Category Archives: Life

All the words I wish I could say

At this particular moment in time, I’m surrounded by people who are struggling.  A lot of people. Friends, family, acquaintances and people whom I only know via social media. These people are hurting and need to hear words that will soothe their spirits and restart their steps.

But how do you say the right thing without being a jerk? How do you help them see what you see? How do you reach a heart that has become so hard that it doesn’t even feel its own beat anymore? How do you bring someone hope when they’re swimming in despair? How do you become what they need most?

I want to scream at them, and shake them awake. I want to give them a hug and help them feel safe and secure again, but I can’t. I can’t heal broken hearts or repair old wounds, but I do have words.

These are the words that I wish I could say. The words from my heart to theirs.

I wish you knew how proud I am of you. I am proud of all that you’ve done and all that you’ve tried to do. I’m proud of you for always taking the high road when the low road would’ve been the easier way to go. I’m proud of you for being such a forgiving and loving example to your children. I’m proud to call you my friend.

I’m sorry that your life has been so tough, and the load you’ve had to bear has been solely on your shoulders. I’m sorry that you’ve been let down by people over and over and over again. I’m sorry that you’ve never been given the support you needed and deserved. I’m sorry that you’re having to tread water to just stay alive.

I wish that I could go back in time and save you from the parents you were given to, but then you wouldn’t be you. I wish that I could take away the bad dreams and the horrific stories that you now consider “normal”. I wish that you could see that you’re an amazing mother in spite of your example. I wish you would accept everyone’s love and respect for you at face value.

I’m sorry that you feel like the whole world is against you. I’m sorry that you feel so alone even though you’re actually never in that place. I’m sorry that you feel like there’s no place to turn or anyone to run to. I’m sorry that you feel so isolated.

I wish that you could look in the mirror and see the strength that I see when I stare into your eyes. I wish you could see the glow that takes over your face when you’re watching your babies play. I wish you could see the looks that strangers give you when you walk into a room. I wish you could hear the word’s of admiration and praise about you that people share with me all the time. I wish you believed the words I’m speaking now.

I’m sorry that your spouse turned out to be such a jerk. I’m sorry for the abuse you went through and for all the struggles you now face living as a single parent. I’m sorry that you’re having to make decisions alone that should be shared with someone else. I’m sorry that the person you chose failed you so badly.

I want you to know that I love you, no matter what. I want you to know that even though our lives quite often head in opposite directions that you will always be a part of me. I want you to know that I’m here to pick you up if you ever trip and fall so hard that you can’t get up on your own. I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Do not believe the words that are being spoken over you or the lies that your brain is convincing you are truth. You are not worthless. You are not ugly. You are not unlovable. Hear me when I say this. You are amazing and you are so very worthy of all the good things. And most importantly, you are not alone.

not alone

I’m guessing that I’m not the only person watching friends and family flounder about right now. Please help them. Please keep reaching out or make yourself available to listen. Be the voice they so desperately need to hear.

If perchance you’re the person feeling alone or let down, please get help. Open up to the people around you and let them in. You do not have to carry everything by yourself. You are not alone. Ever.

If you’re in Alberta, and just need someone to talk to, please give this numbers a call. 1-877-303-2642  or 780-482-HELP (4357).  If you live somewhere else, just search online or in your phone for Mental Health/Depression help.

The Internet and the Kids that use it.

I love the interwebz. A lot. So much so that if I forget my cellphone or ipad when I go out, I start having heart palpitation’s. It has become my connection to the world, my friends and unlimited information. Google has “diagnosed” many of my illnesses, Youtube & Pinterest have inspired me and taught me about things I’ve never even heard of. Facebook has connected me to my past and Twitter has given me the gift of many new & amazing friendships. I love the Internet.

