Sunday, December 12, 2010

Missing Mom

Ten years ago today my mother died. She bravely fought a six year battle and lost her life to Breast Cancer. She has been missed so badly by so many people. We all move on and remember her in our own ways. Sometimes the ten years seems like an eternity other times it seems like a moment. Her loss is a deep crevasse in my heart.

Memoriam in Today's paper. I think I wrote the verse for her first anniversary it's fitting to see it again on her 10th.

I'm thinking most of my sister today. She and my mom were two of a kind. Thankfully, I have her to remind me of our mom.

As Christmas approaches please remember to give in any way you can to the charities benefiting the research of cancer treatments. Some day there will be a cure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Finley has access to all of the lower cupboards and drawers in the kitchen. I have only locked off the one under the sink where I keep the dish soap and a few other household cleaners. I've decided to let her have at the others. There isn't anything in them to hurt her. She loves to explore and satisfy her curiosities. She has a grand time playing with the mason jar rings, wearing them as bracelets, taking the Tupperware apart refastening the lids and filling the water pitcher with small toys. Sometimes, I open cupboards to find them holding unusual household items like, raisins, or a shoe, little reminders that my daughter has been here playing. While she is removing the cookie tins to use as drums I get to work quickly in the kitchen prepping a meal or parts of the meal while she is happily entertained.

I do, however, have one cupboard that is off limits in the dining room. It's a built in and there are no obvious handles so Finley has not clued into the fact that I have my good china serving plates, candles and the dried bouquet of roses I held at my wedding stored under there. That is until the other day, when she saw me replacing a serving platter. Ever since then she has been making a B-line straight for the cupboard door.

First, she pulls off the tea towel I have hanging there more for decor than polishing stem ware and then she looks back over her shoulder at me and smiles. She looks me straight in the eye while she proceeds to open the cupboard door and reach inside. While she is waving her hand around inside the cupboard she's looking at me, because, she absolutely knows that I don't want her playing in this cupboard. I have already sat with her and showed her all the facinating items sitting on the shelves. I let her touch a few breakable items just to satisfy her curiosity. My bright idea was to demystify the cupboard and it's contents and we would not have an issue. Boy was I wrong! For the last few days she has been in there every chance she gets.

"Finley, please close the door to the cupboard and go find something else to play with. This cupboard is mommy's. It's "NO" for you."

She stares at me and giggles. She reaches her hand in to touch a blue vase.

"Finley, you WILL go to time -out. Close the door, now, please."

She reaches into the cupboard with both hands, this time she bends her knees as though bracing herself to lift, her little diaper bum facing me, and pretends to pick up the vase.


She laughs, jumps up, closes the cupboard door, and runs to sit on the bottom step of the staircase. The step we reserve for "Time-Outs." We began to impose Time -Outs when Finley went through a biting phase in September. At that time, a very upset and startled Finley sat on the bottom stair crying, while I explained to her why biting hurt mommy and if she continued she would have many more "Time-Outs." I actually thought she was too young for Time-Outs but the pediatrician said she was not, he said to try it and see if she reacted to it. As a result of biting we had several "Supported Time- Outs" and the biting stopped. Time- Outs were indeed effective.

Finley is still giggling when I approach her to sit beside her on the stair. At 19 months and 6 days old my sweet Finley has given herself a Time-Out.

Sometimes the urge to touch something despite heeded warnings not to, is too much. For Finley the consequences of giving into this curiosity was absolutely worth it.

As for me. I think I'm in BIG trouble. What comes after time outs?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Back

Okay, Day Light Savings Time,
Your fall back has wreaked enough havoc on my toddler's schedule.
I'd like my SEVERAL HOURS LOST battling
an over-tired, past nap time, toddler back.

Let's Spring Ahead NOW and call it even.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I love everything about Halloween! Halloween is my FAVORITE day of the year. It has been ever since I can remember. I love to dress up to go door to door to see all the costumes and pumpkins. Our friends would meet and tear through as many neighbourhoods as we could before 8:30 PM when we had to be home. Once home we dumped our pillow cases filled with the night's loot out onto the living room floor where we would sort them. Well, I, of A-Type personality sorted into like kinds then into bags. My mother would come by to check the candy and usually took her mom tax of a Kraft Caramel or two. They were her favourite.

