Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The House That Love Built = SOLD!

Am delighted, a bit sad and sorta freaking out. We have to pack up and be gone by mid-January.


But, thank GOD for prayers answered, my in-laws for all their efforts, my parents for love and support and everyone who has listened to me whinge for the last year.

And to Mark, for building it all, with love, only to leave it all behind for this new, exciting journey.

Merry Christmas, indeed!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Spirit of the Season...

is actually a Leprechaun called Matthew!

We got our tree tonight - a small one, dropped off just before dinner. MUCH excitement from Matthew, and Luke just ran around babbling, happily oblivious, whacking things with his hockey stick.

Later, as I settled Luke into sleep, Matthew and Mark headed to the farm to get our "Christmas Box", stored in the shed since last year. Came home, red-cheeked and "crunchy-coated" from being outside in the frigid air.

While Daddy strung the lights, Matthew and I gleefully unpacked the ornaments - if I wasn't really in the Christmas mood before, I sure am now! Matthew oohed and ahhed over every last piece - "his" ornaments from the year of his birth, the one from our wedding, the ugly ones, the pretty angels, all of 'em.

And finally as we stood back to admire the lights blazing, balls dangling and stars shining in the glow, I looked over at my beloved son's face and almost wept. There, in eyes bright with excitement, the magic of the season glistened.

Christmas really is a magical time and this year, I have two, joyfully magical little imps to share this time, these moments. Sigh.

Life is good and I am very, very blessed, indeed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Leprechaun Goodness


Matthew's having a bit of a sleep-in this morning, as he was up for HOURS in the night. That leaves me and Lukey to fend for ourselves. As I chatted to him about getting cereal and going upstairs, I actually listened to his responses and I'll be damned if my li'l Menace isn't talking up a storm:
Me: Ok, Lukey, cereal and banana for breakfast?
Luke: Ananananan Me: Cheerios? Luke: Cheeeeeeeessseeeoooo
Me: Let's go upstairs then, shall we? It's warmer up there.
Luke: Uppy, uppy, uppy (as he hauls himself up the stairs, banana in hand)
Me: Can you close the door behind me, Luke?
Luke: Door! (Slams door)
Luke spies his juice cup, waiting to be filled with water and starts doing that impatient, shrieky toddler dance: "Dusss, Duuuusssss!"
And just now, I handed him his shoes and asked him to put them on the shoe shelf. So he sat down and tried to put one on his foot, mumbling, "Choo....choooo!"

He also says: What's dat, Who dat and Bye bye, love you!

Negligent mother that I am, I hadn't realized until JUST NOW that my little baby is talking. In words. REAL words.



Saturday morning, woke up to Matthew stroking my face: "Mummy! It's our special day - get up!"
So, fed boys, fed Mark coffee and Matthew and I hit the road. Went to the mall, which under normal circumstance would be a nightmare, but it was just the two of us and we had a ball!
All he cared about was playing on the "ice cream truck" (one of those rides - he doesn't want it turned on, just plays in it) and play with Thomas the Train at the bookstore.

Got my eyebrows waxed ("Mummy, you look pretty!" ) and had a muffin at the food court, making up stories about strangers. This kid, he gets me....love him!

We held hands the WHOLE day and then, went to the movies!! Saw Madagascar II, held hands and ate popcorn. Midway through, he leaned his head on my shoulder, so I hoisted him onto my lap....bliss.

Luke and Daddy had a fab day at home, which was an added bonus. As we came through the door, Luke came rushing over, arms out. Double bliss!

Matthew asked me today if we can have another "Special Day" soon - yay!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Memories

I was 21, living in Whistler, working two jobs, missing home. On Christmas Eve, I was working "turn-down service" at the Chateau Whistler: turn down beds, place water and chocolates on pillows, draw curtains, turn lights down low, etc.

I entered one room and was instantly overcome with a wave of homesickness so quick and sharp, that I started to cry. For real. Like a goober, I moved around this room, turning down and sniffling, missing my mum SO BADLY, it hurt.

Went into the bathroom to refresh the towels and there it was: L'Air du Temps perfume. My mum's scent.

Well. I must have stood there for 5 minutes, no joke, sniffing that bottle and crying and then laughing at my manic self. Didn't hear the door click open, nor anyone moving about the room until the guest came through the door, looking perplexed and a little bit scared.

I was able to stutter out an apology, swiping snot and tears across my face, before she called for security or something and moved past her to rush out. And then she spoke, this 60ish woman, with perfectly-coiffed, snow-white hair and laugh lines so deep, in an English accent.

Well, that did it. This was me, sobbing anew and stumbling over the towels and my basket of chocolates and treats: "My mum's English tooooooooooo...sniff, sniff, hiccup, "and you sound like her and you smell like her and I'm so, so sorry for sniffing your perfume, but I miss her sooooo.....hiccup, hiccup....much!"

And she just sat on her bed and patted the space next to her, saying, "Come and have a cuddle then, love" and I practically THREW myself into her arms and sat there, crying and laughing and feeling like an ass and feeling loved and cherished and like a moron, all at once.

And I'll be damned if I'm crying all over again, typing this out. Wow.

Upon check-out, my Christmas angel left a note, written in perfect cursive and a tiny, sample bottle of L'air du Temps.

"Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for giving an old woman a very special Christmas. I enjoyed our time together and will think of you, whenever I spy my perfume bottle, the last one given to me by my late husband.

God Bless you and your family.

J. Mairns."


Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Sweet Angel, Luke!

