Monday, August 23, 2010


On August 23rd, 2002  I was sitting on this ferry traveling across the Atlantic ocean wondering what on earth I was doing with my life. Was I making it better or was I making a royal mess of it?

On August 24th, 2002 I landed on the island of Newfoundland with my husband Lenny, a truck packed with furniture and a car filled with pets. It was a huge leap of faith for us both. We were moving 3,500 kilometers away from most of my family and some of his to a place where he grew up but had not lived in for over 22 years and I had only seen once to attend his fathers funeral.

It felt like we were jumping off a cliff with no parachute.

The first days were filled with trying to unpack an entire home in the matter of a few days because the children (Travis 9, Cassie 7 and Megan almost 5) would be arriving by plane on the 27th.
It became very clear to my very quickly that I was not just in another part of Canada but that it was a whole new world. The food was different, the accents were thick, the stores were far away, everyone seemed to know everyone and I was immediately labeled a "mainlander". (Said like it is a swear word.)
Lenny's 2 sisters were wonderful to us and did their best to welcome us in every way that they could but to say it was an easy transition would be a lie.
Throughout the following 2 years we gradually all settled in to this place we now call home and I will not speak from anyone else but this is my home and I love it.

May I back up a little bit here?
Thank you. :)
My life was filled with moving from place to place and never having any roots set anywhere. Most people can not even imagine what it is like to live like I did until I moved here. I lived in 22 different homes in those 32 years and never stayed anywhere long enough to feel  like I was at home. My family was much the same and still moves from place to place to this day. No one is ever settled.
Some people see my life in a glamorous light and I guess in some ways it was. We always had enough money for everything that we needed, I saw different parts of this wonderful world that some people never have the chance to see, I had the benefit of a wonderful education even though I did it in many different schools. I was exposed to many unique situations both good and bad that have made me in to the person who I am today. I am grateful for all of that.

The one piece of the puzzle that was missing for me was "home". I had many houses but no homes. Moving so much never allowed for the opportunity to have memories of being in that place for years worth of occasions or having friends that lasted longer than a couple of years.

Living in this house for 8 years has been a real blessing. With Lenny's help we have raised our children here and watched them turn from young children in to teenagers and soon to be university bound young adults. They have had years worth of birthdays and Christmas's all in the same house and the same table in the same room with the same people. They may not know it now but this is a huge gift to them and their lives. They have the roots that I never did.
Lenny and I have been blessed to be surrounded by a fantastic family that is an honor to know. They are the true example of what family should be all about and they have made this place home for me in more ways than they know. That can be a blog for another day.
We know our neighbours and many of the people in our town and others. We have been inside our childrens schools many times and not only know our way around but also their teachers and many of their friends.
We planted little saplings when we first moved here and now those same trees are taller than I am (no short jokes required *laugh*). We have even been here long enough to repaint a room. Some of them twice!
We have even had the joy of welcoming other members of Lenny's family back to this area to live and it has been a wonderful experience.
I know which store carries what products and where the best place to eat is. All simple, mundane daily living things that might be boring to others but simply fascinating to me. I LOVE it!

So... even though I never grew up here, none of my biological family lives here and I do not have 40 years of memories here (yet), I am home.
Home Sweet Home

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Tely 10

The "Tely 10" is a 10 mile (16 kilometer) race that is run in St. John's Newfoundland each summer. Next year I am going to be ready for it!

This is a HUGE deal for me and I want to explain why.

I have had heart trouble for many years. It all started while giving birth to Travis where I strained the muscles in my chest and the inflammation irritated my heart causing it to beat far too quickly and irregularly. I was only 23 and each year I got slightly worse. There were MANY hospital runs over the years and as my symptoms got worse with every year that passed. I began to do less and less to avoid another hospital run. Unfortunately this meant that I gained weight and became less and less fit. It became a vicious circle of gaining weight -> more heart trouble -> more fear -> less activity then back to gaining more weight.

For many years (16 to be precise), the doctors would always just blame these "attacks" on anxiety and never looked any deeper in to what might really be the problem. It was exceptionally frustrating. If I am honest I must admit that I was fairly certain it was going to kill me before anyone ever took me seriously.

Then December 17th, 2008 came along and I had a horrible day of trying to control my heart rate but nothing was working. The final straw for me was when I was watering my plants and my heart rate shot up over 240. The ambulance was called and I was taken in to the hospital quickly.
When I arrived there was a male doctor there and he immediately blew me off and said I was being "just" being anxious. I am sure that raised my heart rate even higher! Grrrr!!! Thankfully it was the end of his shift and he went home soon after completely dismissing my issue.
I was blessed next with the sight of a very young woman doctor taking over the emergency department and I just KNEW that I had to get her to really listen to me. I do not mean to sound dramatic here but I really felt it was getting to the point where getting someone to help me was life or death.

