Jack be nimble, Jack be quick...

... Jack jumped over his crib rail... Ick!

Oh boy. It's upon us, and I'm not ready.

This morning I heard a little "thump" and looked around to see what it was. The cat was lying on the floor by me, so I deduced that it wasn't all 30 lbs of him jumping down from something. Alice was still sawing logs in her bed, and I didn't hear any tears so assumed it wasn't a child falling out of bed. And I was partially right. Nobody fell out of their bed. He JUMPED!

*rattle, rattle, rattle* went the doorknob on Jack's bedroom door. I opened it and saw my little man standing there on the other side with a huge smile on his face. He pointed to the crib and exclaimed, "Aye-ya!" (his usual word for, well, just about anything!).

"You little monkey!", I thought to myself.

As I see it we have two options: 1) Change his name to Harry (as in Houdini, because with his short legs, I'm not sure how my little escape artist got out of his crib to begin with!), or 2) take down the crib and set up the "big boy bed". I'm voting for the former right now, as I'm so not ready to put him in a bed yet.

Putting him in a bed means that he's turning into more of a boy and less of 'my baby'. And it means no rest for mommy! Alice took to her bed like a pro and once she was in there, she wanted to stay in there for the night (yeah, that's changed now at 4.5, but it was great for the first few years!). Jack, however, will be out of that bed and socializing at every possible opportunity.


He's just 17 months. I'm not ready for this! Perhaps we'll give it a little time and see if this turns into a regular occurrence. I think I already know my answer to that one though. Jack is the type of boy that once he has figured something out, he will master it and won't stop until he does. This is going to be the first of many escape attempts, and for his own safety I know what we are going to have to do.

Jack, you're growing up too fast, my boy! Slow down. Mommy wants to hold on to your babyness for just a little longer...

Sweet, smart girl...

I think kids have a natural sixth sense. I know Alice does, and I pray she never loses it. For her, her sixth sense seems to guide her compassion. She knows and understands things that many children her age don't.

We haven't talked to her very much about my dad and his condition. At four years old, we assumed she wouldn't understand or grasp the concept of sickness and death. It turns out that she grasps it more than we realized.

Last Saturday night when I was putting Alice to bed, she decided she wanted to have a little heart to heart talk about Grandpa.

"Mommy, is Grandpa dying?" she asked.

Me, a little taken aback replied, "Yes, honey... he is...".

"Is he going to die soon?", she probed.

"I'm not sure honey. Grandpa is very sick, and it's possible that he could die at any time. Or, we might be lucky enough to have him around for a while. We just don't know.", I explained.

"And you'll be sad, right mommy?".

"Yes, honey. I'll be sad."

She thought for a moment and said, "Do you love your daddy, mommy?". "Yes, honey. Very much so." I said. "I love him too. And I won't be shy of him anymore, because I may not see him for much longer." she proclaimed.

My eyes welled up with tears at this point, and my throat began to tighten. How smart she had become in the blink of an eye. I was amazed at her understanding of the situation. The next day she did exactly what she said she was going to do the night before. Instead of shying away when she saw Grandpa, she picked a flower for him, took it to him and gave him a big hug and kiss. "I love you Grandpa." she said. I saw my dad's eyes swell with tears as he looked at me, then leaned over to hug Alice and said, "I love you too sweetheart."

I have a feeling Alice is going to be a great source of strength for me when "the time comes". She already is now. I am amazed by her compassionate and understanding heart, and how quickly she is growing up. I don't know what I did in my life to deserve her, but it must have been something really good. :o)

Bittersweet Father's Day

Dad, August 2006

This is how my dad looked not even a year ago. To look at him in this photo, you wouldn't guess he was battling lung cancer, and losing the battle at that.

The dad I saw this past weekend is a shadow of this man, physically. I could hardly believe I was looking at the same person. Even in just a few short weeks since I last saw him, he has deteriorated considerably.

For four years we have been told that dad "has 6 months to live". For 4 years dad has defied that prognosis. With nothing to lose, he tried every treatment they could offer him in an attempt to prolong his life. Sadly, nothing worked and his cancer continues to grow at an alarming rate. I think I took it for granted each time 6 months passed and dad was still with us. He seemed invincible.

I was in denial.

That was obvious to me for the first time on Father's Day. Reality hit me like a tonne of bricks this weekend. And my heart has been breaking since. So this is what they warned me about. This is what they meant when they said I would 'know' the end was near. It's been sneaking up on me, and I was doing very well ignoring the reality of it all. But now I know I can't ignore it any longer. My dad is dying. I think he knows the end is coming too. Last week I called him and he seemed to be in unusually good spirits. I asked him what he was up to and he said, "Just working on my will.", with a 'song' in his voice.