Baby boy, tomorrow, you will be ONE! Whoosh, this year has gone and I am left breathless in its wake. Blessed, fullfilled and a little bit sad.

Darling Luke, before you were born, when I knew you as "Belly Bean" I worried that I wouldn't, couldn't ever love you the way I loved your brother. I worried that my heart couldn't, despite all advice to the contrary, expand to include another delightful, magical leprechaun.

And then, sweet son, I met you.

I met you and every worry I ever had flew clean out of my head and my heart simply whispered, "Hello, Luke. I've been waiting to love you for my whole, entire life."

My love for you, oh cherub-faced wonder, is quiet but fierce. You are indeed, my very soul and I believe that you were sent to be mine, especially. What a joy it will to discover you, Luke.

You are quick and funny and oh-so happy. I love your appetite for life, blue-eyed boy: from a rolly-legged baby to an engaging, wobbly-walkin' toddler, you bring such LIGHT to our lives. There is a lightness of spirit about you that simply beckons us, the ones who love you best, to sit awhile longer, cuddle a moment more.

Before you open your eyes, you are smiling. Before you've even seen your brother, you are smiling, knowing that he is almost upon us, in bed each morning. He waits, you see, to hear your morning shrieks and coos and then heads directly for your smile - we all do.

I love your determination and dramatic shrieks of laughter. Don't so much love the drama and gnashing of teeth that occurs when your temper flares, but it sure is funny! Yours is a fiery temper, Lukey Gavan, and assures me that life in your sphere will never be boring!

Sometimes, while nursing, you raise your eyes to mine and I believe that I can see God's face, reflected there...and I offer up a special thanks, for the gift of you.

Thank you for your patience and your humour. Thank you for your every giggle and the way you chortle "Wowowowowowoowowo!" when something strikes your fancy. The way you turn your face to press your mouth to mine, a silent, gentle kiss, for no reason. For placing your hand in mine, your trust in my love, your heart into my keeping.

I will keep yours close to mine, always.

I love you.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Darling Matthew,

Just now, I snuck downstairs and stood in your doorway, watching you sleep. One long, lean leg dangling off the edge of your toddler bed, one hand clutching your precious "gucky", the other wrapped around a Matchbox car, and always, always, wrapped around my heart.

Baby boy, tomorrow you will be three years old. How did that happen? How did the tiny imp, with hair like fire, become a big boy so quickly? You make me so proud, Matthew. Proud to be your Mummy, your safe harbour, your teacher, your student.

You are my greatest love, my most awesome challenge, sweet son. Thank you for choosing me, for making me a Mummy. You were my heart's desire - the wish I didn't even know I had. Three years later, you are my very heart, a gift...magic.

Thank you for your feisty ways, your wild temper, your songs during car rides and the way you hold my hand to your face as you drift off to sleep. Thank you for lessons in patience and kindness and for every time you turn to Luke and say, "That's right, Lukey! I'm so proud of you!"

You cannot know what it does to my heart to watch you grow into yourself. Today, during your birthday celebration, you wanted to give your presents to those who brought them - a sweet and loving gesture, so very typical of your nature. You are compassionate and sensitive and the world is a brighter place simply because you're in it.

Dear one, I know that I am not always right. Or kind. Or even fair. But you carry on and we muddle through anyway. I promise to always try to be the kind of mother you deserve and thank you for forgetting when I falter.

I love you.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

*Those* Moments

L. and I were talking the other day, about everything and nothing and those moments - the ones that you want to live in forever, because they are perfect.

It's been awhile, I'll confess, since I was stopped dead in my tracks by that unmistakable, "God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world" feeling. WAY too long, actually.

And then today...I had one.

It certainly wasn't a perfect moment - not joyful, not bliss. In fact, it downright sucked.

Matthew has taken to imitating Luke - his cries, his laugh. Matthew crawls when Luke does, splashes toilet water when Luke does, copies his younger brother's clapping, his squawking. Every. Damned. Thing.


At bedtime Matthew wanted my attention. Badly. So, while I nursed Luke to sleep across the hall, my beloved firstborn stood in his gated doorway and waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllleeedd. Screamed. Demanded. Cried. Stomped. Kicked. And waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiillllled some more.

I think my blood actually boiled.

Finally, when he'd woken poor Luke for the fourth time, I'd had it. Arranged hiccup-sob-sleeping Luke in his crib and stormed into the hallway. Yanked Matthew up over the gate and fairly tossed him into the playroom: Is THAT what you wanted, Matthew? OUT???


Defeated, I unhinged the gate and sat on his floor, waiting, fuming, raging. In he came, confused, a little wary, maybe a little bit afraid.

"Mummy, will you snuggle me?"


And of course, this tired, fed-up, WITCH of a mother, did. Climbed into his Thomas the Train bed and wrapped myself around him as best I could. He leaned back against me, sighed and then reached up to tug my hair:

"Thank you, Mummy," and fell asleep.

It certainly wasn't pretty, this moment. But it has burned itself onto my heart forever.

Thank you, Matthew. Again. Always.


Thursday, July 31, 2008


If my marriage survives until the end of 2008, it will be no small miracle.

In fact, it may very well take a miracle. Except that I'm too tired to pray for one.


Carry on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Climb Ev'ry Mountain..uh, Staircase!

Luke: In the kitchen, playing contentedly with fridge magnets and mixing spoons.

Matthew: In bed, not so much with the contented, reading books and not sleeping.