One Halloween, my friend Kelly and I spent a good two weeks making our costumes. I was a box of Tide and she was the washing machine. We were in the 5th or 6th grade. Neither of us realized that we would not fit up the steps side by side in our costumes. We were presented with costume challenges all night long. Like when Steven Ayotte, the bad ass kid, in our class chased me while throwing eggs at me and I could not run very fast to get away because the box covered my knees. Yeah that was a good challenge. I was heart broken that there were eggs splatted all over my back after all my hard work making my costume. Now, however, I wish that egg chase was on video. How ridiculous! One day I'll write that scene into a screen play and it will live on forever. Anyway, Kelly and I were talking about this last week and we are still miffed that neither of our mother's took a photo of us. Are you kidding me? We worked for like two weeks on those costumes which is plenty of time to buy flash cubes, film and batteries for the old Kodak. This might explain why Kelly does not go anywhere without her camera. She is making up for a photo-less childhood.

This year our day began with a visit to see Daddy in the Emergency Department
(where he works)
The nurses began to put candy in her pumpkin. She all of a sudden was very into Halloween! Before that her pumpkin contained a sippy cup and her woofy - a toy dog.

Finley and I carved the pumpkin.

The littlest witch at nap time.
She had no idea I pinned the witch hat to her shirt earlier in the day.

I made Finley a beautiful cape in black and purple tulle with black ivy and purple & Black hydrangeas on the collar - I even made matching hydrangea clips for her hair. I came at her with the cape and she booked so fast to get away from me that she ran right into the dining room table. That was the end of mommy trying to make her wear the cape. Maybe next year?

She stood on the front porch with me while we gave out candy to all the kids. She was so excited watching them come up the steps to see her. She clapped her hands and helped to put candy in the bags and even ate a couple of rice crispy treats. She LOVED it and I'm SO happy! From here in we get to share in Halloween excitement!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flippin' The Bird

When we were kids our parents used to take us on the NCC nature trials outside Barrhaven to walk or cross country ski. We always brought a bag of bird seed with us to feed the chickadees and nut-hatches who are bold enough to land in the palm of your hand or perch on your finger. It's simply amazing to feel their cold little feet against the warmth of your hand. It's mesmerizing to see them up close, so eager and trusting, while they sort through the offerings, selecting which seed they want, while flicking the others onto the ground.

My sister still regularly takes her son to the trails to feed the birds and on our recent trip to Ottawa we took Finley. It was brilliant. My sister looking so much like my mother in fleeting moments- watching her coax the birds into her palm. Meanwhile Fin is also helping herself to the peanuts and seeds from the palm of Sue's hand and eventually from the bag. Me do this, Fin says before taking the bag from Sue to help herself. We had to bring people trail mix along instead of straight up birdseed as Finley likes to eat.

Finley is being a rarrrr (bear).

The hurry up and wait of walking with Auntie Sue and Mommy who are busy chatting.

A chickadee eats from Sue's palm.

Of course I got in on the fun.
Bird in one hand camera in the other!

Thanks Sue for helping me remember the good times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thank You

For writing me to remind me I have not posted in a while. I will very soon. Right now my hubs is working nights and I'm currently growing two extra arms and four sets of eyeballs so I can be on full time chase the toddler duty. Finley's recent activities include; climbing EVERYTHING, bringing me dog poop from the grass her hand, "Mommy poopie!", soaking then eating dog food, taking the lid off her sippy cup, taking her pants and diaper off and running around, putting things in the toilet that don't go in the toilet, saying "uh-oh" for kicks and throwing tantrums. Oh yeah, she's been biting me. She thinks it's funny ... or did until time -outs were begun. She is also talking in three word sentences says DUDE, and dancing and singing up a storm. GAWD SHE'S CUTE. I'm loving her and enjoying her like I never knew I would. We're playing all day and crashing out at night...that's why I've not had time to write!

Miss You ALL!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Have I ever mentioned that I was a fish eating vegetarian for a good 8 years or more? I am allergic to pork so I have to avoid all kinds of foods that may come in contact with pork. I ate chicken for a long while before I grew soooo tired of it I gave up eating meat all together. It's only been in the last three years that I have been "trying" meat. It started with a few select cuts of beef from Whole Foods where I could get grass fed free range beef. It was good. My body was craving red meat and so I happily ate it for a while. When I was pregnant I didn't meet a steak I didn't like!

Then we moved to the middle of no where south where pork is the state food and laws governing the processing, antibiotic and steroid use in the production of meat are to say the least, lax. Finding free range non medicated meats are like trying to find a synagogue in NC. There has to be some somewhere....but where? The shift away from meat and all the highly processed foods found in the grocery stores was an easy one.

