Thursday, June 30, 2011

did i volunteer for this??

Sparkling Eyed One had her last appointment at the children's hospital for the research study we volunteered for on Wednesday. 
We had a busy morning, playing for a couple of hours in the hot sun at the playground across the street from the abortion clinic - i will tell you more about that another day.  She had a nice big breakfast, but wasn't too fond of the rice wraps i brought to the park for their lunch, so didn't eat much more than a few nibbles.  After that, we headed straight for the hospital where she was to have her last assessment.  She played lots of memory games and did puzzles, and was thrilled when they gave her a $10 gift card to Chapters as thanks for participating in their research. 
The 2 biggest girls were playing with Ephraim (basically riding the elevators for an hour), while the other 3 were making crafts and playing games at the special play place that the coordinator had reserved for "sibling care".  i was supposed to pick them up at 3. 
Since she finished a few minutes early, we decided to get our blood draws at the lab in the hospital.  The research assistant walked us down, telling us that they'll get in touch with us soon regarding the date for the mri.  Sparkling Eyed One was chatty - she told me she wanted tacos for supper.  She slipped her skinny little hand in mine and smiled up at me with her extraordinary chameleon eyes as she talked. 
When it was our turn, she went first and didn't peep when the needle went in.  Afterwards, i joked that she would need to hold *my* hand.  She smiled at me and went and stood by the door to wait for me.  The lab tech, checked my information and was about to tie the blue piece of rubber around my arm when suddenly we heard a "thunk".  i turned, and there was my lovely, lying on the floor having what looked all the world to me like a seizure.  Her arms were curling again and again.  Her mouth was open, with her eyes rolling back in her head.  Her legs were curled to the side and as her body writhed, she was smashing her face into the metal door frame. 
i screamed. 
i leaped from the chair and grabbed her sweet face to stop it from smashing- her lip was already bloody. 
Nurses came running and three of them witnessed her "seizing".  It lasted maybe 15 seconds or so... When she started to come 'round, she was kinda spacey, but then she looked at me and said over and over, "i don't know what happened - i don't know what happened..." and licked the blood from her lip. 
They called a "code" and help came running.  When they checked her out, they felt something worrisome in her neck and called for a neck brace and the board to take her to emergency because they didn't want to take any risks since she fell so hard.  After a little monitoring and some x-rays (which were perfect)- we were free to go home... By then, Neil had arrived - (driving in the thick traffic from the south, it took awhile... The social worker at the hospital didn't want to leave the other children in Cai's care though, since she's only 14 - and they won't release them to anyone under the age of 18).  The play place graciously kept the kids for the extra hour it took for Neil to get there. 
The doctor in emergency seemed to doubt that it was a seizure - but 3 nurses told the emergency doctors that came running that they had seen her having a seizure... so i'm not sure what to think.
We had take out for supper.
She's ok, (proud of her celebrity - gage greeted her with, "PEYTON, i thought you DIED!!")
i feel sick... but i'm gonna be ok too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

