Sunday, November 16, 2014


November 2013:

I took this picture last summer as a sort of farewell to "The Bonicher":

And then I bought some harnesses:

Sturdy ones:

600 lbs. of pull weight is nothing to sneeze at:

My children may or may not have provided free entertainment in a major shopping mall while wearing them. At the time it felt like 1200 lbs. off my shoulders:

We have used "The Bonicher" since then, but not as much as we used to. We can mostly walk everywhere we need to these days with our feet or take transit or get a ride in a car which is at least 96 lbs. off my shoulders. Fully loaded, "The Bonicher" with all passengers aboard weighs more than I do.

In a little under four years, we've been through 4 double-wide strollers. We wore out two, one got stolen, and we still have the one featured up above (which has been refurbished at least once), but this is more or less what our ride looked like for a long time.

This is the important part:

3 steps can halt you in your tracks if you also have to pull it through a doorway. There are stores I cannot shop at because of their restricted access, and there are people and places I will always remember that extended an arm to help us out when they saw me struggling. There wasn't always someone to help. A couple of winters ago we circled around the block on foot 4 times making larger circles each time trying to find a sidewalk or road that we could manage just to get home because of snow and garbage bins and the load was half as light back then.

We aren't superheroes in case you thought this post was about us.

• • • • • • •

This is Wade, and as far as I can tell he's not a superhero either:

He's a pretty regular boy who happens to be in a wheelchair some of the time. He has a brother and they get up to shenanigans and mischief whenever possible. Also, Wade has a lot of girlfriends.

Wade has a great mom and dad who advocate for him even when they feel like throwing in the towel, but they aren't super heroes either.* They do regular things like regular people in a world that sometimes has a step that gets in the way and then they figure out how to get over it or under it or around it.

And even though Wade's mom and dad would figure out a way around it, under it or over it while they are busy being perfectly regular people, they might have had a harder time without Variety Club.

• • • • • • •

November, 2014:

This is the REALLY important part:

I wrote all of the above last year and privately made a donation to Variety Texas last Christmas. Listen: a bicycle for Wade costs $3400. I can't get my children to ride a bike, even though theirs cost $85, but Wade was excited about his. He is finding his voice with the use of technology. More importantly, there are many "Wades" in the world that don't have access to things that should be accessible. His family hasn't asked for anything. I would like to think I'm of Wade's girlfriends, although he has many. He is a handsome boy.

• • • • • • •

There is a lot going on behind those eyes of his, even though Wade is non-verbal and will always require care. At birth, he suffered from a lack of oxygen and was on a life-flight plane within the hour. His mom got to touch him briefly before the helicopter left with her most precious cargo. She wondered how she would tell her family that she went into the hospital to have a baby and would go home with no baby. Imagine that. I always say a prayer when I see one of the life-flight helicopters flying overhead. You never know who is on board, but I can promise you that you never want to be on that chopper.

• • • • • • •

When I was a little girl, the girl who lived up the street and I went collecting door-to-door for Variety Club. This was in Vancouver, and every year Jerry Lewis would perform at the Variety Club Telethon, which was probably more like a marathon (for him). We personally went and handed in our donations that year, but as a family we always donated while I was growing up, and would watch the Telethon on television. It was what you did back then and it was a little bit goofy, but also a lot of fun.

• • • • • • •

The reason I'd be happy to be one of Wade's girlfriends is because he seems a little goofy, but like a lot of fun too. As I said, Wade is no superhero. He's a regular boy who needs access to things that most of us take for granted. We needed access to things once too, and the level of frustration trying to do those things gave me a whole new level of awareness, even though we are able bodied at the OP.

• • • • • • •

Here is Wade at age 5:

There is a lot going on behind those eyes of Wade's. I'm not easily charmed, but I was hooked by this one. He's a smart cookie and he'll probably be taking over the world any day now, even though he's a fairly regular boy.

You can donate to Texas Variety Club here, an organization that personally helped Wade.