For the most part I find meat gross and after seeing too many documentaries on how cruel the meat packing industry treats their animals and birds I now have an ethical reason to say no to meat again. I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian dishes again and am feeling a whole lot better about my diet and my body feels better too. Whenever I have a few ingredients in the fridge I think will work together I throw them in the Google bar and see what recipes come up. This one was awesome!

Baked Tofu with a Tahini Crust

I served it up with quinoa and red beans and a mixed baby greens salad with apple, cranberry, red onion and sunflower seeds. I topped that sucker with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing.

The meal was simple to make and all came together in about 35 minutes. Finley and i devoured it. My kids hasn't met a tofu product she doesn't like!

Alicia Silverstone has a really great web site called The Kind Life about all things sustainable, earth friendly and veggie. My friend Sharon turned me onto this site and I love it so I thought I would share it with y'all.

Friday, September 17, 2010


This GIANT spider has been working on it's web for a few days outside the doorway of the floral shop up the street from our house. Check out the zig-zag pattern in the web, it's just like a sewing machine was there leaving it's mark. I took this photo with my iPhone and this was as close as I was brave enough to stick my hand near it. It's about the size of the palm of your hand...thought you'd dig seeing it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Since moving to the south - I cannot - grow a thing. I used to have an amazing garden. I used to grow all the ingredients to make tomato sauce and salsa and loved the whole canning process. I used to grow gorgeous cutting flowers and fill my house up with bouquets....but that was when I lived in Ontario. Now I raid other people's gardens!

Our friends planted a wonderful garden and then left for Europe for a month - we were invited to pick what we wanted while they were away. Dad, Fin and I had a good morning poking through the gardens picking a few veggies for our dinner.

Dad is checking out the herbs.

Dad and Finley with the eggplant and yellow squash.

A few of our pickings.

A teeny tiny tomato!

Finley was particularly good at picking the tomatoes.
She worked at it for a while. Her attention span astounds me sometimes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cape Lookout

Well, I have not been blogging so much lately as I've been out and about this summer with my family. I guess I'm making up for last summer, when it was too hot to go outside with my infant. With a toddler it's a whole new ball game! You know the saying "what a difference a year makes," in the child rearing world, there could be no saying more fitting.

This is the Beaufort North Carolina Waterfront.

We toured out to Cape Lookout NC on our power boat. We checked the tides and then pulled the boat up onto a pretty much deserted beach to hang out for the day. This stretch of beach has wild horses on it.

Steve is walking Fin across the sand to see the horses but the sand was too hot so they turned back. I was able to get the photo below on a long digital lense. That is The Cape Lookout light house in the back ground at centre of frame.

Okay, so I don't make a habit of posting pics of moi in a bikini - I didn't before baby and am pretty brave to do so after baby - I think! I had to post this pic. I love this photo because Fin and I are standing the same way with our hands out. She looks like Steve but she has my frame I'm always told. Now I can see it! It's pretty rad.

The BEST part of a beach day is a water logged, sun drenched, sand covered sleeping little girl in her car seat. Then Steve and I can have one of our happy, future planning, epic discussions with out interruption! The beach cures all moods. The ocean is very powerful that way.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


ME do this!

ME want this.

ME, ME, MEeeeee

My daughter refers to herself as ME. Pretty normal, I guess, EXCEPT that Steve and I have never taught her the word ME. We always call her Finley or some variation of Finley. So where does the ME come from? How does she even have this sense of self? Do I consult Freud? Is this a healthy ego in a 16 month old? Whaaaaaaa???

Seriously people it's cute, but, dumbfounding ... did your kids do this?

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Know Right!?

This is 16 month old Finley shielding herself from the paparazzi that is mommy and Aunt Kelly. I'm addicted to taking pics of her. It's kinda ridiculous.

Here she is on our evening walk.
In Fin's words she's wearing her EYES, and holding onto Rarrrr (bear) and baby.

Much to my delight Finley has a love of shoes...just like me.

Shoes are by Joe (Lawblaws Canada)
Socks (Gymboree)
Stroller is the Indy by Bumbleride (Thanks Grampy & Grandma Meg)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finley Has A New BFF

My dad has been here all week. Finley now has a new BFF. His name is Grampa!

Feeding the turtles and Grandpa along the boardwalk.

Finely walks her puppy and crocodile while telling Grampa a great story.

