SHE DID IT! SHE CAN CRAWL!! I officially have a little mover on my hands. What she lacks in speed and agility, she makes up for in sheer determination. If she sees something she wants, she goes for it. She may topple over a few times; it may take her awhile to get to where she wants to go, but she WILL get there. And she doesn’t get frustrated- she just keeps reaching and wiggling and smiling and squealing until she reaches her goal.

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. If I had the resources to do it, I would throw a parade in her honour. There were times when I honestly didn’t think this would ever happen- like when she was over a year old and still couldn’t sit up on her own. And her newfound mobility has given me so much hope for her future; hope that someday, she may at least have a quasi-independent life. Obviously, there is still a lot we don’t know about what her abilities will be or what problems she will face in the future, but this accomplishment of hers has quieted my fears and worries for the moment.

I am just so proud of my girl. Watching her as she learned to move has taught me that with enough time, perseverance, patience, and love, anything is possible. I am now reflecting on what dreams and goals I have for myself- dreams that I previously dismissed as unrealistic or impractical don’t seem quite so out of reach anymore. Maybe I can go back to school and further my education one day. Maybe I can get serious about my writing and work toward getting published one day. Maybe these things don’t have to be mere fantasies. If Penelope, despite her physical limitations, can get herself moving, then so can I. I will just have to keep reaching as I inch toward my goal.

I hope everyone can take a page out of Penelope’s book. Don’t give up. Reach for what you want. Pick yourself up when you stumble. Even if your progress is slow and awkward, keep moving forward until your goal is met. And don’t forget to beam with pride at your accomplishment when you are done.



A New Goal

Several months ago, I wrote about setting a fitness goal for myself: to do a 5k run in May. As it turns out, this is not going to happen… because I have signed up to do a 10k run instead! Yes, at the urging of my colleague and friend, Heather (who has a kick-ass crafting blog that you should check out), I have decided to double the distance and am running in the Sporting Life 10k here in Toronto on Mother’s Day.

This is not because I just love running so much that I absolutely had to run further than I had originally planned- quite the opposite, in fact. I do not enjoy running. At all. After setting the 5k goal for myself, I started running on the treadmill at the gym. At first, it was okay. But within a few weeks, my joints were aching, I was on the verge of hobbling around like an old lady, I’d nearly vomited several times from overdoing my water consumption during the run, and I’d had enough. So I stopped the running regimen, and went back to doing cardio activities I actually enjoyed.

I truly don’t understand people who like running. Why? What is the appeal? It is painful and you can’t breathe and you can’t even take a drink of water without choking or having it slosh around in your stomach. My dad is a runner- he regularly runs 20-30 km. At ONE time. And he loves it! And unlike his penchant for sarcasm, I did not inherit that trait from him.

I know I don’t sound all that enthusiastic about doing this run, but I am actually looking forward to it. Well, I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line, at least. I know I have enough endurance for it- I work out frequently, with plenty of intense cardio activities in my gym routine. And it’s only when I run on a regular basis that my joints get achy, so I think for this isolated event, I will be fine. And I’m running with a bunch of nurses, so if I get injured or have a heart attack, I will be surrounded plenty of health care professionals to help me.

Now, the Sporting Life 10k run raises money to send kids with cancer to camp- that’s a pretty great cause! If you able to, please consider donating to this organization. Click here for the link to my fundraising page for the run. Even a $5 donation is appreciated!

IMG_7663So here I am: the fittest I’ve been in about ten years, and ready to run my ass off. Bring it on, 10k!

So Close!

As most of you know, last week was March Break. Mark and Charlotte enjoyed a full nine days away from school…and I worked seven out of those nine days. But that’s okay- I worked the day shift for the most part, so I didn’t turn into the zombie I usually become when I work a lot of evening shifts. And I still got to take Charlotte to Frozen on Ice, which was a lot of fun.


Enjoying a bite to eat after the show

Enjoying a bite to eat after the show

Charlotte and Mark did some fun stuff like taking in a classic Disney movie, The Rescuers, at the TIFF Lightbox downtown. And they saw a live performance of Pinnochio, visited with friends, and generally had a fun and relaxing March Break.



Charlotte, Mark, and I aren’t the only ones who have been busy lately. Penelope has been working hard on her mobility! She is super close to crawling, and it is amazing to watch (part of the reason I haven’t written much in the past week or so is because I have been standing over her with a camera, waiting to capture that moment when she first crawls on film. Which probably isn’t helping her to do it any faster). Check it out:

Amazing, huh? After getting the results of that last swallow study, this has filled me with so much hope for her future. I am so proud of my determined little girl.


Get it Together

For the past few weeks (ok, few months), the batteries in Penelope’s Fisher Price Ocean Wonders crib accessory (or Fishyvision, as we call it) have been dying. I keep meaning to replace them but the second I leave her room, I forget all about it until it’s time to put her down again. A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Dollar Store and noticed the battery display, and actually remembered that I needed to buy batteries for Fishyvision. Feeling quite proud of myself, I purchased a couple packs. Which then sat in the car for awhile before I actually got around to bringing them inside. Finally one day, I set about the arduous task that is changing batteries in infant toys. You see, the batteries aren’t hidden away behind a little slot like in a remote control. Oh no, you need a screwdriver to access these batteries. I swear, there are fewer security precautions on the case containing the Hope diamond. Anyway, I managed to detach Fishyvision from the crib, locate a screwdriver, and get the new batteries ready. I popped off the slot to take out the old batteries and:

This requires C batteries.

