Behind starburst eyes

Colored water and when to join in…

I did some of my Yule shopping on eBay this year. One of the things that I bought was an add-on for the bathroom faucet. See I’ve tried many things to encourage the children to brush their teeth, but it tends to go the same “I don’t wanna” route each time. When I saw the add on that goes onto your faucet and lights up different colors as the water sprays through I couldn’t resist. Perhaps, just perhaps this might be what gets them to brush without a fuss. Well dear readers I’m thrilled to announce that it did indeed work! (At least so far while there’s still the novelty of it lol)

Water Glow LED Faucet Light with Temperature Sensor + Three Optional Colors

Tonight was my step-daughter’s Winter Holidays concert. It was extremely crowded in the gymnasium where it was taking place, parking was also highly entertaining, the closest we could find was 2 blocks from the school, and of course we didn’t bring the stroller. (We didn’t want to take up too much room inside the gym) We walked to the school, and there wasn’t even really standing room left when we got there. Eventually a person left the second row and so I quickly sat down with Mr. N on my lap. He yelled “Hi” several times when Miss. B got up on stage and she was thrilled, smiling and waving back to him. She looked lovely in her white dress with black trim, and so happy as she sang with a bright smile upon her face. Once she was done there was to be one song sung by another class and then it would be Miss. D’s class’ turn. I tried to tell Mr. N this, but he didn’t understand. He was upset and I whispered to him to look at the kids standing on the risers singing. He cried out “I wan Daaaaddy!”  I shouldn’t have believed him,  I of all people should know better, should have known it was a ploy, alas I didn’t. Since my husband was only a couple of feet away holding Miss G, I put him down as I told him it was okay to go see daddy. But go see his daddy he did NOT!

Instead he ran towards the kids singing, and got up on the risers, looked at all the kids, and then jumped off. (He’s just learnt how to jump so he’s keen to do it all the time right now) I frantically motioned for my husband, who quickly passed me Miss. G so he could try and convince Mr. N to get off the risers they were using in conjunction with the stage. As he crouched down beside the riser whisper-shouting “come here Turkey” (His nickname since he was born on Thanksgiving) Mr. N got back on and ran right through the back row of them. I watched as children balanced precariously on the back riser while trying to give Mr. N the room to run smiling past them. All the while those lovely children tried to keep singing the song they’d worked so hard on, and several parents and teachers alike tried not to laugh at the antics of my boy. Dearest husband finally got Mr. N and the show continued on without a hitch after that. Miss. D was lovely and sang with great joy as well, and Mr. N was pleased to watch her as well. Ahh yes this is our life unscripted 🙂

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Halloween Costumes

When C was about 3 years old I noticed that the stores no longer sold “warm” costumes for his size. (The biggest ones were for up to 24 months old) Living in Canada where it gets darn cold by Halloween night I was appalled by the paper thin costumes children were expected to trick-or-treat in. While one could argue that the child simply needed to wear warm clothes underneath, the thin ones weren’t created baggy enough to accommodate a jacket or even a thick sweater under them.  Coupled with his sensory issues, finding a costume that didn’t feel too restrictive on him or too scratchy was hard. I was at a loss as to what to buy him to wear trick-or-treating. That is when I started to sew my own Halloween costumes for him.

Since then, I’ve sewn several Halloween costumes for him. Now with N’s sensory issues I’ve started to sew them for him as well. While I was at Fabricland buying the fabrics and trims I needed for this year’s costumes the sales associate commented on the amount of fabric I was buying. I smiled and said I had 5 costumes to make this year. (We have my 2 step-daughter’s for Halloween this year and I don’t like to do for some and not others, it’s just not fair) When I asked them all did they know why I made everyone’s costumes, my youngest step-daughter told me it’s because it’s cheaper than buying one from the store. I laughed and told her no, not at all. In fact I pay almost double the price to make one out of warm and soft fabrics that will last several years and countless washes in our costume bin for random dress-up days as I would to buy a thin, easily destroyed costume already made at the store. 

