchill was -40C.  In fact it was a snow day for everyone, as all the roads in the county were closed.  That was not as fun for the adults.  We are getting low on groceries, and the Husband is more than antsy to be at work doing work things.

For the first time ever, that I am aware, I do believe Monkey Man went to bed hoping to get to school tomorrow, and the Husband is gathering up things to be ready to head out in the morning for the conference for work that he so desperately wants to be at.  As much as I applaud their optimism, I fear it will be for naught as the county road department tweeted



No.  I don’t think the roads will be open when the Husband has to leave at 6am, and I don’t think the roads will be open when the school is making the call at 6:30am, and I think we have at least one more day of family togetherness before things get back to normal.

Look for more thrilling adventures tomorrow, if the snow day pans out, while we ‘take down the Christmas Tree’.  Expect the cabin fever to play a major role.  🙂

The News Around Here January 7, 2014

Posted by dreamom in Balance, family, Goals, Happiness, Home, Homeschooling, Life, Parenting.
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It has been more than a while since I wrote last – which explains why I have a hard time creating a following…

What’s new?  We have a new baby girly (Sweet P).  She is overly loved by The Wild Man, J-Man, The Little Lady, and The Monkey Man.  It was surreal having her arrive so quickly, nicely at home after the two losses before her.  She has a infectious laugh and the brightest eye, and The. Most. Pinchable. Cheeks. Ever.

Monkey man is finishing grade 8, and looking forward to … ::gulp:: high school next year.  He sees himself as so mature and grown up, but he is still my baby boy in so many ways.

The others are being homeschooled, and it is amazing to walk that education journey with them.  It definitely has ups and downs, but more about those later.

One thing that I have been thinking on lately is that I ENJOY writing.  In an effort to do more of what I enjoy, I hope to write a bit more frequently.  To do that I am going to have to tame the busyness that we get caught up in though.  That is part of my goals going forward.  Writing more, work on photography, create more life balance for the family, and work on publishing my book that I wrote eons ago.

We are off to a rousing start.  I took on a project that took up too much time and had me scrambling all last week, and now we are sorely out of routine while a blizzard rages outside.  It was a snow day for school (people were trilled), and work (people were anxious and upset), and now all the roads in the county are closed, and the temperature is dropping to -20 PLUS windchill.  I think tomorrow might be more of the same…


Dear James January 28, 2013

Posted by dreamom in Faith, Fears, Life, Peace.
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What can I say. I have read your book several times, but I am realising that I hardly know you.

First you say to consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds. That seems hard enough on its own.

Then you say if anyone lacks wisdom to ask God and it will be given to him. Now forgive me if this makes me nervous. I have been at this long enough that I know full well how God grants patience. Knowing that, and what my aching heart has been through in the last year… Well. Lets just say wisdom starts to look over-rated.

I just want some security, comfort, and to have a break from hard lessons for a bit. Can I ask for that too?

I guess I have to keep studying to find out…

Round and Round we go… August 3, 2012

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It has – as usual – been a while. It isn’t the usual too busy, too harried, doesn’t get to the blog too long though.  It is “I don’t want to do that right now.”  There has been some heavy duty hurting going on, and the ever constant search for joy in a world of pain.

One month plus one day of Hannah’s due date I miscarried.  Again.  This time it was early.  6+5 days.  Hardly the same, but the kick to my gut is the same.  Disappointment is the same.  Regrets are similar.  Loss is loss.  It isn’t just the loss of a baby, though – it is the loss of a dream.  Here we have been hoping for more children, and we are hearing a resounding “No” – or “Not yet”  That pains me – but I can’t help but see some of the wisdom in it either.  I can say that the baggage I have is a result of the losses, but if I am really honest with myself I can see the issues with what I have set as my timeframe.  MY timeframe is bound to my age – ironically.  I know I want more, but I know I am getting older, so that clock is putting the pressure on with the TICK. TICK. TICK.  The fact is that I am not THAT old, and the irony is that I am named after a woman who was barren through all the traditional childbearing years, and laughed when in her old age she heard she would have a child.  Yet she did.  I am confident I will too.  I doubt that God would set this need in my heart without a plan to see it through.  Trust, trust, trust.  Yes.  Trust.

