Toys Don’t Have Genders

Vista has been saving her money and so we went out today to let her pick out a toy.  We headed over to the local box store and started wandering up and down the toy aisles.

I made a conscious decision not to skip the first few aisles where the so called/labeled “boys” toys were.  I wanted to see what toy Vista would pick when allowed to choose for herself.

She ignored the barbies.  She walked right past the dolls.  She didn’t even look at the shelves upon shelves of princess and Suzy homemaker stuff.

matchboxcliffhangerfirestation Toys Dont Have GendersInstead she pulled a Matchbox Cliffhanger Fire Station off the shelf and put that in the cart.

I will admit I was a little surprised.  But instead of asking if she was sure that was what she wanted (and thus making her question her choice), I instead asked her if she wanted to look at anything else or if she was done.

She told me she didn’t want to look anymore and was ready to go.

So we headed home, put together her new toy, and she proceeded to play with it for the next two hours.

It’s always interesting what toys kids will choose when left to be kids rather than assigning the toys genders.  Many parents when faced with the same situation would have told their daughter’s “No, sweetie. That’s a ‘boy’ toy,” and dragged their girls to the aisles of pink.

Vista does love pink, and loves to dress up as a princess, but she also loves to play with toy cars and trains.  I’m OK with that.

This year for her birthday, we bought her a butterfly net and a kit for catching and examining bugs.  She was thrilled and immediately had to go outside and get some ants to look at under the magnifying glass.

I don’t want to limit her scope of play just because she’s female.

When I was in Junior High the girls had to take home-ec and the boys took shop. That was just the way it was and no one questioned it.

I was disgusted.  I wanted to take shop!  That sounded like a heck of a lot more fun than baking a cake.

I got together a few other girls and we campaigned to be allowed to opt into the shop class instead.  We pointed out that it was just as important for us to be able to use tools as it was for boys to be able to cook a meal and sew on a button.

We were lucky.  Our administration listened and changed the classes so that both girls and boys each took half a semester of shop and half a semester of home-ec.

That was over 20 years ago.

And still, here we are assigning gender roles to everything.

I would even go so far as to say that we’ve taken several steps backwards in this area (if the PINK Easy-Bake Oven that Vista has is any indication.  When I had an Easy Bake it just looked like something you would see in the kitchen.  It didn’t need to be pink.)

I will continue to encourage my daughter to play with toys that she enjoys and that encourage her to explore and question her world, because, the last time I checked, toys don’t have genders.


Keeping Your Kids From Falling In the Money Pit (Oh, and a chance to win $50 too)

One of the reasons I wrote my last post about our experiences with money woes is because of a conversation I was having the other day with my friend Melissa.  We were talking about how attitudes towards money have changed from generations before.

So many people we know have been in, or are still stuck in, that money pit.  Drowning in debt with no idea how on earth to get out of it.

That is the last thing we want for our kids.

We’ve started already trying to teach Vista about money.

One of the most simple things we’ve done is given V a piggy bank.  But when we give her spare change and her first question is always ‘well what can I buy with this’.   The answer?  ‘Nothing….unless you put it in your piggy bank with your other coins and then you can save up to buy something that you would really like to have.’

So into the piggy bank goes the coins.

But that wasn’t enough.  How else could we teach her about earning money?  She really doesn’t have the interest in doing chores for reward yet…that’s just not a motivator for her.  Then before Christmas when we were sorting through her toys we came across an answer.

Many of her toys were in great condition.  So we gave her the option as we went through every toy:  Keep, Sell, or Donate.  She could keep it and continue to play with it.  She could donate it.  Or we could try and sell it through facebook/kijiji/craigslist and she could keep any money that was made.

This turned out to be a great incentive for her to get rid of toys she no longer used without a fight.  Bonus.

So she has been steadily socking away her money in her piggy bank for the past year.  Last month we finally got around to rolling all the coins.  When we started rolling we told her she could put half in the bank to save and take half and go to the toy store and buy whatever she wanted.

Well, turns out my kid has been hoarding money.  She started pulling out coins from all sorts of containers she had tucked away in her room.  Once we hit $200 in coins we nixed the spending half idea and told her she could have $25.   And from now on she can buy her own treat from the ice cream truck in the summer.

The trip to the toy store was a money lesson itself.  She would pick out something and we would talk about if she had enough money for that item or if it would allow her to have money left over for something else.

