So this one time we met The Wiggles…

 

The weather is crisp and clear, perfect for a secret road journey into Vancouver. It is a secret because we are surprising our girls with a trip to see The Wiggles. The suspense has been killing me. With experience, we know not to tell our girls too early about something, otherwise they would ask every day if it is time. We do not get to surprise them often, because of The Wiggles we can do it.

We race around the stadium to find where we are to be. Then we drop the bomb. Our six-year-old is so excited that we are minutes away from meeting the talented performers that have been part of our household for years. We are escorted into the bowels of the stadium to reveal a small area set up with chairs and a back drop. Like magic, the men come out. Our sweet youngest walks right over to them to hang with the troupe. Her look of pure delight made my year. She keeps wanting to touch their costumes. Our oldest cannot stop calling out their names.

My heart and tears began to overflow. To see our girls’ excitement is the sweetest thing ever. When it is our turn to pose with them Captain Feathersword lets our bonus babe play with his feathersword. The look of childlike wonder to see her heroes live makes my heart swoon. The gentlemen could not be more accommodating. Looking around at the other parents I realize that these Auzzies have a special heart as many of the kids have special needs or disabilities, or many other afflictions. To say I am touched is an understatement.

We walk out of the room to our seats and cannot stop saying WOW! We look forward to the show.

 

A Twiggly Tweet Made My Family’s Day

 

I am trying so hard to not give up. After talking with my family we decided that I would take our sweet youngest girl to see The Wiggles. When we tallied the cost for all four of us to go we decided it would be just us two. With her sensory issues and non-verbal words, The Wiggles are rock stars in our house. The concert will be one week after her birthday. It will be the perfect gift.

So I open my computer to search online the best seats for us. After trial and error at live events I know that I need to find something close to the stage and  an aisle seat as she tends to want to run. I could not find anything that would be appropriate at the venue. I decide to step away and think about if it was really worth it.

The next morning, I search again. I cannot find anything appropriate to make the concert a success for us. I take to Twitter to ask The Wiggles if there is anything they can do to help. Much to my surprise and delight they answer me back requesting me to email a certain address.

With trepidation, I email Chris at The Wiggles office explaining our story. I hope that they can tell us of better seats. What happens next seems like a dream. Chris sent me a voucher for 4 tickets and passes to Meet and Greet The Wiggles!!! I had to look at it several times to see if it was for real. We decided to not tell the girls until we arrive at the show. I am stunned at the compassion and kindness that Chris and The Wiggles for giving us this great gift.

Here is the voucher for the October 28th show.

Being a Mom Brought Back School Memories #OKSchoolMem

I admit that when it is back to school again for my kids, I get giddy. It’s not because I am excited for having the house back to myself. Okay, maybe that is not entirely true. It is mostly because I loved school as a kid. I have fun shopping for school supplies then hearing about my daughters’ days in school.

I remember when after hours of early morning figure skating I would nap in the gym locker room while the rest of my class had PE. Memories flood back of when my mom, a former school teacher, would interrogate my teachers on their practicum.
Pretty soon my girls will participate in concerts and productions. I can still feel the elastic of the cap my grandmother made for me when I was the Mother in ‘Twas the Night before Christmas in Grade 2.
After my mom died, I had classes to keep me distracted. It wasn’t until I signed up for Drama in Grade 10 that it brought back my voice. Because of the encouragement of my Drama teacher I auditioned for the school play. I got it! My skin felt warm in the lights. I loved making people laugh and clap.
Even when my home life when I was a teenager went dark, school was the light to my future. The teachers, counsellors, friends and my passion to learn in school motivated me. I will be eager to hear what my girls bring home from school.
There are pluses and minuses of public school for sure. If you ever thought about private school but didn’t know where to start. On November 11, 2012 Sunday at The Westin Bayshore in Vancouver will be the Our Kids Private School Expo. They’re the easiest way to learn about private and independent schools.

  • Meet the leading private and independent  schools and speak with current students and parents
  • Learn how to find the right private school for  your child and explore different types of schools, educational  philosophies and special programs
  • Find out about the admissions process, when to apply and what schools look for
  • Understand how to budget and receive information about scholarships, bursaries and tax credits

I’m participating in the Our Kids Private School Expo Blog Hop. Yesterday’s School Memories post can be found at http://playgroundconfidential.com . Tomorrow, the fun is happening at http://www.notesfromthecookiejar.com .
Join the conversation!
Twitter: hashtag #OKSchoolMem
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ourkidsnet

A Kinder Birthday


Armed with a big box of Kinder Eggs, I walk with my almost four-year-old into her pre-school class. She has had a hard time transitioning into letting me leave her at pre-school. With her sensory issues we are grateful she has a support worker to help. It is challenging for her to make friends in general.
So when the box showed up this morning, I thought what a great idea to celebrate her birthday by sharing them with her classmates. The kids are wonderful with her. Her teachers have been very supportive on what she needs in class. It’s time to thank them.
I snuck them into the teacher’s special hiding spot. They will give them out at snack time. As I leave the building, my daughter kisses me goodbye. I can’t wait to hear how the eggs went over.
Two hours later I arrive to pick her up. As I slip into the room, I hear the kids singing Happy Birthday to her. I had to bite my lip from letting a few tears slip. We pack up to leave. As we zip her jacket, all of her fellow students came over to thank her for the eggs. As she looks up to a few of them to make eye contact, my heart stops. Amongst her challenges is that she is socially delayed. For her to make eye contact to acknowledge the kids is awesome to say the least.
Thank you Kinder Canada for making my bonus daughter’s birthday special.