In saying all that, I also recognize how dangerous this big open virtual playground can be. It is filled with pictures, people, ideas and opportunities that I don’t consider healthy or safe. It has allowed us to become over-informed, over-stimulated and much more bold than we would ever be in “real life”. The screen has become something that we can hide behind and become whoever we want to be. It’s easier to be a total jerk, to bully, to tease and to just be downright annoying. It brings the whole world into the privacy of our own homes and leaves us alone with nothing but our conscience to judge or challenge our choices.

As an adult, I know how hard it can be to always keep myself in check. To guard what I post or how I respond as words don’t always relay exactly what I’m trying to say. I’ve learned to question things that I see and read. I understand that the Internets idea of reality, isn’t actually so. I’m an adult and it’s tough … imagine what it’s like to be a child or a teenager? With one click of a button, you get to see things that you’ve never seen or even heard of before.

As parents, we need to keep them safe. Not blinded without access but safe.

As my kids have grown, I’ve found lots of little ways to stay on top of their internet usage and to help them make good choices. Lots of people have commented that I’m too tough, or that I do too much “spy work” and don’t give them enough privacy. Frankly, I don’t care. I’ve got 18 years to help them become the best that they can be, and I take that job very seriously. My job is to guide them, protect them, and help them make choices that they’re not yet strong enough to make. Based on that principle, I give you this.

My Guide to Monitoring Kids on the Internet. (Super basic, super easy stuff that works).

Number One. Do NOT be so naïve in thinking that you’ll just keep your kids off the internet and block them from everything. You can probably do that to some level, but guaranteed they’re sneaking around behind your back. AND you’re not monitoring it AT ALL. Teachers also use the internet & Facebook for a lot of stuff now. Your kids are GOING to have to access it.

* Even if you’ve allowed an account somewhere, watch it. Have you noticed that it’s suddenly gone silent or the posts are few & far between. Odds are really good your kid has another account. Find it. (They’re favourite thing to do is to reverse their names, use a middle name or something really stupid. Usually, they keep at least one of their real names in their alter-ego)

Number Two. Help your kids set up the accounts that they want to have, especially Facebook. Set their privacy settings so they’re not sharing everything, with everyone, everywhere. Teach them to not list their school, address, phone number, etc. Talk about why it’s not safe, how the internet is forever, how people lie, etc. They’re going to laugh at you, but keep saying it.

* Check these settings and what is displayed on their pages on a regular basis. Facebook quite often asks for updates and they just fill them out without thinking. Also, update the privacy & restrictions in their devices and then password it. That’s the simplest way to stop explicit apps & information from being downloaded & shared. For my younger kids, I actually remove Safari/Explorer from their devices completely.

Number Three. Passwords. Know them, so you’re able to enter their account at any time and see everything. They may have blocked you from seeing some stuff, so this is the simplest way to see what you’re missing and/or to remove any inappropriate stuff.

* At our house, if I pick up your electronics or go to log into something and I don’t know the password. The item belongs to me for a week. (Not just apps, but passwords for the actual electronics as well). If I have no access, neither will they.

Number Four. Check stored photos, videos, and search requests. Lots of people don’t check there & it’s so important to do. These items can be very telling and/or very shocking. It’s also a great way to know what you need to talk to your kids about.

*If I find something inappropriate, I take a screen shot, and then delete it. I then show them what I’ve found, and we have a serious conversation about it. Full access is then completely revoked for a week, and then earned back slowly. You get wifi back, but not Facebook etc.

Number Five. Go through their Friends list, and challenge your kids on how they know the people that they’re “friends” with. If they can’t tell you, delete them. Kids will befriend pretty much anyone that asks to be their friend, and once that connection is made, strangers have access to all their info.

*If you see really suspicious or odd names, look further. I’ve found many conversations from “hot chicks” that are very exploratory & inappropriate. There are predators out there, so be aware.

Number Six. Make up a fake account with the picture of a cute boy/girl and befriend your kids.  🙂  You’ll be surprised at how quickly they accept your friend request, and by being a “friend” that they consider a peer, you’ll be able to monitor things from another viewpoint.