But I’ve still been looking for other ideas for how to teach her money management.

Melissa shared with me that one thing they do with her daughter is allow her to work towards earning Webkins stuffed animals.  The Webkins have an online app where kids can input a number off the tag of their stuffed animal that allows them to play with and buy things for a virtual animal.  But if they want to buy something and don’t have the money they have to do things in the virtual world to earn it.

I thought this was a great way to teach our little geeks.

Another one we found is the iPad app ‘Learning Money with Leo’ (available on iTunes).  It’s a Canadian money app put out by Royal Bank that teaches money concepts through games.  Kids go through the games (like coin matching, spot the difference, mazes, sorting) and earn reward coins which can then be used to buy stickers from a ‘sticker store’ to create a picture in a virtual sticker book.  Want more stickers… earn more coins.

I love that it’s a Canadian app too, so the money pictures and denominations are all Canadian currency.

I wasn’t sure what V would think of this sort of app for learning money, but she actually quite enjoyed it.  And this morning when I was buying groceries she was even able to identify the bills I was using, so that impressed me.

So here’s your opportunity to teach your kids about money by winning a $50 RBC VISA gift card from the kind folks at Royal Bank.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me how you teach your kids about using money responsibly and/or what are you lessons are you going to pass onto your kids to keep them from falling into the money pit .

The fine print:

  • Contest is only open to Canadians (sorry US friends)
  • This contest is also running on other blogs.  You can enter on multiple blogs, but you can only win one gift card. 
  • Contest will close on April 18th at 8pm MST.

Good luck!


Disclosure – I am participating in the RBC Learning Money With Leo program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of RBC Royal Bank. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.


Money Pit

I’ve always said I’m not one for setting goals.  Probably because I hate the thought that there might be a chance I might not accomplishing that goal.  (fear of failure much?)

Well, this year Bil and I set a solid goal for ourselves.  It’s one we’ve been working on for a while, but we had never really put a timeline to it.  Until now.

The goal:

By December 2013 we will eliminate all debt other than our mortgage and have at least 2 months worth of salary in savings.

That means no more credit card debt.  No more car loan payments.  Nothing other than a monthly mortgage payment.


Only a few years ago, we were one of those people who lived paycheck to paycheck.  We had to prioritize bills because there never seemed to be enough money to pay them all.  And worse, it seemed like we had no money and nothing to show for it.  We couldn’t understand it.  We had a good income, so what was the problem?

It was scary.  And the thought of dealing with our money issues made me feel physically ill.

We finally woke up and realized that continuing to do the same thing month to month was obviously not working for us.  Duh.

We had to alter how we spent, budgeted, and just generally thought about money.  I’m not going to lie… it was really tough at first.  But we can see the results and it is such an amazing feeling.

Our first step was to sit down and figure out exactly what we were spending our money on.  So for a few months we simply tracked every single dollar we spent in an Excel spreadsheet.  And at the end of those months we looked at where all our money was going.

To say it was an eye opening experience was putting it mildly.  It wasn’t the bills or big spending that was the issue.  It was the $5 here and there and the bank fees for every transaction that were killing us.

The first big change we made was to create (and attempt to stick to) a budget.  The key to a good budget, though, is to make it an achievable budget.  Rather than just plucking random numbers out of thin air, we looked at our current spending.  How much a month did we spend on groceries.  How much was going towards gas.  What was the average utilities /phone /gas /cable bill.  These became the basis for our budget.

Then we looked at personal spending.  YIKES.  Yeah, that definitely needed a lot of work.  So we budgeted an allowance for each of us.  We each got a set amount of money each paycheck to do with what we wanted.  If I wanted to go for coffee, it came out of my allowance.  If Bil wanted to eat out for lunch instead of bringing his lunch to work, it came out of his allowance.  If we wanted to buy something completely frivolous…you guessed it… allowance.

This budget was our first step to clawing our way out of this money pit we were in.

As the months went on, I tweaked the budget so it worked for us.  I now do the budget every paycheck, but I also budget a few months out.  It allows me to play with numbers and see how if we make a purchase now the ripple effect of spending that money is felt for months afterwards.  That’s not to say we never buy anything anymore.  We just do it when we can afford it, rather than when we want it, now.