Sharing is one of our favorite ways to play.

What are some of your favorite ways to play?

Find them on FacebookKinder Canada.

Find them on Twitter @KinderCanada
Disclosure: I am participating in the Kinder Mom campaign with Mom Central Canada and Kinder Canada. I have been compensated for this post. However opinions on this blog are of my own.

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My book addiction became my e-reader obsession.

For as long as I could remember I always had at least one book on the go. Family stories explain that I began to read at the age of two years old. I would read my younger sister story books off of memory.
When I began to get an allowance I would beg my parents to go to the local bookstore, Dog-Eared Books. I would drain my money to the last dime. I ate books. When my mom got ill I relied on books even more. Judy Blume and Francine Pascal books were friends. Instead of running around the playground I would be sitting off to the side deep into a book. When we ate out as a family I would bring a book to read.
When my mom died, I flew through books. It was my escape from a dark and confusing reality. When I went to junior high I loved that there was reading time after every lunch break. The school and public library staff knew me by first name. They would recommend books frequently.
Becoming an adult meant that I had less time to read, but I still always had at least one or five on my night stand to be dived into late at night. When I commuted into Vancouver it was perfect reading time.
Years later I became pregnant with our first child. Immediately we began to read to our child. My husband would read to my belly every night. When she was born it broke my husband out of his not-reading comfort zone reading to her daily. We lived near a huge book store. it was my motivation to get out the door to walk my baby in the stroller. We did the same habits of reading when baby number two arrived.
I have passed on my love of reading to both my daughters now. Bookstore mommy dates happen a lot. We rarely leave without one book for all of us. Some favorites are now getting worn. I think seeing a dog-eared book is a compliment to the author. It is a sign of love.
One thing that changed when motherhood arrived is that ‘my space’ shrank. My bookshelves shrunk. I used to keep all my books. Sadly I could only keep the favorites. The kids took over the family bookshelf.
I dove into the world of e-reading with a vengeance. I could read on my smartphone while holding a sleeping baby. Or when the e-readers came to town I slipped one into the diaper bag. You could hold loads of books into the slim devices. I found i read even more on them. I always upgrade when they come out with the latest version. My kids were big car nappers. If I tried to get them out of the car they would wake. So I would slide into a drive through to grab a coffee and park. Sipping a hot coffee while reading was my quiet time.
We used to watch a lot of movies before kids. That has changed. But reading is something we can enjoy together. Our first baby now reads to her sister and us. I can share some of the books on my e-reader with my girls now. I will be so proud if a reading addiction is what they inherit from me.

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Music Started The Healing

Music wasn’t a huge part of my childhood. It only made an appearance when it came time to pick selections for figure skating performances. It wasn’t until the year after my mom died while attending a Bryan Adams concert that music took me to a happy place. His concert brought my smile back. I was hooked.
I bought every Bryan Adams record to date. I saved my allowance to go to Alley Cat Records to pour over the 45s selection. The possibilities were endless. Madonna, U2 and Cyndi Lauper were on constant loop on my record player. I was thrilled when cassettes came to the store. I worked hard to get my Sony Walkman. The songs made me have a childhood away from grief and pain.
Now as a mom of girls, I was thrilled when I got a copy of Cyndi Lauper’s memoir. I still know all the words to her iconic song Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Cyndi writes so candidly about her childhood in Queens, New York. She is brutally honest of how leaving home to live at her sister’s home at sixteen years old, busking to when she found her voice. She once was even a Girl Friday at Simon and Shuster, the very publisher of this book.
I loved the pace of the book. It was like she was telling you about her life while you were sitting together at a dinner party. Filled with pictures of her loved ones, former bands and family, I recommend this memoir to anyone who has felt like they were different while growing up. Read it, play her music for your teenagers and give the book to your kids.
Peace and love.

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Redeeming Points in Sears with the Whole Family #SearsClubPoints

On a bright Sunday afternoon the four of us entered our local Sears. We had a simple wish list of four items: one item for each of us. As soon as we were inside the store I wondered why the lights were dimmed. I thought maybe there was a power-out. A clerk informed me that the store takes part in saving energy by dimming lights at certain time of the week. I thought that was pretty cool.

We surveyed the store to see where we should start. It is not easy when the four of us shop as our youngest has sensory issues that make noisy stores a challenge. We were determined to make this work. In my hand was a rewards card we would use.

