Friday, June 29, 2012

Time To Check Off The Bucket List: A Project Chicago Edition

I do have a bucket list. It is rather a lengthy one. I have a lot of things that I have always wanted to do in my life but was too scared to do. I remember exactly when that fear began. I remember exactly when it began to be debilitating. Somehow I missed the cancerous thing growing inside me and woke up one day afraid to hang out with my friends at the tender age of 16. Sixteen man! Seriously? You realize how such a thing affects the needs of an adolescent girl to be a social butterly? Well, I do. So now, I'm making up for it. Or trying to.

These are a few of the things on my bucket list:

1) Travel by myself.

(Anyone who knows me knows that I have super duper anxiety and traveling of any sort causes all sorts of tummy issues. Not fun. Hence, no unaccompanied travel allowed)

2) Fly in an airplane.

(When I was younger and up until June 22 at 6:00am I would search the skies for planes and dream I was one of the passengers looking down on the world below)

3) Have my very own passport

(seeing #1 and #2 you can see why up until May 2012 I never had a passport, nor saw any reason to have one)

4) Travel to anywhere in the United States outside of Grand Forks.

(Nothing against Grand Forks. It's just that it's a two hour drive from my city and I've been there at least twice before)

Who would have thought that I would have four things checked off within a month and three of them in one weekend? Certainly not me.

The week leading up to my much needed weekend away I cleaned like my husband has never seen before. (And most likely never again). I exchanged my Canadian money to American "funny money" that sticks together like glue when new. I checked in my information twice to satisfy Homeland Security 80 hours before my flight. My husband secured my travel insurance. I had a to do list that had only two items left as I ran out of time. (It wasn't clothes. I had clothes.) My children were sad to see me go, and I couldn't wait to see 6am.

Six am saw me working on two hours of sleep. I dashed quietly to get dressed and ready to go. I downed two tablespoons of Kaopectate and kissed my husband good-bye. My Dad dropped me off at the airport by 6:30am. The rest of this was all me. Holy crap! I wasn't ready for this. I wanted to crawl back into that car and book my butt all the way back to the safety of my home and crazy children. But my Dad had already pulled away from the curb. I was stuck. Time to pull up my boot straps and show this anxiety who was boss. (The anxiety was winning. I was still too scared to eat anything for fear of being sick) By 7am boredom took over and I bought a book. (I knew I should have charged my e-reader) By 8am hunger was beating out anxiety so I grabbed a tall coconut frap from Starbucks and a cranberry scone. Oh delicious heaven it was. 8:30am the call was out to begin pre-boarding. Ten minutes later, the rest of us could board.

EEEEK!!! Look at the plane! I can almost touch it!

I had to take a picture. I had never been on this side of the airport before.

Excuse the angry look. I'm not. Just really, really nervous. My last pee stop before I boarded the plane. I wasn't up to leaving my seat. I still wasn't sure if I could keep down the scone I ate.

Eeek, my seat was a window seat. How lucky was I to get a window seat on my first flight? AAAhhhh!!!!

This was the window right beside, sort of behind me. I've never been this close to the wing of a plane. I've never been inside a plane. I couldn't wait to take off. Suddenly my anxiety was gone and I was grinning from ear to ear like a child at Christmas time.

What was really fab too, was that I was sitting beside a plane crew member. He lived in Winnipeg, but traveled to Toronto to work for week long stints. Brave of his family to loan him out to the airlines like that. Awesome for me as I had no clue how to put on my seat belt. Then realized that it was exactly like the old cars with the middle lap belts. (I felt pretty dumb right there) We talked about my first flight, my trip to Chicago, and obviously enough about himself that I knew what I reported above. I'm thankful to this gentleman that was wedged in the middle seat. It made that first part of the leg exciting as opposed to terrifying.

This crew member was also very awesome when it came to picking up my bags to connect to my next flight. For some reason for the connecting flight I had to pick up my bag from a different conveyer belt thingy than everyone else. Apparently that was for everyone flying outside of Canada. I was a bit nervous, but I went to where I needed to go and asked the same question a few hundred times (ok, not that many, but it felt like it). I had time to go pee. (Yes, I'm like a dog, I have nervous pees get over it) Then off to pick up my bag and connect to the next flight. I needed to listen more. I ended up walking from one end of Terminal 3 to the other and back to where I started. (Where I needed to be was exactly across from baggage claim. Oops.)

