A Promise to Moms with Little Ones

Dear Moms with Little Ones,

I watched you drag your children kicking and screaming out of the store the other day.  You turned your back for a moment, and your little boy grabbed his sister’s hair and pulled hard. While your daughter was screaming at the top of her lungs, she punched your son in the face and they both wailed. You calmly paid for your items at the till while they air slapped one another in a screaming contest. You didn’t lose your cool, but your face was twisted with frustration.

It reminded me of the time my sister and I took my son to the mall. He wanted a toy. I said no. He laid on the floor and kicked and screamed and told me I wasn’t fair. Apparently this one toy would solve all his problems, and I was the only thing standing in the way of total peace and contentment….perhaps even world domination.

Now since this was almost 15 yrs ago, this may not be exact, but in my mind this was the conversation between my sister Brenda and I while my son wailed and flailed in the hallway of the Vermilion Mall.

Brenda: “What do we do?!”

Me: “I don’t know, this is my first kid! He’s never been overtaken by evil before.”

Brenda: “Well we better do something, everyone is staring.”

(And by everyone, she means 5 people in the mall in Vermilion)

Me: “I will pick him up and take him out. Yes, that’s what I should do.”

*insert me trying to pick up my flailing child (did he grow more limbs?!) before his head turned a complete 360 like that possessed kid in the Exorcist movie*

Brenda: “He just kicked you in the face.”

Me: “Well now this is embarrassing. Jimmy Cryderman is staring. Help me pick this kid up.”

Brenda: “No, he will kick me in the face.”

Me: “I will pay you in compliments if you help me take Satan away from the toys and deposit him in his car seat where he can be strapped down.”

Brenda: “I accept this deal, but you get his feet. I’ll take his hands.”

And with that, we transport my screaming toddler out of the mall like we were loading a sandbag. He did an alligator roll so it was quite the task. I like to think we did so with grace and dignity, but I know that wasn’t the case. We got the giggles. Yes, picture that. Two giggling girls carrying a screaming child out of the mall.

My point to this story is for all you Moms who are still in this stage of life. The stage of life when you are setting boundaries for your small children will strip you of your dignity. It will make you feel like you are inadequate and ridiculous.

When my kids were small, other Moms would approach me and say “Enjoy them while they are young!” and I remember thinking “Are you crazy?! I feel like a failure daily trying to shape these kids to be responsible adults who won’t kill puppies”

Let me give you the other side of the coin. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the baby/toddler stage. But let’s face it, I spent most of my time stalking them so they didn’t run into the lake while we were camping, or try to pet a tiger when we went to the zoo. I’m now at a different stage; one that I’m head-over-heels in love with. My little toy-possessed boy has grown into the most amazing, kind, respectful, and generous young man. He’s turning 16 in October. My other two kids are 10 and 7. I don’t have to stalk them anymore, they know their boundaries. All that embarrassment in the beginning years was worth it. I can read a book on the beach while they play now. We can go out for family suppers without the threat of temper tantrums. No more diapers, no more mandatory naps…It’s awesome. While I do miss my little babies so much, I’m focussing on the joy that lives within this stage and the freedom that exists within our growing family as we watch them develop into amazing people.

To all the Moms of little ones out there, if you are wondering if there is light at the end of the setting-boundaries tunnel…I’m here to tell you there is. And it’s ridiculously fun.

I will leave you with some photos from our summer so far. The first picture is my oldest son (the feature of my story) with my daughter whom he protects and loves so much.

From my heart to yours,


Riding in Cars with Hitchhikers

During my childhood, my Dad always found the good in everyone…and I truly mean everyone. Even those who my teenage brain had decided were losers. It was highly annoying back in my selfish youth.

He offered jobs to men struggling to find work, paid for meals, gave money to the homeless holding signs.

He picked up hitchhikers. A lot of hitchhikers. I cozied up to many. I don’t remember thinking it wasn’t safe. It was just normal and we got to know the life stories of each of those we picked up.

Even though it’s been 20+ years since one of his daughters has been in 4-H, he still buys a sheep at the yearly 4-H sale. I call them his feral sheep, he pastures some and they run wild with the horses.

I never understood his intense desire to accept and find good in all he met.

I get it now Dad.


I’ve been broken.



Looked down upon.

By many who had decided they knew what was “right” for my life. Which must have meant that I’ve lived the “wrong” way all these years…who knew?!   They’ve come in all shapes and sizes: super-moms, the popular, the wealthy with more worldly goods than one would need in 5 lifetimes, and those who wish I would live their version of their religion…or no religion at all.  The scope is wide.

And now that I understand acceptance, I don’t understand the need to correct another’s way of life.

I do know one important truth…

Even the mighty will fall.

And when they do, there will be people like my Dad who will accept them with open arms without criticism or judgement.

What this world needs is love, acceptance, kindness, positivity, and generosity.

I’m not interested in your version of how I should live my life.

Because I don’t need fixing thank you very much.

I’m no longer broken.

I’m just weird crazy me. The odd chick who makes up awkward yoga poses in her spare time.

And if you can deal with that, then I look forward to getting to know you for you. Just as you are, with complete freedom to say what you feel, and to live your life as you see fit.

I will leave you with this thought: We all want to be accepted for our authentic selves, yet the same respect is not always given in return. If we were to give the gift of acceptance to others, wouldn’t our whole outlook change? Thoughts? I welcome your insight!

From my heart to yours,


The Privilege of Busy

Today’s day is flat-out. There’s so much on my to-do list. Laundry, cleaning, burning CDs, editing, uploading, organizing, emailing, scheduling photo sessions around many schedules, shopping for my son’s grade 9 farewell, kid’s homework to help with, a sink of dirty dishes to sort out, company coming for supper, and the most frustrating confusing task of matching up the odd socks. What happens to the other sock? Where does it go? I don’t understand.

Just yesterday I felt fabulous. I was woman, hear me roar. I even curled my hair for no other reason than to let it bounce in the wind when I went for a run. What a difference a day makes.

On a side note about the busy side of this picture: let’s look at it so you can understand just how frazzled I truly am. The rose glasses? Part of a Halloween costume that I didn’t put away. Yes I realize it’s now May. That Tiara? Well, I just like wearing tiaras sometimes. It makes me feel fancy when I work. Those socks have no pair, and there’s a huge basket with more. And Brandy, that disk is yours.

Anywhoooooo, as I was running in circles within my mind like a deranged chick, I had one of these lovely revelations that I’ve been blessed to see lately.

You see, not long ago I visited my Grandmother in the lodge. It was just before supper time and as I walked Grandma to her seat at her table I noticed a lady sitting on a chair staring out the front doors. She didn’t move to join the others for supper and she wore an expression of longing. As I was leaving, I said hello to her and asked her if everything was OK. She  quietly replied that she was waiting for her family. As I made my way to my car, I realized that many of the residents at the lodge spend a lot of time waiting.  Their once overwhelmingly busy lives are now full of normality and routine.  I felt guilty for walking away to the car I can drive back to my busy family.

I felt guilty because I take it for granted. Yes, I take busy for granted. All these tasks I have to do in my day is because I have a purpose to some very special people. The purpose of being a Mom, a wife, a friend, a photographer of love. I am needed. I am blessed. I am an important element to the thread that holds this busy family together.

In the midst of my crazy day, I just wanted to take a quick moment to share that thought with you. To all you overwhelmed Moms who master the art of being busy, we are lucky and we are privileged.

I encourage you to enjoy your busy today, because I was reminded that one day life won’t be so busy. I sure will miss all the crazy….like crazy.

From my busy thankful heart to yours,