* Yes, this is pretty sneaky and spy-ish. And yes, I have 2 separate alter-egos.  LOL.

Number Seven. Instagram. Youtube. Textplus. Skype. Are not innocent apps …. watch them. Closely. We don’t allow Skype on any of our kids personal electronics at all as it’s all too easy to participate in a “free show”.  😉

* Check their phones/ipads/laptops, etc. and see what apps they are using. Ensure that you have passwords and that you personally follow all of their accounts. Stuff may still happen, but you’ll be aware of it and will be able to deal with it.

Number Eight. Nobody goes to bed with their electronics. Pick a time for them to be brought down to the kitchen or your bedroom. Nothing good happens after dark … especially when you’re 14 & alone.

*When they complain that they won’t be able to wake up in the morning, hand them an alarm clock. For super saavy people, you can shut down their IP addresses at a certain time so all internet access is limited.

Number Nine. Snapchat. Kik. Ask FM. Delete them, and when they re-add them, delete them again. These apps are scary, and are SUPER hard to monitor. The potential for abuse, harassment and sexting is HUGE with these ones. They are going to scream and complain about this, but don’t give in. If they need to send pictures, they can do it a million other ways.

*I’ve changed the settings in my kids phones/ipads so that they’re able to download apps and/or updates, but they cannot delete them. This allows them to receive updated versions of games, etc without me having to log-in to do that. But it doesn’t allow them to delete the evidence of using something I’d disapprove of. This REALLY makes them think because they know I’ll catch them.  🙂

Read this: 4 Apps Teens Love that Parents need to Monitor

And this: Why you should delete Snapchat

Number Ten. Set up a support system with your kids friends parents. If you see something inappropriate within their group, say something. I know that I would want someone to tell me if they knew something about my kids. Be open if someone approaches you, and don’t instantly shut them down. It may turn out to be nothing but it could be huge, check it out.

*I saw a group of 16 year old kids plan out an entire bush party on Facebook. They posted the address, directions, amount owing for the 2 kegs they had already purchased, etc. This was 100+ underage kids drinking & driving in our neighbourhoods. I called the police.

MOST IMPORTANTLY. Your kids are on the internet. They’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, etc. FIGURE OUT HOW THEY WORK…..you need to be one step ahead of them at all times. You don’t need to become a social media genius, but you do need to learn about privacy settings, tagging, abbreviations, etc. Thankfully, our kids think we’re dumb, so with even a little bit of work, you can stay well-informed.

There’s also some great little apps that we can install on our electronics to track and control what/when our kids do online. Use these to help you be aware of what your kids are up to. They’re a great help and back-up for when you forget. Don’t put all of your trust in them, and stay diligent yourself, but use these.

Apple Users can try:  Parent Kit

Android Users can try: Funamo

Some cellphone companies also have some monitoring services as well. Ask your provider if they’re able to actually send you your kids texting conversations. If you want to know where your kids are at all the time, turn on their locator device, subscribe to a tracker via your cellphone company or try this. Be sure to not forget about your home computer, especially if it’s in a dark corner of your basement. Again, check your “internet options” and update your privacy settings but you can also use this awesome program for another layer of security.

I’m not saying that you need to do all of this or even any of it. What I am asking you to do is to be aware. Keep your eyes open, listen to your kids, monitor the time spent on their devices and don’t be afraid to say No. They do not need full access to everything at all times, no matter if they yell that you’re mean and the only one that doesn’t let them use certain things. You need to be the little voice in their head teaching them right from wrong until their voice gets strong enough to speak alone. Say No, but then talk. Explain why you’re restricting things, why it’s good for them, and why you’re not changing your mind. These opportunities are some of the best & most memorable teachers, don’t let them slip by.

I so dearly love the Internet but I love my Kids more. Even if it makes me the worst mother in the world.

Who do you say I am?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve met some amazing people and have had some great conversations. I’ve been asked “what I’m about, and what I believe in”, and when I answered, “I” didn’t always come out right. It almost felt like I didn’t know who I was but …. I know who I am.

