the river runs through it.

our city has two rivers that run through it. every year the community gets together and cleans up the garbage left over from winter along the river beds. but, this year there were other projects as well for people to participate in. projects like building crayfish habitats, adding mulch to the previously planted trees along the riverbank, or cleaning up the garbage from the river and it’s banks. we chose to learn about how to build crayfish habitats.

some sections of the river are busy with canada geese and at this time of year their goslings are busy growing. the wee grey puff balls are so cute!

although our kids are young, we think it is so important to get them involved in our local community, to learn about our local environment and participate in its up-keep where possible. it’s one thing to just live in a place, but to be involved in a community’s health and spirit are something very different. we met some really inspiring people, full of energy and knowledge to try to change things.

you can’t tell in these pictures, but lion fell and sat in the mud. his bum was covered in this thick, sticky mud. and his shoes, the cotton runners were drenched in water and mud! at home i had to do a thorough rinse before chucking them into the washing machine!

i had packed a picnic lunch, which we gobbled up quickly. building crayfish homes was exhausting work!

xo, mama lola

CANADA DAY crafts!

[ sources: moose and mounties & mountie skating ]

school is almost out for our kids here in the land of the moose, beaver and bear, which means it’s almost july 1st, which means it’s almost time to PARTY!!!! us canadians have a reserved, conservative reputation, but we should also be known for throwing a great party and bringing people together. as a land

here’s a wee round-up of canada day crafts to get the spirits up for this festive celebration.

what are your plans for canada day?
will you be wearing a red toque, drinking canadian and eating beaver tails? haha!
xo, mama lola

the stupidfication of DAD!

just before mother’s day i wrote about the degradation of mother. now, just days before we celebrate the men who are father’s i will write about the stupidfication of dad

it is everywhere you look, our media is saturated with jokes, sketches, books, tv shows, movies, blogs, characters, art, and so and so on, about the dumb dad. the dad who doesn’t know how to change a diaper, cook a healthy meal, . all he knows how to do is drink beer and sit in his man cave, while fearing his wife will find him and make him do a chore.

this representation of DUMB DAD infuriates me. the guys i know who are dad’s today, all changed diapers, know how to dress their kids, know how to throw together a healthy school lunch or dinner, and none of the dad’s i know, are stupid. they all make an effort to be good role models for their children, teaching life lessons through activities, conversations and by example. they are respectable, intelligent, and funny men!

dad’s and men weren’t always represented as dumb or incompetent.  back in the day, they were presented at the other extreme of the scale. dad’s were highly respected, highly feared men who ruled their homes. unfortunately, that respect stemmed from fear; children and women were expected to obey the men in their lives, whether they were father’s or husband’s. and if they didn’t fulfill the expectations they would be often be severely punished. 

but, over the years the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme of completely disrespecting dad’s.

for examples on how big name brands exploit this notion of dumb dad/ man, check out the commercials posted on this blog, stupid man commercials. or just google “dumb dad” and you’ll get countless hits on the subject. 

dear hubby is not a dumb dad or a stupid man. sure, he makes mistakes and he’s had his fair share of bad decisions  but, so do all of us; that’s all about being human. but, as a father he is quite capable and very hands on. i feel like my kids are very fortunate to have him as their dad.  dear hubby is a gentle, intelligent and very creative man, who is never phased by what other’s think of him!

xo, mama lola

nothing beats family fun!

this weekend we didn’t really have any set plans. there were a million ideas floating around and items on our to-do lost that needed attention, but then i realized the local multicultural festival was happening so out we headed!

the weather was ideal for spending hours outside riding fair rides and eating ice cream. we did find some yummy indian for dinner, as well!

bear was a little grumpy about going, but got over his anxiety as soon as we arrived!

afternoons like this that happen spontaneously, when everyone is in a good mood and the weather cooperates seem to happen every 10 years or so! i am so happy that we had this fantastic day together, especially since bear has been full of extra sass and attitude recently. 

and, there was a firetruck!

the firefighters were handing out baseball cards. one of them asked the boys if they were blue jays fans, and they just stared back at him totally confused! we are not a sports family, so no, our boys have no idea who the jays are, but, they got a deck of cards anyway! woohooo!

we saw lots of friends.
we had a wonderful time.
and left right before the kids lost their cool. got home, watched a few cartoons and headed to bed!

how was your weekend?
what did you do?

xo, mama lola

this is a vent : to all the hospital staff who have been rude…

today i tried to make an appointment for my annual MRI and was treated with blatant disrespect by two different staff members at my local hospital. i am still fighting back tears, because it’s not like i want to be there dealing with this. 
oh how happy i would be if i never had be inside a MRI machine again.