You can donate within Canada here, or in the upper left hand corner until Christmas.

Recommended reading: you can read Wade's dad's 3E interview here, the mission statement for Wade written on his mom's blog, or see Wade in action (this is the best part, really).

- L.

PS. I'm sorry I wasn't a very good girlfriend last year Wade, but I hope I came through this year. Look me up when it's time for the prom. I'm an old lady so it's not a great offer, but I'd be on your arm anytime. Of course, I might have to fight off Callie for the chance.

PPS. When I was a little older and found out my best boy friend had met Jerry Lewis on stage, I was pretty awestruck. This charitable organization holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons.

*I secretly suspect Wade's mom and dad are superheroes, but don't tell them I said so. They would probably really hate that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Songs For Audrey

– "Singing for a girl made Nate sleepy, but not me!"
– "I'm not really sleepy... just recharging so I can keep Mommy up all night."

Songs for Audrey would be hard to explain. A simple version: my boys are singing songs for a little girl named Audrey, who lives very far away and who sang them a song also. No one knew what the other would send, so it was amusing that The Beatles ended up in both. She sang "Hello, Goodbye" – which is a new favourite with Seth at least (the girl might have had something to do with it. She's pretty sweet). Hope you enjoyed your serenade from the hooligans, Audrey.

Video is here for the rest of you.

My favourite moments are a toss-up between:

"This might be a think", around :36.

– AND –

Nate conducting Seth into a one-word solo, around 1:28.

Honorable mention goes to:

"With my hands, I'll make it I swear".*

Audrey's opinion may differ. These are her songs, and not mine (this time).

- L.

*The edit is me singing "Living On A Prayer" because Nate forgot the words. It was best left out. His new rendition was not too shabby though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

Thank you to the servicemen and women who fought for our safety and our freedom. When I was a little girl, we memorized this poem by heart. Even though I'd forgotten much of it since then, we have always remembered and have never forgotten those who have served. Sleep, and be at peace, good sirs and gentlewomen. You are remembered.

Practicing our first salute.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

– Major John McCrae.
- L.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Mommy, Can I Sing You A Song?"

– Still working on my rock star pose, everyone!
Maybe this one would have been better suited for the Monster Mash.

N: Mommy, can I sing you a song?
Me: Of course – I always love it when you sing me songs.
N: OK. Here it is!

"Oh, we're halfway there;
Whoa-oh, we're livin' on a prayer.
Take my hand – we'll make it, I swear.
We're livin' on a prayer...

"I think I forgot the rest right now".
– Nate

"Oh, that's OK. I remember the next part."

"We've got to hold on to what we've got;
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
We've got each other and that's a lot.
For love, we'll give it a shot".
– Mommy

Back when I was a difficult teenager, I never would have imagined that those same words to a Bon Jovi song would sound so sweet to my ears someday. Having my little one hold my hand while singing me that song was worth giving it a shot, and then some.

Thank you, Nate. You sure know how to cut a mean rug and sweep a girl off her feet all at the same time. You're not a half-bad crooner either!

- L.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

After The Bath

M. found this at Great-Grandma Edna's house yesterday and took a photo. Great-Grandma Edna has had this picture since she was a 16 year old girl. She held onto it for a long time. The things we carry are precious, and sometimes if you carry them long enough, you end up with the picture you carried looking back at you in real life (or at least a rear-view).

The painting is called "After The Bath" and was rendered by Paul Peel, who apparently knew my children before anyone else did. On the other hand, maybe it's true what they say about everyone having a doppelgänger.

- L.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Slightly Less Happy November...

... due to too much snow too early. Mommy is a West Coast girl, so feel free to ignore me. The boys, on the other hand, had a blast.

- L.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en Everyone!

Happy Hallowe'en from the OP!

– "We're going to Expecto Leviosa your candy tonight, everyone. We've been practicing."