I know what I believe. I know what I feel. I know what I’m good at. I know what I need to change. I know what I want to keep. I know that I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I know that not everyone understands me, and why I believe and or do the things that I do. I know that I am different, and I’m okay with that.

I also know that when people learn certain things about me, they change they way they treat me or how they respond to me and that makes me sad. We are not the same, but our differences shouldn’t cause walls to rise between us. Truth be told, the “thing” that separates us, probably isn’t that big of a deal. It could actually be just the thing that could make our friendship stronger. It could be the thing that we’ve needed to learn about ourselves. It could be the thing that sets us free.

So to clear up some of the “things” that people think they know about me, this is who I am.

I am a Mother. I’m really good at maintaining order when chaos tries to overtake my home. I know how to make my children laugh. I am raising AWESOME kids. BUT I quite often yell when I should probably just walk away. I don’t attend nearly enough school events or activities with my children. I most definitely don’t cook healthy meals everyday, and will, more often than not pass off take-out as dinner.

I am a Wife. I’m my husbands biggest cheerleader. I have made our home a safe and secure place to be. BUT I’m a terrible housekeeper and the piles of stuff all over my house will attest to that. I constantly blow the budget and am totally fiscally irresponsible. I am dramatic and pouty and not always a great partner.

I am a Business Owner. I have great ideas, and have no problem bringing my vision to life. I have a knack for finding cool things, at great prices in the oddest places. BUT I fly by the seat of my pants, and assume that everything will work out like it should. I am a control freak, and refuse to get help, even though I desperately need it. I keep terrible records.

I am a friend. I am loyal and trustworthy. I’m forgiving and a great listener. BUT I don’t take advice really well, even though I give it out constantly. I’m terrible at returning phone calls. I’m more known for cancelling than for showing up.

I am a born-again spirit filled Christian. I try desperately to practice what I preach. I love my neighbour as I love myself. BUT I don’t attend church as often as I should. I allow my children to believe in Santa Claus. I make mistakes every single day and don’t always choose the most righteous path.

I am many things. I love people, and music and eating out. I’m hilarious. I hate tomatoes but eat both ketchup and salsa with pretty much everything. I hate exercising and love sugar cookies. I am overweight. I am terrified of being locked or trapped in vehicles, airplanes, elevators, etc. I love Social Media, even when people get all crazy and say the dumbest things. Reality TV is one of my guilty pleasures. I am a hermit at heart.

What I am NOT. I am not a better mother than anyone else, and I most certainly don’t have all the answers. (PLEASE don’t be scared to talk to me, ask me questions or feel like I will judge how you do things). I am not “so Christian” that I can’t be bothered with people who are not. (You do not have to change who you are to be my friend. Our beliefs may be different, and that’s SO okay). I am not an expert in anything. (I am learning as I go, and I WANT to hear how you’ve made things work for you). I can not be summed up by a simple blog post. (And neither can you).

So the next time you meet someone and you’re faced with a trait that you don’t understand or maybe don’t even respect, take a breath and reach out anyways. Don’t let a judgment stop you from looking further. We all have some incredible stories to share, so please take the time to listen and hear them. The gifts that you may receive will be well worth the effort.

Thank-you for being a part of my life.

Mirror, Mirror

Crooked Tooth.

Double Chin.

Messy Hair.

Freckles.

Huge Feet.

Too Fat.

These are the things that I see when I look in the mirror. These are the things that the world sees when they look at me. These are the things that I hate about myself, and sometimes they’re all that I see. But these things are not Me. Or are they?

My crooked tooth has been there my entire life. It is the one tooth that messes up my perfectly straight teeth. It has driven me crazy. FOREVER. But maybe it’s what gives me my super amazing singing voice, and helps me to bellow like an angel. Totally grasping here, obviously.

