No Picasso in this household or is there?


London loves to colour and do drawings and has made quite a dent in our printer paper recently.  She is quite a talented little girl but not in the art department and she knows it. She gets so frustrated that her drawings are not “nice” in comparison to her friends.  She got mad at herself after the first drawing below and asked whether I also thought it was ugly.  I told her it wasn’t her best work but it is more important whether she tried her hardest then whether I thought it was pretty or ugly. She wasn’t happy with my response.  I am not going to be one of those mom’s for good or bad that thinks everything her child does is brilliant.  Anyways Mike and I always have a chuckle outside of her ear shot at her artistic projects.

The second and third picture below were done immediately after our conversation about the first one. There is no question she did a better job. I was curious though whether those bumps were supposed to be boobs and casually asked the question without trying to offend her. No they are supposed to be arm ruffles she says. Oh and where are the arms? She stormed back to her room in despair of her struggling talent, lol. High drama to say the least.


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A E I O “and” U

IMG-20121114-00111 (1)I have started to pack for our move already and came across this piece of “artwork” that London created last year in JK.  As you can see her name is at the top and then below she is practicing her vowels – A/E/I/O and instead of writing out ‘and’ she wrote “N” and then U.

I remember heated conversations with her last year that the song they are learning about vowels is A/E/I/O and U and not A/E/I/O/N/U – lol.  She was convinced “N’ was being said. I don’t recall what the writing at the bottom of the page represents.  Ahh, how quickly they grow and learn.


Toronto 10k Race Recap

tys10klogoYesterday I ran the Toronto Yonge Street 10k race and I believe the Running Gods took pity on me and decided to help me out.  As I have mentioned before I took the fall off from running and then started back up in February co-instructing a small 10k running clinic group. The clinic was only 10 weeks in length and called for no speed work, although we fit in one speed work-out a couple of weeks ago.  I ran 3x max per week with an average mileage of 25km and our average pace was a lot slower than my usual past training of about 6:15-6:30/km for most runs. Having said that I really enjoyed the process especially since it involved providing guidance to 3 clinic members who were training for their first 10k race.

Regardless of what training I did or didn’t do, I was going to give this race everything I had and see where the chips fall but wouldn’t you know it I got sick a week ago with a terrible head cold that is still with me.  I ran on Wednesday despite the cold and felt like someone who smoked a couple of packs a day.   We were all suffering from something so our pace was brutally slow and I didn’t know what to expect for this upcoming race. Even leading up to Race Day I found walking up the stairs left me winded so I resigned to the fact that this race might be a PW (Personal Worst).

On Race Day, four of us drove down together and arrived a little early but found warm relief in the Running Room as it was only 0 degrees celsius out at the time.   Although I wasn’t at my best I wanted to do an easy 2k before hand to work out stiff muscles and get everything flowing so I would have some chance of finding some running groove, no matter how slow of a pace that might be, during the race. I try to do a pre-race run whenever possible but not every race is conducive for this depending on how things are organized and the number of people in the race and the need to get into your corral extra early, etc.  The times that I can do this though I find I almost always have a better race and yesterday was no exception.

When I embarked on this pre-race warm-up with one of my friends I felt horrible and wondered if I should start back at the last corral and just take it real easy. I would be lying to say I didn’t feel deflated and frustrated that once again one of my races would be hampered due to illness.  Given that I was with my clinic group member I had to suck up the pity party and try to set a good example and continued to line up with everyone in the same corral.

Despite not feeling great, when I first crossed the start line I set a 1 hour goal not knowing how realistic even that might be and made a conscious effort of taking it easy the first couple of kilometers and then going from there.  Much to my surprise and delight the first two kilometers felt like a walk in the park and by the 2k mark my time was 11:10.  I thought my watch was wrong and checked in with how I was feeling which was great.  I honestly didn’t know what to make of this change in body/breathing/everything and decided to literally run with it as long as my body would keep up and that it did. By the 5k mark I set a new finishing time of 55 minutes.

In the end I finished in 53:52, definitely not a PB. I truly believe that the running gods were with me yesterday morning and envisioned one on each foot carrying some of the weight forward with each step.  I honestly felt awesome the entire run but then reality hit when I stopped after the finish line. My lungs seized and felt like they were on fire. I have asthma and worried that it would get worse and my head cold would turn into something more sinister but eventually my lungs loosened up and that feeling was a distant memory. I honestly don’t know how I managed this time given everything but I will take it and use that as motivation to improve it further in a healthy state.

Anyway the medal was great and overall the race was well organized. There were only a couple of bands en route so I relied on my ipod to keep me entertained and motivated throughout. The other helpful thing I did was carry my own water. Most people relied on the water stations which I find can really take you out of your running groove and sometimes it can get a little dicey knocking into people so I made a point of simply taking a sip every kilometer marking.



Doh! Another Parenting Mishap

Just picked London up at the bus and when we got into the house she more or less said snidely ‘thanks for the water for lunch today.’

Doh! I knew exactly what she meant – I made a huge lunch mistake.