"Yeh don' know what yeh are?... Harry – yer a wizard."
– HAGRID, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone

– "Oh hi everyone. It's just me, Ron, doing a little of the old Leviosa with Scabbers.
Not really sure how this turned out since he's not pinned to my costume yet.
Must be magic. Hermione would be impressed."

– Hey, "Harry"? Movie quotes and references aside, you do realize
that we've both dropped our wands at this point, yes?"
– "Hadn't noticed a thing, Ron. Now how do we 'Leviosa' the candy again?"

P.S. This year's Hallowe'en is brought to you by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (as if they needed an introduction). I said I would do it last year, but we re-used instead. This year, "Ron" is so "Ron-like" that we went for it. "Harry" doesn't look so bad either. Neither of the boys has any clue about Harry or Ron, but they are excited to be them nonetheless. I believe we did it "bloody brilliant", as Ron himself would say.

P.P.S. "Ron" doesn't turn out to be a bad looking chap in real life. I'll admit it feels like looking into the future. "Expecto Futuramous!" is what I said, and there it was.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hallowe'en...

... everywhere you go.

I had put up some window decorations and the creepy skulls from last year. We had even bought some pumpkins to carve, but the boys let me know in short order that the house did NOT look "spooky enough", so we stepped up our game last weekend and got as spooky as we could.

They seemed satisfied with the results and keeping the kids happy is the main thing after all, right?

– "Oh, hi everyone. A chipper squirrel gnawed off part of my face
before my big moment on camera."
- "I'm still keeping it together. Or maybe I just don't look as tasty."

- L.

P.S. Boo!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Black Cord

– "This is just how I remember it!"

– "This can't be right."

It's been at least 2 years since the last time my boys talked about the time they were "in Mommy's tummy" and recounted tales of what that was like, but last night as we were getting ready for bed Seth asked me this:

"When I was still in your tummy, what was that black cord? It was attached to me. Why?".

I explained about belly buttons, that the cord was blue (but might have looked black inside my tummy) and how that was where we were attached by a cord while he was growing, but the whole time my mind was more than a little boggled to say the least. How does he remember these things at age 4.5?

Nobody knows, except maybe Gamma Rita who has always said that, "Seth was born just knowing things", and that much is true at least.

- L.

PS. The pictures were taken this morning with an actual black cord. It's not a bad analogy, even if Nate was a little confused at the end. I have a feeling some conversations are in my imminent future.

The Most Awkward Smooch & Hug EVER...

 ... brought to you by the OP.

– "Oh, hi everyone. I'm just sitting here feeling like smooches, and maybe a hug".
– "And I do not want smooches or a hug. I am grumpy."

– "Well, OK. But I am still thinking about smooches and a hug. It would make
a memorable moment, and since we are all dressed up with no place to go for now,
we might as well make the best of it."
– "Also Mommy said, "Could you two at least sit a little closer?", so I'm going in."

– "Here I go! This is one for the family photo album - I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!"
– "Maybe we can call it the most awkward smooch and hug EVER. This is so awkward, bro'."

– "Oh, come on... it wasn't THAT bad. Smile now!".
– "Nope. Still feeling awkward".

– "How about like this way?"
– "Well, maybe that's not so bad".
– "You know, you can do your best to look grumpy again, Seth, but it's not working".
– "I still prefer smooches from Mommy, but I guess I didn't mind too much after all.
Now... what should we fight about?".

- L.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Conversations With Nate, Pt. 2

Nate: Budding cartographer and calculator enthusiast.

"I'm not going to talk for a hundred thousand years! Or maybe when this song is over."
– In reply to me refusing to play DJ, and skip past a song he did not like.

"Did I already go swimming?"
– In reply to me saying that their swimming lessons would start the following week. No one had gone swimming yet.

"When I grow up, I'm going to be a Mommy so I can get lots of hugs and kisses."
– Just because.

"Seth keeps spitting in my bed!".
– Seth has an abundance of drool sometimes. Things happen - including drool - especially when you are roughhousing in your beds. Sorry, Nate. Sometimes life hands you spit at bedtime.