crowd control & socks

It was pouring rain and i needed to bring the crew to Okotoks for a couple of them to take exams. (At our house, i get them to take the Provincial Achievement Tests for grades 3, 6 and 9 for Math and LA - Cai is also doing Science and a violin exam this year).
Usually on exam days, i take them out back to the playground, but today - on this dismal, drippy day - i took them to the McDonalds play place. i actually don't even know if Gagey has ever played in one, we go so rarely. Since Sloanie was still gone on her birthday junket, i only had 4 little ones to watch climb, slide and play all over that greasy structure. i bought some pancakes and a coffee and settled down to exist as Ephraim's personal play place.  He climbed all over me, accepting tiny nibbles of pancake before running over to yell up the tunnel at his siblings and then racing, open armed, back to mama.
He was deliciously cute that day - like... abnormally so.
Maybe it was the plastic ambiance of McDonalds that made his white hair and blue eyes stand out like sparkling jewels in a puddle of sludge, but he became that play place's darling. The seniors group having coffee in the corner couldn't sit straight in their chairs - they had to twist and turn - straining to watch him making his grizzly bear march across the floor. The mama's seated beside me weren't immune to his allure either. They only had one child between them, and the one without children with her turned to me and said wryly, "Would you take a thirteen year old on trade?"
i laughed and told her that i have a very nearly 13 year old of my own. She responded with, "And which one would you RATHER have? Isn't he so much nicer than 13?"
And maybe she caught me on the wrong day, but suddenly i pictured my sweet girl, balanced on the cusp of her teens - her sweet face, and wide blue eyes grinning at me across an eight day absence.  My almost woman, and my tiny would-be man will never ever face off for my affections.  Each individual in our family sifts in their own unique flavour to our simmering pot, one complimenting the next, bringing out it's essence.
Before i could answer her, the other woman still counting my children remarked, "So, you have a 13 year old too? How many kids do you have?"
And thus began a conversation that wasn't nearly as horrible as it sounds all typed out, but had me thinking hard thoughts and wondering when, exactly, i became so different. 
"What's seven times seven?" She asked sharply when i told her my number; and caught off guard i murmured, "49?" not quite sure where she was heading with her line of questioning.  Was she testing my intelligence?  Was she figuring out how many grandchildren i could one day hope to have?
"Forty nine pairs of socks..." She fairly whispered. 
"I can do all my laundry in one episode of Grey's Anatomy... It would have to take you at least three episodes..."
"Do you homeschool?" The friend interjected, and seeing my nod, she turned to her companion,"Well, her kids probably never wear socks anyway..."
i glanced at my 4 children, all wearing socks, and started to say, "i have a system..." but i was cut off by the first woman...
"i have a friend who worked for social services.  She told me that one of the things they look for in neglected children is if they're wearing matching socks... Neglected children often aren't wearing socks, and if they are, they aren't matching."
At that moment, Ephraim came open armed to his mama, (thankfully wearing perfectly matched socks).  i picked him up and smooched his neck and as i did so, i heard the women behind me continue their conversation under their breath...
"At some point, it goes beyond crowd control doesn't it?  49 pairs of socks...."
And i wonder when it was - that i started seeing the potential of a little person as infinitely more valuable than socks? 
The saying 'i wouldn't take a million dollars for the ones i've got and i wouldn't pay a nickel for another one" makes less and less sense to me the older i get.  It implies the ability to deny the potential in another life.  Or, if not denying that potential... denying that that potential life is worth the effort, of folding one. more. pair of socks...
And don't get me wrong - i know it's about a lot more than socks.  
That's why i wrote this post.

Monday, June 27, 2011


We volunteered to be a part of a research study at the Children's Hospital here in Calgary. 
It's kind of a unique opportunity that my homeschool facilitator told me about - & so on a whim, i phoned the powers that be & said, "sign us up."
It involves a phone interview and 4 sessions at the children's hospital.  Because it's a genetic study, Neil & i plus our sweet little guinea pig Sparkling Eyed One - will all have to give a blood sample & she'll have to have an mri. 
Sparkling Eyed One thinks it's probably the funnest thing that has ever happened to her.  The first session included some reading and math tests, plus some easy coordination exercises (walk on a straight line etc...) The researcher also had a set of puzzle blocks that she would organize into a pattern and Sparkling Eyed One would have to try to replicate the exact pattern with the same set of blocks.  At the end of her session (an hour and a half) she got a snack and a juice box and got to pick a little prize out of a drawer of prizes (Sparkling Eyed One picked a giant pen). 
Her second session is today & all her siblings are already bugging her about what prize she will pick from the prize bin. 
And i love that sweet girl - with her wide mouth and brown skin. 
How she slipped her hand into mine as we pressed the down arrow on the elevator - and thanked me for choosing *her* to be a part of something special