We maneuvered around the over-stocked aisles and went to the shoe department to find our oldest a pair of runners. Once we found a few that she approved, the clerk got her size to try on. The lure being that there were 30% off signs. Then, I saw the original price tag- $54.99! For kids shoes! I do not spend that on myself. I asked if there were more in-expensive shoes. I mean, kids do not spend a long time in shoes. The cheapest was $39.99 in her size 2. I could not justify that. I promised her we would shop around to find something that suits both of us, size and budget.

Off to the kid’s outerwear department to find a winter jacket for our youngest. They had discount signs everywhere. Within minutes we found a purple jacket that was regularly $39.99 now down to $23.99!! That is more like it. Next to that was the Ladies Lingerie department to see if I could get a new bra. Let’s face it: a fresh one can’t hurt. Two minutes later, I found a fab Warners one on sale!

 

My husband found us at the cashier with new socks. He said they were on sale too. Okay ¾ things taken care of in a short time is pretty awesome! There was not a line-up so I put the items on the counter to be rung up. I began chatting with the cashier about the program. She asked several times in disbelief how much was on the rewards card. She swiped it through to confirm. The lady told me that if I owed more than the card I would have to pay with a Sears MasterCard or Sears Card. I was a little annoyed with that as I did not have either card. I try really hard to limit what credit cards I do have to keep my debts lower. You should be able to use any tender if needed. As I was about to say bye she told me about the Kids Program. If a shirt, for example, wears out before my kid outgrows it, Sears replaces it. I found that to be a big plus. My kids are rough and wear out clothes a lot especially in the knees.

I did like the ease of using the Sears Points Rewards card. There was nothing to sign nor was anything I purchased excluded from redeeming points. I might look at signing up for my own card to earn more points.

More about the program:

When you receive a Sears Financial™ MasterCard® or Sears Card, you’re automatically enrolled in the Sears Club™ Points Program. That means you can get up to 2% back in rewards every time you shop!
Some of the Sears Club Benefits…
– You can earn DOUBLE points at Sears everyday†
– 1,000 points = $10 towards anything at Sears*, including travel
– You can also donate them to Sears in your Community
You can redeem your points instantly when you shop at sears.ca, in your local Sears store and by phone at 1.800.901.9978. Super easy!
*Excludes Sears Gift Cards and services, including delivery, Insurance and Sears Connect.
† (2) X points calculation is based on the standard earning of 1 base point per $1 spent at Sears. Points are awarded on net purchases, excluding Sears Gift Cards, optional financing programs on the Sears Card, and services (e.g. delivery). Points are also awarded on optional financing programs on the Sears FinancialTM MasterCard, Sears FinancialTM VoyageTM MasterCard and on selected insurance products (see searsfinancial.ca). Please see your Sears Club Points Terms and Conditions for more details.

Disclosure- I am participating in the Sears Club Points program by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

My Motherless Birthday Wish

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My heart has stopped, and then starts again full throttle. The music is filling the room with memories and dreams of the future. The words mix with the music notes from the guitar flooding my eyes with tears. The happy kind.

I am in the middle of my living room that is brimming with family and friends. They just gave me a surprise party. The icing on the cake is the gentleman who is singing the song. Chris and I only just met today, yet I know his stories as he knows mine through Social Media. He and my husband have long since connected the same way.

Only, this song came from the collaboration of the two of them for my surprise birthday party. What really made me weep is that the song is titled A Million Oceans. The very words that my own mother would say, “I love you more than a million oceans. “ My heart and soul is filled with the compassion and kindness that is bursting from my home. I am turning 39, the age my mom did not make it to. My dear husband knew this and made me a surprise like no other. That is not easy since we have been together over 22 years now. Next month we celebrate 20 years of marriage. This is one of the top romantic things he has ever done for me.

I look at the faces of my friends and family who took the time during their Thanksgiving weekend to come here to celebrate – for me. My sweet sister-in-law came from Calgary for this weekend! I am stunned and humbled all at the same time. Just when life stops surprising me, this happens, a million oceans over.

The one thing that struck me in why Chris came out was about paying it forward. It is so true. As parents, we hope that our kids’ future is at least 50% better than the way we had it at their age. I always mourned the fact that I was cheated out of having my mother as I grew up, and that my kids do not have their grandmother. I also dreaded turning 39 because my mom didn’t.

There is one thing I know today, my 39th birthday, is that she did leave a world for me that included kind-hearted people that remind me of her. My birthday wish is that you do pay it forward for someone today, for them, you and our children.

Thank you to all of you for the love and light you have brought back to my heart.

Please feel free to share here how you paid it forward today.

Here is the song:
https://t.co/9ZJVgHjI

Thank you CIBC and #TeamYMC

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to walk in the CIBC Run for a Cure with my whole family and new friends.
If you are new to my blog, feel free to read more about my story. I would like to share some pics from this wonderful morning.

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Thank you #TeamYMC!
Thank you to those who donate time and/or money to find a cure. It can happen in my daughters lifetime.