Friday, May 27, 2011

Connecting with Moms

I had the pleasure of attending my first ever mom support group. I am okay with a support group setting. I know it's not for everyone, and I didn't know if it was for me. It is.

Like I said, it was our first time meeting and there were only four moms (to start). All of us clearly different, but all of us women, advocates for our children, all of us with something wonderful to contribute.

One of our topics today was the expectation of confidentiality within our group. Of course my first thought was "you mean I can't blog about this?" So I said it. I am making an executive decision to blog about my experience, but I won't use names.

Here is what I noticed. All of us have a son, a daughter with a diagnosis of a different kind. All of us are different personalities, but I can see a connection with each one of them on a individual basis.

We all have in common, a loss of our own identity at some point or another, a time when it all seemed hopeless, a time of complete acceptance with a smile, a heartache with a tear. Some of us have a positive outlook, some of us feel despair and hopelessness. All of us have friends who are great, wonderful, kind and caring. We also know our friends have their own lives. They have busy lives with jobs that consume them, kids that keep them busy, their own troubles.  What we crave, is someone who will listen, talk with us, let us cry, not judge us. What we crave is that small group of people who understand our emotional struggle, understand knowingly why we don't want to send our child to a particular sport event with the school, a classmates birthday party, a sleepover, or why we don't want our child to be friends with a certain girl/boy that we know will not honor them. That is what we crave, even if for one hour.

I was glad to feel a connection with each one of them, all in a different way, that left me feeling full of healthy anticipation for the next meeting. I wonder what friendships will form, how we will help and support each other, how big will the group grow to be?

Sitting in that group, reinforced for me that I am strong, I am confidant, I am helpful and capable and caring. I am also able to be vulnerable, I have learned to share my feelings and myself more than I ever have before. Although I find it difficult to ask for help, I let these ladies know that I need help, I welcome it, along with any ideas, suggestions, support, love and acceptance.

I hope that this is the beginning of something powerful.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Turning Eleven

My baby girl, the one I rocked to sleep in my arms (even when people advised me not to), the one I kissed any chance I could, the little girl who (as my little old neighbor Stephanie would tell me), look at me with such adoration in her eyes, the little girl who I lay beside each night to talk about the day, has turned eleven. She is growing into a wonderful young lady. Well, as she would tell you, she is now a pre-teen! Yeesh!

I have to say that since about grade three, I have despised throwing her a birthday party. How on earth could I so dislike birthday party planning you ask? Well, since boys became annoying or just plain "yuck", since the girls became cliques and mean, since the theme of bowling, swimming, tea party, sleep over, have all been taken up, I am out of ideas and out of steam! I am out of gusto and excitement!

Now these days, one girl takes someone away from someone else, another girl doesn't agree or like what we planned, someone is in a bad mood, doesn't want the birthday girl to get all the attention. I don't know, you name it, it has happened!

So for Haley's birthday this year, I came up with the idea to go to the mall. I thought instead of treating them to a goody bag that they get year after year, party after party, I would treat them all to Ardene grab bags and a Starbucks hot chocolate. That would be followed by a new movie (that none of them had seen), pizza and homemade ice cream sandwich cake!

That would have been a cool thing for me to do as a kid. Not so much in this day I guess. Haley was told by one girl she didn't like Ardene's, she wanted something from another store. We were told that Frappuccinos were better than hot chocolate, our pizza was not the right kind. We were informed by one girl that she wanted to watch the movie with her mom, and there was not a unanimous decision about the movie anyway. Put 6 girls in a room and I guess that is bound to happen!

In the end, I think they all had an OK time. I couldn't tell you and I hope that was the last birthday party like that, in which I have to be a part of. You see at this point, I would rather her pick one or two really good friends and I could take them out for a trip to the mall, a movie, dinner, whatever I can to spoil just a couple or a few of them rotten! Isn't that fun? I don't know that either.

The moms had to have some fun too! Me and my friend Nikki

The problem with it all, is Haley has not found a true friend yet. She has not found that one special friend that will defend her, help dust her off when she falls, give her that favorite shirt that she knows she loves! She has not found that friend who always picks her first, can't be without her on a weekend, shares her cookies with her, and passes her notes in class.

In my life, I have been sad, I have been lonely, I have been scared, and I have been angry. But I have never been without a friend. I have never been without someone who I can confide in, who will hold my hand when I need a tender touch, give me a hug when I am in need.

I have also had a broken heart. I can tell you without a doubt that NOTHING has ever broken my heart, nearly as much, as seeing my daughter cry because she does not have that one special friend.

My girl may have a learning disability, and in many ways she may be younger than her years, but she is the most caring, kind, considerate, loving, compassionate, generous, thoughtful, helpful, happy person I know. She is way beyond her years in all of those ways. I am so proud of her for being this way. My hope is that disappointment won't take all of those wonderful qualities away from her.