Mummy: Marching back and forth between the playroom, tossing toys into any available container and her bedroom, folding a never-ending pile of laundry.

Luke: Thump! Whack! "Ga-ga-da-mmmmmaaaaaaammmaaa!" Thump-thump!

Matthew: "Outside, inside, inside down!" (Berenstain Bears)

Mummy: "Tra la, la!" Folding, tossing, marching. Folding, tossing, marching.

Luke: Thud! "Fzzzzzzz...ga-ga-mmmaaammaa!" Thump.

Mummy: Hmmm...wonder what Luke's doing? March into kitchen.

No Luke.

Whirl around...check under table.

Nope. No Luke.

Luke: "Ga! Waaahhhh!!!"

From the TOP OF THE STAIRS!!!!!!!!!!

Omigod, my heart. It stopped.

Note to self: Luke climbs stairs. You idiot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The House That Love Built is FOR SALE!

After six loooooooooooooooong months, Mark has been offered and has accepted a job in Napanee.



Dear God,

Please send the right person to our door. Send the one who will step over the threshold and say, "This is where I belong," like we did.

Please let the house that love built be someone else's prayer...and guide them home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Leaving Luke

I wrote my parent three pages when I first left Matthew overnight. What follows here are two pages, for my friend A. I'm leaving Luke with her to attend a wedding. 10 hours, all in.

Sheesh. You'd think I was leaving for a week.

Wanted to post it here, just because:


Luke loves crawling and pulling up to stand. On anything – the sofa, the wall, your leg, your boob, the potty, the toilet, the TV stand….you get the picture. If left to his own devices, he’d stand and climb all day long. In fact, just today, he climbed UP the stairs of the ball-pit slide at the Pumpkin Patch. My boy is a cute and darling menace!

Ode to Luke

He likes toys that squeak and some that peep
And ones that wobble down the street.

His favourite toys are ones to chew,
Including toes and fingers, too!

He tries to dance and loves to clap,
And loves when fingers snap, snap, snap!

When nap time comes, he likes to cuddle,
Though Snuglis work, when in a muddle.

He may take a bottle, then again, may not:
When it comes to milk, he’s a bit of a snot.

But in the end, you’ll know what’s best:
Feed him some “o’s” when you need a rest.

He’ll likely (hopefully, ideally, but let’s not count on it) nap around 3-ish. His naps are odd – sometimes he’ll go down for ages, but not usually for more than 45 minutes at a time. He’s soothed by low noise and conversations, so you could sit and discuss the sad state of the world or plan a trip down East, and he’ll happily snooze nearby. Mostly, he likes sleeping ON someone, so if you’re up for a drooling leprechaun, have at it!

Clearly underfed and malnourished, Luke will eat practically anything you put in front of him. I’ve packed some jarred butternut squash, plus some sliced blueberries, along with Cheerios (which you can scatter across the floor and watch him follow and gobble, just for fun!) and biscuits. If you’re comfortable feeding him bits off of your plates, he’d appreciate that, too!

Bedtime varies. I usually bathe him around 7:00 and attempt/try/cajole/give in/give up/fail to put him to sleep around 8:00 to 8:30. As of this writing, he’s come awake twice, just to snuggle back down within minutes.

I’ve packed some Camillia tabs for teething. If it seems that he’s suffering from teething issues, one capsule is like magic. Two should do the trick, about ½ an hour a part. He can take Tylenol and Motrin too and doesn’t mind a swig of whisky, here or there! (Ha, ha!)

My cell: 289-***-***
Linda’s (Mother-in-law) cell: 123-456-789

Please DON’T hesitate to call, for any little thing. I promise not to call every hour, although I will likely call once or twice because, well, he’s my love-bug and I’ve never been parted from him for more than two hours. Eek!

Have also attached copies of his birth certificate and Health Card stuff, should something go terribly awry.

He has no known allergies and no health conditions. He does, however, like popsicles.

Phew! Nothing like a novel, eh? Sorry. I ramble as much on paper as I do in person – it’s a gift and a curse!

That said, thank you SO much for having him. I feel at ease and happy that he’s with you, A, as he has a twinkle for you and you can get him to sleep when no one else can. I appreciate both the time to reconnect with Mark and the chance to let Luke unfurl his wings, just a bit.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mama said there'd be days like THIS!

When my boys could not possibly have been better behaved or more angelic.


Travelled to my bio-sis's home yesterday. Three hour drive, without incident. Sang songs, ate snacks, laughed at Luke.

Neither boy napped, but were genuis during the party. Delighted family and friends with their hair, their smiles, their easy-going, "yes-I-AM-precious-thank-you-very-much!" ways.

Wanted to burst with pride and love and grateful-ness. Snuggled both at bedtime, pouring secrets and giggles and words of comfort and thanks into tiny, tired ears.

Woke this morning, awkwardly wrapped around my boys - one in the crook of my arm, the other, tucked into the crook of my knees. Both forever tucked into my heart.

Feel lucky. Feel blessed. Feel....content.

Thank you, Matthew, for your spirit and your fire. For giggles and snickers and telling Mummy how much you like her hugs. For trying hard to get along, for teaching Mama again and again, what it is to discover. What it is to forgive.

Thank you, Luke, for you grins and your drive. For your voracious appetite for everything and food. For making me feel like I'm doing something right and for seeking my arms for comfort, for love.

Thank you, Mark, for trying. And for having hope.

Friday, July 4, 2008

One of those days!