It saddened me that she thought I spent all the time that I do designing, cutting, and sewing to save a few dollars. I know why she thought that, but that’s another matter. 

It started out as just a way to keep my eldest warm, while helping him to be able to enjoy his Halloween and not have sensory overload due to scratchy fabrics or feel too restricted to move by the tightness of a thin one once warm clothes were put on underneath.

It’s morphed into something special; something C looks forward to every year. Every once in awhile he’ll go through our costume bin and pull out a piece of one and smile and ask me “Do you remember when you made this one for me? I loved it!” Of course I remember, I remember each late night spent sewing while he slept, and his face once each one was done. I cherish those memories, and as he gets older I can see that he does too. Slowly as N and G get bigger I like to think that they too will be just as excited as their brother for “made with love” costumes, instead of just store bought. 

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Creating a sensory room

On Friday the mail came and with it the latest catalogue from The Special Needs Toy company. I love that catalogue, I love shopping from it, I love the variety of items, I love the layout  it, with each category being clearly listed such as “socialization, or auditory” What I don’t love is the prices. I was a frugal woman before I became a super frugal momma and so the prices always make me cringe. I hate that I can buy “regular” toys for FAR less than toys that are geared towards helping my boys to overcome some of the challenges they face and thrive. To that end I became inspired yesterday that perhaps my frugalness (yep it’s a word 😉 could be utilized into making a whole sensory area for my boys without needing to win a lottery!

To that end I’ve been busy crafting, creating and shopping with an end goal of creating a wonderful sensory area for the boys for less that $200. So far I’m at $92 spent, and half-way finished. I’ve got multiple auditory toys, visual items such as squishy animals that glow when they’re shaken, pillows with aromatherapy aspects to them, and more. Over the next week there’ll be sewing of various items (bean bags) cutting of an old tire (to create bins with amazing textured outsides) and more. I’ll post pictures once it’s all complete, along with a total of how much it cost for me to complete. I’m excited dear readers that I can totally pull this off! 😀

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A borrowed MP3 player, sparkling floors, and a heavy heart

N woke up at 4:56 this morning, I tried to explain it was still night time as it was dark out, but to no avail. He was adamant that it was time to start our day, so start it we did. I figured at least it would give me extra time to get a head start on cleaning the house cause what house with children doesn’t always need cleaning? 😉 To that end, I personally hate cleaning, but accept it needs to be done and find that music helps me to mind doing it less. Only it was 5 o’clock in the morning, I was still very tired and couldn’t remember where I’d put my MP3. So noticing my eldest son’s MP3, I thought “ah-ha! Problem solved” and I borrowed his.

About 30 minutes into cleaning a song came on and made me freeze as the lyrics touched nerves within my heart more sensitive than I’d ever imagined them to be. If I’d heard this song on the radio it most likely wouldn’t have enthralled me the way that it did. But this wasn’t the radio, this was my son’s MP3, so this was a song he had specifically chosen because it resonated with him. The song was “Let Me Be Myself” By: 3 Doors Down. And as I was mopping my kitchen floor I felt a part of my heart shatter all over those shiny tiles.

I’ll share the lyrics here for those that haven’t heard it before”

I guess I just got lost being someone else

I tried to kill the pain, nothing ever helped

I left myself behind somewhere along the way

Hoping to come back around to find myself someday

Lately I’m so tired of waiting for you to say it’s okay

But tell me please, would you one time just let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself,

Would you let me be myself?

I’ll never find my heart behind someone else

I’ll never see the light of day living in this cell

It’s time to make my way into the world I knew

And then take back all of these times that I gave into you

But lately I’m so tired of waiting for you to say that it’s okay

Tell me please, would you one time let me by myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

For a while, if you don’t mind, let me be myself

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted from this world is to let me be me.

Please would you one time let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

Please would you one time let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

For a while, if you don’t mind, let me be myself

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself!

Would you one time, ooh, let me be myself and let me be me?