I trust that God has the souls of my lost children, I trust that God has a plan for me, and I trust that if I submit to his will that I will see the fruit.  I will be blessed.  Today I pray that my path will be straight.  That my eyes will be on him. That I can trust in the goodness he has for me.  That I will carry out his plan in my actions.  I THANK Him for His presence, guidance and care.  I thank Him for the hard things, just as I do the easy.  I thank Him for all the situations He has put me in – good and bad – so that I can become the person He created me to be.

And it took me a while to get to the place where I was okay with saying that and meaning it – but I am there now.

Milestones March 18, 2012

Posted by dreamom in 1000 Gifts, Faith, family, Fears, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life, Peace, Pregnancy Loss.
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As humans we are drawn to milestones.  There are birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, coming of age celebrations – We use them to measure our lives and accomplishments.  We use them to celebrate and revel in the joy of making it to the next milestone.

Some milestones are not as pleasant to dwell on.  We tend to dwell on them too as we remember, relive, and grasp at the loss it represents.  Recently I was up too late on the computer, and I noticed that the date rolled over to the 2nd of March – marking one month since finding out about the death of the baby in my womb.  At that moment it gave me pause, and I faced with apprehension the coming 24hrs and what emotions that might bring.  I posted on Facebook to mark the event and went to bed.

It was only one month previous that I got the news, I faced head on a very dark time as I faced the loss, made decisions and waited.  I remembered the despair, the confusion, the feeling that nothing was ever going to be okay again.  I woke up in the morning and I was surprised that initially I … forgot.  I intended to take the day as it came, and when I did I found I was not focusing on the pain that I was remembering.  I was moving through my day and I was not pulled back to the place of sorrow and tears.  Instead I was grateful for the distance I had come.  I was thankful that those huge, harsh emotions I felt were not threatening to overcome me again. In fact, I found I had to remind myself of the day from time to time.  At one such point I began to ponder why.  Why am I WORKING to revisit a pain that I am not feeling?  I decided that if I started to feel the pain that I should address it, but otherwise I did not need to force myself back there.

It is now a little more than 24 hours to marking one month since Hannah’s birth.  Again I find that I don’t feel the pain that I feared I might.  I am remembering the joy.  The joy of the support of friends, the joy of seeing Hannah, the joy of moving to the next step…

Today in Sunday morning Bible Study I was reminded of my old stand-by verses:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”  James 1:24

and I also thought about:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Now who would get something for which they consider it a joy (a birthday present for instance), thank the giver, and then a month later think back with sadness, regret, or even anger?  For me this is what this is like.  I CAN look back on various aspects of losing Hannah and find lots of things that hurt, moments of loneliness, words, actions, inactions that hurt.  But why?  Why take something that I DECIDED (it was not a natural inclination, but a conscious decision that required purposeful action to carry out) to “Consider … pure joy”, and take the gift of “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” and set it aside for the sorrow, grief, pain, emptiness, envy, despair, anger, etc. that I would be left with?  I could use it to mark the days.  I could use it to say “See what I suffered?”, but the fact is I can’t.  I have gone there numerous time looking for it.  Expecting it.  I have been told flat out that it is there, but I can tell you that today, and the days I have checked with certain trepidation, that it is not.

I can tell you that I wholly and fully gave all of that to God.  When I was not eating (dare I say fasting), and I was reading the Bible, I was counting the gifts, I was offering *with thanks* the whole experience to God  – something amazing happened.  He did exactly what he said he would do.  He took it.  He gave me a “peace that transcends all understanding” (even mine – ESPECIALLY mine).  I don’t intend to hand that back.  What I do plan to do is that as the days, weeks, months and years wear on I plan to keep giving thanks, for everything he gave me, but none less than the peace I have.  If a day comes where I find those emotions and scars that I expect to find – I plan to do just as I have done.  Consider it joy, give thanks, and give it to God.

As for marking the days that I could – I am not going to try.  I am going to see what days become important.  I am not going to paint them with the brush of loss, but see what gifts God chooses to bestow on those days.  I will not be marking milestones of grief, but rather will celebrate in all that God has given me through this unique journey he has taken me on.