Saturday, June 25, 2011

dear kali,

i'm not sure if i ever apologized for that day, but today's circumstances brought it to mind and i thought it would be alright to blog my sincere regrets for that summer afternoon  when we spent a few hours at your house. 
i know you don't see us often - and so your short impressions once a year or so must have significant impact on how you imagine our family to be.  That's why i was so surprised when Neil fell asleep at the table in the middle of our conversation. 
If you were wondering... yes... i believe that was the dull buzzing sound of a snore you heard while we snacked on eggs and toast.
i tried to ignore the trail of drool down his face, and his bloodshot eyes that barely opened, even when he was asked a direct question. 
 Frankly, i was as puzzled as you might have been by his bizarre behaviour.
He told me later that he had taken allergy medication and it made him feel 'strange'. 
Thing is - i'm pretty sure he's allergic to benadryl. 
My 200lb man took some today for his seasonal allergies - itchy eyes; runny nose. 
That was this morning.  It's almost 8pm and he has been sleeping all day. 
It's kind of funny to me, seeing a chink in my knight's armour; like, 'really babe?  Brought down by a tiny pink pill?"
This could be valuable information. 
He begged me to please remind him not to take anything the next time his allergies flare up. 
i might. 
Or i might crush some up in his coffee the next time he goes golfing on my birthday.  
Anyway - thought you might like to know, Neil really is an articulate, intelligent human being.  He does know more words than the one syllabled, "dooohhhhhh" that encapsulated his side of our conversations today - and that day a couple summers ago. 
He'll even prove it. 
If he ever wakes up. 
Much love,
your cousin paige

Friday, June 24, 2011

Father's Day 2011

We made T-shirts for Neil for Father's day - "Neil is my Dad" on the front & the number of their birth order on the back.  My friend at church said she was disappointed when i didn't appear with a #8 pointing to my belly.  :)

Neil, i love the way you do fatherhood.  After all these years - i'm realizing that yeh, we do things differently, but our methods compliment each other -
& our motivation is love.
Parenthood is one of the most important things we'll ever do - & i'm glad we're doin' it together. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Thoughts & Winner Announcement

* Woke up to the news that Cai passed her grade 6 violin exam with honors. Kinda proud. 

* i miss my travellin' man.  i miss him before he leaves & after he comes home 'cause i know he's going again.

* We are into Fiddler on the Roof these days - my favourite is when they imitate the dance that goes with, "If I Were a Rich Man" - funny, funny stuff.  Sunrise, Sunset makes me cry. 

* i'm not quite sure how to organize my days as we transition into summer.  We're still finishing off some stuff & long done other stuff.  Days still seem full - but less organized and that makes it harder to juggle.   i can't even fathom the fall and all the little pieces that need to fit into a master plan.  These years are nothing short of amazing. 

* We are reading the book of Genesis right now & some of the stories are not G rated.  Praying for wisdom while putting off some questions & answering others.  Discussion is morphing and changing as my littles grow & i'm so grateful for this chance to study God's Word with my crew. 

* Ephraim and Neil have their own language.  They rarely speak english.  Neil walks in the backdoor to get another cup of coffee & Ephraim is the first to greet him with their funny little growl.  Is there anything better than watching your man with your babes? 


* The winner of the pdf of Bryan Cohen's book "Writing Prompts for Kids" is Deborah!  Congrats, Deb!  Bryan has your email address & will be sending out your prize within the next few days. 
i got the results for the $50 Amazon gift card & the winner was from a different site.  Bummer.  i was really hoping one of you would take it :)  If any of you choose to purchase his book, you can contact the author with proof of purchase & he'll send you 50 extra writing prompts specific to homeschool - kinda fun :)  His email is bryandavidcohen @ gmail . com  (only take out the spaces - didn't want him to get spammed on my account :) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"where are you?"

"Where are you?" My sister posted on my facebook wall - and i think my heart lurched just a tiny bit in my chest as her words hit me on a deeper level. 
Where am i? 
Lost amidst the daily grind - the travellin' man - the disinterest and insecurities -
i long to be found. 
Here i am, Father. 
Find me. 
Hear me. 
Know me. 
Pluck me from the insignificant - and give me direction and purpose. 
i'm here, i'm here, i'm here.   

Another review up this week - that makes *seven* - i'm so grateful! Check Joy's out here, and check out the list of reviews here.

THIS contest is now closed.  Winners will hopefully be announced tomorrow.

Thanks for reading - & finding me here :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

makin' time...