But we realized that just budgeting wasn’t enough.  It was still too easy to overspend.  You want something?  Just take out the magic bank card and get it.

So we now do the envelope system.

Every paycheck we pay all the bills for that pay period online.  Then anything that we would normally use our debit card for is budgeted and calculated and that money is taken out in cash.  We have an envelope for our grocery money, one for gas, another for the ‘pet’ fund to cover their food/vet/grooming expenses.  And we each get our allowances in cash.  Once the money is gone, there’s no more spending.

It takes a lot more planning (for example, before you leave the house you have to think ‘do I need to get gas for the car’ and grab the money from the gas envelope if you do).  But it also makes you MUCH more conscious of your spending.

When I want to buy something and I can look in my wallet and say ‘oh, I only have $20 left to last me another week,’ I might decide that I don’t really need to buy that item after all.

Any money that we might have left over at the end of the pay period from our grocery or gas money is put in our ‘bonus’ jar.  We use that money if we want to order a pizza or go out for dinner.  It’s our guilt free splurge money.  So we have an extra incentive to watch our spending.

The third thing we changed about how we managed our money was how we paid off our debt.  Rather than giving a piece of the pie to everywhere we owed, we started using the ‘Snowball method’.

Simply put, you do minimum payments on everything except your smallest debt.  Don’t focus on interest rates.  Just look at the total amount owed.

Put the most money you can on the smallest debt and pay it off.  Then you can take that money and apply it toward the next smallest debt.  Each time you pay off a debt you have more money to pay off the next debt because you have the chunk of money plus the monthly payments you were putting on the previously paid off debt.

Making those 3 changes (budgeting, envelope system, and snowball payments) has taken us from barely getting by to always having money in the bank.  It also allowed us to buy all the gifts this past Christmas with cash.  No more Christmas debt in January!  Woohoo!

The biggest bonus?  We never fight about money because money is no longer an issue.

It’s also brought us that much closer to being completely debt free … well, other than our mortgage but that will be the next goal we set.

Yes, We’re Normal…Why Do You Ask?

We spent yesterday celebrating Zombie Jesus Day with my family.  Vista and her cousin had fun eating copious amounts of chocolate and then screaming like banshees as they ran around the house.

My grandmother was also down visiting.  Luckily she’s half deaf so she can just turn off her hearing aides so she doesn’t have to listen to the kids.  I’m looking forward to that day.

kidswithgrandma Yes, Were Normal...Why Do You Ask?

My grandmother, nephew and Vista.  V would be the one with
fake tattoos on her face and hands and trying out the
‘duck lip’ look.  Please send help when she’s a teen.

It’s always entertaining having dinner with my family.  The evening is always filled with ribbing and jokes at each others expenses.  I come by the snark naturally, as evidenced by this conversation…

Dad: Why is it so hot in here?

Mom: It’s not.  

Dad: Yes it is.  Did you turn the furnace up or something?

Me: I don’t find it hot.  I think it’s just fine.

Dad:  No… it’s hot in here.

Mom:  Are you having hot flashes or something?  Maybe you’re going through ‘man-opause’.

Me: *on the floor laughing while my dad glares at both of us*

That right there is love, people.

normal Yes, Were Normal...Why Do You Ask?

My Life Lately In One Word: Gross…. and other random thoughts…

I’m hopped up on cold meds and my brain is not cooperating when it comes to working so here’s a summary of my life right now (and if it’s rambling and incoherent – please see the ‘cold meds’ part of this rambling and incoherent sentence).

Also, if you’ve eaten any time in the past hour, you may not want to read this because apparently my life borders on the gross and disgusting lately.  (WTF universe?)

