Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday January 23, 2012.
Birthday Flowers -

Charlie and Josh giving their sister her birthday flowers and card.

Tuesday January 24, 2012.
Blue -   

Wednesday January 26, 2012.
Optimism - 

Thursday January 26 2012.
Call Of Duty -

Friday January 27, 2012.
Weekly Self Portrait - Hat Day -
Saturday January 28, 2012.
Hot Chocolate Chat -

Sunday January 29, 2012.
Birthday Girl -

Monday January 30, 2012.
Looks Like Winter -

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday January 13, 2012.
Cheers To Your Weekend - I survived the first week back to school, and more importantly, Friday the Thirteenth.  That deserves a drink.  Cheers to Your Weekend.
Saturday January 14, 2012.
Better Than Flowers -
Sunday January 15, 2012.
Weekly Self Portrait - I walked into the kitchen that was flooded with the bright winter sunlight. As the sun shone through the blinds, rows of light and shadows appeared on the front of the fridge. I grabbed my camera phone, pressed my head to up against the fridge and got a quick selfie. 
Monday January 16, 2012.
Lego Club, week 2 - Monday is Lego Club after school.  The Little Man and I enjoy the time out of the house with our friends.  And I love coming home to dinner made for us.  Thanks babe.
Tuesday January 17, 2012.
Clarity -  Day 300.  I'm almost at the end of my second 365 journey.  I've documented 665 days of my story.  As I get closer and closer to the end I'm wondering what I will do with my 365 blog (actually it's 366, this year is a leap year.)  Some days, I know with crystal clarity that sharing the everyday moments of my life worthwhile.  Other days I wonder if anyone really needs to see another picture and if it serves any purpose at all.  Searching for clarity.
Wednesday January 18, 2012.
Create -  The Little Man has been on a creative surge lately.  His medium of choice has been the kitchen chalkboard. I keep finding these chalkboard dudes popping up.  Awesome.

Thursday January 19, 2012.
Makeshift Ice Rink -  We had our first taste of winter.  Even though it was cold, the other mommies and I decided to stay and let the kids play in the snow.  A group of kids found a patch of ice to skate on.  Each time a kid ran and slid across the ice, I could feel my own tailbone hurt.  Ouch, that's going to hurt if they fall.  I had to force myself not to stop Charlie joining in the fun of this childhood ritual.
Friday January 20, 2012.
This Little Piggy - I held this sweet little boy as I visited with his mommy.  My friendship with her has grown slow and steady over the past twenty years.  First she was a girl from school, then she was my neighbour, next a member of my extended family, then my hairdresser now I would consider her my friend.  I have only recently realized how much her friendship, our connection means to me.  That realization filled my heart. 
Saturday January 21, 2012.
Cousins -  They say that cousins are your first friends.  These boys have been each other's playmate as long as they can remember.  Trust me, they never run out of adventures to find, together they can be double trouble.  I took this picture at my nephew's birthday party, in a quiet moment before the rest of the kids arrived.  My nephew is proudly showing off his new pet Thunder, and my son just a little unsure.
Sunday January 22, 2012. 
Looking Forward - The sunrise this morning was beautiful, the heavens joining me in wishing my daughter a happy Sweet Sixteen today.  I can't wait to see how she will move FORWARD this year.  (She choose FORWARD for her One Little Word for 2012.)
Happy Birthday Honey Bear.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My father warned me just after Kenzie was born that now that I had a child of my own, time would fly by - and it has.

On Sunday, Mackenzie will turn sixteen.   Even with the warning, the years have flown by faster than I thought possible.

In the past few weeks my heart has been flooded with memories.  In my minds eye I can see a little girl, skin speckled with mosquito bites making mud pies in the backyard.  Kenzie always had dirt under her fingernails, and her had was forever a tangled mass.  I remember brushing hair, the back so curly and fine that it was impossible to get the tangles out without hurting her - and I tried so hard not to hurt her. 