It hurt to hear those words sung in my ears. It made me insecure and scared. Did he feel like he wasn’t able to be himself? Did he feel that he was constantly forced to pretend to be someone he wasn’t? Where do we draw the line between helping them to understand “socially acceptable” behavior and being their real, true, authentic selves? Did he feel that I did not allow him to shine with his own light? In my quest to help him thrive socially because I assumed that was what everyone wanted (him included) did I push him into being someone he wasn’t just so he’d be more accepted by his peers? Did I make him feel like he wouldn’t be accepted as his authentic self? The question swirled as I mopped ferociously, as if I could scrub away the doubts that perhaps in trying my best to help him, I was making him believe he was stuck in a prison of falsehoods and fake social graces that felt as unreal as the old white and red makeup clowns used to wear at the turn of the century. But once the floor was sparkling, my heart and mind were still heavy with doubt. I waited anxiously for the time when I could finally pick him up from the sleepover he was on at a friend’s house so I could ask him.


One of the huge things I have always promised and required in return is complete honesty between C and I. Even if it’s not pretty, that’s okay the truth can be said with love and gentleness, but it needs to be the truth. “For trust is born of truthful words and nurtured with honorable actions.” Finally we were just us two picking up paint at the store and I was able to ask him. This mere boy of 9 (and a half) sounded so world weary as he answered me.

“It’s not you mom, I know you’ll love me no matter what and that if I do something like say want to paint my nails with your sparkly red nail polish or wear a costume for daytime clothes when it’s not Halloween that you’ll stand beside me. Cause you’re awesome like that. But as I’m getting bigger it’s sometimes more confusing how I’m supposed to act, what other people expect from me. And I know you tell me to be a Lion and not a sheep, and that I’m supposed to follow my heart and do what I feel is right for me. But sometimes those things get me picked on or laughed at, and I don’t like it. I want to be my real self, but my real self isn’t always accepted by others, and I know you say that no one in the world is liked by everyone but I can’t help that I want to liked by other kids my age. But it’s hard cause sometimes for them to like me I feel like I have to be fake. I listen to the song and it makes me feel like someone else feels the same, so I’m not alone.”


We talked some more, but it was hard to hear how society makes him feel like he can’t be himself and be accepted. I’m sure there are SO many other people out there that feel the same way, perhaps it’s a rite of passage as children get older, but he’s my eldest, so this is the first time I’ve had to sit wringing my hands at a situation I can’t fix, one that I can’t even really get in the middle of and my heart hurts for him.

All I can do is tell my sweet boy this: You are never alone, I will walk beside you knowing what an honor it is to do so every single day of your life. No one can accept the real you if you don’t show them who that is. The ones that don’t, well quite honestly it’s their loss to bear to not have you as a friend. Be true to who you really are and know that the right people will see what a gift your presence can be in their lives. Be my brave lion, and watch as you take your place amongst the other brave souls who dance freely to the beat of their own soul song, who will be your true friends.  

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5 Things I Never Thought I’d Say….

There are so many ways that one changes as they become a parent, but one the most humerous ways to me any ways is some of the things I’ve found myself saying. Here are just a few of the most recent things I’ve found myself uttering:

1) Stop trying to pick my nose with your toes.
2) Get out of the dishwasher.
3) No I did not lose my penis I never had one because I am a girl.
4) I don’t wear a diaper because I’m a big girl so I pee in the toilet you should try it.
5) Not a good choice dude, give me the duct tape.

I’m sure dear readers that you have your own “things I never thought I’d say” and I’d love to read them, please feel free to comment on this post with yours.