  • V’s asthma appointment went well.  They don’t think she has tracheomalacia (yay).  But they do think her asthma is causing mucus plugs in her lungs which cause the massive prolonged coughing fits she has.  Solution: sit in a bathroom with the shower on cool (not warm, because that might irritate her asthma) to emulate a nebulizer.  Now…wouldn’t it make sense to just give us a nebulizer with some saline solution, if that’s the case?  But no… go waste water by leaving the shower running for half an hour while you try to keep a kid entertained in there while you sit on the floor without the iPad because, well iPads and water vapor don’t mix.  I understand the doctors up here in Canada are anti-nebulizers…. but really?  REALLY?  So now we are going to try to circumvent the system by ordering a kids nebby from the States and having it shipped up here… if we can find one that’s reasonably priced and will ship to the back waters of Canada.
  • After dropping off the half dozen prescriptions from the asthma doc at the pharmacy and picking them up we discovered after giving V one of the chewable meds that they had given us a different kind.  I didn’t even look at it closely.  I just popped it out of the foil and handed it to her because the box looked the same.  Turns out it was orange flavored (bad) instead of strawberry flavored (good).  And why was it orange flavored?  Because on closer inspection it turns out that the gave us 10mg adult dose pills instead of the 4mg child dose that V is supposed to get.  And we gave it to her.  And then my head exploded.  I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened.  But it’s not.  We even tried changing pharmacies in the past because it happened way too often at our old one.  Why do pharmacies keep trying to over dose my child on her meds?  Like she’s not on enough meds to fuck up her system as it is?  You have to help by giving her double and triple doses?  GAH.  And people wonder why we are hyper-vigilant parents.  Because shit like this happens the moment we let our guard down.  So now I’m waiting for a call back from the pharmacy manager so I can chew them a new one.
  • Somewhere along the line I’ve picked up another upper respiratory infection.  I think this is the fourth or fifth one this winter (yes, I know it’s technically spring now.  Until I see flowers blooming and green grass, it’s winter).  I have resisted going to the doctor because I hate being on antibiotics (might come from having anaphylactic allergies to several of them). This one might make me cave and go crawling to urgent care.  I hate admitting defeat.
  • And because my life isn’t gross enough, I spent yesterday at the vet with one of our dogs to discover he had ripped off the top part of his lower eyelid.  How does that even happen?!?  *gag*  Vet says it should heal over, but he’s on anti-itinflamitories and a cream for his eye for the next week.  And we have to keep an eye (*snort*) on it.  They gave me a cone-of-shame to put on him so he didn’t paw at it or rub his face on things.  Luckily I have The Best Dog Ever and he’s not bothering it at all.  He probably just took one look at that cone and went “awwwww hell no”.  Maybe he’s smarter than I give him credit for.

Other random thoughts of late:

  • I really need to find a spell check for my computer that includes medical terms.  I hate it when my computer tells me they’re wrong, has no suggestions for the correct spelling, and then when I check them, they’re actually right. I think I’m going to create a spell checker for special needs parents.
  • I do not get the fascination with mustaches, fake mustache pictures, and mustaches on a stick.  Do. Not. Get. It…. at all.  Am I missing something?  Is there some secret mustache society that rules the world?  That’s it, isn’t it.  It’s not the aliens we have to be afraid of, it’s those mustaches.  I always knew Tom Selleck was trouble.
  • I also don’t get this new trend of tattoos that look like the skin is peeled back and you can see the muscles underneath.  Makes me want to dry heave.  If I wanted to see that, I’d work in a morgue.
  • More and more of my friends are getting involved in these ‘home party’ based businesses.  I’m happy for them, but really, they’re all MLM’s (multi-level marketing) of one sort or another.  Then I got to thinking… isn’t drug dealing just a glorified MLM scheme, really?  The people at the top make the most money and the farther down the chain you are the less you make.  So you have to get more people buying your product so you can make more money and turn some of them into sellers for you so you can move up the chain.  *BOOM*  I’m pretty sure there’s more money in drugs than in these Mom-based businesses, though.  Unless your a Mom-based business who sells drugs – then you’re laughing.  Just don’t get involved with a DEA agent.  We all know how that turned out for Mary-Louise Parker. (I kid… we all know drugs are bad; say no to drugs; etc. blah blah blah, but I still don’t recommend dating DEA agents… just to be on the safe side).

I Laughed, I Cried, I Peed My Pants

We have been trying, in vain, to potty train Vista for going on a year now.

To say she’s not on board with it is putting it mildly.

Some days she does great.  But we have to be constantly on her, reminding her to go to the bathroom.

And then the arguments start.

Like tonight.

Bil was doing the bedtime routine and part of that is getting her to use the toilet before getting her pj’s on.

He took off her diaper (which was dry – yay) and told her to go pee on the potty.

V:  “No.”

Bil: “Vista, just go pee on the potty.”

V: “No.  I don’t have to go pee.”

Bil: “Well, just TRY.”

V:  *starts sobbing*  “No, because I peed in my diaper…”

Bil: “What? No you didn’t.  It was dry.  Now go pee on the potty.”

