Sunday, February 28, 2010

What to do?

With Monday.

The Olympics have occupied every waking moment.  

The cheering.  The tears.  The gold medals and the personal bests. 

My city wrapped in red and white.  My country unified in a scream of pride.

The Gold Medal in hockey that brought hundreds of us together today to shreak at a large screen in a tiny town's community center. 

Vancouver you put on an amazing show and I am proud to call you home.

When I wake up tomorrow it will be over.  A treasured memory. 

Thank you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Dog Day Disaster

Caden has been planning this birthday for 2 years.

Last March we were in the midst of trauma and drama and planning a birthday party for a newly minted 8 year old fell off the to-do list.  I carry the mother guilt of his disappointment over his never got around to actually doing 8th birthday party so promise after promise over the last 12 months focused on this his 9th.

He had it planned to the most minute detail.

A Pinata.  Mostly because he has never had one before.

A Treasure Hunt.  Because he is a 9 year old boy.

A Mystery Meal of Gross and Disgusting Foods.  See above.

A Train Cake made and decorated by mom.  Because that is the first birthday cake he remembers having, and he loved it and he wanted it again. 

No matter WHAT happened this birthday had to go off without a hitch because there is nothing quite so poignant as the hopes and dreams of your baby boy. 

And so I shopped and planned and bought and invited. 

And Baked.  Yes BAKED. 

Now we have covered this before.  We all know that baking and cooking aren't exactly my best qualities.  HOWEVER, I have pulled of a couple supremely awesome birthday cakes in years past and Caden's expectations were high, based mostly on his recollections of his 3rd birthday and how much he loved his train cake that year.  We all know that impressing a 3 year old is much easier than impressing a 9 year old.  And more importantly, impressing his friends.   Also, his memory is fuzzy.

The day before party, while babies slept, I began the process.  The cake would be 5 feet long and placed on a long 2X4 with a KitKat bar track.  Each section of train would have a different candy cargo and would alternative with chocolate and vanilla cake.  It was cool. 

I iced and cut, molded and planned.  I was happy. 

I didn't bother taking pictures because I was going to wait until Caden could see the cake at his party.

THAT was a mistake. 

I took the nearly finished cake and placed it outside on our screened in porch.  I placed it about 5 feet off the ground balanced on top of box that was placed on top of the table.

THAT was a mistake.

Then I put the dogs outside for a romp. 

THAT was a mistake. 

The rest of the day was a blur of planning and RSVPs and making dinner and changing diapers and I never went to check back on the cake.

THAT was a mistake. 

The morning of the party dawned bright and clear.  Or maybe that was ominous.  Caden was vibrating from excitement.  Guests were due to arrive shortly after lunch and I was running around hanging banners and doing last minute clean ups. 

I went outside to bring in the cake.  You know that Train Cake that my son had been planning on for TWO YEARS?

The engine piece was icing free.  The chocolate "log transport" piece was completely gone.  There were bite marks on the pieces that were left. 

At the moment of discovery my 12 year old came out of his bedroom and said "The stupid dog puked all over my bed during the night mom".

I would hereby like it to be known that the fact my dogs are still alive is a testament to my self control.  The fact that I didn't swear and throw things is a testament to the fact my mother had dropped by. 

I sat dumbfounded.  I facebooked.  I honestly did not know what to do. 

What I did not do is kill the dogs. 

THAT was a mistake.  (I am pretty sure anyways)

Shel raced to the store and bought the least girlie slab cake they had.  I scrounged candy that I had at home and fancied it up. 

I hugged my son and told him I was so very sorry. 

We had a party.  9 year old boys do not care about the amount of time it takes to decorate a cake.  What they care about is that the pieces of cake are BIG.

My sweet, sensitive, loving Caden crawled into my lap after the party and said "This was the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE Mommy.  I love you."
I smiled.   Then I put the leftover slab cake out on my porch, on top of a box, on top of the table.

And then I let the dogs out for a romp. 

Apparently I do not learn from my mistakes. 

We never got seconds.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Year

Its the sound of  birds. 

The talk of hockey playoffs.

An afternoon sun that actually warms my back.

My body remembers the horror and fear.

A year ago we found out my dad had 9 months to live.

The day we were told we took this picture.