"What did one eye say to the other eye? Salmon!"
– While working on his late-night comedy routine.*

"Look Mommy, these underpants are priced to smell!"
– After seeing men's underwear "priced to smile" in the Sears catalog, which if you think about it makes less sense than "priced to smell". He kind of had a point.

"Mommy - I have some mosquito bites here… and here! I think I need some After-Bite on them".
– Said while pointing at his nipples.

"Mommy, something happened and it accidentally involved jumping on the couch."
– That was no accident, mister.

"Mommy - I jump on the couch sometimes when you're not looking. It's one of my secrets".
– Said after approximately 5,000 requests to not jump on the couch. I'm glad he can confide in me, but I had to break it to him that this wasn't a secret. It's right up there with, "It accidentally involved jumping on the couch."

N: "Mommy, if someone sees you they might want to marry you".
Me: "Why would someone want to marry me?"
N: "Because you look so beautiful."

- L.

*Nate loves to tell jokes, and he loves nothing better than a good old-fashioned one coined by none other than himself. "Salmon!" was both random and endearing at the same time and his silly joke has become a little legendary around these parts because, why not?

P.S. Nate is quotable in different ways than Seth as you can see. He has never sent me to jail – even when he's mad at me, for example. He still loves fart jokes, underpants jokes, poop jokes and so forth, and he can tell them rather well. He also still likes to dance with his Mommy and aside from growing up to be whatever Seth grows up to be, claims he will marry me someday. I guess we'll cover that one later when he's a little older. For now, it's nice and I'll take what I can get.

P.P.S. It's no joke about the budding cartographer and calculator enthusiasm. Nate has gone through a few maps and calculators at this point, but he is seldom without the latter and can spend a good deal of time with the former, long after Seth (and everyone else) has lost interest.

Conversations With Seth Pt. 3

"Punkin', punkin', punkin', gourd..."
"Hey Mommy, do you remember 'Punkin', punkin', punkin', gourd?".
– As if I could ever forget.

S: "What does a duck say at the beginning of a race?".
Me: "Hmm… I don't know. What does a duck say at the beginning of a race?".
S: "Ready, set, QUACK!".
Me: "Hey, you know – that's pretty funny!".
S: "Well, I am a little good at telling jokes, you know".

"I don't think I like your attitude either, Mommy!"
– When I said I didn't care for his attitude.

"Guess what, Mommy? I have a pretend Mommy. Her name is Mrs. Boogee and she never yells."
– I think this one is self-explanatory.

"Well, OK Mommy… but now you have to go to your tiny cage!".
– Said when acquiescing to something, but not in agreement. I am not alone in having to "go to jail", but the "tiny cage" is reserved for me and me alone. I guess that makes it special, if you like that sort of thing. It's nice to be thought of I suppose.

- L.

P.S. My tiny cage, as envisioned by M:

Looks like Mommy flew the coop that day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Conversations With Nate Pt. 1

N: Does this song make you think of Gamma Rita?
Me: No. Why would it?
N: Because it has a picture of Gamma Rita on it.
Me: ...
N: ... or it could be Daddy.

We were listening to an oldie by Howard Jones. This is the picture that was displayed on the iPod:

Hope it gave you as many laughs as it gave me – conversations with Nate tend to have that effect. Also, maybe it's time to get his eyes checked.

- L.

PS. This is what Gamma Rita looks like in case it's been awhile. Seth was having a moment that day, but Nate was having a grand time.

My boys and Howard Jones their Gamma Rita.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

House Pets

"Baby X"
No name yet, but we're taking submissions.

Life with kids = bugs. I loved bugs as a kid. Caterpillars were a frequent "pet". When I was little, a caterpillar made a cocoon inside the jar before I had a chance to release it back into the wild, and so it did its thing over the fall and winter and gnawed its way out in the spring. I have such a vivid memory of that and I was barely 7.