These last two picture were taken in the Toronto airport. I can now say I have also been to Toronto. I guess that is five things off my bucket list. I will be replacing it with, I need to go to Toronto and make it out of the airport. This ramp I went up and around the corner to head into customs. I must say, customs is not a very friendly group of people at all. I mean, I know they are doing their jobs, but sheesh. When someone says "Thank you" and "Have a nice day" if you can't smile at least, the very least, acknowledge them with a nod. I also believe with the amount of security I went through that Americans are slightly paranoid. Rightly so after 9/11, but hot darn man, I don't normally walk barefoot outside my home and yard.

After that I got on the smallest plane imaginable. American Airlines you are a friendly airline, but dang, really? I was so sick on that flight I'm so glad I didn't eat more than that scone and had kaopectate when I got up. I did meet a lovely lady who set next to me. Made that hour and a half flight that much better. We also walked to get our luggage and she helped me obtain a ride to my hotel.

Well, that is all for now. I have so much to write, only this is so long already. I'll see you in the next installment of Project Chicago - A.K.A. Cheesy Chicago Yo!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prelude To An Adventure: A Project Chicago Edition

Yes, I am a tease. Get bloody used to it. I have been accused of this act all my life and am not about to stop now. Maybe in some parts of my life, but not this one.

HOLY BANANAS! I did it! I made it to Chicago! Really, I did. If you don't believe me check out Steph's (sarcasminaction) post. I'm in a picture or two. (I look stiff though. I need to work on that) Marianna wrote a post for Cheesy Bloggers here detailing her version of our shenanigans. Although she left out the earring incident. Probably because there was no floor crawling involved. Or she was already so embarrassed over "lens gate" that she blocked it out. If I were her, I probably would have too.

There were so many firsts in going to and in Chicago that one post really, truely couldn't contain it all. It would not do this adventure or Chicago justice. That and I've been too busy with kids to figure out how to get a bunch of pictures off my iphone. I came back with about 500 photos, and I believe two videos. So I have a lot to sort through and reaffirm that it was not a dream and I really was there, hanging out with the best people ever!

I am super glad I got past my fears and myself and went. I'm glad that I got to meet Marianna, Steph and Amy (coffeluvinmom) in person. These girls need heels around me though. I felt like a giant, which was only exasperated that first night by my own need to wear heels. I hid behind them in pictures because I had to bend down and didn't want to look like I was doing the potty dance.

So while this is not the post most have been waiting for. (Come on you wanna hear all about my time in Chicago, just admit it. You'll feel better trust me.) It will have to do for now. Just know I had a blast and made it home safe. No body to find floating in the Chicago river weighted down by cement shoes. They were crazy, not homocidal. Just. Like. Me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

If I Could Be Half The Mother

Last night I experienced something I never want to experience again. Last night I went to the funeral of a special little boy. Last night I saw a room full of people have their hearts broken. Last night I saw the same room laugh and smile about a life that enriched them at one point or another. Last night I saw a group of young classmates make an iced tea toast to their comrade. Last night I saw a brother say good-bye to his very best friend. Last night I saw a mother show strength and understanding over a situation I cannot say that I would be able to obtain if the roles were reversed. Last night I spent time in reflection as Eulogy's were given.

Last night showed me a side to my children I often forget. I saw moments I could have done differently. I saw sides of myself that I want to change. Sides I need to change. Not just holding my children closer. But pushing past myself to help them live enriched lives for we never truly how long we have. I may not reach the height I strive for in this area, but at least I'm going to be trying. That is more than I've done before.

Last night I reflected on all the mom's I've known in my life. The ones who have passed right along and the ones who are still around. I see the ones who are still around are the ones I look up to. The ones who have an awesomeness that I want to take away with me and give to my children. The ones who will and have fought for their children tooth and nail. Who give everything they have to ensure their world's are full of joy and the least amount of pain. Who teach them right from wrong. These are mom's who many call "Mamma Bears" because they will do anything to make sure all is right with their children.

Last night I saw how blessed I am to have these women in my life. These are mothers I am proud to know and call my friends:

My Grandmother, My Aunt, My Sister, My MIL, My other MIL, Kelly, Erin, Jessica, Crystal, Amanda, Deana, Tracy, Stacey, Stacy, Holly, and Kristy. These are only just a few of the great mommies in my life. Really the list is longer than I realized until last night. (Seriously, I just tried listing it and it's probably the size of this blog post itself)

If I could be half the mother these women are my children will be the most blessed children in the world, and I would be the most blessed woman.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicago: A Project Chicago Edition

8 days people! Only 8 days left before I embark on the most amazing adventure!