Our Father's Day visit with him was bittersweet. Throughout the day I felt grateful that I had this one more special day with him. However, all the while I was realizing that this was going to be my last Father's Day to celebrate with my dad. I refused to dwell on that fact and made the best of our visit, but it was hard. Dad was "off", not totally with it and at times unresponsive to conversation. A morphine induced haze, I'm guessing. I just can't imagine...

This has been the longest four years of my life. When my mum died, we were blindsided. One day here, the next day gone. The pain we felt at her loss was incredible, but it was not sustained like the pain of losing my dad is. It's never easy to lose someone you love, but I am starting to think it is "easier" to lose someone suddenly than to watch them slowly and painfully die.

More than hurting for myself and my impending loss, I am hurting for my dad. To watch him suffer like this - I can't put in to words how horrible it feels. I know he is hanging on only for us, when really what he would like to do is lay down and let his body have it's eternal sleep. And I can't help but wish that for him right now.

I feel so helpless.

Dad, Father's Day 2007

I won!!!

"Oh, this is the big one! You hear that, Elizabeth? I'm comin' to join ya, honey!" ~ Fred Sandford's 'heart attack response' in the television show "Sandford and Son".

That was my reaction on Wednesday evening as the Lotto 6/49 numbers were announced one by one.










oh my goodness! check!

"And fourty-eight. Bonus, 18"


My ticket held 4 out of 6 of the numbers, the kicker being a 49 instead of 48 - one number off $100,000! That's the biggest win I've had on any lottery ticket purchase. Thursday morning I excitedly checked the OLG site to see what fortune I had won!


Meh, it's not the millions but it's better than a kick in the pants!

Let's see your Lotto 6/49 happy dance!

Michael Moore's "Sicko" makes London, Ontario debut

The one and only Michael Moore brought his movie "Sicko" to London last week for a special advanced screening. London is featured fairly predominantly in the movie, which is why he chose here to kick off a few special premiers he is doing, the next being in Michigan this Saturday, June 16th. The movie opens to wide release on June 29th.
A friend and I ventured out to catch the "red carpet" ceremony, which hinted at the possibility of stars arriving to catch an early glimpse of the film. However, the carpet was short - literally - and adorned only by four public figures: the Mayor of London, Anne Marie De Cicco-Best, the Mayor of Sarnia, Mike Bradley who was featured in Moore's film "Bowling for Columbine", actress Shirley Douglas, daughter of Tommy Douglas aka: the father of public medicare in Canada, and mum to Kiefer Sutherland, and last but not least the big guy himself, Michael Moore.
While it was nice to be able to catch a glimpse of Mr. Moore, it would have been nicer to have had the opportunity to see the film. A handful of tickets were given out through the newspaper and a local radio station, and that was it. The rest were by invite only. From out view point outside, they didn't appear to have a full house for the screening (more people went in for birthday parties than they did to see "Sicko"), so I wonder why the film distributors and 'Mike' didn't hand out any tickets to the fans who came to cheer him on. Yes, I was a little disappointed.
I was happy to be able to say I saw Mr. Moore in the flesh, who I admire for his film making and educated and informed opinions. But a peek at the movie would have been that much nicer. I look forward to seeing it when it is released, and seeing the picture he paints of the Canadian Health Care system. While we do have a great system, and I am extremely thankful for it, I wonder if Mr. Moore makes it out to be more "wine and roses" than it really is. It definitely has it's problems - a shortage of Doctors to crisis proportions to name just one - but overall we are blessed in Canada to have the universal coverage that we enjoy.
What I would like to see 'Mike' bring to the forefront in the United States next is the lack of interest in children and families on the part of the US Government. Particular focus should be made on the lack of time new parents are able to spend with their babies after they are born. Most women take only 6-12 weeks after birth - hardly time to heal from the process! - as they cannot afford, or are not allowed, to take anymore. Despicable. Another reason I am proud to be a Canadian. My country values my family, and realizes that the first year of a child's life is crucial.
I feel that we are overtaxed in Canada, and those taxes are greatly misused by our Government (another post for another time), however I realize that compared to the United States we have the greenest grass on the block. Read here to see just how "good" we really do have it. So yup. I'll suck it up and drag myself into the Urgent Care centre or walk-in clinic when I am ill, and I'll quit sniveling about not having a family doctor, although that would be nice. I'm just thankful that I can see a doctor and not worry that I have to sell a limb to do so.
Be proud, and be thankful.

Lock down at the school!

What an interesting day we had today!