We found a caterpillar earlier this year, and I guess it was ready to make its cocoon, since it did it the same day and has been bunkered up in a Mason jar since. The boys named him Baby X.

In other related news, while we happened to be out at the park a couple of days ago playing in soft sand, that beautiful Monarch butterfly was the victim of Seth's parked behind. It was dying, but not dead so we brought it home in a bucket to take care of it. It died, but was too beautiful to just throw away and so we pinned it and will preserve it instead. A perfect specimen, despite being sat on.

These are our pets, everyone – and the best kind, since they are both so quiet.

- L.

PS. The caterpillar we found is an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar. It was quite colorful, and none of us knew it could be a little dangerous (hence the daggers I suppose). No one (including Baby X) was harmed in the handling and jarring of said Baby X, but I was surprised based on the internet to find one in our location. He or she seems to have traveled a long way to get here, and it would appear in the end that we will be "overwintering" together as a result. The things we do for love. *sigh*

Conversations With Seth Pt. 2

If you've heard any of his famous lines, then you are probably also
familiar with this little grin. It generally means trouble.

 "What do you want to argue about now?"
Said to his brother on a car trip.

"I've never had a problem with drawing."
When complimented on his drawing skills.

"I should tell you that I AM".
When I said, "You're pretty good at puzzles, Boogee".*

"I want to tell you something, Mommy. I love you. I should probably say that more often."
Said out of the blue one day (and yes, he should say that more often).

"Uranus is a gas giant, Daddy."
He was probably talking about planets. Probably.

"I wouldn't exactly say that".
– In reply to, "Did you have a good time today?".

"Did you die?"
– In reply to a living person who said, "I saw a moose, once, swimming across a river".

"Did it eat you?"
– Another perfectly reasonable reply to, "I saw a bear once".

"Did he die?"
– In reply to, "When I was your age, my best friend used to live over there".

"No. I farted ON MYSELF!".
– In reply to, "Did you just fart on me?"
*also see: "When you have a fart, sometimes you just have to fart it out!", when the same question came up on a previous occasion.

"Well, I can't tell you… but I love you!"
– Said after he told me he was thinking about "something bad" and I asked what it was.

"I'm sorry, but you're wrong, Mommy!"
– In reply to just about everything.

- L.

* Boogee is still in full force over here as an alternate name for Seth, which you might recall he picked himself. Nate prefers being called Nate now over Sandy (thank goodness), but I have a feeling Boogee (AKA "the Boog") might be here to stay. The "g" is a soft g, in case you were wondering.

• • • • • • •

PS. The pictures were from a summer festival we went to and the boys picked their own face paint designs. It was the first time we've done face-painting, but it was a hit all around:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Conversations With Seth Pt. 1 & The Sweater Dresses

Conversations with Seth are something else. He's the main purveyor of some of our best household lines since he's so matter-of-fact in his delivery.

Gamma Rita had this memorable exchange over the summer...

Day 1:

S: You smell a little funny. Maybe you forgot to wash yourself.
GR: But I did wash myself!
S: Well, maybe it's not that bad...

Day 2:

GR: Do I still smell funny today?
S: Well… kind of.
GR: Oh no! And I had a shower and everything too!
S: Well, every perfume is different.
GR: But… I don't wear any perfume.
S: Well, maybe that's why!

In other news, Gamma Rita lovingly knit some new sweaters for the boys that should fit by next year. At this point, they look like little sweater dresses. Also, they smell like Gamma Rita (who, for the record, smells very nice and bathes every day), but I guess it is not appealing to Seth. He held his nose the entire time I had them in the sweaters just so I could take a picture. I don't know what we're going to do with that one when he goes to school, but I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot of calls from the teacher.

Talk about a little stinker!

- L.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Today's Music Ain't Got The Same Soul...

... (we) like that old time rock 'n' roll.

Between their love of the drums and their love of the microphone, I have a feeling I'm going to be housing a band at some point (and I don't mean the marching kind).

- L.