Their Passions

I love treats, as do the kids, but I don’t like giving them foods filled with preservatives so I bake most of their treats myself from scratch. Today N helped me bake and wow!
While I could speak of how adorable he was wearing one of my aprons, but what really got me was how much he focused on our task together. He was totally present in the moment the whole time with me. He wasn’t in his own world as I’d seen him be so many times every day. He watched as each ingredient was put on the counter, he helped with mixing and adding of each one. He stood patiently watching on his stool when I was doing things like cracking the eggs or as I was showing him how much cookie dough to grab with the spoon and where to put it on the tray. It was amazing to watch how intently he focused, it was like watching C with his breakdancing.
Watching my boys with their passions is amazing, and a wonderful blessing for me. When they look at me when their doing them I see their intent focus and their whole faces light up with happiness, joy and a unique sense of rightness I find difficult to define. But watching them both find their passions at such young ages is a gift I treasure, and being able to interact with N with his passion, seeing him be so present in the moment with me, sharing those experiences with him, let me tell you dear readers that a whole lotta baking is going to be happening on a regular basis 😉

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Our Epic Camping Trip: Chapter 2 (Growing our village)

When N was born 2 months early and had to stay in the NICU one of the hardest parts was that I couldn’t hold him all the time, he’d get too cold no matter how he was bundled and he’d have to go back into his incubator after the smallest amount of time, and that was when he wasn’t under the lights for such severe jaundice when we couldn’t touch him at all. I swore that once he was home with us I’d cuddle him every single day for hours and hours. Until he was about a year old he was okay with that, but then slowly day by day, little by little it changed. By the time he was 18 months he hated being touched at all, he wouldn’t allow cuddles and he’d have a complete meltdown if I tried to hug or kiss him. It was at the point that I’d cry regularly to my sister-in-law that it was SO hard to raise a child that would hit me and scream if I tried to offer affection. I’ve written about the pain and struggles of loving a child and not being able to show them love through cuddles and touch here
Perhaps it was the lack of additional stimuli, perhaps it was that a bond had been formed between them a year prior when N had his horrific allergic reaction and “D” was his medic, perhaps it was cause D was L’s dad and N knew this. I don’t know, and the whys really don’t matter.

What does matter is the picture I have imprinted in my mind of watching, heart bursting as my youngest son asked someone intentionally for a hug, received it and kept on holding on until he was picked up for a full on cuddle!!! N cuddled into D, resting his golden-haired head upon D’s shoulder, one little arm slung across his other shoulder and a clump of brown shirt gripped with chubby fingers completely content with being held, with resting upon him. MY son was content being held, and I was trying not to cry. There was the man who had saved him a year before, doing something almost as amazing, he was cuddling with N, because N wanted him too! He wanted to be held, and I didn’t give a rat’s ass who he wanted it from. I was trying not to cry because it was so beautiful to see, it gave me hope that one day he would be okay with physical affection on a regular basis. Not just from me, but from others too. He felt safe, I could see it pouring out of every fiber of him, and I was almost brought to my knees, I was so humbled to be gifted with this sight.

Then it just gets better, cause honestly this camping trip was truly and utterly epic in the fact that I wondered when I’d wake up half the time, so singularly beautiful were the scenes woven into my family’s tapestry those 3 weeks.

My husband and I went to the fire pit ___ feet from our tent (I use ___ cause I’m terrible at guessing distance, but suffice to say it was super close, close enough that you could hear the wee ones while at the fire pit if they woke, and you could hear the people from the fire pit while in the tent) Someone was playing a guitar and I was sitting beside them and so I didn’t immediately hear N wake up the one night. M (D’s phenomenally stellar wife) came to tell me N was awake and D went to him while she came to get me. I felt so blessed that D had not chosen to “respect my privacy” by not entering my tent, that instead he’d chosen to enter so that my son could be immediately comforted. That alone was so incredibly heartwarming for me. I understand that in our day and age people often won’t do something like that out of concern that they would upset the owner of said tent with what would often be viewed as an invasion of privacy. While I understand that is why many would not enter at all, when it comes to one of my children being upset I don’t feel that way about my tent at all. I appreciated GREATLY that my child’s emotional wellbeing was the only concern of D and M and that they made the choices they did!