V: *still sobbing* “Then what was that pssssssss sound?”

Bil:  *completely bewildered*  “What pssssss sound?”

V: “The pssssss sound…. It was the sound of me peeing in my diaper”  *cue a fresh round of sobs*

(the kid needs an Academy Award.  She can make herself cry at the drop of a hat)

Bil: “Vista…. you did not pee in your diaper.  It was dry.  Now  GO. PEE. ON. THE. POTTY.”

V: “Then what was that psssssss sound?  It was….”

Bil: “No! There was no pssssss sound.  Your diaper was dry.  GO PEE!”

V: “But I don’t have to pee.  I peed in my diaper!”

Bil: “You. Did. NOT. Pee. In. Your Diaper.  It was dry.  If you peed in it, then what happened to the pee?  Did it just vanish?”

V: “Yes!  It vanished!  …… Wait…What’s ‘vanished’ mean?


Meanwhile, I’m sitting in the living room listening to this go down.  By the end I think I was laughing so hard I just about peed myself.  Hmmmmm…Perhaps I’m not the best person to be trying to potty train my kid after all.




My Secret Addiction

I’ve been keeping a deep dark secret from all of you.  Oh I know I promise that I’ll share my life on this blog, but there are some things that are so embarrassing that I hide it.  Only my closest friends know my secret.

I’m an addict.

There I said it.

I, Jenn, am addicted to…. nail polish.


I know.  It’s so shameful.

And not just the polish.  I love the decals and foils and stamps and gems and … well… you get the idea.

Think I’m kidding?

polishwhore 750x498 My Secret Addiction

That’s not even all of it.  I still have a whole other box on top of that.


It’s my one weakness.  My one vice.  (well, that and chocolate, but I’m pretty sure I’d die without chocolate so it totally doesn’t count)

 I’ve always loved having my nails done.  It started with putting on polish with my mom.  By by early 20’s I was regular at the nail salon and committed to my acrylic and gel nails, which were more like claws.

Fun fact – I prefer to type with my nails rather than my fingers.  No idea why. 

Every couple of weeks I had a standing appointment with my nail tech for my fill and manicure.  Right up until Vista was born.

The day she was born, she was so tiny and scrawny I discovered that my fake nails got in the way of picking her up.  So I sat in my hospital room as she slept and slowly ripped them off, one by one.

That was the last time I had my nails oh so perfect.

Until I started playing around at home.

At first it was just a polish here, a drugstore decal there.  But then I discovered nail stamping.  And foils.  And nail art.  And did you know there are whole blogs dedicated to nails?  *swoon*

I know, if you ever doubted the fact that I’m crazy, there’s no doubt left now.

But, for me, this is a small and simple way, when you’re constrained on time, money, and energy to feel…well… pretty.

So here are my tips to pretty nails without the salon price:

1.) More expensive doesn’t always mean better.  I’ve used everything from Chanel to Essie to OPI to every drugstore brand under the sun.  Some of my favorite polish is the cheapest.  A lot of my current polishes are actually from Avon and I love them.

2) Don’t be afraid to try something new.  If you hate it, that’s why nail polish remover was invented.  And if need inspiration for new things to try, look at some nail blogs.  They’re filled with pictures and tutorials.

3) It doesn’t have to be perfect. This one took me a while to learn.  I wanted my nails to be absolutely perfect the first time.  Thankfully I finally grabbed a clue and realized that there are lots of ways to fix your polish mistakes.

    • Got polish on the edges of your fingers?  Let it dry then dip a q-tip in nail polish remover and get rid of it.
    • Smudged your nails?  This is a great time to pull out the nails stamps or decals.
    • Touched your nail to see if it was dry and left a finger print?  Sometimes gently licking your nail will smooth it out (I know, gross… not one I usually try).  The other thing to do is another layer of top coat.  You would be amazed what a good top coat can smooth over and hide.

Last night when I was doing my nails I totally managed to smudge the top of three of them.  Go me.  So I did some nail stamping on top and voila!  You don’t even notice the smudges!

stamped nails1 750x498 My Secret Addiction

(just because a lot of people have been asking me about this stamp the past few times I’ve worn it
its from a new 
Konad plate #M85.  If you’re new to nail stamping, there are starter kits you can get).
And if anyone wants to buy me a present I have my eye on the new Konad M84 plate
and the new magnetic polishes *hint* *cough*
Bil *hint* *cough*

4)If you don’t need the new nail polish / stamp plate / decals etc right away, order them online.  You would be amazed at the deals you can find (yes, even for Canadians).

