Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

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I'm sure you can all tell by the abundance of posts just how well I've adjusted to the kids being home for summer vacation.

My days are filled with the delightful sounds of sibling love (otherwise known as fighting constantly) and declarations of their love for me (telling me I am the worst mother ever).

It has truly been a week to remember (because I can't forget it no matter how hard I try).

In all truth the first few weeks of summer vacation always suck horribly for us because it is a time of massive transition and my kids do NOT do well with that. Kids with Autism especially don't do well with big transitions- even ones that are supposed to be fun, like summer vacation. That means that Aiden spends the first bit of ever vacation angry at the world and that has a domino effect on his siblings so I spend all day attempting to keep everyone from exploding or cleaning up after they do.

Super fun times.

They will adjust.

Summer will become fun.

It just takes some time.

In the meantime I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That's A Nice Look

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 If you can't beat 'em...

... join 'em....

 Owen & Mommy take a self-portrait :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Last Day of School

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I made my husband take pictures of my boys with their teachers on their last day of school yesterday and I just wanted to show you all the amazing women who blessed our lives this past year. 

This is Aiden with his aide Mrs. W- she is wonderful and we love her...

This is Aiden with his fabulous grade 4 teacher Mrs. C -

 and this is Owen with his incredible grade 3 teacher Mrs. M -

Thank-you to these very gifted women for taking such good care of my boys this year. We really do appreciate you!

And 3 big cheers to all of you teachers and educational assistants out there- thanks to all of you who spend your days being awesome for our kids. You rock!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scarlet Fever

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My sweet Olivia has scarlet fever (aka strep throat gone wrong) which is probably one of the very worst ways to spend your last 3 days of kindergarten :(

Monday, June 18, 2012

#Hunger in #Canada and Our New Involvement with the Food Bank

Pin It As many of you know we've had a bit of a crazy year. My husband was unemployed for the past 11 months and that has not been very fun but we have been blessed- we always had a roof over our heads, clothes to wear and food to eat. We are thankful.

I am happy to say that my husband's days of being unemployed have finally come to an end.

My husband is now the director of our local Food Bank!

(this is the picture of my husband that was in our local newspaper announcing him as the new Food Bank director- isn't he cute? :) )

Did you know that each month, close to 900,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks, and 38% of those helped are children and youth? It's true.

My husband has been on the board of the Food Bank for a couple of years and has been volunteering there for awhile so it is actually a very logical job for him and one that he is happy to have. We are passionate about helping people in need and the Food Bank certainly does that. According to the Food Banks Canada website half of food banks in Canada saw an increase in demand in 2011.

Consider these stats from HungerCount 2011:
  • 93,000 people each month access a food bank for the first time
  • 38% of those turning to food banks are children and youth
  • 7% of adults helped are over age 65
  • 10% of people assisted are Aboriginal
  • 52% of households helped receive social assistance
  • 18% have income from current or recent employment
  • 13% receive disability-related income supports
  • 35% of food banks ran out of food during the survey period
  • 55% of food banks needed to cut back on the amount of food provided to each household

If you would like to know what you can do about this Food Banks Canada has some great ideas for how you can help the hungry in your community.

You can Say NO to Hunger by taking the pledge at

And of course you can always give money and donate food and items to your local food bank!
These are the food and household items most urgently needed by food banks (taken from the Food Banks Canada website).
  • Pasta (canned or dry) and pasta sauces
  • Canned and frozen meats and fish
  • Meat alternatives (peanut butter, soy, assorted packaged nuts)
  • Canned goods (beans, soups, and stews)
  • Dairy (fresh, canned, and powdered milk)
  • Canned vegetables and fruit
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Infant foods and baby formula
  • Bathroom tissue and diapers
  • Personal hygiene products
Be sure to follow Food Banks Canada on Facebook and Food Banks Canada on Twitter as well.

And no, this is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this and I am not being compensated in any any way... I just really think it is tragic that there are children going to bed hungry tonight. Get Involved. Do Good. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kindergarten 'Graduation' Cuteness

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It was Olivia's kindergarten graduation ceremony yesterday and it was super cute.  

Our school doesn't make a big deal out of it- they sang a few songs and then handed out their certificates and gave them each a flower. It took 20 minutes start to finish which was just perfect.

Olivia was so proud of herself- and she especially loved her flower :)

This is Olivia with her teacher Mrs. Lindmeier :)

I'm not sure why she kept giving us her fake "posed" smile ... she was smiling her normal happy natural smile the whole time UNTIL she looked at the camera... silly kid!