I also remember how cautious she was when she attempted a new skill, like her first time crossing the street by herself.  We had given her instructions to make sure she looked both directions.  Kenzie looked to the left, she looked to the right - no cars, she looked to the left, she looked to the right - no cars she did this over and over until she was confident that it was safe to cross.  And then a car passed by.  So she had to start the process all over again.  The poor thing stood on that corner a long time that day.  But she didn't give up, she didn't ask for help.

Another time Kenzie showed determination was when she taught herself to ride a bike.  At seven, John and I could see that she was no where near ready for the training wheels to come off, she just didn't have the balance.  But when she asked her Dad to take off her training wheels, John decided to give her a chance.  Kenzie tried for weeks to get the hang of it.  Over and over she would peddle a few strokes, then loose her balance and have to steady herself with her feet.  The neighbourhood all watched her try and fail, try and fail.  One neighbour came to me and suggested that we just put the wheels back on.  I didn't want to do that to her.  Because even though it was hard, she wasn't giving up and I wasn't about to give up on her either.  When she eventually did ride, I couldn't have been prouder.  It didn't come easy for her and she didn't give up.

Witnessing my daughter grow up has been one of the great gifts in my life.  Kenzie has a strength that I admire.  Because of her I want to be a better woman myself.   

Sixteen.  It's a big year.  She has been studying her driver's handbook, and has her first job.  At sixteen, she could meet the love of her life (I did) or have her heart broken for the first time.  This week, she brought home paper work for a SHSM (Specialized High School Major) in Health and Wellness.  Kenzie is planning long term goals that aren't so long term anymore.  I feel like she is on the cusp of something great and this will be the year she will soar.

I think that Kenzie believes this herself.  She has choosen One Little Word for 2012 as well.  FORWARD.  Seems appropiate.

Happy Birthday Kiddo, love you. xoxo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Friday January 6, 2012.
Through the Years - I always fan out the pictures from previous years' when I update the frames.  I laid out their portraits and admired what great people they have become.  Each one of them growing into their best selves.  

Saturday January 7, 2012.
Special Sunrise - I was full of eager anticipation when I went outside with my morning coffee. This was the kind of day that was going to be a life changer. The sun was just beginning to rise; a beautiful, full pink sun rose behind streaks of blue grey clouds. I felt validated, even the heavens knew how important this day was. On Saturday, I met my half brother for the first time.
Embrace - My mother and her first born son.  An embrace that was forty-six years in the making.  Read more here. 

Saturday January 8, 2012.
Joy Hangover -  I didn't want the visit to end, and I'm so glad it didn't.  We ordered take out and ate off of paper plates with plastic utensils.  It was felt so good, so easy, in so many ways.  This morning I woke up with a smile on my face.  A Joy Hangover.

Monday January 9, 2012.
Resume Play -  Back to life, on Monday the kids went back to school.  After school, I took The Little Man to the library for the first week of his Lego and Literacy program.  He loved it.  At dinner, the table was full of chatter.  All three kids were eager to tell us about their day. 

Tuesday January 10, 2012.
Moonlit - I was watching television in my room, when I noticed the moon from my window.  Knowing how quickly the sun and the moon can change, I raced.  I grabbed my camera and tripod, forgot my coat and shoes, tripped over the cat and went outside to get my shot.  It was worth it.  Straight Out Of Camera.  Yeah baby.

Wednesday January 11, 2012.
Cat's Eye -  There is something wrong with my sweet girl's eye.  For the past few months, she has been developing spots in her eye.  It doesn't seem to bother her though.  Anyone know what it might be? 

Thursday January 12, 2012.
Tendrils and Ponytail-  the BAM weekly self portrait returns. 

Monday, January 9, 2012


The house was as clean as it was going to get.
The groceries were bought and the food prepared.
I was freshly showered, dressed in my casual but approachable outfit.
My face made up, my hair blown dry and straightened.
I had resisted the urge to google:
meeting my half brother - adoption reunion etiquette.
ok, that's a lie. I googled it.