Haley is a great friend, and one day she will be someones BEST friend. She may not know if yet, but I do. In her, that person will meet the one friend that will always hold her hand if she needs to feel a warm touch, the friend that will always take your call no matter what, the friend that will cry with you, laugh with you, stand up for you even if she is scared too. In her, that person will have a friend who will give you her last dollar, her last piece of chocolate (well, maybe!), the sweater she is wearing so you will be warm, a helping hand when you need it, and always, she will offer you her home. She will share with that friend, her family, her belongings, her heart.

Happy 11th year my girl! I hope it's a good one!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Moving Right Along

The sun is hot, the breeze is blowing gentle and warm, the nights are cool and a chill comes through the bedroom window at night! My favorite time of year. The spring is in full bloom, just on the cusp of summer. Yes there is an official start date to summer, but this is the fine line in between. This is the +22 degrees that I love. Not too hot, not too cool, just perfect! Warm enough to work up a sweat when doing yard work, hot enough to make you stick to your chair if you are reading in it for prolonged periods of time, but not a stifling heat that causes you to not be able to breath!

This picture of Duke just reminds me of a perfect summer morning!

It is the end of my craft fairs for the time being. I will slowly get a few projects under way, organizing my crafts into journals, recipe books, new projects and Christmas. Bit by bit, my basement craft area will be my escape, my release from stress, my creative outlet. All the while, I will be moving right along into home school preparation mode.

Preparing to home school Haley this summer will be a much larger task than ever before. In grades 1-4, I got away (but just barely in the last year) with taking her to funky places that were new to us to do her school work. We would go to our downtown exchange district, new bakeries, malls we have never been to, coffee shops that were new to us, and parks that had a nice comfy picnic table to work at. All of these places in themselves were a treat, because they were new to us. So Haley would do some work and then we would have the special lunch I brought along, or a snack we would buy from our new found place.

Last summer, I thought because we were spending so much time camping, we would do so much of our work there. That did not work. Haley missed her friends and it made us wonder how much longer we would even get away with camping anymore. Of course her friends are always welcome, but she just needs to find a friend that loves the water as much as she does, doesn't care if it's morning, afternoon or night, loves the thrill of messing up her bed with toys and making it her own. I have no doubt she will find that friend one day, it's just taking longer than she would like and longer than I dreamed possible. I know it is hard to be without a best friend.

This years plan needs to be a bit more structured, a little less often but more productive, and with rewards that will make her feel like it is all worth it! So how will I do it and what will those rewards be?

I guess I better get started on collecting the school curriculum and co ordinate it with what I have and make one great big binder of educational excellence FUN! The rewards will not be a problem, I already have it planned out for the most part! I have bags of wonderful items from her favorite store, with charms and purses and jewellery and earrings. I will get a few magazines and Slurpee gift cards and some special from Mom and Dave coupons!

Have you ever home schooled? Got any ideas or suggestions you can share? Please share, I am always looking for new ideas!

This time of year always makes me feel like one chapter ends and another begins.......Oh the journey!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Random Good Day

The weather has been the keeper of my spirit lately. I wish it were not true, but it is. It has been dreary, rainy, windy and cold. All that at a time that it should be spring! I am one of those people who won't go out in less than pleasant weather if I don't have to.

The other day though, I had to go out! I was going to take a re stock of some of my greeting cards to a gift shop that carries my cards. They are Mach Artworks, downtown. You can check them out here, it is a really nice gift shop that carries many locally made items. The prices are really, really good if you are looking for that something special gift!

It was nice to finally re fresh some old stock! Then, I went to my friends shop to pick up some new make up she ordered for me. This is always a spirit lifter for us ladies! It is great Mary Kay make up, so if you need a consultant let me know! Off I went to my next stop, and here is where my day started to get even better. I have another gift shop on Corydon that carries my cards as well, and this place you must check out! It is call Boutique Unique, and you can see the web page here. Again, this is another shop that carries many items locally made, or made by Brenda, the owner herself.

I have been needing some new wine glasses and found a great pair at Boutique Unique. The glasses are just average, but I love the bead work that Brenda did on them.

I also found a great new pair of earrings, which I can't wait to wear! Actually, I already wore them once, but I can't wait to wear them with a cute summer outfit. Haley tried to take a picture of me wearing them, but the picture does not do them justice. They make a great noise in my ear when I wear them too! I love that!

Anyway.....I left Brenda's store quite happy! I had two new treasures and some money to buy myself something! Can some of you guess what I bought??

Before I left, she told me about this gift shop that was going out of business and I should check it out. It just so happened to be near my house and so I did. Well, my day just got better. I found a pair of martini glasses, so I scooped those babies up! I am nearly 40 years old and I have never had a set of martini glasses. Come to think of it, I only had one really fun night of trying martini's (I then became known as the Martini Queen by my friends big brother!). Boy was I glad my friends parents were there to make Haley breakfast in the morning.

So my next great find was a tea based cocktail infusion that I thought I would try!