** As An Aside:
Thank you TWWLY for the Plan Toys crocodile. It's a favorite and I always know where she is and what she is doing when she plays with it!

Colouring with Grampa.

Ah, pretzels and beer with Grampy at the end of a busy day.
It's Ritual.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ma'am O Gram

When I was in junior high school my school fundraising team was on a flower-gram, candy-gram, friend -o- gram, smoke a gram (kidding) kick. They would take any opportunity to gram something to some one most of the proceeds went to a charity of some sort. I remember my bestie Kelly and I sent each other flower grams and the cards read,"Yes Sir Colonel Sir." It was an inside joke phrase that would dissolve us into tears and to this day I don't know why? I don't even recall where the line came from, but, I bet Kelly does.

I have not had any flower or candy grams sent to me in a long time and then last Wednesday I had the old mammography cherry popped in the form of my first Mammogram. Not quite as fun as receiving candy and or flowers, however, the anticipation leading up to the x-ray is similar.

No, I haven't been having any troubles, I just have a family history that warrants an early screening to determine a base line. I have dreaded having the x-ray taken as my mother and every Canadian woman I know has given me an ear full about how much they hurt and how sore they are afterward.

I have to say it wasn't that bad? I think it's this here American health care system. I pay for my health care and so I get top quality care and and I can sue if there is anything that I feel is out of line and so the professionals are courteous and gentle and they fully explain everything going on until the procedure is done.

This was a total different scenario than when I was sent to Mount Sinai Women's Hospital in Toronto in January of 07 for a breast scan and ultrasound. That procedure was due to a lump I found that was very painful and growing rapidly which is a sign of one form of breast cancer. I didn't wait to see the doctor because when you have a family history you know the consequences of waiting. Then I had to wait 5 weeks for the appointment at Sinai from the day I saw the general practitioner to the day I got to see the specialist. Thank you FREE Canadian health care. It's mostly free but the waits are redonculous. By the time I got the appointment I was not longer in agony and had self diagnosed mastitis. I digress.

My bestie Lucky came with me to this appointment and waited for me to go through the procedure, she also endured all my nervous bad jokes and got up to be at an 8 am appointment with me with only the lure of a free Starbucks as incentive. A grouchy nurse called me into the exam area and asked me to disrobe then sit in another waiting room with several other ladies sitting around in hospital gowns. Some of the women were wearing wigs as a result of chemotherapy's side effect of hair loss and some, like me, were just looking lost. No one explained to me what was going on or what the procedures were and then I was called to the ultrasound. The tech was rough with me and I felt zero compassion. This from another woman. You would expect another women to be gentle and empathetic. Not so much! I was cleared at that appointment of any signs of problems the doctor said I must have had mastitis and left heaving a huge sigh of relief. Lucky and I shopped all day in celebration of health and boarded a plane to Costa Rica the next morning.

So back to the mammogram. I waited under 5 minutes for my appointment and then was greeted by two female radiologists. One was an intern, both introduced them selves to me and then together they proceeded to explain the steps of the mammogram. Then I was asked to disrobe from the waist up, remove my deodorant with a baby wipe and put on a beauty of a seersucker gown, open at the front, which I did in a private little dressing area. When I came out the radiologist put very pretty floral band aids with little metal studs in the centre right over my nipples. Fancy little pasties! I kinda wanted to keep them. I wonder if Martha Stewart designed them? Then I stepped up to the mammography machine and had to stand on a tape line exactly like the ones actors use to hit their marks on a film set. Then they worked together to sandwich my teeny tiny boobie into the machine. I had to pull some contortionist like moves to get the angle right so the machine could hold enough of me to get a full scan. Thank gawd for yoga!

Then we repeated to the other side. The whole time I'm thinking I usually like to get taken out to dinner before I'm groped, but, I refrain from saying so. Our conversation goes off in the direction of the tattoo I have tucked behind my left ear. It's of a cabbage butterfly. "It' s for my mom. My sister and I both have them," I tell the ladies. They like it. It's placement is neat. "Did it hurt to get it there?" "A little spicy," I said and then we were done the left boobie! The worst part of the whole thing was taking the band aides off the nipples.

They said I would hear the results of the mammogram within a week. Three days later - that's right- Saturday's mail - a letter arrived:

My friend Rob Dyer founded Skate for Cancer. He's been skating boarding all around the world spreading cancer prevention awareness. His tag line is: THE CURE IS KNOWLEDGE. Check his site out as there are many links and helpful pages and even a charted self breast exam. DO IT! Feel your self up regularly! Get to know your breasts and if they are not feeling right get your boobies into a doctor and get felt up professionally! Really, it's not so bad. It's really not compared to the alternative.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Hey bloggess land!