It's not even 9:00 here, and this is how the morning has gone:

"Good Morning, Matthew!"

"Where's Daddy? Daddy's here? Is Daddy herrreeeeeeeeee???" (whiny-verging-on-tears-voice)

*insert rolling eyes here*

"Good Morning, Luke!"


*insert expletive here*

Since then, I have been nothing but a nag. A shrew. A screeching banshee of a parent and I am ashamed. But, these children. They've pushed me to the brink:

Matthew! Don't push your brother. Luke, don't eat that, it's not food. Luke, spit that out! Spit. It. OUT, Luke! Matthew, don't bonk your brother, play nicely. He's just a baby and he just wants to play with you. LUKE! Don't bonk your brother, that's not nice.

Matthew, close the door. Matthew, put your underwear back on. I'm trying to pee. No you can't watch. Matthew, leave the toilet paper alone, please, I don't want to tell you again. Matthew! Leave the toilet paper alone, please. What did I just say? Luke, toilet paper is NOT for eating.

Luke, come away please...away from Daddy's CD's please. These are not toys, Luke. Luke! Do NOT eat the CD's. They are not food. No, Matthew, please don't climb on the couch. GET DOWN! Don't climb on the chair, either. Geez, Matthew...what did I just say?


Matthew: "Mummy, we go see Daddy at work?"

Me: "No, sweetheart, we can't see Daddy at work. He'll be home after supper. We'll see him then, ok?"

Luke: "Daga?"

Matthew: "I wanna see Daddy! I wanna see Daddddddddyyy at wwwwooorrrrrrrrrkkk!!" (whiny-verge-of-crying-voice)


One of those days.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Honour thy father...

Dear Dad,

I love you, Dad. Today is about the public declaration of that, but really, I adore you every day. Since becoming a mother, I love you even more, it seems. I recognize, for the first time in many cases, what an incredible father you truly are.

Thank you for your wisdom and gentle, soft-spoken compassion. You are my steady rock in a sea of conflict, my touchstone when I need a little bit of "home" and always, always beloved.

"This too shall pass!" has become my very own mantra, learned at your knee, absorbed over the years. Thank you for the reminders and the love that goes along with them.

I have such fond memories of travelling to the Muskokas with you, every summer, usually on your birthday. How we'd sit for ages without talking - and then YOU'D sit for another age, listening to me babble. Funny, that hasn't changed much, eh?

Thank you for being such a loving and wonderful Papa to my boys. Matthew delights in your company and for good reason - you lead by fine example and always include him in your adventures - a trip to the zoo or simply filling a birdfeeder. It thrills me that he and Luke have many more adventures and special times with Papa to look forward to.

Thank for nightcaps and long chats into the night. For staying up too late, and being forced up far, far too early. For good laughs and great advice. For being my friend, my confidant and the kindest man I know.

I am proud and blessed to be your daughter. Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


"I like your face, Mummy!"

So said Matthew tonight as I tucked him in. He cupped my cheeks and kissed the very tip of my nose.

Betcha'll heard my heart crack clean in half, didn't you?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In My Next Life...

I'm gonna live and raise my children in a women-only commune.

Carry on.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just For Today...

A good friend sent this via email. It was exactly what I needed to read, remember, do:

To My Child
Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars. Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day..............

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Soccer Monster!

Matthew played his very first game of soccer tonight. On a pitch, wearing his No. 4 shirt like a dress, shin pads that stuck out a mile and the biggest smile ever.

Wanna laugh so hard you cry? Go watch a team of two-year olds run after a soccer ball.


Definitely one of the highlights of toddlerhood - my soccer monster, Monster!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


This marriage gig. It's hard. Hard like nothing else. Sure I have "I-don't-wanna-be-a-parent" moments, but I have "I-don't-wanna-be-a-wife" DAYS. Weeks.

And each one feels like forever.


Up. Down. Up. Down. Coast without communicating. Up. Down. Down.

How am I supposed to help, love, honour, live with a man who calls me a c-word?

Wish he'd get his ass up off the effin' floor. I want a partner, a friend, a lover, a co-conspirator, a post for leaning, a hand for holding.

Not this.

Not this.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Darling Mum,

If ever two women were destined to be mother and daughter, it's you and me. You are the mother of my heart and my first and best kindred spirit. God certainly knew what he was doing when he picked me for you, and you for me.

I love you, Mum. Your wisdom and compassion are only part of what make you great. Without your support and encouragement and willingness to listen to me, ad nauseum, I'm not sure my marriage would still be intact. Thank you for that.

You inspire me - I want to be and do more than I am, because you've paved the way, and shown that anything is possible. That you're still discovering innate talent, long after most people have settled into golf and bridge, is typical - you are FULL of surprises and it's a delight to watch you come into yourself, again and again.

I hope that I can raise my own children with as much grace and kindness. I hope that I will find the perfect words, like you always seem to, and that I will be the place of solace that you've always been for me. I want my children to think of me and smile fondly, the way I do when I think of you.

I wish I'd told you more often how proud I am to be your daughter. Wish I'd hugged you more, hung on longer when I did. Now, as I watch you snuggle and kiss my boys, my heart is full. They are so, so lucky to have such an awesome Nanny. Their tiny faces light up at the sight of you - no wonder, since you make such an enthusiastic playmate and always have time for "one more" story.

Thank you for all of it, Mum. I am blessed to call you mine and feel utterly privileged to be your best friend. Because you are certainly mine and I love you completely. With all that I am - your daughter and the one who loves you most.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Love You, Goodnight!