We were flyin' that day. 
Birthday parties to drive to, Cai had a gig out of town, Sloanie was babysitting...
As we jetted down the highway i sighed, "i really wanted to stop at the mall..."
"WHAT??!!" He exclaimed, "The MALL??  I don't wanna park the big rig in their parking lot!  It's WAY too busy in there!  We don't even have time, we have to drop these clowns off and be home in an hour.  There's no way we'd be able to fit in a stop at the mall!  What do you even want to go there for anyway??!!"
"Not much, i just really want to get a new bra..."
"Well... maybe we could stop in really quick..."
Priorities, right?

Monday, June 20, 2011

word verification poetry

Minerva's latest poetry challenge was to write a poem using the word verification in the comments section as inspiration.
Honestly? A little fun and addictive, but her challenges can be like that. My sister claims that my writing has improved since i started doing Minerva's challenges, so here are a couple "word verification poems" for you, jess - untitled masterpieces that they are.

flathro on your way to timbucktoo,
flathro to see me too.
flathro my open window to see
if you can flathro to me.

You're sweet,
andgee i love you.
i'm swoonin,
andgee you're mine.
Let's kiss -
andgee, real soon now.
The day is ours,
andgee, it's fine.

Two more days to enter to win on THIS POST.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

do it again

i don't know when i realized that he was there.
i think it must have been in the wee hours of the Saturday morning when i first felt his crooked foot pushing on the back of my leg. He must've snuck out from his sister's room at some point in the night & found the comforting haven between us two, from whom he came.
Then eventually, the sun came spilling through the window, and i could hear the birdies in the streets, and i opened one eye just a crack to see his sun bleached head on the pillow next to mine.
He stretched one chubby leg out of the blankets and i knew that waking couldn't be far, though his enormous eyes remained closed as he stretched and kicked the blankets off of both Neil and i as he writhed in semi-sleep, trying to get comfortable. He flung his arm across my chest - & i realized how big he's gotten.
(As i type this, he's dancing in his underwear in front of my mirror... o my heart...)
A toddler no longer.
One bluer than blue eye opened just before the other, and he caught me staring at him. He scootched his morning breath over to me and whispered in his husky voice, "mama, is it almost wake time?"
He's stretching out, this three year old wonder; this miracle baby; this bonus boy.
"Yes..." i murmured, stroking his hair.
He wrapped himself around my body with all his limbs, and tightened his grasp around my neck. i tickled his brown arm.
"Do it again..." He urged, holding me tighter...
Oh yes... let's do it again. Let's wake up together, and have the morning sunlight bathe us in the streaky light of early day. Let's croon softly in each other's ears to keep the world asleep as we hold on to the sweetness of this wee stretch of time on a Saturday morning when all is right with the world.

Friday, June 17, 2011

king of the little things

The phone rings and i snatch it from it's cradle.
"i miss you." He says in this rare moment of quiet we've found.
He sounds tired and far away.
"It only took you six days to miss me." i say, teasing him lightly.
"Well, i missed you yesterday too, so technically it was only five." & i can hear the smile on his face across those miles between us...
Day seven will pass too & sometime after that, he'll walk in the door - with a new beard and plenty of dirty laundry. But on day six, i breathe in the sound of his voice like oxygen.
The sounds of our children - our sons and daughters - fade in the background, and this phone call - this little thing - gives me life.
He's the king of the little things, this man:
the teasing laughter in his voice,
the cock of an eyebrow,
the smell of clean,
the hand holding,
the together eating ice cream,
the sweeping of the floors -
these little things.
& isn't it the little things - that make up the big things in the end? Little things piling one on top of the other 'till they've been folded and kneaded into a great mountain of the great and significant?
He's the king... of the little things - serving his tiny kingdom by drying dishes, absently pushing back a stray lock of hair or never forgetting to kiss goodbye. King, bringing cranberry juice or tickling the nape of my neck. King, staring... for just a little longer - every once in a blue moon.
Long live the king...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a review!