My Double Chin. Well, that seems to come and go. But it’s most definitely been there more often than it hasn’t. And now as I’m seeing less and less of it every day, it’s freaking me out a bit. That extra chin has always been a part of me and now it’s leaving. Who knew that a big chunk of skin would be a security blanket of sorts? I am so weird.

My messy hair. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not exactly a “doer of the hair”. More often than not I leave the house without even brushing my hair. I have NEVER curled my hair, and my only requirements when I go for my yearly haircut is that I don’t have to do anything with it when they’re done. My hair does exactly what it wants … sometimes good, sometimes bad. A beauty queen, I am not but I don’t spend more than $80/year on my “upkeep”, which helps me afford a housekeeper. I call that a win.

Freckles. Or age spots. Or dots. Or whatever the heck they are, I am covered in them. Face, arms, legs, feet, etc. What is that about? When I was a teen, I had the perfect Cindy Crawford beauty mark, but then it moved near my ear, and 10,000 of it’s friends showed up. I’m now a speckly dot-to-dot, which I’m hoping will keep my mind active as I age. I’ll be my own “activity” at the seniors home.

Huge Feet. I can’t remember my feet ever being smaller than a size 9. Never. Now they’re a size 11/12. I have skis at the ends of my legs but they’ve served me well. I’ve managed to pretty much stand upright without any issues my whole life. My big honking feet have been what’s supported this big girl all these years.

Too Fat. Well, I cannot even come up with a good excuse for that one. I ate too much of the wrong things and now I’m fat. Period. But all of that “extra” has protected me when I fell, it’s kept me alive when we were broke, it keeps me warm year round, so we can keep the heat turned down low. It is my superpower suit, fluffy and fabulous but super nonetheless.

All of the imperfect things that stare at me everyday in the mirror are actually the things that make me the person that I am. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without these flaws, and for that I’m thankful. My flaws have made me stronger, more loving, more kind, and more understanding. They’ve helped me see the world through the eyes of someone who lives under constant judgement and ridicule.

As I sit and ponder my life, I now recognize that the things I’ve never really liked about myself are the very things that set me free. I’m fat, but I’m beautiful. I’ve got crooked teeth but a great smile. I’ve got whacked out hair, but it’s super thick and easy to leave alone. My feet are huge but they’re cute. My freckles make my face interesting, and not like anyone else. My double chin … well, I’m not sure that there’s anything good about that.

Point is, instead of focusing on what makes me unhappy about myself, I’m focusing on how those things make me amazing.

What do you see in the mirror? Look past that first glance, and look deeper. Imagine that you’re looking into the eyes of your child … what do you see there? Do you see any imperfections or do you see them through the eyes of love? We have no problem doing that for the people that we care about, it’s time we start doing it for ourselves.

I am the example for my children. They need to see a Mom that loves herself, and isn’t controlled by her imperfections. They love me no matter how good or how bad I look. They think I’m hilarious and fun to be with. They think I’m perfect exactly how I am. Today, I’m choosing to believe them.

I am not just a reflection in the mirror and neither are you. Our story cannot be seen in one glance, or described by a single sentence. So instead of trusting a mirror, trust the voice in your heart.

That my friends, is all that matters.

What the heck is Weestock?

Have you ever heard of an awesome little tradeshow called Weestock? It’s IS Edmonton’s Unique & Indie Boutique Baby Show.  And if you are blessed to have children whether at home, or in your life somehow, you need to come and check it out. It literally is a one-stop shop for all things cute and fabulous for the little’s in your world.

Here’s a bit about the show, and the fabulous ladies that run itwee

As the owner of a successful graphic design company Christina Dennis’ days were long and busy. Then five years ago Christina Dennis found out she was going to be a mother for the first time. It wasn’t long after her baby girl arrived Christina decided to take a step back and spend more time at home being a mommy designing her own baby clothing line, Golly Gee Baby. Shortly after that Christina noticed there were many local indie, boutique and home-based businesses dedicated to babies and families, just like hers. One of those business owners is Leah Seidl, designer and owner behind Whimsical Elements – a handmade accessories company. These two savvy women quickly found they had many things in common, including a passion to help promote other independent artisans and local boutique business owners. That is when WeeStock was created. Since the inaugural WeeStock in May of 2010, the show’s popularity has grown and its vendors have become increasingly varied and unique. Thousands of guests have attended WeeStock’s first five shows, confirming the show’s intrigue.