My husband called at 2:30 and asked if I could go get Alice, as he would be getting off work a little later and wouldn't make it in time. At 3:00 I woke Jack and we headed off to the school. The sky was looking quite stormy and the wind was starting to pick up. As we drove by the park around the corner, a tree branch began to snap and jutted out over the road. The wind changed and took it the other way, bringing the falling branch to a landing on the sidewalk. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

As we continued on our way, the sky became greenish looking and the rain started to fall. I ran into the school with Jack in my arms and told the teacher that the weather was looking a little eery, so to be careful driving home. Suddenly, the principal came over the loud speaker saying the school was on immediate lock down. Nobody was to exit the school as a tornado had been sighted in the immediate area, and until the all clear was given we were to sit in the halls in the "tornado position" - back to the wall, knees up and heads on our knees.

Several groups of children joined us within minutes in the hallway outside of Alice's classroom. Many of them were terrified and in tears. Alice was a trooper and not really frightened at all. Jack was enthralled by all the kids who were paying attention to him. Nobody assumed the "tornado position" but instead chatted and socialized with their friends, and 30 minutes later we were finally released to go.

Brad said the drive home from work was a little dodgy, and he watched as the wind twisted a tree right at it's trunk and pulled it roots and all from the ground. He put his foot on the gas and prayed he wasn't next to take flight.

I'm not sure if a tornado touched down in the area or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. Quite an interesting day! I've never experienced anything like that before, but definitely felt more comfortable being in the hall at school with no windows and strong walls then I would have at home.

The adventurer in me still wants to catch a picture of a twister one of these days though. Preferably with a very long zoom lens.

Mr. Popularity!

For those who don't know me, one of my passions is politics. Particularly, American politics and it's influence on Canadian policies and international relations. One subject I am very passionate about - and arguably sometimes too passionate - is George "Dubya" Bush.

*insert grimacing face here*

It still floors me that he is the President of the United States. You have to laugh sometimes at the things he says and think, "Really??" How did this man get into office? And what is he still doing in office?
One word. Corruption.

If this were any other job for which he was employed, he would have been out the door long ago. I can't believe he was hired in the first place. (And honestly, I really don't believe he was hired.) He took office on petty technicalities and dimpled frigging chads. 'nuff said. But why, after all the lies he has told to draw Americans into a corrupt war based on misleading information, and with only a 27% approval rating - the lowest in US history! - has this man not been impeached?

The facts are there. They are in black and white! Clinton was impeached for less. Here, have a look at the reasons for impeachment for both, and tell me which truly deserves it.

George W. Bush and his merry band of men has led the American people into a war based on falsifications and misinformation. The war is not about terrorists and protecting the United States from the so called "evil doers". It's about the almighty dollar - oil, foreign interests, power, domination. Adventurism in it's purist form. The war machine is big business, and is often used to hide recessions and depressions in the economy. War temporarily relieves unemployment, creates opportunities for new technologies to evolve, and boosts productivity in many manufacturing areas. Yeah, the boost to the economy almost sounds good, doesn't it? Except for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and innocent civilians who must give their lives for the war machine...

Nearly half of the annual budget is spent on "defense", and this figure will only rise. Recently Bush vetoed a war spending bill that included a withdrawl time for troops serving in Iraq. Today he was pleased to sign this $120 billion bill with the conditions for withdrawl removed. And hold on to your hats, folks. He predicts a particularly bloody August in Iraq. Are you surprised? What with all the money he's got now for toys and troops, he's gonna spend the wad! And I bet he'll spend a little on himself, ride a missile on in there clad in fire and bullet proof clothing, and take out some of those Iraqi bastards! Yeeeehaw!

Ahem. Sorry... I'm getting off track here. I tend to do that when it comes to G Dub. You need to slap me back into shape once in a while. The point is, Bush needs to go. And he needs to go NOW. Why just wait out the next year? To me it feels like a bad marriage that one partner is staying in just because they don't know how to get out.

America: You CAN get out of this marriage! There is help out there for you! Stop being the victim of your President and his homies. Impeach Bush, now!

If only I was an American, I would sign that petition. I would rise up on Capitol Hill and let my voice be heard! I'd throw eggs at him! Okay, maybe not... I saw what the security was like when Nelson Mandela visited Washington, DC. Snipers on rooftops, a 'secret agent' on a bike dressed like a civilian but talking into his wrist. Yeah, I'll save the eggs. But, ooooh I'd want to!

I'd hope for a miracle, but I'm going to guess this world must tolerate one more year of Dub. My heart is heavy, but my hands are tied.

All in all, I thank the heavens I'm Canadian!

By Jove, I think he's talking!

I think my wee Jack is finally starting to give us some words. Of course, as soon as I say he's not talking he makes a liar out of me. (Good boy, Jack!)

Yesterday at the school we were walking with a friend that Jack adores. As I was buckling him into the car seat I said to Jack, "Say, bye Theresa!". Jack lifted his little hand in a wave and said, "eye-e-ha". The two of us looked at each other shocked and let out a cheer in the parking lot!

