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.

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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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

Walmart Shows that Moms Count and More #MOTY

 Walmart is about to pick a finalist of their inaugural Mom of the Year Award. A total of 16,909 moms were nominated! They had a hard job I am sure to narrow it down to eight finalists. The eight finalists will each receive $10,000 for personal use and $10,000 to their charity that they have chosen.  Later this month there will be a gala to celebrate the finalists, and the Mom of the Year will be announced. That Mom will receive $100,000 for her charity!

Meet a few of these amazing women and learn more about them all at www.momoftheyear.ca , it might inspire you like it did me to give more.

A couple that jumped out of me are the selfless women who took in foster kids. Let it be known, I was a foster kid in my later  teens. While I was fortunate to have a great foster mom, I saw a lot of kids who could have benefited from these amazing moms. It takes a strong heart and soul to take in children that do not have anywhere to go. I was lucky, like the kids that found love and security with these moms.

Tammy MacKinnon was nominated by her husband! Her charity is I W K Health Center Foundation which has helped many kids and women on the road to health. Find out more here. http://iwkfoundation.org

“Tammy has opened her home and heart to more than 30 foster children over the years. She has adopted 2 children from China and is raising 2 biological children as well. She’s relentless in the pursuit of a meaningful life for her children and any children she comes in contact with. Her home and yard is never closed to the neighborhood children. She started an adoption coalition, an adoption website, an organization that helped raise money for playgrounds in Chinese orphanages, is the treasurer for a Canadian group helping poor children get an education and healthy meal every day.” For her full story read it here.

Another amazing mom is Eileen Thiessen who was nominated by her proud daughter. Eileen’s charity is Special Olympics Manitoba. Find out more here: http://www.specialolympics.mb.ca

“I would like to nominate my mom Eileen Thiessen. My parents have been foster parents for 46 years. I have 3 sisters and 3 brothers, as well as 2 foster sisters. 5 of us are adopted. There are also 5 grandchildren. With the exception of one brother and I, the kids are all mentally handicapped. The kids are all adults now but that didn’t stop my mom from being a mom. She and my dad bought a house a block down from the family home, and the kids stayed in the family home with full time staff.” Read her full story here.

I do not envy the judges now. After meeting these amazing women through this campaign I am thrilled to share that Walmart will be doing it again next year!! Be sure to visit www.momoftheyear.ca and like them on Facebook ( facebook.com/walmartcanada) to learn more about the wonderful nominees and when next years will be open.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Walmart program by Mom Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own. Mom of the Year Award: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY Internet access and valid email account required. Nominations open May 10, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for legal residents of Canada over the age of majority. Entrants cannot nominate themselves. One (1) grand prize available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $100,000 donation by Wal-mart Canada Corp. to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Seven (7) runner-up prizes available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $10,000 donation to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Charity/cause subject to verification and final approval by Wal-mart Canada Corp., at its sole discretion. Odds of winning depend on how the judging panel evaluates each entry according to the criteria. For Official Contest Rules and to nominate an entrant, visit [www.momoftheyear.ca].

What I Learned this Summer

The date is looming on my calendar. August 31st, the beginning of the Labor Day Long Weekend that signifies the end of summer. It makes me sad, yet happy. This season in particular showed that I know nothing about anything about parenting or life.

Motivated by turning older than my mom, I made plans with the girls to make their summer awesome. Play dates, park trips and more was just the tip of the summer iceberg. I would work when I could. My youngest would have her therapy and the three of us would spend afternoons jetting about. Friends on vacation, illnesses from other play mates and rainy days changed things.

After all the plans falling by the wayside, work and therapy commitments were met and a new plan emerged. No plans meant we made the rules depending on our whims. Reflecting on that today I realize I learned a lot this summer about my girls individually, my mom skills and myself in general. I should not schedule every day of their childhood.

Throwing in the towel when plans fell through was the best thing. When the have-to-dos were done, we were left with many hours to do what we wished to play on our terms. It included: visiting my husband or sister for coffee breaks during their workdays, rotating on which park we wished to go to, lots of backyard time from the pool to trampoline, bookstores, library trips and most of important of all- time together. School years are so busy. We have little time to play just the three of us. I remember many summers like that with my mom.