This truly isn’t your regular tradeshow, it’s so much more than that. There will be about 50 boutique and independent vendors there, offering a little bit of everything baby and kid related. It is the perfect place to get all of your Christmas shopping done, and to check out some of the great local businesses that our community boasts. It really is an awesome show, and one of the few that I actually put my store in.

Not only will you be able to shop and buy a tonne of awesome products, but you’ll be able to try babywearing. For those of you that have thought about it, but weren’t sure how to do it correctly or were overwhelmed with choices, stop by the stroller check and visit Cosy Baby, Happy Mommy. She can answer all your questions and help you choose a carrier that is right for you and your baby. You’ll also be able to check out a few of the local mommy support groups and see all that they have to offer. There’s food, treats, home décor, photographers and much, much more.

If there weren’t already enough reasons to check out the show, I just received word that the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation will be at WeeStock 2013! They will have a booth at the show, filled with silent auction items that you can bid on with all of the proceeds being donated directly to the Foundation. If you’d rather just make a donation, you’ll be able to do that at the booth as well.

The Stollery means a whole lot to my family, as my son spent quite a bit of time there. For me, it was one of the hardest times in my life but for him, it’s full of nothing but good memories and fun. Who would’ve ever thought that being in a hospital would garner happy thoughts as opposed to bad ones? The Stollery is THAT place, and I will forever be grateful that it was available to my family when we needed it most.

So, please mark Saturday, November 9th on your calendars and come shop locally at  WeeStock. We’ll be at the Aviation Heritage Centre in Edmonton from 10am-4pm. Parking is free and admission is $5 at the door or $3 after 1pm. Kids 12 and under are FREE all day.

Bumblebee Baby & Kids will be there sharing a booth with Sprogs, so be sure to stop by and say Hi!!

Champions are Everywhere

As many of you know, I’ve been nominated for a FIERCE award in The Champion category. The gala ceremony is next month, and if you can come out and experience the evening, I HIGHLY recommend it. It truly is an inspirational event and well worth the price of a ticket.

Now here’s what my nomination category is all about.

CHAMPION – These are the men and women who show compassion, influence others by being a strong role model in the community, and believe in equality for all regardless of age, race, gender, sexual preference, or religion. They lead by setting an example, giving back, and making those around them feel great about themselves and others. Simply: the world is a better place because they are in it. This category is our way of including the guys and celebrating PEOPLE who make a difference! The core of FIERCE remains true to empowering women but we would be remiss to ignore the fact that behind every great woman is an entourage of people who cheer her on, regardless of gender.

After reading that award description, to say that I’m honoured is a HUGE understatement. To say that I share these nominations with some incredibly awesome people doesn’t even begin to describe how amazing they all are. To say that it’s cool to be a part of something that recognizes “ordinary” people based on the difference that they’re making in the world around them doesn’t do this event justice. I am truly humbled.

I’ve got no idea how the judges will pick a winner, as not one of us is more deserving than the other. In fact, I could name many people who should also be nominated, and I’m betting that many of you do as well.

While I’m honoured to receive the nomination, I want to take it one step further. I want all of you to reach out to the people who have encouraged you and lifted you up and thank them. Give them a hug, or a phone call or a note, and let them know that you’ve felt their help. I want you to go to the people who hate recognition and recognize them anyways.

I think it’s SO important that we all take the time and honour the people who are affecting our world in a great way. Not just the obvious helpers, but the quite often forgotten ones.