I'm going to fly for the very first time! I'm going to travel alone for the very first time! I'm going to meet some awesome Tweeters/Bloggers for the very first time!

Before I go though, I have some things that need to get finished first. Here is my #cheesychicago to do list.

1)Keep up with all the laundry for the next 8 days. (I have 6 people living in this house, do you know what kind of feat that is?)

2)Keep the house as tidy as possible (do I need to go over response to #1 again?)

3)Make sure all three bathrooms are washed the night before I leave.

4)Get C's room well on it's way for flooring and painting.

5)Make sure there is groceries in the house for the weekend I am gone.

6)Ensure E has rides to not one, but both birthday parties he was invited to on none other than #cheesychicago getaway weekend.

7)Decide what I'm going to wear in Chicago.

8)Do not forget awesome shoes and some bandaids for Chicago.

9)Pack bathing suit and cover up, possibly some workout gear. (who knows I might feel up to a workout if they have a gym in the hotel)

10)vacuum the whole house just before I leave for Chicago.

11)Go and get that travellers insurance.

12)pack makeup and hair supplies

13)bring camera and back up camera file thingy since I'm not bringing laptop.

14)Mail in Writing Assignment.

15)Finish order for Cuddly before I leave so it's ready to deliver when I return.

16)Finish adult apron to deliver day after return.

17)get some American cash.

18)don't forget to pack actual clothes and underwear. We cannot afford to buy a whole new wardrobe in Chicago.

19)Keep so busy I forget to be anxious and nervous about flying to CHICAGO in 8 DAYS!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Speak Your Currency. Princess. Part 2

Miss A is doing really well with the potty. She is wearing panties during the day like a pro! We still have to pry a morning diaper off of her. But once that is done she is good to go. Getting to this point was not without accidents though. Many on purpose.

We are great for going pee during the day. Many times you will here her shriek, "I have to pee!" and see a streak from different parts of the house to the nearest bathroom. The issue was going poop. She just refused to poop in the potty. She would have accidents during the day. She didn't like not getting a treasure for that, so she started to hold it until bedtime when she had her diaper on for the night. Soon we lost the need for the treasure box, but we gained nightly poopy diaper bums. There was no more currency that I could find. No matter what I did or said, this girl was absolutely refusing to use the toilet for anything but voiding. Everywhere I looked, the only answers I got was that this was normal for kids.

Not satisfied with this answer, I pulled out all the resources I could find. We have these three books in our home library:

I kept telling her that big kids pooped in the potty and slowly she started to go more and more. She still likes to hide behind her bedroom door just after going to bed and pooping in her diaper. And one day she even went in her closet and her room, brother and herself were covered in it. (Not my idea of a fun clean up).

We are seeing progress though. She now wants to go diaperless at bedtime, and isn't happy when I decline that request. Her bladder isn't quite ready for that one just yet. Preschool is in September and I believe we are potty ready. (Fingers crossed.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Why can't I seem to find it? I can write about anything generally. When I first started writing my first novel the words just flew from my mind, to hand, to paper. I would sit for hours. Dream for hours. Now I can't find one simple thing to say. I cannot seem to find a connection with this story or it's characters.

It's loosely based on me. Like the four children and wanting to be a surrogate. But the rest, not really. Which is good because I didn't want an autobiography. I don't even want to be a surrogate anymore. I am quite content never having another child grow inside my body ever again. Sounds selfish as being a surrogate can help someone have something they otherwise wouldn't. But after four children and finally getting my body back. It's so not happening.

Anyways, back to this assignment. I am supposed to send in a plot summary, which I think would assume that I have even started writing. NOT. What is wrong with me? Do I just have too much going on? Was it a mistake to add this on too? Should I have waited? Do I just need more discipline in my life when it comes to my writing? I'm thinking all of the above. What was I thinking when I decided to take this course on? I was thinking I really love to write and I really want to write at least one novel that gets published in my life time. I don't think I was ready for the self discipline it would require with four children vying for my attention almost 24/7.

I really wish writing was as easy as it used to be. I also wish I could find the connection to my character. I cannot even envision what she looks like. She's so smoke and mirrors right now. How do I make her come out of her hiding place?

(Source: Google Images)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chicago or Bust! : A Project Chicago Edition

Singing... "Chicago! Chicago! I luv ya, Chicago! You're only 14 hours, 7 hours, 24 minutes and 12 seconds, 11 seconds, 10 seconds, etc. away!"