Like many toddlers, Matthew insists on the same stories at bedtime. They must be read in the same order, every night, no skipping, ever.

The very last is "I Love You, Goodnight" and is a simple litany of things that a certain Mama mouse loves, the way she loves her child: "I love you, like I love blueberry pancakes. I love you like the moon at night.." etc.

Well, tonight, Mr. Matthew switched it up, much to my surprise and delight. Instead of tucking in and getting comfy so that I could read to him, he read to me. Every. Last. Word.

So far, it pretty much rates up there in the Top Ten Favourite Matthew Moments. I know that he wasn't really reading so much as repeating the stories he's memorized, but oh, who cares.

My son, beloved heart, read me a goodnight story.

Sweet dreams, indeed!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Little Leprechaun Moments

I'm afraid that I'll forget the little moments. The ones that make up the days, weeks, months that seem to have simply, WHOOSH, flown right on by. How is it that Matthew is closer to three, than two? Beloved Luke was just born, wasn't he? How'd he get to be 7 months old?

Seems that I spend so much energy just getting through, that I've forgotten to savour the sweet spots - the way Luke's whole face lights up when I tiptoe in to see if he's awake yet. The way his whole body wriggles with delight the second he sees his big brother. I can't even begin to describe what it does to my heart, watching Luke, watch Matthew. I swear there are days when I can hear the crack.

Matthew's newest phrase: "Mummy! I love you soooooooooooo much! I go to work now!" as he hops into his little plastic car and trundles all the way to the bathroom. "Mummy, I hooommmee!"

They are so happy, these leprechauns. Despite a bad case of the naughties this week, Matthew is so good-natured and eager - to please, to love, to laugh. He sings a dozen songs, including a Dutch ditty my Dad's been teaching him since birth, practically. I caught him showing Luke the hand motions that go with, and felt my heart grow three sizes. He knows that "Godspeed" by the Dixie Chicks is our "Mummy/Matthew" song, and that "Send Me on My Way" by Rusted Root is Lukey's.

He calls Luke, "Lukey Pookers," like I do and cups his face to bestow kisses. Just like me. Sigh.

Luke. Sweet Luke. SO happy. So content. He's hysterically fat, and I could eat every inch of him. Yesterday I snagged a quick video of him "conducting" Beethoven's Sonata - it's mostly clapping and yummy naked baby-ness, but it's typical of his temperament and one of the reasons I fall in love with him a little bit more every day. I want to nurse him forever, just to keep him close.

I know there are more. More songs, more kisses, more toothy grins. Little touches of magic. More moments that give me pause and make me so grateful to these miracles that I call mine. I know that I need to write them down sooner, and not wait until "later."

Because "later" it seems, turns into 7 months. And pretty soon, "later" will be traipsing off to kindergarten, leaving his proud and blessed Mama to sit quietly, missing it all.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crap Mum of the Year Award goes to...


Mark came home, exhausted, looking for a nap. Loving wife (me) took the boys for a walk after dinner. All was well, until the journey home.

Me: Matthew, walk on the side of the road, please!
Matthew: This is gonna rock! (Hop onto road, hop off!) ....

Me: Matthew, come along. There are cars coming!
Matthew: This is gonna ROCK! (Hops into ditch, laughing hysterically!) ....

Me: Matthew, come NOW, please!

Grab Matthew's arm and tug him across the road, pushing stroller with the other hand. In that toddler way, Matthew suddenly goes limp, which makes me tighten my grip on his forearm and then he picks up his feet! AGH!

There was a weird crack and then he started shrieking...I dropped to the ground with him, scrambling to see what was wrong. His arm. Omigawd, I thought,I broke his effing arm!!!!!

We stumbled home, he balanced precariously on the handle of the stroller, one arm wrapped around my neck, crying. (See the irony?) Me, begging forgiveness and worrying that the ER doctors were SURE to take him away from me; what kind of mother breaks her kid's arm?

Headed straight for Mark, who made him lift his arm, give high-fives, etc. Long story short: Matthew's fine. He was hurt, for sure, but not seriously. No bones broken, we think. But man.....did he EVER put on a show.

This Mummy thing...today, it's hard. Haven't wanted a ciggie this much in a long, long, time.

I suck.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dear Sean Patrick:

(My dear friend, Patti, is pregnant with her second child. This morning, she discovered that her "Bean" is a boy - a younger brother for darling Liam. I am delighted for her, now knowing the special joy that comes with living in a house full of boys!)

Dear Sean,

Your Mama might be worried that she won't love you the way she loves your brother. She might think that the two of you, because you're boys, will be compared, contrasted and in competition for all things, especially her heart.

Wise Auntie Bellymonster is here to let you know that this simply won't be the case. Your Mama will take one look at your handsome, unique little face and melt into love with you. It may not take her by surprise, the way it did with Big Brother Liam, but it will be just as powerful. Maybe even stronger, as she knows how awesome it will be to watch you grow into yourself.

You and your Mama will share many special moments, Sean. Just the two of you, snuggled up nursing, sharing secrets with your eyes and greeting the dawn together. She will look askance to you, in the middle of the chaos of a house of boys and think to herself, "How ever did I get so lucky, to have Sean choose me?" and she will cry, just a little bit, because she's happy and that's what Mamas sometimes do.

You parents will spend a lot of time deciding which of your features match your brother's. This game will delight and confound them for hours at a time - how amazing that the love between made such wonderful little people. You will assert your personality long before your brother did, Sean Patrick. You will do your Mama and your name proud. I just know it.