Teaching writing has never been my forte.
We have some prolific and some reluctant writers amongst our little crew - & no thanks to my painful efforts to teach writing - they're learning.

i've already written about our "summer school" supplies including a fresh faced little journal for each child to write in daily over our summer break, and this past year we successfully made it our goal to daily write "something, anything".
About a month ago, i was asked to write a product review - & since so many kind hearted friends reviewed my novel, i decided what goes around comes around & i'd take a look at his book & see what i thought.
Brian Cohen sent me a pdf of his book titled, "500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade". Now, i'll admit here that what he provides in his book could easily be accessed by a google search for writing prompts - o yeah, trust me i've done that before... But here, in one tidy little package, he provides 500 thoughtful questions complete with the natural follow up included, "... *why do you think that*? and *how did that make you feel*?" (that little ones like mine might have neglected to answer in their hurriedly scrawled four word response to the original writing prompt), giving them further inspiration to get their ideas down. He makes it easy to sift through to find what we're looking for by dividing the 500 prompts into categories like: Memorable Events, Relationships, Technology, Life Lessons and even a 'Grab Bag' section. He also includes a small appendix giving suggestions for ways to use the prompts.
His book (available on amazon here) is a neat little tool that might fill a need in a homeschool where mama is tired of hearing, "But i don't know *what* to write about...."

*** Here is a word from the author on your chance to win a sweet give away***
"Author Bryan Cohen is doing a giveaway of his book 500 Writing Prompts for Kids for the next week along with a grand prize drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! Simply post your e-mail address and you are entered in the drawing for one digital copy of the book on this site (there are over 10 sites involved in the giveaway, with one winner of a book per site). One lucky winner will be picked from all the sites to win a $50 Amazon gift card. If Bryan's book, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids reaches the top 500 in sales this week, he will add another $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing. The drawing will occur on June 22nd, so post away! Visit his website at Build Creative Writing Ideas. "

Monday, June 13, 2011


i packed up my little circus troope.
There were a couple things i needed at the store & then we were gonna head to the park.
Even with Softie missing, there did seem to be quite a few little bodies milling about at the cash register as they waited for me to finish paying. A man strolling by remarked casually, "You've got your hands full...."
It's one of several comments we hear almost every time we leave the house & i don't mind. It's not malicious, it's just a person's way of noticing that i have several children. "Are they all yours?", "Same mother and father?", "Any twins?", "Are you crazy?", "You must be saint!" - sprinkled sporadically through our outing. Sometimes you can hear the jovial friendliness, curiosity or shock in their tone. Sometimes i hear bitter resentment (i'm not sure why). Sometimes i hear, "you're lucky" - & there's a brokenness in their voice that makes me want to weep when i meet their eyes and answer in the affirmative, because i want them to know i take none of this for granted.
"What's that supposed to mean, anyway?" Cai snorted to me when he was out of earshot. i think she resents the insinuation that she - my very right arm - could possibly be considered part of a "handful".
"i suppose it means it looks like my hands are full."
"My favourite is when they ask you if you know what causes this." She grins wickedly, "Next time they ask that, you should ask them to enlighten you..."
i smile.
She has heard enough comments to form her own tender, blossoming opinions - & i wonder in the deep waters of her heart... what they are? She, our eldest, bone of our bones... part neil's forehead, part my blonde hair... part neil's etiquette, part my passion.
Our tiny girl growing into her own - part of us, yet becoming neither.
i long for each of my children to seek to please God first...
There is a time and a place for a parent's instruction - and i will do my best to be honest with them about the things that i believe to be true. But there will come a day - when their faith will have to be their own, their convictions must stem from their own conversations with God - not from blind obedience to their mother or father's will.
i see this bond forming between my tiny chicks and the One who holds them in the palm of His hand... and i'm glad.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

speak up

Letter writing.
i'm not great at it.
But my big sister is - & i try to be obedient when i feel a prompting to speak to those in government & policy making positions about the issues that are important to me. Today, i'll post 2 & i hope it'll inspire others like me - lacking in ability, but making up for it in passion - to speak out too.
The first is a perfectly worded response from my sister to a letter to the editor that had been printed in the paper:
"Daniel sees no point in arguing about abortion. He also sees this as a religious issue. While his position certainly is not based on science or reason, the pro life position is not dependant at all on faith. What do horses have? Baby horses. What do birds have? Baby birds of their same species. And what do humans have? Other humans. This is science, not religion. And killing humans has had prohibitions in every society, regardless of their religion or lack of religion. Unborn human beings are still human and are worthy of protection. No one 's humanity should rest on whether one is "convenient" or "wanted". These are basic rights, the right to life, that all born humans enjoy and that the unborn need to enjoy for the sake of the humanity of the rest of society."