My throat constricted at the scene before me as I entered my tent: D on his knees with his arms gently cradling N, and once again my sweet boy had his head resting calmly upon D’s shoulder. His eyes were already shut again, a tear track the only trace of upset left upon his serene face. While I was saddened that he’d had a bad dream and had woken up upset, what transpired with D and M and him will always be a memory I treasure, in part because again there was N, totally and utterly accepting of this other person as someone he could trust, and also because there were 2 people who cared enough about N, not just in a vague “all children should be valued” way but in a concrete, “N is important to us as the individual he is”. He was in essence taken in as a part of their village for the duration of our camping alongside them, and for that they both will always be a part of the village of my and my family’s hearts.

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Fantasy Hair Colors

I understood that upon becoming a mother that I would most likely do things I’d never imagined prior to motherhood for the sake of my children, having pink hair wasn’t one I expected. I am now used to the looks I receive upon first seeing me with my variety of bright hair colors, ones that are commonly called “fantasy colors” because there is no way that they could ever be natural. My favorite is bright pink, almost a fuchsia really. For years I dyed my hair various shades of Auburn and I loved it the vibrancy of them. (Naturally I’m simply a dark chestnut brown)

When my eldest son was about 3 years old I started taking him to our local library’s pre-school story time program. It was once a week for 45minutes and he loved it. The part he did not love was “pick-up time”, which was when the grown-ups who were to wander the library during it but to stay away from the actual area the kids were in came back to the children’s area for their child. He didn’t like that time because he had trouble with facial recognition skills and would get anxious trying to “find” me in the throng of moms standing in a row waiting for our kids. I tried to figure out what to do to help him as he couldn’t just quickly scan the area with his eyes and spot me. It would take him time, enough time that he’d get upset thinking that I wasn’t there. I tried pointing out what I was wearing before we’d go in so he could look for a certain color of shirt or whatnot, but that did not work. I tried making sure I was at the beginning of the line, but then he’d start looking at the end first those days and vice versa, I tried calling for him from the moment he started looking, but still he wasn’t sure where my voice was coming from as he’d already be nervous…And that is how my fantasy hair colors started. I dyed my hair a brilliant fuchsia and of course I was the only adult with such hair color at our little library and so it was very easy for him to glance for the hair color and then take the few seconds he needed to verify my face in his mind. The nervousness on his part stopped, and overall it was much happier and better for him as he could be excited about the library program (which he LOVED) and still feel safe and secure that he could find me when he wanted too.

His facial recognition has gotten much better over the years, to the point that I don’t need to dye my hair anymore for his sake. My younger son also associates the fantasy hair colors with me though, to the point that he automatically assumes when seeing them on someone else that they are me, and will try to follow them if I’m not with him calling out “momma”. Once he’s able to recognize my face immediately, and does not need the visual cue of a unique hair color will I stop dying my hair? No, probably not. I started doing it to help my eldest, and eventually my youngest as well, but over the years ironically enough I too have started to associate those hair colors with me.

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Come hell, high water or $5,000 fines the kids were having a lemonade stand for Sick Kids Hospital

For the last 3 years my wee ones have had a lemonade stand on Canada Day. They make lemonade, cookies, jam, and candles and sell them to raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. This year’s experience was NOT what I’d hoped for them.

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It started great, we put up signs, made strawberry lemonade with strawberries we’d picked as a family at a local farm (Pingles) made original lemonade, each child got to take a turn at squeezing lemons into the pitcher. We made gluten-free cookies the night before. They helped to make jam a few days ago from the strawberries we’d picked together on Summer Solstice. I guided them on making star-shaped candles which they did with great pride and excitement and used the broken bits from their little brother’s crayons to color each one. We ran around the neighborhood and they would watch the lights for me from the corners of various streets as I would dash across the cross walks writing with sidewalk chalk across the entire thing “Lemonade Stand 4 Sick Kids Hospital” and an arrow pointing towards our home. Each child would excitedly want to be the one to pour the lemonade when a customer came, or to offer the cookie that was free with each cup.
Starting at about 1pm my son was waving a sign 4 houses down the street at the cross walk of the highway and our street and yelling “Lemonade Stand, all the money goes to Sick Kids Hospital” as cars drove by. A woman who lived across the street from where he was standing came out and told him to stop. She was not nice about it, he came back almost in tears. My brother came by to help support the kids in their endeavour was NOT happy that C was yelled at for trying to raise money for charity. So he stood at the corner with hin while my son did his best to convince every person that went by that they should buy a glass of lemonade to help out a charity that is VERY near and dear to our family.