We took it because we thought it would be the last.

2 weeks later I was diagnosed with Cancer too.

They were dark days.  The darkest.

But the darkest days come before the brightest dawn.

365 days later my dad is cancer free.

It is a miracle noone ever thought possible.

I am cancer free.

Our family has grown by 2.

Thank God for the dawn.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I sat in the lobby of the court room.  Surrounded equally by weeping women, stoic men, shell shocked children and lawyers frantically running back and forth.

"Anyone need a duty lawyer today?"  15 hands go up.

There were familiar faces.  Smiles exchanged.  Glances met and avoided.  Lives laid open before a judge.  Names revealed. Personal details.  Accounts of failures and successes.  Stories I do not want to know.  Stories I want to forget.

The legal connection between parents and children severed or restored.

I sat.  I heard my name called and my intentions stated.  Papers filed.

We were told to come back in a month. 

Lives resting on the balance of the scales of justice. 

One moment of one day surrounded by 1000 moments on 1000 other days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Color Day

This was my 18th Valentine's Day with my husband.  On our first,  I was only 18 years old.  As we collapsed into bed one night this week I promised that one of these years  decades we would do something romantic.  This year "romantic" seemed a laughable idea in the face of hockey, laundry and you know those six kids.   Instead we both agreed that we would consider the holiday a success if we managed to pull off our traditional Valentine's Day for the kids.

Our tradition started the second year we were dating when I sent my long suffering fiance to work with a sandwhich with pink tinted mayo. 

And Pink Supper was born.  This is also known as the day I go through an entire bottle of red food coloring.

This year Shel made Pink Waffles for Breakfast, and after sandwiching church, lunch, nap and 2 hockey games, I threw together our Pink Supper.

I promise next year (ah the babies will then be 1.5 and 2.5) the year after next I will be back to our former glory.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympic Experience Part 2

A friend -- a kind and generous friend who gave her kidney up to my cousin thank you very much -- had the Olympic Torch arrive at her work place this morning.  And I got to run down and take some pictures.  In my pictures I am holding the wee ones but here are my bigger boys with they're as close as we are going to get Olympic Moment. 

Poor Tanner missed out again as he was at home doing his before school babysitting job.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Girls - An Un-Update

Alas,  that which appears to be final is in fact never final.  And in fact "final" might be simply a word to express a several year long process with no end in sight.    Honestly, I knew this.  I have many friends who are foster parents.  I have fostered before.  NOTHING is simple with the foster care system.   I hoped that some sort of finality would be reached with minimal trauma and drama but it appears that is not the case, yet.  So we wait and parent and snuggle and squeeze and love every single minute with the babes.

And we remember that this is a process.  A long and drawn out process. 

And in the middle of it are the 2 reasons that make every worry, every nightmare, every dream worth it. 

Miss Curious is astounding us in her growth and development.  My (almost) "TAWOOO" year old  babbles incessantly and picks up new words and phrases every day.  "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!  OOK ME!" being the most frequently used. She snuggles and laughs and follows the boys around begging them to play with her.  She escapes the house every chance she gets because there is nothing better than playing in the icey remnants of winter in your bare feet.  She is making friends now, remembering frequent visitors and squeeling their names with delight when they walk up the driveway. 

Miss Tiny is a  tank. A cruising, twenty four pound demolition machine following in the steps of her sister.  She has three teeth.  She now says MOM and DAD and BA and UP and NA.  All of those frequently at 2:30 in the morning.  She is still not sleeping through the night with any consistency and my eye balls are about to fall out of my head from exhaustion.  But oh she is happy.  Joy eminates from every pore of this angel baby and sleep or no sleep, it is impossible not to spend long hours every day gnawing on her ample cheeks.   

I have spent much time lately focusing on my own feelings as we go through this process and face the unknowns with these precious babies we adore.  I remind myself that so many of my thoughts are a reaction and a response to  prior loss, not this experience with these children and this family and this system.  I remind myself that God loves those babies too.  I remind myself to remain in the moment and to cherish this time that I have been entrusted with. I hope that time is the rest of my life, but I respect the fact it might not be. 