This requires C batteries.

The batteries I purchased were D batteries.

The batteries I purchased were D batteries.

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Are you f*#@&ing kidding me?! Fishyvision almost met with an untimely end at that moment.

Some days, I really feel like I don’t have my shit together. At all. I have piles of dirty laundry to be washed. I have piles of clean laundry to be folded. I have piles of folded laundry to be put away. I put off making appointments that I know need to be made. I fantasize about winning the lottery but I cannot get it together enough to buy a damn lottery ticket. That must be the definition of not having your shit together. I literally walk by a convenience store selling lottery tickets FOUR times a day when I drop off and pick Charlotte up at school, but I never think to stop and get a ticket.

Will I ever be a person with a clean, uncluttered house? Will my to-do list ever be less than a foot long? Will I ever make appointments and complete tasks in an efficient and timely manner? I don’t know. And I guess it doesn’t really matter. The house is clean-ish. Appointments get made eventually. Everyone has clean clothes to wear every day, even if some days there is less choice in wardrobe than others. When the tasks pile up and I get that hot ball of guilt in my stomach, thinking about all I have to do, I can just put away some laundry or order some supplies for Penelope and it goes away.

I still haven’t changed the batteries in Fishyvision, though.

Luckily, Penelope still loves her procrastinating mama.

Luckily, Penelope still loves her procrastinating mama.


Today marks the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death. Though the acute pain of losing her has dulled somewhat over these past four years, I still feel that pang of loss every day when I think about her. And I do think about her every day. I think about all the happy times we had together and I think about all the things she has missed since she left us. Even now, four years later, I will catch myself thinking, “I have to tell Mom about this,” only to realize that I can’t have a conversation with her anymore. I miss hearing her voice on the end of the phone. But I still try to find ways to feel close to her. One surefire way to achieve this is to bake chocolate chip cookies using her recipe, which is what I will be doing with Charlotte today to honour Mom’s memory. And now, as my gift to all of you, here is her recipe, which makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies in the world.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine butter and shortening until smooth. Mix in sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gradually add in flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees F for about 8 minutes, until cookies are brown around the edges. Remove from oven. Let sit on cookie sheet for a minute to firm up, and then let cookies cool on a wire rack.

So please, make these cookies and think about my mom, especially if you were lucky enough to know her personally. She would love that- and given how yummy these cookies are, you won’t regret it.


Miss you, Mom.

High-er Education

Tuesday evening started out much like any other evening in our home. It was shortly after 5pm. Mark had just arrived home from work. We were in the kitchen, chatting about our respective days as I made dinner. Charlotte joined us to chime in about her day. I remembered that she had received a new book from the classroom library that day, so I told her to get it out so that she and Mark could read it together while I cooked. Mark and I continued talking while she retrieved the book. The next thing I knew, Charlotte handed me something she had found in her reader.

“Mommy, what is this?”


Mark and I stared at it, and then at each other, in shock.

“Is that…it looks like a joint,” Mark said to me in disbelief.

I took a whiff. Oh yeah, it most definitely was a joint.

“Yes. That’s a joint. I thought her backpack kinda smelled like pot when I was unpacking it earlier, but it didn’t really make any sense! How does this happen?!” The pitch of my voice got higher and higher as this discovery set in.

We told Charlotte it was something yucky and Mark packaged up the book and the offending substance and got in the car and drove to the school to give it to the principal. Now, I have nothing against pot- it’s not really for me and doesn’t really fit into my current lifestyle, but if that’s what you’re into, fantastic- smoke up and enjoy! And I’m certainly not naive enough to think that Charlotte will never be exposed to pot. But she’s FOUR. And she found it in something that came from school. Where she goes to JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN. And I’m sorry, but not even pot can turn those dull readers into something entertaining. So this was pretty much the last thing I would have expected Charlotte to hand to me. I think I would have been less shocked if she had handed me a winning lottery ticket.

The potential danger of this situation was not lost on me, or on the staff at the school. Another four-year-old could easily have ingested it or let it fall into the wrong hands. If Penelope had managed to get hold of it, it most certainly would have ended up in her mouth. Or if Barkley had gotten to it, we would have been making an emergency visit to the vet. Luckily, Charlotte is pretty sensible, so when she found something unfamiliar, instead of investigating it on her own, she gave it straight to us.

My sensible girl

My sensible girl

The principal, once she had recovered from her shock, was very apologetic. And we don’t blame the school or the teacher for this- they handled it very professionally, and really, who would be on the lookout for POT in a KINDERGARTEN classroom? Apparently, they will now be checking all items the kids bring in from home. And they will be following up privately with the family who had the book before Charlotte. I’m sure THAT won’t be a totally awkward conversation for all parties.

So that was our exciting Tuesday evening. Maybe we should have kept the joint to unwind after the shock of discovering it. What’s the most unexpected thing your child has brought home from school?