Are any of you getting comments left regarding your posts that link back to an odd site? I have a few that link back to tire sales and such. Bizarre-O. Anyone know what kind of new spam this is?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Music in the Streets

Music in the Streets is a really neat concept. The downtown main street of my little town of Washington NC is closed to cars and then every 30 feet or so a band is set up for about two city blocks. All kinds of music is played at once and despite how close the bands or musicians are to one another they don't compete. It's a unique concept and it is growing in popularity each month. Music in the streets runs the third Friday of each month between April and October from six to nine PM. Each month the bands change up and the drive night cars are a little different. Last week the National Guard was there hosting a rock climbing wall and the Zumba class from the gym Finley and I attend was doing "flash" dances along the street. Of course Washington is holding it's very own Idol competition and the singers take a turn in front of judges on the main stage. This summer food is being served from various venues. Mmm southern fried street meat and such!

Steve's dad, Finley's Pipi and his wife Kelly aka Mimi were here for a visit back in June for a couple of days. We took them to Music in the Streets. We had our two nephews Gavin and Noah with us too.

The Stroller Brigade

Steve and his dad having a chat while Gavin looks BORED!
We told him we were going dancing...where's the dancing Aunt Shell?

Finley and her Pipi - she's trying to get down to run and dance.

A stroll with Daddy

Steve and Finley check out the muscle cars parked on Market Street.

A band playing a little Johnny Cash.

Gavin, Fin and I dance on the street.

The kids tear up the linoleum on the "Kids Only" shag dancing area.
Where I come from a SHAG means something entirely different.
Here its a DANCE and not the horizontal kind!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Eat!

Last Friday after play group Finley introduced me to her new friend.

Honestly, through her I was all of a sudden a little girl again catching caterpillars, asking my mom for a jar, waiting as patiently as possible for my dad to knock holes in the top of the metal lid with a hammer and nail so my captive caterpillar could have air. I could see where my daughter's curiosity will take her and I find it such a privilege to join her on her journey of discovery...I just didn't know it would start so soon! She's still my BABY!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sundaes on Thursdays = DELICIOUS!

Finley was invited to her first "party." It was a sundae party. The host was turning four and had never had a sundae before. It was so cool to be a part of another child's first along with Fin's.

A child's delight at experiencing anything for the first time supersedes anything I've ever experienced.

Finley has never had chocolate ice cream.
She has never had a sundae.
She has never had sprinkles and chocolate syrup.
She didn't miss a spoon full.

She also didn't take a NAP and went to bed at 6:20 pm.

Would I take her to another sundae party?
Hells Yeah!

P.S There were other children at the party
but I have not asked permission to put their faces on the inter web.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nap Time

In the last month or so Finley has been able to take her afternoon naps all by herself! Seeing as she would ONLY sleep in the car or the ergo for the last year this independent nap time has been a phenomenon other mothers know and experience. Now I get to as well. I LOVE it!

Seriously. I get some much needed down time - of course I am using the time to do all the stuff I need to get done around the house, and I'm starting school again so the nap time will be a great opportunity to get some writing done. I might even get a blog or two written. Ahhh. The sound of silence in the house is deafening and delicious.

Fin is now taking only one big nap a day.

If I wear her out she falls asleep anywhere.
This photo is taken after our morning play date at the park.

Of course the dog is ALWAYS taking his nap with her.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Me & My Girl

Fin and I love to play at the park.
We go almost every day for a little while to play.
Our favorite is the swing.
Swings induce smiling!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Salad Daze

I am a lover of a warm climate. The last month has brought us temperatures in the high 90's with humidity and that makes me so comfy in my skin! With the hot weather comes my complete and total lack of desire to eat much of anything unless it's fresh salads.
I've been composing some pretty creative salads lately!

A sampling of salads.
Organic herb salad greens with grilled tofu.

Organic herb salad greens with chilled grilled sockeye salmon, tofu and avocado.

Shrimp salad with cucumbers, black olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes and goat's cheese.
In a Dijon lemon basil dressing

Black eye pea, spring pea and mini pasta salad with cilantro.

I have also whipped out an avocado and shrimp salad and a blueberry jalapeno and corn salad in the last two weeks- but alas- no photos!

Are you hungry now? Me too.
I'm off to create with my new favorite food quinoa!