Looking forward to the Fall, lovey. When magic happens and you'll join us all !

Auntie Belly

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's Not Easy, Feeling Green

There should be some sort of law, or unwritten rule:

The girl who married the guy you always thought you'd marry (IF you were gonna marry at all, NOT that you're sad that you didn't marry him because, frankly, he was a bit of a pompous jerk) cannot, should not, WHY DOES SHE, look waaaayyyy better than you, pregnant.

She's thin and glowing and pretty and blissed and aaagggghhhh.......

I know I shouldn't care. I know it doesn't matter. I have the world's MOST adorable children and a great husband and I loved being pregnant, even if I did gain a zillion pounds and waddled forever.

Bet she didn't have a moment's morning sickness, either. Or crazy preggo dreams. Bet she fits into all sorts of cute maternity clothes and still wears the same shoe size.

Is it bad that I'm wishing some not-so-nice things upon her? What's a little pre-e among friends?


Friday, April 11, 2008

Love Lessons

This afternoon, I have irrevocably, irretrievably, lost my ever-loving mind.

It's been raining all day - a slanting, frigid rain that made our dash to the car a cross-country event. The boys are fidgety and fussy, both. No one slept well last night, courtesy of our newest nocturnal misadventure, the Toddler Nightmare.

And then, despite a trip to WalMart, where, for once, Matthew was allowed to play with the toys as long as he pleased, AND McDonald's french fries for lunch (how's that for a white-trash morning, eh?)....naptime became battle time.

Four times, I tried to put Matthew down. Four times he came bouncing up - the last time, with a decided smirk and an attitude. "Me want chocolate milk, NOW!"

And so...I lost it. Lost it.

Yelled at my beloved two-year old son. Took off my slipper and threw it across the room. Yelled some more and then dragged Matthew down the stairs to his room: Come Hell or high water, boy, you are going to have a nap!

But when I picked him up to toss him into his crib, I shoved my face into his to yell some more...and burst into tears. Crumbled to the floor, there amongst the dinky cars and discarded socks and wept.

Matthew? Crawled up underneath my arm, to gently place his tiny lips on mine:

"It's ok, Mummy. Don't cry, Mummy."

Shoved his soother in my mouth and then went to stand behind me, to "wrap me in hugs" the way I do when he's crying.

How is it that I, the mother, have learned the greatest lessons in love, forgiveness and patience from my son?

My son. My heart.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

From A to Z

I love books.

I hope to pass on my love of the written word, and the magic of stepping through the pages of a story, into another world. The boys see that their Dad and I are readers - I hope that Matthew and Luke become avid ones. Compiled here is a list of books I'd like to acquire, so that as a family, we can share in one of life's greatest pleasures - curling up with a good book.

The Places You'll Go!
Of Mice and Men
Catcher in the Rye
Heart of Darkness
Gulliver's Travels
Great Expectations
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The English Patient
Three Day Road
The Sun Also Rises
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Wrinkle in Time
The Robber Bride
The Chosen
Davita's Harp
My Name is Asher Lev
Jane Eyre
Fall On Your Knees
The Stone Angel
The Stone Diaries
Jacob Have I Loved
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Girl I Miss Most

This morning, I sent an email to an old friend - one I've not seen, nor spoken to in almost a decade. I've thought of her, of course. We were best friends for many years until....well, until we weren't.

Time's a funny thing - it changes how you see the world: how it really was, who you really were.
Then, I was fearless and selfish and foolish and a little bit crazy. She was steady and down-to-earth and patient and good. Today, my fears are mostly for my children, and every day I strive for goodness. Some days, I am almost good. Most days, I must simply try harder.

Years ago, I read a book called "Something Borrowed" by Emily Giffin. It stung with every line, as I recognized myself over and over - Darcy, the self-absorbed, attention-seeking, wild-child, tramp. Me. It made me miss my friend all the more - seeing, not for the first time, but with stunning clarity, the damage done. How I longed to call, begging forgiveness for all that I had been, wasn't, had done, and hadn't.

Instead, I clung to my pride and didn't screw up my courage and time went on and the years passed. And then this morning came and there, in my inbox, her address, forwarded.

Quickly, quickly, before my courage flagged, I wrote. A brief, cheery message - updates, mostly: Married, parents fine, have children, no dog...and you? But oh, how my heart ached with each question posed and I wondered, how had I allowed ten years to pass? I did not know the basic details about the life of a woman whose teenaged secrets I once shared.

And then, I waited.

Hours later, she replied, answering every question good-naturedly,and attaching photos of her two boys, whose handsome faces stole my breath, caused my heart to skip a beat. She offered that her Matthew joined her family at Thanksgiving, 2005 - the same weekend that my Matthew came home for the very first time. I laughed out loud at this delightful sychronicity, this tiny quirk of the universe that reminds me that everything, every. little.thing happens for a reason.

That both she and I were married at Thanksgiving, a decade apart, well, that's got to mean something. Doesn't it?

I cannot say what the coming weeks and months will hold for us - me and my old friend. I am trying desperately to stem this giddy feeling that's blooming inside me. I have missed her so much - I have missed the girl she was, the woman she became, the mother she was born to be.

I hope that she's missed me enough, that perhaps, I won't miss anymore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fight a losing battle?

You know how, as a parent, you're told to pick your battles? Yeah. This is me losing mine.