so i wrote this…

 to the hospital workers i have encountered who have been rude and disrespectful to me over the last few years this is for you…

  • i’m sorry i was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour.
  • i’m sorry i had to make an appointment and called your department, and you answered.
  • i am deeply sorry my brain tumour inconvenienced your day.
  • i’m sorry when you repeatedly use words like “protocol” you assume that i know what you mean. i’m sorry that when i ask you to clarify, you keep using that word, with snark in your tone.
  • i’m sorry you i don’t understand or know your protocols.
  • i’m sorry my health issues and the health issues of others have created your job and many others in your hospital.
  • i’m sorry you chose me as target for your bad mood.

i am so fed up with being talked down to as though i am stupid, irrelevant and worthless. i had a serious health crisis and because of that crisis i will continue on going care and attention from the medical world for years and years to come. being made to feel stupid for simply trying to make an MRI appointment is wrong. i do not deserve to be spoken to in a tone that implies and drips with judgement. 

i am a person. i have worth and value. 
and, just because i don’t know or understand how these massive hospital systems work, does not make me stupid, ignorant or lesser than the person trying to do their job. i empathize that working in a hospital setting must be stressful and exhausting, but i do not think that gives permission for systemic rudeness. i have received treatment at three hospitals in the last four years, two being major centres of research and respected in their industry. all three hospitals have staff that have treated me and my family rudely and disrespectfully. clearly, this is a major issue in the field and not just one or two individuals. 

i have always been supporter of nurses and health care professionals in general, but something has to give. and, taking out frustrations on patients who are sick, vulnerable and already under enormous anxiety is just plain wrong. i no longer have a tumour in my head, but i require annual MRI’s and blood work to ensure nothing is growing back. i am 34 years old, with two small children and making these annual appointments is still a huge stressor for me. i feel anxious just trying to make these appointments, because i am terrified of what may be there. i have a 25% chance that the tumour will grow back and seeing as i was so young when the first tumour was found, in my gut i am sure i will be told one day again that i have a tumour.

and, even if i was stupid, ignorant and worthless i still don’t deserve to be treated disrespectfully. as members of a staff that are trained to deal with people, the public, it should be the norm to be polite and courteous to all. 

that is all.
xo, mama lola

a preschool and ballet update!

a week ago we went to an open house held by a local soon-to-open outdoor preschool. i was feeling hopeful it could be a place to send lion a couple of mornings a week. i am really starting to crave some alone time, and the wee guy doesn’t really have many friends of his own. 

we spent the time outside in the sunshine; the kids played, painted and ate cookies. it was all very sweet and lovely!

the space was beautiful, with a full kitchen and dining area, and a classroom with adorable different play areas. the outside area was lovely also, as the school was renting space from a church with lots of orchards and CSA farming plots and community gardens. they own lots of land, enough to keep the kids happy and busy.

but, to my dismay after chatting and listening to the staff the schools mandate isn’t to be outside all the time the way i initially understood. they are hoping to get outside and explore the large property, but they will spend large chunks of time inside as well. the school is on the outskirts of town, and only accessible by car. plus, it’s quite expensive. 

so, we won’t be signing lion up to this particular preschool. 
gotta keep on looking!

* * * * * * *

bear had his open house at his ballet school last week.

 i went with my camera in hand and was thrilled to watch him. but, he didn’t have the same glint in his eye as he has the previous times i have watched. 

i think he’s bored. plus, we’ve been dealing with the whole ballet is for girls issue. i chatted with his teacher for a little bit after the class. she had some suggestions, but for now we are leaving the whole conversation of continuing ballet. i think he needs a break from the school routine and the ballet routine, before he can actually say whether or not he wants to continue. maybe missing it will tweak his interested again. in the fall he would be in the next level up, which means he’d need ballet shoes! aahhh!!!!
i really hope he continues.

* * * * * * *

i can’t imagine what juggling both kids’ schedules when they are older will be like. trying to decide who can do what and where, how to get there, balancing costs and school and family! oh, i’m already exhausted just thinking about it!

xo, mama lola

i witnessed a car crash.

i saw something bad happen…
you know when you’re driving home in your own community after having a fun morning, and you want to get home quick for lunch and nap…

but then…

…you witness a car crash. You don’t expect to see it, you don’t even expect to ever be a part of one. But these things happen. That’s why if you are ever involved in a car crash you need to get yourself a lawyer, such as one from somewhere like this charleston law firm, that way you might be able to get the compensation that you deserve.

i saw one car drive through the intersection and hit another car. i saw the face of the guy in the passenger side when the airbag deployed. i saw the kid in the backseat get lifted into the air upon impact. i heard the LOUD crash. i screamed. i felt my heart stop and then i felt my adrenalin set it.
dear hubby ran out of our car to see if he could help and i got my phone out to call 911.