I totally went bust! Well my credit card did that is. But, I'm still going to Chicago! How could I pass it up? I have never traveled anywhere alone. I have never flown. I have never been anywhere outside of Canada besides Grand Forks. I get to meet women I have only talked to on Twitter. I am getting a whole weekend without my kids and husband. (Notice how I put my kids first?) Love them, but gosh I need a break.

My first step in all of this was to ask my hubby if it was cool if I went. Seeing as this would mean that he would be watching the kids and all. The next was getting my passport. Yes, I am almost 35 years old and I've never had a passport. I've lived in Winnipeg all my life and had no problem not going anywhere that required one. Sure I had dreams, but I'm a pessimist realist and knew there was no way I'd have the opportunity or time to travel anywhere anytime soon. I have four kids for goodness sake. I'm lucky if I can ride the sleep train.

Now, I'm at step three. What the heck do I do now? What do I pack? What do I want to take with me? Should I bring my laptop? Is anyone going to have their laptop? Should have have travel insurance? Should have have some cash on me? Or just stick with the CC? I know I need my camera. I highly doubt they will let a naked woman with only a camera around her neck cross the border. Although, I am pretty sure they'd let me make it to Toronto. Us Canadians seem to roll like that. How many pairs of shoes? Pants? Shirts? Should I just wear what's on my back and put through an empty suitcase, leaving more than enough room to bring lots of booty back? What is in Chicago that I should make sure I don't leave without seeing?

Now on to the Mommy guilt questions: How does a mother of four enjoy this time away without feeling guilty? How many times should I call the husband? Should I call him sober or completely wasted? (If I'm wasted I could freely sing love songs into his ear) I'm sure the #cheesychicago ladies would find that funny. Should I call the kids to talk to them, or just let that be so they don't get upset and make me feel sad for leaving them behind?

On the way home, should I make sure I bring souveniers? What kind? My kids are 14, 6, 3 and 17mths. Should I do something unique to Chicago or completely cheesetastic? What about my husband? He's been there before. What could I bring him?

Suddenly I'm feeling a lot more stressed out than I think I should be. I know it won't be that bad in the end. I do know one thing though. I'm making sure my writing pad and paper come on the plane with me. I want to record every moment, every feeling. I don't want to forget this day for anything.

Hey Chicago! Are you ready for us?!

Monday, June 4, 2012

35 Years & Close to Rockin'

Late last year in October my baby refused to sleep. It was odd as he appeared to be sleeping better since he cut his tooth. But no matter what I tried he wasn't having it. At 1:25am I was so exhausted I could cry. At 1:30am I got a frantic phone call from my father. Exhaustion fled like a bat out of hell and I took off running. I packed up the baby and drove to the hospital they transported my mother to.

Everything was in slow motion. I felt like I was in an episode of Greys Anatomy. So many questions and nobody had any answers. The doctor came in again. My mother had an aneurysm and they were transfering her to Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg where they were more equipped for her. My Father rode in the ambulance with my Mother, my sister with her husband, and I got stuck trying to get out of the parking lot. I was not happy. Apparently you need to buzz in and get buzzed out that late at night. It took everything in me not to speed all the way downtown to the main hospital.

Those next 50 plus days were a hellish nightmare state. I laughed, cried and was zombified. Life held no meaning because my Mom, my confidant wasn't there. I prayed, I got upset, and in the end I was over joyed by God, his amazing grace and everyone who rallied to pray for her recovery.

Today we are celebrating a day that didn't seem reachable just seven short months ago. My parents reached their 35th Wedding Anniversary.

My mom is doing better. In the beginning she walked like she was 90. She shuffled. Today she speed walks with her walker. I imagine her standing up straight, tossing the walker to the side and breaking into a run. It'll probably never happen, but if you seen her walk now, you'd think the same. She has her awesome personality back and is able to clean her house by herself again. Sure it takes all week as opposed to one day to do it now. But she is doing it. She was told that this is most likely as good as it gets for her, and she'll never be able to look up or down without getting dizzy because of the shunt pinching when she does. But she's alive and I still have someone to vent to when I don't need any words, just an ear.

Not many people make it 35 years with the thought that if you don't feel in love anymore that means you should divorce. (I know, not always that cut and dry, but you get the drift) But they did. Not even an aneurysm could keep them from reaching this milestone. I can again imagine them at 45 years together and rocking in idential rocking chairs on their front porch as their children and grandchildren come to visit.

Love you Mom and Dad!

(Source: Google Images)

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