At my most honest, I admit I ache for a definite answer.  I want to go to bed and not wake up in a cold sweat dreaming of handing over two sobbing children.  I am human and I want to run from pain - theirs, mine and the rest of my family's.  And yes, even the pain of those who are unable to be who they wished they could be burdens me.  And so I know that if this process, this time, brings healing and wholeness to their family of birth, I will choose to celebrate that, even as my own heart will shatter.  Shatter not at their healing, but at my loss.

What I will not celebrate is a system that could destroy us all.   Because at the end of this journey I would hope at least some of us are left are left whole, and hopefully all in tact

And so that is as much of an update as I can give and still respect the privacy of all.  Know that the girls are here.  Know that the girls are loved immensely by many.  Know that there is a system full of quirks to navigate.  Know that we covet your prayers for all involved.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


When it was announced that the Olympics were coming a few years back I was thrilled.  Not only were they coming but they were coming to my home town.  Vancouver 2010.  The boys and I danced around the living room and I told them grand stories of that day, 5 years away, when the Olympics would come to Canada and all the ways we could participate and enjoy this ONCE IN A LIFE TIME activity.  It was hard to imagine my gangly 10 year old as a 15 year old.  My 3 year old would be EIGHT and would REMEMBER.  We could go to events!  And see PARADES!  And take PICTURES!
Its 2010.  The Olympics start on Friday.  And we aren't going.  We aren't even going to be able to be IN Vancouver and I am sad. 
And so when I realized the inevitable reality that tickets are expensive and I have alot of kids and my husband hasn't had much of a job for way too long I decided we would focus on the Olympic Torch Relay. It was coming to town.  OUR TOWN.  And it was a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME OPPORTUNITY.  We could be part of the Olympics.  And come hell or high water WE WOULD GO.  Because its the Olympics.  And its ONCE IN A LIFE TIME.  
And then Caden got the flu.  And then Shelby.  And then Tanner.  I did not care.  We would go.  We would go and experience the Olympic Spirit.  Because this is ONCE IN A LIFE TIME!

I started throwing up at 1 pm and the party started at 5:30.  At 5:15 I was wishing for death.  Apparently I was going to miss this ONCE IN A LIFE TIME opportunity, so looking over my bucket I sent my ill husband and the 3 reasonably healthy children out the door to go EXPERIENCE the Olympics.

And then Shelby lost a child and panic ensued.  And my kids remember this ONCE IN A LIFETIME experience as a long and scary night where they searched for their brother, who was clueless to the fact he was "lost" and having the time of his life. 

And I got one fuzzy picture of one kiddo enjoying her "Olympic Experience"  (aka the Glow Stick) she will never remember and I will watch it all on TV when it starts on Friday

And those pictures up above?  Those are from my sister because she actually got to experience it all.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Phase 2

Sorry for disappearing.  I left our meeting on Friday morning and headed down the highway for a hockey tournament with my two middle boys. 

I saw my dad.  I saw my sister. I saw ALOT of hockey.

And I came home to a chorus of Mama! MAMA! Mama!  And gummy kisses and drooly smiles. 

And I am ready to face tomorrow and all the unknowns that may bring. 

Thanks for praying.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Precipice

Living life on the edge.  I can't write about all that consumes my every thought and so I am silent. 

We wait.  Wait for life changing, life freeing, life altering news.  A decision that changes everything that counts. 

I can't even breathe the possibilities and my heart breaks in 10000 pieces even thinking of the various possible outcomes. 

I was not built for this. I am not strong enough.  I love too hard.  Feel too deeply. 

I have done everything "right".   Kept every action pure.  Ever action right. 

But my thoughts run rampant.  My hopes.  I would dream but cannot sleep.

And my heart breaks for another who fails.  I do not wish  their greatest loss being my greatest gain. 

And yet I do.  Because I love and ache at the possibility of my pain. 

I know that pain.  I cannot live that pain again.

And yet I know of their loss.  No matter what I face their loss. 

I am loved.  I love.  And I fear.

Tomorrow comes with a finality I cannot avoid.

Tomorrow  I would covet your prayers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Unwelcome Visitors Part Two

You know that sick kid from last week?

He was contagious.

Very, very, very contagious.

You know what happens in a family of 8 when a stomach virus hits?

A hell of a lot of laundry.

We are back in the land of the living.