Adrenaline pumped through me. 
I was excited and nervous, and happy.  I felt uncomfortable buzzy.  I wanted to release some of my extra adrenaline, but the problem was,
 I wasn't sure if crying, laughing or squealing like a fifteen year old girl at a rock concert would give me the release I was looking for.
So I paced.
I fidgeted,
 and yes, my favorite anxiety buster,
I swore. 
A lot.

Fuck, that's going to make a great impression.

Once my Mom and my sister arrived, I felt better.
Or, at least I didn't feel so alone.
Mom watched the window for Jon to arrive.
When he pulled in the driveway, she waited at the door.
And Jon he came in,
my mother embraced her son.
Her child who she had waited forty six years to hold.
The energy was magical,
 just as pure,
just as beautiful
 as when any mother holds her child for the first time.
We visited.  We cried.
We laughed and shared.
And it all felt so easy.
I came away from meeting my brother wanting more.
More stories.
More conversations.
More time.
More connections.

I realized my fear, my anxiety wasn't

What if he doesn't like me -
What if I don't like him -

What I was worried about was
despite all of our courage
we wouldn't connect.

and then I realized with a smile on my face this morning, that I had
Underestimated the power of family.

Welcome Jon and Donna


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Friday December 30, 2011.
SNOW! - I'm so glad that we resisted buying The Little Man the new toboggan and snow helmet he wanted for Christmas.  The mild temperatures have brought with them lots of rain not much snow to speak of.  Finally on Friday, just enough of the white stuff fell for the boys to go out and play.

Saturday December 31, 2011.
Peeling Back 2011 - We had a quiet New Year's Eve.  John was on call and was called out at 10:30.  We knew he wouldn't make it home before midnight.  The kids and I called him and we all counted down together.  We made the best of it.  For the first time in twenty one years I didn't kiss my husband at midnight.

Sunday January 1, 2012.
Get Back - I was looking forward to having a do nothing kind of day.  John was eager to get the tree down.  He won.  We spent the day putting away Christmas.  The house felt so good and clean we invited Papa over for supper.  Just as I went into the kitchen to start preparing the spaghetti sauce, John's work phone rang, and he had to go to a call.  Did I mention that on call sucks ass?  Thought so. 

Monday January 2, 2012.
Slow Morning -  The Little Man likes to be first at everything.  It kills him that his older brother is able to wake up before him.  On Monday, Charlie slept in late.  It well past ten before he came down stairs, blanket and Mr. Bunny in hand.   

Tuesday January 3, 2012.
Getting Out -  The temperature had dropped and a cold weather warning was put into effect on the day I had agreed to have my nephews for a sleepover.  My nephews are great boys, but they come from different stock than us.  My guys are quite content to laze around all day.  If my nephews had to laze around all day, I think their bodies might spontaneously combust.  They are active kids.  By afternoon, I couldn't listen to another wrestling match, another pillow fight or another tickling fight.  The boys needed more physical activity than my basement could provide. We all bundled up and braved the frigid temperatures for a quick nature walk before the sun set.  Even thought we were only gone an hour or so, the time outside worked like magic.  The house was quiet for the first time all day.

Wednesday January 4, 2012.
Check the Manual - It was another busy day.  By the time I had a chance to take a picture the sun had already gone down.  I thought I would experiment with my Flash compensation button on my Nikon.  Bad Idea.  Somehow in doing so, I messed up the settings, and I had to reset my camera.  Crap, how do I do that again?  It's been a long time since I have had to check the manual.  Once I had it out, I decided that reading it again would be a good idea. Everyone needs a refresher once in a while.

Thursday January 5, 2012.
One Little Word -  Life at anytime can become difficult.  Life at anytime can become easy. It all depends on how one adjusts oneself to life.  - Author Unknown.
I choose my word.  Easy.  Easy does it.  Take it easy.  Take the hard road the easy way.  Easy Street.  What ever way you look at it, I'm game for an Easy year. 

First Born

It was during my first pregnancy that I learned out about my mother's first pregnancy. 

