Taking a Writing Break

‘Mommy, more, please.” My tenacious four-year-old asks.

I fill up the bucket one more time to fill the water table. The squeals of my girls pierce the backyard. Their toys are scattered over the lawn. Summer heat is forgotten when the sprinkler and water table are the front and centre attraction.

I stretch out in the lounge chair and watch them splash around. It is unfathomable that summer is almost over. For two months we have been busy soaking up every last moment. In a blink, my oldest will be in kindergarten. Even my two-year-old will be exploring pre-school life.

What I have not done is catch up on my personal to-do list. Writing projects have been shelved for the past two months. While it is challenging to write with these two racing around, I also did not want to miss the last summer before full-time school begins. Gone will be the days of making plans as we go along with our days.

“Mommy, look.” My oldest calls out as she goes into a handstand.

“Perfect!” I shout out. I give her thumbs up as she races around the backyard.

I have a notebook filled with brief notes of memories we have made. I will take the time to write again as I am now. Filling my blog and journal of what the summer meant to me. Meanwhile getting wet and enjoying ice cream cones is the most important right now.

What do you remember about summer?

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Maternal Baggage-Gone!

It’s been years since my mother died at 38 years old and I have seen my 38th    birthday with dread. I was happy to never turn that age I considered as a death sentence. Two daughters later, that birthdate is now two months away. The irony that my mom had two girls, and now I do, is not lost on me. I am scared. I keep up with tests to make sure my body is healthy as it can be. Any lumps are tested right away.

Something has turned brighter for me this year. I will not waste negative energy on dreading a date I can not avoid. So I am going to treat my 38th birthday as a I chance to break out of my maternal baggage zone with abundance. I wish to do things that I have dreamt of doing but haven’t.

Some people make a bucket list. I will make an I Am Alive  list. I have already let go of many mama expectations I have put on myself since this power took over. I do not break my back trying to keep a super clean home. I do not make cookies from scratch. I do not overschedule my kids. I do play with my kids. I do drop anything to be there. I do make time for myself weekly. (Still need to improve that one.)  I make writing mistakes and keep writing.

My brain is filled with the possibilities to make this year a positive one. Live the year that my mom couldn’t because of the effects of chemotherapy. I am alive now. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. But most of all, I am Danielle, baggage and all.

What is on your bucket list? What are you waiting for?

Survival Solo

The time on my iphone blares 9:00pm. I am huddled in the dark on my daughters’ floor after putting them to bed. With daddy out of town the need to be near me grew strong for them. I am rarely a mom to say no. It has been 48 hours since he left for a work trip and I am expired. After 24/7 solo parenting I am exhausted. I miss my husband. I wonder how do single parents do this day in and day out, I would go insane.

My young daughters and I have done okay together. I did let a lot of small stuff go just to get by. After a full day of taking care of them straight through to bath and bed time, I am ready for peace. I broke a lot of rules to distract our kids from the fact that their daddy was gone for awhile.

Such as:

  1. Not to sweat the small stuff. Time-outs are rarely given. I just do not have the energy. I also, rarely, yell more than normal. I let a lot of small stuff slide.
  2. For lunch and dinner, I admit, I love the kid happy meals I make while my husband is away. I make what they like, and not the huge meals I normally try when hubby is home. Meals like breakfast for dinner, or picnic and a movie are big hits.
  3. Booking our days with many plans to make them happy. Playdates, special outings and breaking the ‘rules’ make life so much smoother being responsible for two children on my own.

We are hours away from when my dear husband will be home. I covet to have five minutes alone when he arrives. I drag my tired butt off the floor and tip toe out of the room. I relax on the couch for a precious time alone and realize I am tired! I sip a small glass of wine and go back upstairs to my own bed. It is eerily quiet without my husband beside me.

As I drift off to sleep, I am grateful that I only solo parent in spurts when he has to go away. I am in awe how single parents do this day in and day out. Suddenly, my whiny voice in my head is silent. Life with my precious family is a jewel to me which I hold tight to my heart.

A Mother Is..