Today I was giving him a box of raisins for snack. He was reaching for them very excitedly, and as I handed them to him I said, "Mmm, raisins!". He took the box and - I swear I'm not grasping at straws! - said "ai-ins".

It sounds like he is dropping the first consonant, but that is fine with me. I'll take anything to "uh!" at this point. Anything! At least we know what to look for now and can maybe start deciphering more of his "Thai".

Oh, and we can add to the list: hi, hi-ya and hey!

Houston, we have a talker!

I know you're out there...

Yeah, I see you. Stopping in to read my blog but not saying hi. Sheesh! Say hi! Give me feedback, don't be shy!

And if you'd like me to read your blog, please give me your link and I will add it to my list.

I'd love to hear from you!

Pay it ... back?

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." Aesop

The other week I went through the Tim Horton's drive thru and noticed that a dad from my daughter's school was in the car behind me. I wanted to add a nice element of surprise to his day, so I paid for his coffee. I enjoy doing that every once in a while at Tim's. It's fun to drive away and look back to see the surprise on the person's face who has just been told their coffee was covered today. It makes me feel kinda "squishy" inside. A small act, yes, but random and 'fun'.

The next day at the school, the dad thanked me and asked how I took my Tim's. I said, "Oh me, I'm a double double girl!". We smiled and went our separate ways. A few days later he was in front of me at Tim Horton's. I saw him smile into the mirror and wave.

I ordered my 2 large, "double doubles" and drove up to the window to pay. The girl started to hand me an extra large coffee and I said, "I ordered 2 large....". She said, "Well the guy in front of you bought this for you." No problem. I said, "Okay, then just give me one large with that then." She looked at me like I had suddenly grown a third eye and unfortunately for her, she didn't understand the alien language I was speaking. She became discombobulated and poured the extra large coffee in the sink, handed me 2 large and said, "$2.78" with a grimace. I ended up paying for my 2 large coffees, and leaving the extra large that the dad from school had so kindly paid for behind.

I felt terrible. Sadly, his return act of kindness backfired. He should have paid it forward and not back I guess. But it was a nice gesture on his part that brought a smile to my face. I hope he will do it for someone else one day totally randomly, remembering how good it felt when he was the recipient. Pay it forward, folks! Change the world with one random act of kindness at a time.

"To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Jack can talk Thai....

... Jack talked Thai real well." ~ Greg Focker, Meet the Parents.

Save for one or two words, Jack ( 16 months) doesn't speak yet. In some ways it troubles me. I mean, what parent wants their child to be 'behind' other kids their age? And I do hear a lot of 16 month olds with already budding vocabularies. At the same time I know he will talk, but not until he's good and ready. For now he goes off in long babbling rants, expressing himself through facial expressions and hand gestures.

Today he was pointing to a bottle of water on the table and proclaimed, "Da ma-en gu ba wa!"

I asked him, "You want some water, Jack?" and handed him the water bottle. He drank happily and walked away. Alice said very matter of factly, "Mommy... Jack can't talk. How do you know that's what he wanted?"

Remembering a line from the movie Meet the Parents I turned to Alice and said, "Ooh, Jack talks Alice. Jack can talk Thai. Jack can talk Thai real well." and giggled.

She looked at me long and hard with a bit of a blank stare. She has no clue what exactly I said or where it came from, but is now walking around saying, "Jack can talk Thai. Jack can talk Thai real well." I'm just waiting for the moment when we are out in public and she proclaims that to a stranger.

I love the endless entertainment of motherhood!

A two beaked bird?!

This blog post would be so much more interesting if I had a photo to accompany it, but alas this rascally little bird will not let me get a picture of him. So bare with me while I try to describe it as best as possible.

While enjoying the back yard a couple of weeks ago, I noticed this strange looking little Starling who kept coming to visit the neighbour's bird feeder. He always appeared to have his beak open like he was gawking at something, or waiting for food to drop in it. I laughed at him and watched as he pranced around the lawn looking for seeds and worms.

On one of his visits he stopped in our yard. It was then that I noticed his beak wasn't open ... he has 2 beaks! Or rather, one and a half. He has a full, normal beak on top and another bottom section of a beak below it. The upper beak is fully functioning, but the lower portion doesn't move at all. He does just fine foraging for food, but the other birds don't appear to like him too much. I've seen him dive bombed by his 'mates', and he always flies solo between the yards.

He's such an odd little guy, but he's chunky and healthy looking so I assume he is doing just fine. One of these days I will get a picture of him to add to the blog. I will stalk him like the paparazzi until I get that photo! Think the National Enquirer would be interested in this one....? Yeah, I didn't think so.