Last night - Mark's bouncing a fussy Luke, Matthew's whining:

Matthew: Mummy take Luke?
Belly: No, Luke's with Daddy. You need to wait your turn - you can share Daddy with Luke.


Matthew: Mummy take Luke?
Belly: No.

Pouty pause.

M: Mummy take Luke now?
B: Nope. Your bath has almost finished filling. Then you can have Daddy all to yourself!
M: Play now, then bath?
B: Sure...play for 10 minutes and then you'll have a bath.


M: I want to play hockey.
B: Oh, really? (suspicious now)
M: Daddy plays hockey with Matthew.
B: (the light is dawning) Oh....I see where this might be going...
M: Daddy plays hockey. Mummy take Luke, right?


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Random Worries

Ah, Sunday. Here I am, mentally organizing the coming days and worrying (read: obsessing) about random stuff:

1. Matthew seems to be disappearing before my very eyes. Literally, his already-small frame seems to be shrinking. Yes, he's been sick for a few days and so not eating much, but honestly, I worry that there's something more serious going on. Thyroid issues run through my husband's side - do symptoms appear this early in life? He's only TWO - how can he have "issues" already?

2. Money. We don't have enough of it and I put today's groceries on Visa. Not this week's groceries, you'll note. Today's. Which brings me to

3. Why can't I stick to a meal plan and cook a decent meal like other mothers? If this were 1947, I'd be the laughingstock of the cul-de-sac - for both my deplorable lack of culinary skills and the fact that I can't make myself look like anything other than mildly unkempt, no matter how hard I try.

4. What if I never want to have sex again? I mean, I'm sure I'll have sex - maybe even soon -but what if I don't WANT it, ever again?

5. If I applied to one of those "Lose 180-pounds-by-Tuesday-You-Sloth!" type TV shows, what are the chances that no one who knows me/used to know me/slept with me will see it until AFTER I've lost weight? I want the free trainer - I SUCK at self-motivation.

6. I'm beginning to think that my addiction to Facebook might be a bad thing.

7. I haven't been for my 6-week post-partum check-up. Am too afraid to call now, as my doctor will be none too happy AND she'll then be performing a Pap, while pissed off. Ouch.

8. Exactly how honest am I supposed to be during these marriage counselling sessions? Like, should I actually utter OUT LOUD the stuff I really think when I'm peeved with Mark? Or should I simply spill the PG version - his heart may have a better chance of staying intact then.

9. How did my Mum manage two children, a demanding career AND still find time to look like a million bucks? I can't even shower daily. Talk about underachieving. I wonder if she's disappointed?

10. I haven't really tried to potty-train Matthew. I keep hoping he'll work it out himself.

11. If I died, would Mark fall in love with someone who fell in love with him first or the boys first? What if she didn't love them enough? What if she didn't love them at all?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Adventures in Boob Land

So, this morning, the leprechauns and I went to our favourite "Play Place." We're regular visitors to this awesome play area for the under-5 set. The two women who own and run it are friendly and welcoming to everyone - mums and kids alike.

It was fairly quiet - mums chatting easily, kids sharing snacks, everyone relaxed. In comes a Dad with his daughter and a woman I can only assume was his wife, mother of girl. Dad and the mums began chatting about work and schooling - exchanged info, advice. You know - standard play place stuff.

Also standard stuff = Luke needs to eat. I grabbed a pillow for comfort and settled back on the couch to nurse - I had a receiving blanket ready to cover, but truthfully, I'm pretty considerate about NOT exposing my boobs unnecessarily. Besides which, it's a venue specifically geared to children under 5. Stands to reason that SOME of those little people might be nursing.

Anyhow....little girl came over while Dad revealed that she loves babies. When he realized that I was nursing, he tugged his daughter back. "It's ok, she can see," I said, not for one second thinking I was doing anything offensive.

"NO!" snapped reeking-of-cigarette-smoke Mum, who had been hunching on the settee next to me. "She doesn't need to see that. And neither do I!"

And marched out the door.

Well, holy SHIT! I was so embarrassed and shocked, I couldn't even look up. Just focused on darling Luke's sweet little cherub face and willed my own not to turn ten shades of red.

E, the owner, apologized and another mum wandered over to commiserate. I sat, oddly shaken and sort of disoriented. It's the first time I've faced any sort of negativity about nursing and frankly, I was utterly unprepared for it, especially at a play group.

Eventually, She-of-Witchy-Ways returned, but made every effort to avoid being near me - which was sort of funny, and a lot pathetic. If I'd been feeling braver, I might have said something, but alas, all my witty words came to me later, during the car ride home. (Ain't that always the way?)

Chatting with another mum, while packing up my sleepy boys, I happened to glance up and caught the tail end of a vicious look from the Witch.

Seriously, what the HELL is that about? I've never seen this woman before - her husband's the one who brings their little girl to play most often - and here she is, staring daggers at ME for feeding my child.

Am off to find a "Breastfeeding-Friendly" sticker for my forehead. Crazy Witches-with-Issues NOT welcome.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Shopping with Daddy

Two-year old Matthew loves grocery shopping. He especially loves the pint-sized grocery carts that our local supplies for active tots. He's great fun to watch, to be honest, and will happily dump anything into his cart and shove it around the store. Especially sponges. Don't know why.

As you can imagine, shopping for groceries takes an age. Hours, as opposed to minutes. In my world, there's no such thing as a "quick stop." It's an event. It takes planning and strategy. It requires snacks.