Can you believe we managed to successfully get ALL THREE of our kids through kindergarten? It is amazing. Now if we can just successfully get them all through the other 12 grades we will be good to go!

Be proud pumpkin- you did it! You learned so much this year! You learned all your letters and all your numbers, and you can even read lots of words! You learned all sorts of interesting things, created all sorts of crafts, made lots of friends and gained all sorts of independence. We are so proud of you Olivia Joy :)

Today my little graduate spent the day with a headache and a sore throat though. I am hoping it is a one day thing and she can enjoy her last 4 days of school this week. Poor kiddo- what a crappy time to get sick!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Feeling Beautiful with Dove

Pin It Every woman wants to feel beautiful.

No little girl goes around thinking to herself "when I grow up I want to feel ugly and spend my days wishing I was invisible!"

And yet so many of us do end up hating the way we look - long before we are adults.

New global research by Dove of women ages 10-64 has found a girl’s inner beauty critic moves in by the time she is 14 years old and continues to erode her self-esteem as she ages. The research suggests, however, that positive role models could help young girls cope with beauty pressures, so they can see beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety.

The Dove Real Truth About Beauty research found that by the age of 14 more than half (55%) of Canadian girls already feel pressure to be beautiful. By the time they are 29, this number increases to 96%. After the age of 14 girls increasingly become their own worst beauty critic. While only 10% of girls 10-14 put pressure on themselves to be beautiful, this number climbs to 59% of women 18-64. (Dove press release March 23, 2011)

 ( The Dove Canada Nourish Your Soul retreat group at Canyon Ranch Tucson
- in the back- lovely statue, Cindy, Me, Laurie, Judy, Erica, Diane 
- in the front- Markie, Melanie, Jennifer)

While I was on the Dove Canada Nourish Your Soul retreat at the beautiful Canyon Ranch resort we had the chance to sit down and talk about real beauty. Our retreat hosts shared with us some startling stats and I wanted to share them with you today.


  • Only 2% of women feel comfortable calling themselves beautiful
  • One out of every four college women has an eating disorder
  • Half of girls avoid certain activities because they feel badly about their looks
  • Dissatisfaction with physical appearance causes girls to avoid:

    Going to the beach, pool 19%
    Physical activities 16%
    Going to school 13%
    Giving an opinion 12%

I know that I fit nicely into those statistics. I remember quitting my dance classes because I was too self-conscious about my body. I also remember avoiding swimming because I hated to wear a bathing suit and I avoiding sports like the plague because they involved running in front of spectators. I wanted nothing more than to disappear and fade into the background and NOT be noticed whenever possible. My goal with my daughter is to help her avoid feeling like I did.

During one of our sessions our facilitator asked us to name one thing we liked about our body. It was SO HARD to do. Then she asked us to partner up and name something we liked about our partners body. It was incredibly easy to do. We are much harsher critics of ourselves than we are of our friends.

And here are just a few more statistics for you:

  • 92% of girls want to change something about their physical appearance
  • As girls get older they become less likely to refer to themselves as beautiful or confident, and more likely to say they feel pressure to be beautiful
  • 59% of girls see their mom as a top role model
  • 51% of women and girls say they wished their mom had talked to them more about beauty and body image while they were growing up

Did you catch that one in there that says 59% of girls see their mom as a top role model? 

And how about the one that says 51% wish their mom had talked to them more about beauty and body image while they were growing up?

The VAST majority of my blog readers are mamas, just like me... so that means those stats are for us ladies. Lets make sure we talk to our kids (not just our daughters, our sons too) about body image and beauty. Lets make sure we work hard to change the way we see ourselves so we can be a positive role model for our daughters and our sons too!

Be your own kind of beautiful!

And this is from me to all of you....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Technology Keeps the Peace

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(just need to do a little shout out to Mabel's Labels - because we love them and we label everything... including the kids' headphones - but that doesn't stop Olivia from using her brother's headphones lol)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Best Milk Movie EVER!

Pin It I have talked at great length about my son Aiden. He is smart and creative and funny and has Autism.

I am so proud of him.

Today he wrote, directed and acted in his very first movie!

The Milk Movie was filmed and edited by my husband Doug but all of the ideas were Aiden's, and Aiden's alone :)

I think Milk and Nesquick should pay Aiden because this movie totally makes me want a glass of chocolate milk!