* i have a recurring nightmare where i am in trouble and need to phone for help, but i can’t figure out how to use the phone. sometimes i’m at an old phone booth and sometimes i am using my own cell (a smart phone). but, i just can’t seem to coordinate my fingers and so i feel panicked.

anyhow, with my phone in hand, i dialed 9-1-1. and then nothing happened. just like in my nightmare. AAHHHHHH!
luckily i noticed my mistake and quickly hit the green “send” button. a voice on the other end asked me if i wanted police, ambulance or fire and i had no idea what to say so i said, all of the above! i didn’t actually know if anyone was hurt, bleeding or whatever but the impact was pretty hard and my motto is always better safe than sorry. i told the operator where we were, what intersection and that there had been a car crash. that was that.
then i waited in the car with the kids as dear hubby checked to see if anyone needed anything. it felt like years went by before we heard or saw the flashing lights of the approaching emergency vehicles in the distance. i was relieved when they arrived. the crash happened right in the middle of the fairly large intersection, and traffic was becoming agitated with all the waiting and slow flow of cars trying to avoid the crash scene.
because i saw what happened, and because i phoned 911, we thought we should stick around. and, i was asked to write a statement for the police. i was in such a heightened state that i actually forgot what happened; or i got confused about what was north and east and what was what. with the kids there i was distracted and my heart was still racing pretty fast.
i think i put down the wrong info on my statement.

but, i wasn’t the only witness. there were lots of people there when…
… at around noon today, a guy, a young man in his early 20’s ran a red light at a fairly high speed and crashed into a turning car who had the right of way. the guy’s son was in the backseat, in a carseat and dear hubby said they all seemed fine, well physically and for now, i suppose. later on other people saw him take a breathalyzer and saw him get arrested. the car that he hit had a young woman in it, who was driving after leaving her co-op at a nursing home (according to other bystanders). she was taken away in an ambulance, but we saw her and she was sitting up, conscious and was chatting with the paramedics. that’s a good sign, right?

it was one of those things, seeing that crash, that made me feel so fortunate that we were 10 seconds behind in the events that unfolded. of course i am sad that anyone had to be involved or be hurt, but i am relieved it was not my family. the woman’s car was hit in the rear door, which in our car means one of the kids would have been affected. lion specifically and the thought of that makes me sick to my stomach. the thought of my kids being hurt by someone else’s carelessness and selfishness makes me terrified. and angry.

that was no accident i witnessed. an accident is something that could not have been prevented, and, simply put, that car crash could have been avoided, only if that guy driving had made better choices in those moments leading up to it. it was his choice to run a red, to drive fast and possibly do it all while under the influence of drugs and or alcohol. those were no accident; they were all choices and decisions he made, regardless of how well thought out.
they were no accident.

i was very shaken when we eventually got home. my heart raced for a while and i felt tense and anxious. the crash has been playing on repeat in my mind for a while and i feel great sadness for all the people involved. i hope the young woman who was taken to the hospital is not physically hurt from the impact she endured. I also hope that she got herself a lawyer like Batta Fulkerson as soon as she can. She doesn’t deserve what happened to her and she deserves retribution. i hope they looked her over and that she was picked up by loved ones and taken home for some TLC. i hope she is able to overcome the emotional trauma from this incident with the support of family and friends.
i hope the little boy who sat in the backseat, who is about the same age as our bear, who watched his dad get arrested is somewhere safe now. i hope he is not traumatized by these events and i hope he is in the loving arms of his family. i hope his dad wasn’t high or drunk, and i hope he learns a big lesson in all of this.
it’s one thing to gamble with your own life, but to gamble with other people’s lives, simply to get to your destination faster is selfish and immature.