My husband is presently out of work. Downsized early in the new year, which royally sucks for a number of reasons. But having an extra pair of hands about the house has been great. He's been mumbling about grocery shopping all day, in between video games, of course.

Me: "Are you planning to take Matthew with you?"

Mark: "I wasn't, no. It's faster without him."

Me: "I know it's faster, but he loves it so much."

Mark: "Ummm..hmm......"

Two hours later:

Me: "Are you planning to do any groceries today?"

Mark: "When Matthew goes down for a nap."

(Doesn't want to deal with the hysterics and gnashing of teeth which will occur should he don shoes without his son. Matthew knows there's grocery shopping to be done - he spied me writing the list this morning and my kid's nothing if not smart!)

Alas, there were video games to finish before shopping, and Matthew awoke before Mark could steal out the door. (Inside my head: "Hee, hee!")

Just now, pyjama-clad Matthew rushed his trying-to-sneak-out Daddy. It was a glorious sight to behold:

Matthew: "Daddy! Me go 'popping, too! Me go wit you Daddy...me go 'popping with Daaaaadddyyy!!''

For once, I said nothing. Just looked askance at Mark, who simply sighed.

And off they've gone, pyjama-clad, wearing boots backwards and all. Sigh.

My husband might actually get lucky tonight, after all!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

God's Grace

Two years ago, yesterday, God welcomed Grace.

Gracie Elizabeth, actually. She was was just three months old and her passing (SIDS) will never make sense to me, or her mother, or anyone who has ever lost a child.

Gracie's mother, Brittanie has borne the loss of her beloved daughter with dignity and, well, grace. She and her husband are expecting their second child, Nathan, within the month, which has got to be a beyond bittersweet experience.

This morning, I read that Gracie's parrain (godfather) died in a boating accident. That Gracie's parents had to lose her is a tragedy. That they lost their best friend on the anniversary of her death? For this, I have no words.

Much love to Brittanie and Coy. My heart aches for you, on this day and always.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some stuff I swore I'd never...

1. The first time the phrase, "Because. Because I said so," came out of my mouth, I was horrified. How had I become one of those parents? Was I so devoid of imagination, so lacking in patience that I couldn't come up with a decent response to the zillionth "Why?" from my two-year old?

Yep. Turns out that becoming a mum really does cause loss of brain cells, and I'm ok with that.

2. "Would you like to go pee-pee on the potty?"

Like so many before me, before kids, I thought I had all the answers. And I swore that I would never use cutesy words for body bits (except vagina as the word makes me shudder, for no good reason at all) and bodily functions should be referred to using only ONE syllable: Poo. Pee.

Ha! Here's a snippet of an actual conversation with Matthew, while he oversaw my bath for a change:

Matthew: "Mummy...that your boobies?"

Me: "Yes, Matthew, these are my boobies. No, no, honey, please don't grab them. That hurts Mummy."

Matthew: "Mummy, that your pee-pee?"

Me: "No, sweetheart, that's Mummy's 'gina. Only boys have pee-pees."

Matthew: "Boys have pee-pees?"

Me: "That's right. Boys have pee-pees. Girls have 'ginas."

Matthew: "That MY 'gina?" (pointing to his penis)

Me: "No, no, Matthew. That's your pee-pee, remember? Only girls have 'ginas."

Matthew: "How go pee-pee, Mama? Pee-peeeeeeeee!"

Me: "Well, Mummy goes pee-pee with her 'gina. You go pee-pee with your...uh...pee-pee."

Is it any wonder that my child loves the word pee-pee? Apparently, it's both a verb AND a noun!

3. "Honey, could you shift over? Matthew and Luke don't seem to have enough space!"

Poor Mark. Here he thought that getting married would, if not guarantee nooky every night, ensure a warm, wifely body to snuggle up to at day's end. Alas, despite all my pre-parenting ideas ("The marriage should be the number one relationship - kids are secondary!"), we are a co-sleeping family.

Oh, it didn't start out that way, but little people have a way of sneaking into their parents' beds as slyly as they do our hearts. Luke, at four months, still nurses during the night and having mastered the whole "roll-over-here's-a-boob" thing, I'm not about to give it up. We usually hear the pad-pad-pad of Matthew feet around 2 am, when it's easier to scoop him up than to get up and battle him back to his crib.

Morning light will often find us - Matthew, Mark, Luke and Liz - blissfully squished together, snoozing away. These magical days are fleeting and I, for one, want to revel in every. single. moment.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What's in a name?

So, the moniker - Bellymonster.

One evening, years ago, I was complaining of stomach ache. "It's like there's something huge in there, moving about, " I moaned, convinced that I was dying, "I just want it to go awwwaayyy!"

My then boyfriend (now husband) Mark leaned over and jammed his head into my belly: "Belly Monster! GO!" and burst into gales of laughter. Nice, huh?

Cut to 2005 - we'd just discovered that I was pregnant, much to our absolute shock. (Did you know, that if, in 8 years of doing it, if you don't use a condom one time, you can get knocked up?)

"What should we call it?" I wondered aloud, suddenly feeling all mushy and glowy, the way the books promised I might.

Mark, leaning down to gently press his face into my still-flat (ish) belly: "Belly Monster! Grow."

And "it" did.

Belly Monster became Monster for short. Today we call him Matthew and he is my very heart. His brother, Luke (Belly Bean) was born last October and is my soul.

These days, I go by Bellymonster online, Belly for short. The name is as much a part of me as my boys are. Funny, how things go. And grow...