Watch out Steven Spielberg ;)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Make Better Choices

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Life is all about choices and I am - very slowly - trying to teach myself to make better choices.

That sounds like such an easy thing to do...

Well of course I will! It makes perfect sense! Why WOULDN'T I make better choices?

And yet, for some inexplicable reason, I consistently fail to do so.

  • I stay up too late.
  • I worry about things I have no control over.
  • I eat foods that will make me feel worse, not better.
  • I sit down in front of my computer instead of going outside with the kids.
  • I get upset about something stupid instead of figuring out what I am really upset about and dealing with that.
  • I dwell on the crappy stuff instead of being thankful for the good.
I know that I am not the only one who does this. The challenge to make better choices is one we all face on a daily basis. 

There are awesome people out there who- when faced with a huge challenge- go all SUPERWOMAN and accomplish amazing things.

I am not one of those people.

When I see a huge challenge I curl up into the fetal position and cry. 

True story.

I would love to say that I am exaggerating here but I'm really not. The delightful combination of depression and anxiety and my general personality and complete lack of ANY sort of competitiveness pretty much mean that I would rather hide from the world indefinitely than face that mountain that my SUPERMOM friends are leaping over as we speak. 

But you know what? That just makes it all the more impressive that I have managed to accomplish all that I have in my life because, trust me when I tell you, it takes a whole heck of a lot of courage for me to face some things when every fiber of my being is screaming RUN HIDE QUICK BECAUSE THIS IS SO NOT WORTH IT!

As I look at this huge task of making better choices I tend to get a little overwhelmed. I mean there are just  so many things I want to fix/change/do/etc.. It may seem stupid to some of you but for anyone who has struggled with self-defeating thought patterns you will TOTALLY understand where I am coming from when I say that I convince myself to quit before I've even begun. 

I have a friend though- her name is Lindsay Dianne and she is awesome- and she once told me that she turned her life around by choosing to do one thing better a day. Just one thing. Each day she did one thing better than the day before and over time that made a HUGE MASSIVE difference in her life. In her case it meant losing LOTS of weight and having a much healthier lifestyle and becoming an incredible photographer but the principle could apply to anyone. (See just how awesome Lindsay Dianne is on her site

SO in my quest to make my rather chaotic life a little less chaotic I have started following Lindsay's brilliant plan of making one better choice a day. Or at least whenever I remember to make a better choice. 

This week I chose to go to bed when I was tired instead of staying up crazy late. 

It was a really good idea. Not an earth-shattering idea I admit- but one I don't often practice. 

Granted I didn't get time to write in my blog because all of my online time was filled up with my actual paid work (on the up side my paid work is to be online!) but I also wasn't quite as exhausted. I had less headaches. I wasn't grumpy-mommy. That is a very good thing.

Are you trying to make better choices these days? Do you find it difficult? 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Turn Off the Computer and #NourishYourSoul

Pin It One of the things I learned last weekend on the Dove Nourish Your Soul retreat is the importance of disconnecting every once in awhile!

 Trust me when I say that is REALLY hard for me to do.

At Canyon Ranch resort they have designated "cell phone areas" and everywhere else you are supposed to leave your electronic devices behind!

It was the first time in a long time that I spent 4 days in a row mostly away from my computer. I checked in briefly in the morning and at night but during the day I was busy taking full advantage of all the retreat had to offer.

At one point I had the option of spending an hour in my room catching up on email or doing something else and it was an honest-to-goodness internal struggle for me. There I was in Tucson, Arizona for the very first time at an incredible resort and I was honestly tempted to shut myself away in my room and check email and Facebook and twitter.

Social media addict anyone?

In my defense it IS my job but I had made plans to be unavailable for the weekend so I KNEW that I could leave it - and yet it was still a struggle.

But I gave my head a shake and took the advice we had heard several times already to BE PRESENT and took a walk by myself around the grounds of the resort instead.

It was a very good choice.

I am not saying social media is bad. Not at all. I love it AND it is my job.

BUT sometimes the very best thing you can do for your soul is turn the computer off and cell phone off. Disconnect for awhile.

Spend some time being really present wherever you are and enjoy the moment!

All of the pictures in this post are ones I took during various walks I took during my weekend at Canyon Ranch but here are some pictures I took at the Koi Pond I spent some time at during that first walk...

If you are interested you can see pictures of the lovely ladies I was on the Dove Canada Nourish Your Soul retreat with HERE :).

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