But most of all… don’t forget to take the time for you!


**Disclaimer** The lovely people at were kind enough to enable my addiction and provided me with a new Konad Nail Art plate to try out. They carry both of the new Konad plates, M84 and M85, as well as starter kits for those who just want to try it out.

The opinions, however, are all mine as usual (including the part where I think the fact they ship for free in Canada, which no company ever does, is freakin’ awesome). 

Just an additional mention about Konad plates…. these are great doing kids nails.  I’ve been using them for years to put little flowers or stars on V’s nails. By the time you transfer the stamp polish to your nails it’s dry, so kids won’t smudge it and a quick top coat seals it on so it lasts as long as your polish does. It’s also not raised like a decal, so if you like the look of decals but not the feel of them on your nails, this is a good option.



Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

So yeah… about those floors.  I wrote last month about pulling up our carpet and putting down laminate.  And then all hell broke loose.

But the floors are done!  (YAY).

Here was our living room before.

DSC 0065 300x199 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

Beautiful beige carpet.

But then we did this.

DSC 0071 199x300 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

For the record, I hate ripping up carpet almost as much as I hate painting. Carpet staples are the debbil.

Vista didn’t react well to all the dust stirred up and so went to stay with my parents for a few days while the actual flooring installation was being done.  And it’s a good thing, because despite the effort to poly everything and keep things as clean as possible, laying down new floors creates a dust storm in your house (ie. don’t install new floors if you have any OCD cleaning issues).

This was our first glimpse of the new floors.  Notice the lovely layer of dust on top.  But I was still thrilled with how they came out. Even though it’s laminate, it has a hardwood look.  And I’m so glad we went with the wider planks.

DSC 0086 300x199 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

So after they were done the floors we washed and scrubbed and vacuumed the best we could before bringing Vista back home.

We managed her asthma and the effect the dust was having on it OK until the guys came over that next Monday to finish the stairs.  The little bit of dust it created was just enough to send V over the edge and necessitate a nice little ambulance ride to the hospital.

We knew we couldn’t bring her back to the house after that until all the dust had died down and we had thoroughly cleaned everything.  My parents were gracious enough to let Vista and I stay at their place for the week.  Let me tell you, being back in my childhood room and sleeping in there with my daughter was weird.

We were contemplating going home Thursday morning when Vista informed us her ear was bugging her.  V’s not ever the type of kid to complain that something hurts, so when she does we tend to take it pretty seriously.  She complained just enough to get me to take her into the clinic and after that she never said a word about her ear hurting at all.  But the doc at the clinic confirmed a bad ear infection.  But then he listed to her chest and gave me one of those ‘doctor’ looks.  Apparently she had one heck of a wheeze still going on.

So we ended up a my parents a few extra days while Bil did some extra cleaning and V got a few more days of antibiotics and steroids on board.

Since we’ve been home, she seems to be OK.  But the floors are a bit of an adjustment.

Vista’s done a few slip and slides while trying to lean on the couch.

Our border collie is fine with the laminate (although he was very happy to have V home again).

DSC 0160 300x199 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

My shepherd, however, hates the new floors, preferring now to reside in the front entryway or V’s play tent when she brings it out.

DSC 0171 300x199 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

(I think the pink brings out his eyes).

So, yeah.  It’s been an adventure.  Nothing could ever be simple, not even putting in new floors.

But I am so glad we had them done (and SO glad we didn’t attempt to do them ourselves).

I’m thrilled with how they look.  Now, I just have to get those walls painted… and redo the tile on the fireplace… and paint the kitchen…and… win the lottery evidently.


DSC 0179 300x199 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?


DSC 0199 199x300 Floors and dust and more dust and OMG did I mention the dust?

You Can’t Know

We’re in that period of time where most of our friends are still in that “how big will our family be” mode.

There are lots of babies being born which is great for me.  I get to hug and snuggle to my hearts content and then give them back when they start to stink.  icon biggrin You Cant Know

But as we watch our friends through their pregnancies, we sometimes struggle to understand.

Especially when it comes to the screening tests.