The lady came out again and yelled again about them stopping, my brother told her that his nephew was allowed to try to help a charity and that he wasn’t harming anyone. She eventually came BACK out AGAIN and tried to give C $5 to go away. He told her “No thanks, I don’t want your money, I just want to keep doing my thing for Sick Kids” She was determined that he take it, and he was determined that he wasn’t going too. Finally, he told her “I’ll take it for Sick Kids, but I’m not going to stop, I want people to come to our lemonade stand so we can give lots of money to them”

My brother had to go so he walked C back to me, and I walked him back to the corner. This is where things got really crappy. A police car slowed down and stopped just past us. The lady had called the cops to force us to stop. As soon as I saw the police cruiser stop I told C to go back to the lemonade stand. The police officer asked a few questions and then told me he was sorry but that he had to ask us to stop as we were causing a disturbance and we didn’t have a vendors permit to run a lemonade stand. I walked back to our front yard to talk with my husband and saw that C was in tears. He was afraid that I was going to be arrested and that he’d lose his mom. I assured him that while the police officer was well within his rights to fine me but that he couldn’t take me to jail.

I then took the sign from my husband and started to walk back to the corner again. My husband asked me why I was doing it and I told him the truth “How can we teach our children to stand up for what is right and to stand strong in their convictions if we cow down instead of standing up for our own personal convictions. My conviction is that what the kids are doing is RIGHT and that they should be allowed to try to help out a charity. I will NOT back down, I will stand up for their right to be kids, to be good people, and to try their best to do good deeds. If they want to call the cops back again than so be it, I’ll pay the fines because standing behind my convictions is more important that being popular or the money it might cost us. They are worth it, the kids knowing no matter what that I support them is worth it!”

I then proceeded to yell at the very top of my momma lungs “Lemonade Stand for Sick Kids Hospital” while waving the sign at the corner for 45 more minutes, until it started to rain.
Stubborn? Yes! But wrong of me? NOPE If I don’t show them that their beliefs are important, that they are important, that I respect their efforts and that I WILL stand behind them come hell, high water or police officers with fines then how can I expect to raise adults that will be honorable, and strong enough to stand up for what they believe no matter what? How can I teach them to root themselves strong in Mother Earth and stand tall no matter the storm for whatever they believe in.


Summer Solstice Strawberries & Our Virtues

Every year we pick strawberries on the first day of summer. We make various jams from them, and put some in bags in the freezer for delicious smoothies. We also talk while we’re on our way there, and during it about a few things. We talk about how it’s the first day of summer, which means it’s the longest day of the year. We talk about all that Mother Earth has grown since the first day of Spring. As well as all that we have grown in our lives. We discuss that which is ready for harvesting in our own lives as well as what we need to further nurture and grow more before it’s “ripened” in our lives. We talk about the unintentional “plants” we’ve sowed (such as being argumentative, or jumping to assumptions, or whatever it is that each of us has been “growing” in our lives.) The good and the not so positive all get reflected upon. Then we decide what we shall continue to nurture and what we shall “pull” or “weed out” of our lives and ourselves. I started doing this with the kids as well as myself when C was very young, because I feel that regular introspection and honest reflection about ourselves is one of the ways we can help ensure we are growing in the ways we want to be. Conversely, it means that the things we don’t want to be “growing” within ourselves can be “pulled out” faster, when it’s had less chance to grow unchecked. It’s easy to say we’re going to do _____ and ____. It’s a bit more challenging to really look at oneself and see where we’ve perhaps gone off the path we’d prefer to be on and admit ownership of our “flaws” or less than virtuous aspects. But with regular honest, open reflection on who we truly are at that point in time and how it fits with who we aim to be we can foster the traits we most admire like honesty, patience, selflessness, honor, etc with better results than if we leave ourselves “unchecked”.

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