The second is my own response to an email from our MP, Jason Kenney when he said Canada's efforts in proving maternal healthcare in vulnerable regions (likely including abortion, and undoubtedly including birth control) made him proud to be conservative.
"Wow - how disappointing that making sure birth control is available in foreign countries takes precedence over even the *discussion* of abortion that takes the lives of countless Canadian children each year... This doesn't make me proud to be conservative (despite the *good* that is done along with the bad) - this strengthens my resolve to become a single issue voter in the next election. i'm ashamed of our country's stance on abortion & the unwillingness of the current leadership to have it discussed."

In other news, there is another review for my book - found here.
Happy Weekending!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

a struggling sort of day...

Courage failing,
sadness looming,
He whispers words of Truth -
& in my barren loneliness...
He lifts my eyes.
An' i'm still struggling.
& in sadness, my courage lags.
But His eyes hold mine - my chin in His hand...

Sometimes what i write is only for me, but this time...? This time, i wanna explain.
& i don't care if it sounds like smallish sadnesses.
They're my little sadnesses - & we each have our own prickling sorrows that threaten to drown us on the days they find us vulnerable:
Neil is on the road. & as is the case often when he's on the road, there are no phone calls, no email - no texts...
i have a friend whose husband travels too (there are so many of us nowadays...) & she confided to me her frustration one day when the phone rang for the sixth time... he was so lonely & he just wanted the sounds of home.
Not so for my Neil... His days and his nights are full of people, work, events - & he's immersed in the work that he's doing away. So some days i bravely pretend i don't need contact - & others i cockily send him more emails than he could possibly read - & on a few, i just give in to loneliness.
For some reason today is just one of those vulnerable days; i'm lonely for him. & when there's no contact, i whisper to my sensitive soul, "you're not worth the effort..."
i almost made myself cry today with that pitiful thought...
Until - i realized - "& so what? What if those whisperings that i know to be lies are truth? What if *to Neil* i'm not worth the effort? Does that determine my value? If so, there's something wrong with that picture..."
It was like i had been looking at a pretty flower in my hand, but then my eyes were raised to see a whole multicoloured plain in front of me covered in delicate blossoms. The sun pours generously down on them dappling each petal with it's golden delicacy...
Shouldn't i rather find my value in the eyes of the One who created me to be His?
& yeh, my flesh wants the man i love.
My flesh cries & sorrows a little.
But my soul is sustained - & even in this struggling sort of day, i'm held.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

take me 'way.

We started a tradition in our house.
For your thirteenth birthday, you get a trip.
Our second girl is just on the verge of her thirteenth birthday, but the right opportunity for her to take her trip came just a few weeks early, so tomorrow morning (today, by the time you're reading this...), she drives home with her granny and gramps for her special trip to the Island.
Two travel days - with seven full days squeezed in between them.
They've got plans to go on a little boat cruise, to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Chemainus theatre, for fiddling, knitting, exploring and eating out.
They've got big plans - and little plans - and fun will be had, and i'm so excited for her.
She told Gramps she'll only bring 100 books (she has 100 classics on her DS), and he laughed and said, "Ok, but no more than a hundred!"
She gets to take her first flight to come home to us...
And yes - i'll miss her company sorting the laundry, and cleaning the kitchen. Yes, i'll miss the extra set of hands for changing diapers and finding little one's socks. Yes, i'll miss her wry sense of humour and her quick wit. Yes i'll miss her sweet softie hugs and her peaceful presence. Yes, every single part of our routine will cry out her absence.
i miss her already.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


"Thank you God, for giving me nine awesome years..." His half-man voice prays in the stillness of his birthday morn.