We’ve known several people who have gone through the Down’s ‘scare’, and had to have that discussion around whether to abort.

First off let me say I have nothing against abortion.  I believe every woman should have the right to control their reproduction.

Where I struggle is when the decision is made because they don’t want to bring a baby into this world who will have a ‘poor’ quality of life.

I want to scream at them “YOU DON’T KNOW!  A TEST ISN’T GOING TO TELL YOU THAT!”  *sob*

I’ve known children with Downs that is fairly mild and they are otherwise perfectly healthy.  The grow into wonderful people with a unique perspective on life and those of us who have had the pleasure of meeting them are so much richer for it.

Had we done those screens when I was pregnant with Vista, everything would have come back completely normal.  None of Vista’s issues would have shown up on those tests.  And yet we live a life filled with doctors and specialists and hospital visits and therapists and aides.

You don’t know.  You cannot predict if a child will be born healthy.  Of all the mom’s in my special needs group, exactly zero of them knew they were having a special needs child before they were born.

And had we known, ahead of time, about Vista’s brain malformation we still would have had her.

Yes, it’s sometimes hard having a special needs kid.  But?  There are the rewards.

I have learned a patience and understanding I never had before.

I have learned never to tell my child what she cannot do, because she will always prove me wrong. The only limits in her world are those placed on her by those who don’t understand that she is amazing and doesn’t know that she’s not supposed to be walking and talking, never mind running and reading.

I have learned not to judge people with disabilities.  They are people… with feelings.  And disabled does not mean mentally incompetent or unaware.  Quite frankly I’ve met more people with disabilities who have more capacity for caring and compassion than those so called ‘normal’ people in my life.

I’ve learned more about the medical world than I ever thought I would.  I don’t rush my child to the doctor for every sniffle like a lot of parents do.  We’ve learned to discern what’s a cold, what’s a flu, what’s croup, what’s asthma, and when medical care is really necessary.  A lot of parents could do with that training.

I have learned what it means to be a friend.  I’ll be the first one to admit that I used to be a complete flake.  Now, I forge friendships not a slew of passing acquaintances.   Want to know if you have real friends?  Face a medical emergency and see who’s still standing at the end.  I guarantee it won’t be the people you expect.

Having a special needs child has expanded our world in ways we never imagined.  I am so glad I didn’t throw away this opportunity to grow as a person when the universe handed it to me.




My House Is In Chaos And I’m So Happy

We’ve been talking about ripping out all the carpets in the house and replacing them with … something… for a long time now.  It turns out have to black dogs and beige carpets really doesn’t mix.  Who knew.

Those beige carpets end up being a lovely shade of grey most of the time, despite vacuuming daily (twice a day when the dogs are really shedding).

Needless to say, I loathed them with a hate I can’t even explain.

Add to that, Vista’s allergies that would have her breaking out in hives if she played on certain spots on the carpet (we have no idea… it was weird – and not related to the animals.  She hugs and loves on them all the time with no issues) and it was time for the carpets to go buh-bye.

I mentioned to my parents that we were thinking about redoing the floors and they were quick to recommend the same person who had put hardwood in their house.  He was a good friend of one of my brothers and he really had done a beautiful job in Mom & Dad’s house.  I promised to call him… at some point.

A week passed and I still hadn’t found the time to call, when my brother called me.  Did I remember his friend Matt who did floors?  Uhhhhh… yeah.  Well he needed a new website and would I give him a call and discuss it.

Well thank you universe for the kick in the ass.

So, I gave Matt a call.  And tomorrow I’m getting new laminate installed!!  Woohoo!!

We discussed going the hardwood route, but Matt nixed it because of the size of our horses dogs.  Cork was another option, but I’m just not a big fan of the look.  So laminate it was.

This past weekend was spent ripping up carpet and underlay, pulling out so many staples I lost count, and picking up the laminate.

I’ve got blisters from pulling out staples, scrapes from the baseboard nails, my knees are shot from kneeling on plywood for hours, and my arms are covered in bruises from hauling in the boxes of laminate into the house.

And it’s all so freakin’ worth it.  I am soooooooo excited for my new floors (I know, you can’t tell).

As soon as my house is back to some semblance of normal, I’ll post some before and after pics.

If you live in Calgary or surrounding area and need new hardwood or laminate flooring installed, definitely give Matt a call.


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