We were talking about the magic of being pregnant for the first time.  It was that day, that my mom felt she was ready to share with me about her first pregnancy.   In the spring of 1965, when my mother was eighteen years old, she became pregnant.  I'm not sure of the details, but during her pregnancy, Mom went to live with another family.  In December, my mother gave birth to her first born, a son that she named him Kurt.  Not being able to take care of her son, but wanting the best for him, she made the decision to give him up for adoption.

Remember that at the time of this revelation, I was pregnant with my daughter.  My first born.  I was shocked at my mother's news, but immediately I felt a pang of grief for her.  A woman's first pregnancy should be a happy time.  One of beautiful firsts.  I couldn't imagine how difficult it must have been, to be away from your family, scared, ashamed and alone.  Growing a little human being, knowing that you would not get to know this little person. 

I've thought of Kurt often.  It's not like I think about him every day, but I would often wonder what he looked like.  I wondered if I passed Kurt on the street, would I recognize a stranger as my brother.  Did he look like us? When I would meet men who were adopted, I would casually ask how old they were, to see if they were my long lost brother.

The years went by.  Mom never gave up hope that one day she would get the chance to meet her son. In December Kurt was on my mom's mind the most (or at least I could count that in December that she would talk to me about him.)  On the years that she could afford to do so, Mom would take a classified ad out in the Toronto newspapers, wishing her birth son a happy birthday.  Mom registered with an adoption agency, and hoped that Kurt would one day register as well.

Last week, I had a call from my mother.  She was crying.  Between sobs, she told me that she had a call from the adoption agency.  She had been found: her son had found her.  The lady from the agency was 100% sure it was a match.  Kurt's name was now Jon.  He grown up in Toronto and had a large family of three brothers and a sister.  Jon now lived in the London area where he owned his own masonry and stone work business.  Mom was waiting for Jon to contact her by email. 

In the days that have since passed, the family have all had Facebook contact with Jon.  We've had a chance to browse through each other's family pictures.  It's been a surreal experience spotting family resemblances with a stranger - my new brother looks A LOT like my grandfather.  It's been an exciting time for us, but most of all for my Mom and Jon.  Soon - in just a couple of days my sister, brother and I will get a chance to see our mother reunited with her first born.  I can't wait.

Just before I received my Mom's phone call last week, I was outside with my camera and spotted this heart shaped icicle clung to a bush in my backyard.  I was inside editing, thinking about how you just don't know when or where you will find love when my phone rang. 
Trust the universe.

One Little Word::Easy

One Little Word is a class I'm taken over at Big Picture Classes taught by Ali Edwards.  The  concept of One Little Word is that you choose a word to embody how wish live your year.

Last year for my one little word, I choose THRIVE.  Thriving taught me lessons and pushed me to grow into parts of myself I didn't know existed.  But after a year of flourishing and developing vigorously, I'm exhausted.

When I began to think about what word I would want for 2012, I joked that I wanted an easy year.  Would easy be such a bad word?  Easy has so many negative associations but the more I thought about it the more EASY started to make sense to me.  From the Gage Canadian Dictionary:

Easy - {ee-zee} adjective
1. requiring little effort.
2. free from pain, discomfort, trouble or worry: an easy life.
3. giving comfort or rest: easy chair.
4. fond of comfort or rest; lazy.
5. not harsh, not severe: easy terms.
6. not hard to influence, ready to agree with or help. Choose whichever one you wish, I'm easy.
7. smooth and pleasant; not awkward: easy manners.
8. not tight loose: an easy fit.
9. not fast, slow: an easy pace.
10. promiscuous
11. of a money market, favorable to borrowers.

I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind easy meaning promiscuous. 
But easy could mean so much more for me.   
Easy means letting go of the struggle.  Easy means that I don't define myself with my struggles.  Easy means acceptance, peace and joy.  Easy means rest and reflection.  Easy means laughter.  Easy means finding answers to problems not dwelling on problems.  Easy means freedom.

I'm ready for easy.