                                                         

                                        A mother is unconditional in her love

                                        I learned that with my mother.

                                        A mother is patient

                                        I learned that from my mother

                                       A mother is sharing anything she has

                                        I learned that from my mother

                                        A mother is always there to listen

                                        I learned that from my mother

                                       A mother is there when I shed a tear

                                       I learned that when my mother was gone.

                                       A mother is in my daughters

                                       I gave that to my mother.

A Must in My Purse

Ever since being a figure skater when I was a child, I have suffered the painful embarrassment of having cold sores. As an adult, they strike in a glaring spotlight on the same bottom right-side of my lip just like in my childhood.

In my pre-children life, I was a background performer (extra) and day actor in movies and television. In Hollywood North cold sores frequently reared their heads. True to form, I woke up on a day I was auditioning for Scary Movie. The audition was for Keenan Ivory Wayans, the director. I was nervous from the time I got the call from my agent. I walked into the bathroom to get ready for the long commute into Vancouver to audition for the brains behind In Living Color. The fog from the shower had not cleared the mirror so I got dressed. When I went back into the bathroom, the fog had cleared. I got out my make-up kit and looked up.

Sitting on my bottom lip was a cold sore the size of a strawberry. I was horrified. I scoured through the medicine cabinet looking for any cold sore medicine. My heart sunk when I realized we had none. Somehow I was going to either cancel the audition or try to cover it. I had no clue how.  I took out my Bobbi Brown book to see if the famous makeup maven listed anything to help.

I muddled through and made it to the audition. The test Polaroid was taken and placed with my resume. I entered the room and whizzed through my lines. As I went to leave, I saw my image on the screen of the playback video. My heart froze. I could see the huge sore underneath the cover-up I had attempted.  I didn’t get the part and survived.

When Mom Central asked me to be part of the Abreva blog tour, I was thrilled. Abreva has been in my purse for as long as I can remember.  I try to make every effort since that fateful audition disaster to keep it in my bag. Since being a mom the size of my purse has changed. When I am on a rare night out with my husband and no kids, my purse shrinks a lot.

However what remains is:

  1. Cellphone
  2. Lip gloss
  3. Keys
  4. Wallet
  5. Abreva.

The first four is obvious. Number 5 is my quick fix for the humiliating cold sore attacks. Why?

Only abreva® contains a patented medicine (docosanol 10%) that has been clinically proven to speed healing. abreva can also help prevent the cold sore virus from entering healthy cells. Medicated lip balms with menthol can temporarily alleviate pain but don’t have medication that speeds cold sore healing – but abreva does.

I love the instant  relief I feel when I first apply the treatment to the stinging spot. Even when the sore has appeared in full force, applying abreva still works. I have spent a lot of money on over-the-counter medications and even prescriptions, nothing heals faster so I can move on with my day and not shy away from having pictures taken with my precious daughters.

For my dear Canadian  readers I have something to share courtesy of  Abreva.

Go to www.abreva.ca between August 15th and 13th to reserve your spot for a group coupon worth $5.00!!

It gets better!!

From August 15th through till Septemebr 2nd, share your must-haves in your purse for a chance to win a COACH WRISTLET. One lucky reader who shares what is in their bag will win!! Canadians only please.

I know there are some readers of mine out there who could use a new treat for yourselves!

Share what is in your bag in the comments. Good Luck!!

Disclosure – I am participating in the ABREVA program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline. I received a Coach wristlet as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Maternal Bag of Chips

It’s a typical day at my grandparents; we just had dinner and are sitting down to watch “The Facts of Life”, when there is a knock at the door. Hearing my dad’s voice puzzles me, but doesn’t worry me. We just saw mom earlier in the day. She couldn’t talk, but I still told her how much I love her. She has spent many days in the hospital. I felt a little ill when I was there. I heard my aunts crying around me but I didn’t think much of it.

Dad appeared at the doorway of the living room. My younger sister jumps in delight. Before I realize it the TV is shut off and the three of us are sitting still on the couch together. The words bubbled out from my dad that mom is gone to heaven. We will not see her anymore.