With all the social and other issues we are working with to help our three-year-old daughter, it melted my heart to see her big sister and her play so much together on playgrounds, trampoline and pools. Never has there been a summer where the two sisters connected in such a deep level. It goes without saying how important sibling time is for them. I am grateful to be here to see it.

I am happy I went with my instinct to take less freelance work. In June I turned down a large job. It hurt at first, but realistically I knew I would not be able to help the client and my kids all together.  As much as I like bills to be paid, I knew that work will always be there. My girls’ time with me will be a memory years from now. That is worth more than anything.

This much I know from my mom is that she would tell me I did the right thing.

Taking the time to be Mom

Over the past three years since joining Twitter and the Blogosphere I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful and smart people. Connections made through Twitter have landed me many published gigs. I am and will always be grateful.

During that time life has changed for my family. Our oldest has started her school career. She needed me more than ever as she adjusted to life in school. Her notes home from the teacher reflected that. Our youngest has been diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder.) That alone has been an overtime job in parenting. A lot has drifted to the wayside including my writing.

It made me struggle to get back to my computer to write. I felt guilty while I was penning my next blog and my girls needed me in their own special way. I realized this summer that I needed to be better to myself, to be more realistic in my expectations.  I know writing will always be here. One day I will have the time and energy to tap away at my laptop.

In the meantime, I am grateful to be here for my daughters as my mom did in her short time with me. Earlier this year I turned older than my mom lived. That in itself was the worst turmoil I’ve dealt with since she died in 1984. I lost my writing voice. My girls deserve to have their mom present as I no longer have mine. When my girls are older, I won’t regret not spending enough time at the computer.

I will be showing up through the wonderful sites that have published my work. I merged my two personal blogs into one to reflect my new direction. It really is what started my writing, being motherless.   The internet has been wonderful to me. I hope it is for you.

Please share what moment of clarity has brought you peace. Or are you searching for answers?

Summertime is My Time #FreeTheirImagination

It is days away from the end of the school year. Thursday afternoon will mark the graduation of my oldest daughter’s time as a kindergartener.  I will admit there have been days that I have enjoyed a quieter house. Days that I was happy to walk her to school so she can enjoy  time with her friends. The past ten months have flown. While summer may well fly just as fast, I am looking forward to slowing down with both my daughters.

I have made  a conscious effort to take less work on, made less plans for all of us and will take each day one by one.   As I write this I realize that I have missed spending time with my daughters, and not being bound by the school schedules.  It has become more important since I became older than my mother who died when I was ten years old. I thrive at working on memories for my girls.

For sunny or cloudy days I have a list of local parks and farms to explore locally and within cities nearby. There will be a park pack in my trunk filled with bathing suits, sunscreen, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and non-perishable snacks. We also have the beauty of our backyard in the complex that has a playground and a trampoline. We can kill hours outside. We even have a small fridge by our back door with chilled waters and popsicles to extend our enjoyment.

For rainy days I have a box filled with indoor fun like new games, activity books and art project kits.  We make the wet days outside fun with camp-like activities including forts in the living room to watch a favorite movie.  Then we finger paint wrapping paper or work on upcoming birthday cards for friends.  Once we dressed up and had tea on Mars. We adore our time together.

Summer times are a great time to re-connect with your kids. It takes me back to my own childhood of idleness under the sun.

I am pleased to announce that Energizer is kicking off their Energizer Free Their Imagination contest on Facebook as of today until October 1, 2012. Like them www.facebook.com/EnergizerBunnyCanada and use the pin code BePrepared hourly to win over 2000 prizes! You can receive more pin codes hourly to win!  It is that simple to win prizes to enjoy with your kids!

I spy on the calendar that September looms all too quickly, just like my girls are growing up. It is my honour and joy to spend as much play time with my girls as possible.  I also do it for my girls and myself because my mom could not.  Freeing my daughters’ imagination is priceless, yet rich in my heart forever.

 

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