Last night my husband made pasta for the girls lunch today.  The usual routine when we are going to give the girls a warm lunch is to boil some water, place it in their thermos, after a few minutes heat up the food, take out the water and fill them up with food. Well, this morning he did that for Reilly’s lunch who goes on an earlier bus to a different school and he also filled London’s thermos with water and left for work.  Mistakenly I thought the thermos on the stove already had the pasta within and I simply put it in her lunch bag.  I didn’t check.

While I was apologizing to her, she started to pull out a brown paper bag which had two cookies, veges, and a partially eaten muffin. I asked her what is that and she said they gave her this lunch.

They don’t have extra lunches at school so I assume some other child ordered the Lunch Lady and didn’t show up to school, so London benefited from it. I have no idea though why she didn’t eat everything but who am I to judge at this point.

Lesson learned…check the darn thermos!

A new chapter in our life is about to begin


Our house finally sold after being on the market for just over 2 months.  It wasn’t the easiest time for a few different reasons and consequently had us questioning whether we were making a mistake by selling the house and moving to Calgary. In the end it sold and the only thing left for us to do is plan for the next chapter of our life! Look out wild west, here we come.

Reilly’s 8th Birthday








Reilly Mackenzie H.  turns 8 tomorrow.   In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital as first time parents, excited and anxious at the same time about having this new responsibility to love, cherish and nurture into her own little person.   Little did we know that the dreams and aspirations we held for our first daughter would be ripped from not only our hands but more importantly from hers by her third birthday.

Diagnosed with Rett Syndrome at 3 years of age we officially knew at this time that Reilly would be dependent on us for the rest of her life for every single one of her needs, including being her voice.  Talk about an incredible responsibility for us as her parents!

I can say unabashingly that the early days of Reilly’s life were hell on earth for us and her due to the neurological storm that was occurring within her brain and the affect it had on  her behaviour and thus happiness.   For days/weeks and months we often felt that we were on a little tug boat in the middle of the sea with a raging storm around us and no sign of land, help or relief from the natural elements of life.  Of course it was during this time where we often heard from various people “I don’t know how you do it, God chose you for a reason, or I don’t think I could do it”.  Of course we wanted to scream and lash out at these people and those that we came across that had older children with disabilities commenting that they wouldn’t have it any other way.  We didn’t understand as we were in the middle of a dark period and at the time we didn’t know whether the sun would ever shine again or whether this blanket of darkness would be our new norm.  I would also be lying to say that we never thought about wishing to turn back the clock and choosing not to have children given the grief and anguish Reilly was going through and our inability to provide relief.  We didn’t think it was fair for a child to go through such physical and mental pain.

Over time as we bobbed in our little tug boat together, we were given little bits and pieces of relief and eventually the sun came out and we hit land that provided longer periods of stability for Reilly and thus us.   Of course there are always going to be periods of struggle given what Rett Syndrome is all about but at this point in the journey I can now say that I am truly fortunate to be given this huge responsibility to love and care for a child like Reilly.  I don’t believe we were chosen to have a special needs child but I do believe we had a choice in how we were going to embrace this situation and that we are doing a damn good job in giving her lots of love and also recognizing that she has just as many gifts to give us.

Given that it Reilly’s 8th birthday, here are 8 things that I absolutely cherish about her:

1) Almost every morning Reilly produces the most wonderful smile that can melt all the nighttime cobwebs

2) Reilly has the most infectious giggle that can turn anyone’s mood around even to the point of causing you to giggle yourself

3) Reilly’s ability to flirt with men. She even had a moment with a Hells Angel biker dude one day. Man she has talent.

4) Reilly was given such beautiful blue eyes that can get you lost in a trance by looking into them.

5) If there was ever a cuddling contest she would win it hands down

6) She loves food just like her mommy

7) Despite her limitations she still has the means to irritate her sister – very healthy!

8) Reilly’s ability to open our hearts and minds even wider and deeper than we ever thought was even possible.

Happy Birthday Reilly, we love you so much!

Northern Lights, the most spectacular show above Earth

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I was given a copy of the Jan/Feb Canadian Geographic magazine and I am now just going through it. Although there are many different articles within this specific publication, the theme is on the Northern Lights.   I grabbed this particular photo from Wikapedia and it was taken by a US Govt employee in Alaska.

According to this magazine, 2013 is going to be one incredible year for seeing the Northern Lights as this year represents the peak period of an 11 year cycle and Alberta is one of the best viewing locations.   Given that this is the peak year (Sept 2013 on wards) the northern lights are expected to be at their brightest and most spectacular display of incredible light formations.  I am no science buff but it is my understanding that the northern lights are a reflection of solar activity and are a result of changes in the sun’s magnetic field. Please don’t quote me on this though.

It is unlikely that I will get a chance to see the Northern Lights at their prime this coming fall but a new goal of mine is to create an adventure sometime in the future to witness one of the most incredible shows on earth.  Maybe this would be a great 50th birthday present, hint, hint.

Here are a couple more cool photos that other people have taken:

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