I am confused and in shock. I don’t understand, we just saw her today. In a robotic pace I collect my sister and go to the bedroom to get dressed. We are going home. While getting her and I dressed, I pack up our stuff and she rushes out “in her crying walk.”

We walk into the house as a broken family. Going up the stairs to the bedrooms, we pass the kitchen. I see her favorite bag of chips with a clip on it to keep it fresh. I walk over to it and sniff the bag, hoping to smell her.

27 years later, I am standing in Wal-Mart’s chip aisle. Right in front of me is her favorite bag of chips. After all these years I have avoided the tortilla chips. I force myself to pick it up. Cradling the crinkly bag, the tears flow. I fight every day to not hold my grief like a fashion accessory, especially now, being the mother to her two grandchildren. My girls know they have a grandma in heaven. My oldest, at the tender age of four, asks why she isn’t here with us. Informing her with what I can, I know it is not enough.

I strive every day to be my mother to my girls. Her unconditional love still is locked in my heart. With daughters, who were in the shopping cart, my oldest reaches for the bag of chips with excitement. I wipe my tears and realize that it is time to have her chips. A fun legacy to share with my girls. I place the bag in the cart much to the delight of my girls.

Every day still feels like that dark day going home to the unfinished bag. Today, I will try to have that crunch. Life is like that bag. You never know if you will be around to finish the chips.

Miss you Mom. august 15th, 1984

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How to Argue Around Kids

As a mom of two young girls, it is challenging to say the least to have an adult discussion. To get to an argumentative state is all too easy. I worry about not saying cross words in front of them. When my husband and I finally meet after a long workday for me (at home) and him at his job, we are tired. We rarely have dates outside of the house due to lack of free childcare. Pressure builds that is clouded with the absence of quality couple time.
Considering we had been a couple for a long time before we became parents, our friendship runs deep. Having said that, we have had many ugly arguments and angry whispers in the moonlight hours when the kids finally go to bed.
Slowly we found other ways to argue. I can feel the anger in a text message from my cell phone in my pocket, especially when he is across the room. I turn my shoulder and type with a passionate vengeance.
When my husband has his fill of not being heard, he cleans house, putting out garbage and other minor tasks to either clear his head or keep busy. It is rare, but it does make the house look good.
After the kids go down, it is just us. We have our date nights on the couch with the baby monitor near. When the girls move out, it will be just the two of us again. We will have lots to still talk about. Although I am not in a hurry to see our miracle daughters go yet.
AS the heat from our anger dissipates, we realize that it is a waste to sweat the small stuff. Now when we argue, we know when to walk away and breathe. Chances are that the anger is never about the situation but by our day.

How we eat out with kids.

How we eat out with our kids.
After the passionate discussion this month, I was asked by readers how we manage to eat out with our young kids. We do go to Starbucks and eat out twice a month. It is a meal-off for me and creates a memory for our kids.
Often managers or customers complement our two and four year old girls on how lovely they are. The truth is it’s not always a ‘picnic’. It is careful calculation and practice for them on social situations. After some trial and errors here are our tips:
1. Have a bag of tricks with books, coloring, favorite snacks if needed or if they are old enough an electronic device. Have the device not be played with for a day or so before so it will be a treat. My four-year-old and I read eBooks or play games on the ipad.
2. At first fuss, remind your child that if they continue the fun will stop. When I mention about going home, they usually stop fussing.
3. Depending on your kid, go just before or after a nap. depending on if its lunch or dinner. We just don’t go out for dinner as our kids have stopped napping. It just is not worth having tired kids to juggle.
4. I also make sure that there are no snacks two hours before the meal. Don’t starve them but make sure they will be hungry.
5. If it is a truly cranky day, we bail. It is not worth it to neither the child nor the other customers along for the meal. There is always next time to try.
Also, if there is no kids menu, I recommend trying somewhere else. As written before, it is the parents’ responsibility to show by example. Explore a few local dining spots to give it a try. You might be surprised. We all deserve a meal we didn’t cook or have to clean up after.
What are your tips? Feel free to share with others in the comment section below. Any great/bad experiences?