Earlier this week, my broad shouldered son sat working on his school. As he wrote, he was unconsciously singing to himself, and the words that passed his lips pierced his mama's very soul...
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord..."
Oh, Father, let it be so...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

uno is the perfect game for three...

As i watch his squared fingers hold his cards, laying them out on the table, sorting them according to colour, and trying to recognise correctly the numbers on them,
i have a flashback...
My first flaxen haired girl - always wearing a cotton dress and thick colorful butterfly tights - sitting on the kitchen chair propped on her knees so she can reach the top of the table. Her eyes are a bright summer day blue - warm and moist with just a hint of the caution that sits behind them.
Her uneven bangs are her mama's attempt to tame her thin whispy mane. Her hair only behaves for the first hour after a bath, after that jumping up to stand at every odd angle, it's jovial display of clownishness masking the serious girl it crowns.
She's my girl.
Every emotion that flashes across that face, over those blue orbs; every delicate mannerism is in my native tongue. i understand every hesitation, every cock of her eyebrow, each hint of a smile that never comes farther than the tip of her eye - not ever even making the slightest curve on her lips... i'm one of the few adults she'll make eye contact with in these years when a stranger's hello can bring her clinging to my knees in great hiccuping sobs.
She was playing uno with her granny - she couldn't have been more than four.
She layed that second to last card of her hand precisely on the deck, with tiny hands whose every fingernail is a chewed down stub, matching the chewed down stubs on her dolly's hands that rests beside her... both victims of her nervous habit.
"Cairo!" Granny so gently encouraged, "You layed down your second last card... that means you have to say, 'uno'!"
Her head shook almost imperceptibly.
"C'mon, it's just part of the game. You gotta say, 'uno' and if i catch you not saying it, then you have to pick up TWO cards, and look, you're almost finished! You don't want to have to pick up two cards."
Tender blonde head shakes - eyes full of understanding, and unwillingness.
"Ok, Cairo - you have to choose, you can either say 'uno' or you have to pick up two cards!!"
Granny teases gently, but Cai won't budge - she reaches over and delicately picks two cards off the top of the pile adding them to her solitary card.
"UNO!!" Sunshine Boy cries, dragging me back to the present - and Time laughs at me in her beautiful merciless way.

Monday, June 6, 2011


i spent the day tripping over his short self - he kept finding me and clinging pitifully to my pant legs begging to be picked up - and i, in my busy state kept shushing, feeding, changing, wiping his sweet little snotty nose - and then putting him back down, continuing on with the tasks at hand.
Finally his tone of suggestion morphed into one of insistent need - and i picked him up in my arms and felt his wee body press into me with his short baby arms reaching through my tangle of hair to circle my neck.
We snuck upstairs.
He already had his nap - he was fed, changed, clean...
He just needed his mama.
We went into his little blue room and i plopped him onto a pillow on Gagey's bed (which is always made because nobody sleeps in it... *sigh*) - then i pulled his blankie out of his crib and curled up beside him on his bed.
i heard a satisfied sigh escape his lips and then the rhythmic suck on his soother began.
We lay like that for what felt like forever - his tiny fingers trailing mine, drawing patterns on the palm of my hand while his body rested in perfect contentedness - just *being*, enjoying, holding each other.
"Ephraim..." i whispered breaking the silence, and i heard his latch break on his soother as he whispered his baby words back at me.
"Ephraim, you know what you're like? You're like dessert. Y'know how sometimes you have a nice big, satisfying meal... but after it's all done, you long for just a bite of something sweet. Some deliciousness to nibble on with a hot cup of coffee..."
i nibble on his baby ear, and his laugh is a sharp intake of breath.
There never was a sweeter dessert in all the world.