She came in the room and asked me what I was having trouble with. Instead of answering about that particular night I begged her (truly begged her) to help me. I briefly explained that this had been going on for YEARS and although the heart racing did make me panic... the panic came after the heart racing began. not before. I also told her how fit and healthy I had been before all this started and how much I had declined over the years.
She listened! Really listened. She ordered 12 hours of tests and found almost immediately that there was a part to my heart that was overstimulated and causing major swings in heart rhythm. I would go from the high 90's up to over 200 every few minutes. No wonder I was so scared and panicked. Who wouldn't be?

The craziest part of the whole situation??? All it took was for this doctor to listen and leave the heart machine on me for an extended time rather than the usual minute. That's it!
It was a very happy yet angering time.
All those wasted (regarding health) years just because no one would listen to me. It made me want to scream yet I was also very happy that FINALLY I had an answer! I was prescribed a pill that is no larger than this "O" and I only take a quarter each day! My troubles began to be solved right from that minute.

The past 18 months have been an uphill battle to regain my strength. Just walking from my house to the next house would cause me to start breathing very heavily and my heart would bang so hard that I could feel it slamming in the back of my head. I was terrified but knew that I had to keep it up. It has been a bit of a longer journey than I had thought it would be but I have never stopped trying and now I need a goal to motivate me to get even stronger.

16 kilometers itself is not all that daunting but doing it with any degree of competence and speed will be my ultimate goal. I will not even try to run it but I will focus on getting to the speediest walk that I can manage. I will spend the next months building up my strength, endurance and speed.
I will time myself and measure my distance achieved once a month until the race.

I hope that you will all be there with me to celebrate the day that it is my picture coming through that finish line!
Just don't expect to see 51:21 on the clock!

To have you supporting me would be great but to see you make a goal of your own and strive to get towards it would be even better. It does not need to be a marathon but it should be something that you can not do now but would like to be able to do in a year.

Join in! We can all do an awful lot in a year!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mistakes of a mother...

When I thought of becoming a mother I knew it would be hard. It was the most incredibly important decision I ever had to make and I feared becoming a mother a lot because I was born to a mother who did not want me and never bonded with me. I worried that I would not know how to be a mother and sadly I was right. Instinct is only instinct if you are taught by your mother. This true for any animal. 
That said, I decided that I was going to be the one that broke that vicious cycle.
I had therapy (LOTS of therapy), joined parenting groups and literally learned how to be a mother step by step.
It has gone really well and I am proud of the relationship that I have with all of my children. The love in this house is palpable and I am certain my children know beyond a doubt that I love them fully. 

Of course I still screw up completely at times. I am only human.
My latest mistake was a BIG one.

For months now I have been dealing with my middle child Cassie and her illness. It has taken my time and attention and left me with little time for other things but I always tried to make sure that neither Megan or Travis felt ignored in any way. It wasn't easy but I felt that I was doing well.
Travis has certain needs so I made sure to fill those but Megan seemed to be doing really well sort of navigating her time mostly on her own and with friends. I made the assumption that she was okay.

2 nights ago I found out that Megan had done something that I was shocked by and I was very concerned for her. I asked her a few questions and expected some simple explanations and then we would all go to bed. Happily ever after.
My sweet Megan is so tough and appears almost bulletproof at times. She seems like she can handle everything and everything that comes her way and she never seems to get down or be sad. If she does, she bounces back really quickly and she is such a wonderfully optimistic young woman. I respect her more than I can even express.
That said... I really missed something. I never saw how worried that she was for her sister Cassie. I did not know that she has been terrified of losing her. I understand it. We have all been afraid of that even though no one likes to say it. In my attempt to keep everything as normal as possible at home and be positive about Cassie and all her troubles, I neglected to see Megan's heart was hurting. I think I also made Megan feel that she needed to remain strong and that we should not get these feelings out for fear of upsetting each other.

It was a huge mistake and I asked my sweet Megan to forgive me and thankfully she did.

The lesson I have learned is that my youngest girl has a side to her that I never saw before. Behind her tough, independent,  energetic and optimistic exterior is a soft heart that needs to be held no differently than someone who wears their heart out on their sleeve. 
I made a mistake and my sweet girl was hurt in the process by my ignorance.
That said, I have learned a big lesson that I will never forget.

Thank you Megan for teaching me and forgiving me fully. You are an amazing girl and I am blessed to have you in my life. I will never again forget to remember that you have a soft heart and I will do my best to hold it gently.