Think of the people who always have a smile and a kind word when you see them on the street. The friend that is always there to listen when you’ve had a bad day. The person that offers to babysit when you’re about to hurt your children. The grocery clerk that is always pleasant, no matter how rude the previous customer was to them. The greeter at the store. The transit operator that whistles and sings while he gets you to work on time. Your pastor. Your un-met Twitter friends that make you laugh hysterically, or have advice at the ready when requested. The person that holds the door open so you can run in out of the rain. Your child when they’ve done something sweet. Your kids bus driver that brings your kids home safely every day. The clerk at Timmy’s that knows what you want before you even order.

These are the champions in my life. These are the people who make my days that much brighter and help me to be a better me. I don’t thank them enough, and I need to, because without them I wouldn’t be me.

Am I a champion? I don’t know. What I do know is that this world can be a really tough place, and we all have the opportunity to make it a bit easier for each other. I’m hopeful that I’m doing the best job that I can, and am so thankful that tomorrow, I have the chance to do even better. I am honoured to be a helper, and look forward to seeing even more change in the lives of the people around me.

“We” are much bigger than ourselves, never forget that.

Now please go and recognize the Champions in your life, and always remember to honour the one that’s in your heart. We are all champions in the eyes of someone.

champion

Unexpected Friendship in a Sweatshirt

This story starts with a Calgary Olympics hoody that I was selling on eBay, 12 years ago.

I’ve been selling things for a really long time and after a thousand plus transactions, I had never really ‘spoken’ with anyone until Deonna. For some reason, that sale started a conversation and that conversation became a friendship.

Over the years we’ve talked about anything and everything. She listened to me as a young Mom stressing about all the struggles of raising my special little boy. She told me about her children and eventual grandchildren. I filled her in every time we packed up and moved to a new house. She shared her retirement news with me and her excitement of moving closer to her daughters. I told her about all my new business ventures and the challenges that they brought me. I learned more about junior hockey from her than any of my Canadian friends and her love for the game was obvious. She was quickly becoming my ‘Portland Mom’.

Over the years, we also shopped for each other. She would be my drop-off for items that wouldn’t ship to Canada and I would send her a steady supply of Mint Aero bars. At one point, I needed to get sinus meds for high blood pressure for my Mom. Her sweet daughter after hearing that it wasn’t available in Canada, shipped the meds to me. Stuffed inside a teddy bear. She had assumed that they were illegal in Canada because we didn’t have them, so she was sneaking them to me. Deonna messaged me and told me that her daughter had opened the boxes and shoved the pills inside the bear, to warn me that there may be a problem at the border. There wasn’t. 🙂 We still laugh about that one and are thankful that our ‘smuggling’ operation was never discovered. LOL.

On our bi-yearly trips to the States, we’ve tried planning times and places to meet but it’s never worked out. She was either busy with her family or it was just too far for us to keep going. Our friendship was 12 years in the making and we still hadn’t met. But this year, we knew the trip had to happen so off to Idaho we went.

You see, last November, Deonna went in for some surgery and some very unexpected things happened. She suffered some huge setbacks and massive hurdles and spent the next 7 months in a hospital. She’s at home now, and I’m happy to report that every day, she gets better and better. I’m also mad that it took me this long to go and meet her, and am thankful for the opportunity that yesterday brought me.

It never should’ve taken that long and I’m sorry that it took a health scare to kick me in the butt to get there. Our arrival was a total surprise for her but an awesome gift for me and my family.

We had a fabulous time visiting and hanging out with her family. From the time we walked in the door until the moment we left this morning, we felt comfortable and like we belonged there. It truly felt like I had come home to ‘family’.

Thank-you to her daughter Jenny for helping me pull off the surprise. Thank-you Jerry for letting us crash your house and for feeding us some of the best chicken we’ve had in a long time. The kids had a blast at the fall festival and look forward to hanging out with Bryant again. We had a very blessed and fabulous time.

Thank-you Deonna for buying that sweatshirt so long ago. Enjoy your chocolate bars, and no worries, more are on their way.

See you all next summer!

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