Friday, June 3, 2011

i'm gonna...

i mean... i might.
i hate putting out goals or dreams that i'm not absolutely certain i can achieve.
i think there's a pride thing there.
When i started running a couple of years ago - i didn't even want to whisper it to friends or family until i had completed my 10k. Then i felt like i had an accomplishment under my belt & it wasn't just an, "i'm gonna," it was an, "i did."
This past week, i read a blog post about a blogger's line in the sand, "No More Excuses". She claims she's not gonna live her life with obesity clawing at her health - & i believe her. She bravely put out her strategy & her "before" pictures - & i swallowed hard 'cause i know i wouldn't have the humility to do that.
And then i read another of my favourite blogs & she posted about her DNF in her most recent marathon. She completed over TWENTY miles & then had to quit (i should point out here, she was running with the stomach flu... not cool).
i wanna be able to post inklings of dreams without feeling like i should burn with shame if i fail.
Ever since i broke my kneecap last year, i have been reticent to blog about running...
There has been so much pain with my knee & i thought for awhile that running just can't happen for me (& let's be honest - maybe i won't ever be able to run very far without pain) - but, i have been running... and i feel a tiny burst of victory every time i run past that place where i fell & broke my knee.
"See, broken knee? We can do this again, can't we?"
These little short snippets of runs - they make my heart pound and leave me breathless - but i want them to be longer and faster... and (swallowing pride) if my knee holds out, i'm gonna ...i might... i want to... run a race again someday.

PS - Another book review for 40 Weeks! Take a look here.
i wanna say *thank you* to everyone who has so graciously read & reviewed my book. A couple of you even put reviews on Amazon too & that is *so very* appreciated. If you do a review, please let me know so i can link to it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

book reports

i overhear my big girls talking in the living room.
"So what's happening in Jane Eyre, Sloan?"
"Well, Jane just ran away because she decided not to marry Mr. Rochester."
"Oh? Why didn't she want to marry him?"
"Well, she was going to marry him, but then she found out at their wedding that he was already married to a mad woman who lives in his attic."
"That would be awkward."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

early morning goodbyes... late night hello's...

When goodbyes and hello's are separated by days of waiting...
and his side of the bed becomes cool to the touch.
i think about having a husband who doesn't travel.
It happened so quickly - my getting used to his easy presence these last months when the economy has slowed his travel... A couple days here, a couple days there; this is the way to do things, i thought.
But travel can only be pushed off so long, and his travel bag itches to get back on the road - so reluctantly i surrender.
And here's the part where i post my moments of insanity pitiful thoughts verbatim...
"If he doesn't call by 10AM, 11AM noon, it means he doesn't really love me."
"When he calls, i'm gonna pretend i don't care..."
"i'm gonna call him..."
"No wait... when he calls, i'm not gonna answer the phone."
"i wish he would call me."
"If he doesn't call by 4PM, it means he's been killed in a car accident."
"i can't believe i wasn't gonna pick up the phone & he's lying bleeding and dying in a ditch somewhere..."
"i'm gonna call him..."
"Shoot. He's probably in a meeting, i'll wait it out a bit..."
At the stroke of the supper hour, the phone rings. A snotty baby sobs pitifully as he tries to climb into my lap. Nobody can find a cordless phone, and i'm attached to the wall in the smallest room of our house with 7 children all talking to me at the same time.
Breathlessly, i answer the call i've been waiting for for the past 26 hours and 14 minutes (if i were a counting sort of girl...)
"Hey, what are you up to?" He asks.
Beside me... mayhem. i hold the baby who is reaching down my shirt, smearing his gooey face all over my shoulder. Sunshine boy has stubbed his toe, and his indignant shrieks pierce the high heavens. My two big girls look at me expectantly mouthing, "What's for supper? We have to leave in a half hour!!" Two other children start arguing about the possibility of having friends sleep over, and my son tries wiggle onto the seat i'm occupying so he can play a game on the computer.
*giant sob*
"Hang on a sec..." i beg. i hold the phone away from my mouth and give the death glare all around. Just as i'm about to speak into the phone again, baby howls brokenheartedly and i hear Neil's wry mutter from a province away, "Thanks, that's way better..."
"i'll talk to you later, it sounds like it's kind of crazy there right now..."
"Yeh... it kind of is."
And i wish fervently in that moment that it wasn't.
& i hope feverishly that he still loves me.
& i consider it a blessed good fortune that we don't have video phone because i look hideous and i wonder if he can hear hideousness in my voice.
& i try to sound nonchalant as i return the phone to it's cradle, and find a kleenex for the baby & count down the minutes till our next 'hello'.


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