I am saving it for summer but I will let you all know how it goes! I got some other goodies like a mango sauce for chicken and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I love finding those things.

So it was a pretty great day, that came so randomly, and I love when that happens. The perfect end to my day came when I had a nice glass of wine in my new wine glasses!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

If These Bare Walls Could Talk

Have you ever had a week ahead of you that leaves you feeling like you wish you could just go to sleep and wake up when it was all over?

For me, this week is one of them.

I am at my friendly neighborhood Starbucks writing this post, because I have a house in such disarray, that I was told I should just get out for a few hours. Against my nature, I listened.

We are having our hardwood floors re finished. This weekend I had two craft sales all day, to which my husband and daughter always attend with me (bless them!). Because they were both with me, our evenings were spent clearing our bedrooms and dining room of absolutely everything! I knew it was coming, I knew I would be banished to my basement, and I was OK with that because my craft room is in the basement. It's practically the whole basement. The problem is, I didn't expect to run out of room to put everything, and have to put "stuff" in my basement craft room. Now I can't even craft or organize, or get ready for my scrapbooking class this Friday.

So today, as my friends husband (who is working on my floors) looked at me and told me, no I would not be able to do laundry because they needed to use the dryer plug. No I should not stay in the house because it was going to be really loud, and no I didn't need to worry about anything. I could feel tears come to my eyes. I told him I had anxiety and worried about everything! Of all days not to have anything in the fridge to send for lunch with Haley, and she was coming home to eat! She would be happy with the surprise of going to the mall for lunch! I know my floors will look beautiful, so of that, I will not worry.

But I should back up a bit, to last night......

As I walked through each room of the house, this house I have only been in for a few years, I had to think.....if these bare walls could talk, what story would they tell?

I know what I could see. I could see a closet with a hole in its floor that Haley hated because she thought spiders would come in through it. I saw many coats of paint, one over the other, over the other, of all arrays of ugliness. I saw pink, orange, yellow and white. All under the now pale purple paint of Haley's room. I could see the remnants of posters ripped off the wall, bubbles in the plaster, water damage from so many years ago.

I could see ceilings that we never bothered to paint, light fixtures very unattractive, but still there. Still holding on, still a part of our home. I could see a closet with doors that barely close, dust that seems to just hang around no matter what! Closets un-painted and ugly.

I saw rooms that were neglected. Poor neglected rooms, unloved and uncared for. If these bare walls could talk, would they share their unhappiness of neglect, and their dismay of constantly being put off for another project. Put off for a rainy day that came and went. Would they be angry that the money always went to something else that seemed more of a priority?

I don't know what they would say, and clearly I know that walls don't actually talk! But these empty rooms, bare walls and dusty ceilings are our story. A story of a few short years in a home that saw so much change! But if I am thinking in metaphors anyway, I can think like this...

Our floors are being re newed, our walls will be cleaned or painted, our doors will be sanded, with new hardware and a new coat of paint. Our floors will be the foundation of a strong room surrounded by 4 walls and the protective, small barrier of a door. It could be a new start for each of these rooms, and each of us. It is not that we need a new beginning by the way, but when I think of a home that we never made a priority, our home needs a new beginning.

It is a tough time of year for us, because our yard always seems to be the place that we put our summer focus. As is only natural. But we do it in a big way. It is a big production for us. It begins with the general clean up, the afternoon bevies on the deck and a BBQ dinner. We clean up the garden and flower beds, make a list of yard projects we want to do, and plan out our camping weekends.

Only two of the many favorites in my garden!

Then comes the day my husband spends putting up the patio lights. The yard lights actually. We have an abundance of lights all over the yard, across the yard, sometimes along the fence, above the deck and it goes on and on. Then the gazebo goes up. In the end, on one of those beautiful spring nights, we sit back at night and bask in the light of our yard. And always it looks beautiful. Going in the house consists of walking through in muddy shoes or dirty feet to grab something we forgot. And this is the start of the lost, forgotten rooms of the house. We eat outside, we read outside, we play outside, we have hourly afternoon bevies and snacks outside. We go in to change, shower, do laundry and sleep.

A selection of summer bevies!

Haley and her friend in the gazebo

Haley and her friends!

I am thinking now, in silence, my husband and I both know that we have to learn balance. Balance being something I think we both struggle with. I am looking forward to it though, cleaning it all out, putting some of it back, getting rid of the things we don't want or need. It will be like a bonus New Year! Half way in to our year. We can still eat and play outside, have snacks and bevies outside, and enjoy our evening views of lovely yard lights and early evening fires! Hopefully, we will just have a more organized, patiently painted, and complete couple of inside rooms to enjoy when we do spend time in the house. And perhaps those rainy days should actually be spent on doing a project inside those walls of our home.

Some patio lights

The swing that  moves to a new spot each year!
Happy floors, happy walls, closets and doors. Happy us and a happy home.