[ source ]

life is incredibly fragile and we are all so vulnerable in it. that is why we must remember that we are not alone in this, that what you do or don’t do has a ripple effect on the community around you.
love yourself enough,
love others enough,
err on the side of caution and slow down,
smell the roses, listen to the birds, savour the taste.

stay safe people.

xo, mama lola

teacher gifts!

there is just over a month of school for us, or bear specifically. i want to give something special to his teacher’s, because i really appreciate and value all of their efforts this year. bear has learned so much this past year. he is french immersion, which means he is surrounded by french all day and he is expected to speak it as well. and he does. not a lot, but enough to get by, he will ask to use the bathroom, sing songs and answer a few questions through-out the day.

i always enjoy talking to his teachers and getting to know them better. talking to them lets me find out so much more about them, like their teaching style and grading methods. if you want to get on the good side with your childs teacher then tell them about GradeCam, it’s a service bear’s teachers uses to help grade work, it really helps them out and the teacher would love you for introducing them to it. click here for it.

anyway, i have put together a collection of gifts that teachers may appreciate. i don’t think you have to spend a lot to show your appreciation. here are a few fun ideas to jazz up or personalize simple gift ideas. form what i have heard, teachers prefer to receive things that are meant for them, rather than their classroom, which makes good sense. you wouldn’t buy your mechanic a can of oil to show your gratitude, would you?


here we go!
50 cute sayings from skip to my lou
polka dot tote with cute printable from uncommon designs
personalized soap dispenser from design mom
printable, personal tags from making life whimsical
gift card and treat from hi sugarplum
succulent garden from the idea room

sometimes it’s nice to join forces with another family or two and get the teachers a “bigger” gift. like a gift card with more funds on it, or a fancier bag or whatever!

but, it is important to ensure the gift is personal and practical on some lever. crayon art of the teachers initials is not really what a teacher wants to receive… would you?

xo, mama lola

my mother’s day.

mother’s day is drawing to a close.
our day was full, happy and overflowing with love. it wasn’t a mother’s day that was about fancy jewels or planned with anything extra special. but, there were just enough small surprises and just the right kind of special things going on to make it an awesome day!

i woke up to a quiet, still house, except for poppy who was meowing her morning song full blast. i waited for my guys to rise. once they did, i got songs sung to me by two adorable naked little boys. i was gifted a beautiful painting bear completed at school and a bunch of wonderful cards and crafts. my dear hubby got me a waffle iron, but what he got me that was the best thing ever was…. he brought his old childhood desk from his parent’s house and set it up in the basement for me. i realize it doesn’t sound like anything special, but i’ve been wanting a quiet, private space to do some sewing for along timenow. out basement is not finished, but i will make my wee corner cozy and an area for working.
i am so excited!

dear hubby whipped up some yummy (egg free) waffles and then we headed out to see my parents. we decided to meet in a town about half way between our two communities. we found an old textile mill from the turn of the 20th century that has recently been turned into a series of galleries and working art studio’s. the limestone building was so well preserved and maintained with touched of old and new, that each turn or gallery we discovered was exciting to view. even the outside space was decorated with interesting, beautiful art.

the weather today was wild; cold, wet, sunny, windy and an adventure of its own! it made it impossible to stay outside for long periods, because at times it felt as though we were being attacked by whatever was falling from the sky! it was hilarious, and we all had fun with it, but only because these temperatures that are hovering around zero will belong gone by mid week!

after the art we had a beautiful japanese lunch and showered my mum with all sorts of gifts. the biggest being a ping pong table as per her request. the actual table is too big to fit into our minivan with all of us in it, so we made a cardboard replica and dear hubby will deliver the real deal tomorrow! so hilarious! my parents starting with ping pong! haha! the kids of course are excited and cannot wait to go play!

we ended the day at home with quick naps on the couch for lion and myself. quick, easy dinner made by dear hubby; grilled bagels with brie, tomato, avocado and dijon! yum!

not that i want to compare one special occasion with another, but i think i have to admit this was definitely one of the best mother’s day yet! although, truth be told it’s also only my fifth, but who cares. we had a wonderful day and that’s what matters most!


xo, mama lola

this moment.

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives. 

this is a picture of myself (second from the right  trying to hold back tears) and some of my fellow  brain tumour survivors at our towns spring sprint last sunday. it was a beautiful spring day, a perfect day for a run or walk to raise funds for the canadian brain tumour foundation. we raised over $39, 000!!! wooohooooooooo!!!! so awesome!!!

my parents came, which meant a great deal to me. i think it was very cathartic for my mum, especially, to see so many people involved in such a great cause. people who are living with or have survived a brain tumour surrounded by all of their friends and family! surrounded by so much love!

my kids came and now at 5 years of age bear was asking some tough questions. luckily dear hubby was there to answer them. he told bear we were there to support survivors of brain tumours and that the people wearing blue shirts had had a tumour and had been sick. (there were also people wearing white shirts who were family or friends of a survivor and people in orange shirts were volunteers). 

bear saw me in my blue shirt all day, but never made the connection. 
not yet anyway
one day soon it’s a conversation we will have to have with the kids. 

anyhow, let me hear three cheers for all these survivors in blue shirts…

i would love it if you left a link to your { this moment }. 

xo, mama lola
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