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Summer in Crazy Land


How I have missed blogging much this summer! I’m bursting with ideas but haven’t found enough quiet moments between camping, swimming, visiting friends, researching new homeschool programs for the fall and editing my new poetry book, unexpected blossoming: a journey of grief and hope. This has been a really good process, and quite time-consuming…going over each poem with a fine toothed comb and, on the advice of my big sister (beautiful poet and editor Dymphny Dronyk), making sure that each word, each line break, each bit of punctuation or lack thereof is intentional. The poems were written more as passionate cries from the heart, but it’s been good to read them slowly and try to make sure they express my feelings in the clearest way. 

I’m excited to say that that process is just about finalized and I’m going to place my first bulk order in a day or two. I have been telling lots of people about my book and already have about 125 pre-orders, which means that another 125 will also be ordered and donated to bereaved moms, hospitals, midwife or doctor’s offices, or any other place where families suffering from miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss could benefit from my poems. I’m also getting my Blurb bookshop set up for online orders, and hope that women around the world will be able to benefit from knowing they are not alone in their grief after losing a baby. 


On top of all this, my little Mr. Baby has combined late night teething and his newfound mobility to keep me on my toes night and day, and my trusted iPad mini conked out for a few weeks—leaving me a strange internet-less vacuum. Happily my sweet techie husband managed to restore it to life by cleaning up the excessive digital load it was storing…kind of like the Internet version of a home rescue. I had 1100 emails (combining inbox, sent, drafts, trash etc) and 1300 photos!! My iPad mini just couldn’t handle this kind of clutter—poor little beast! After loading the pics onto our Mac instead and deleting the insane amount of emails (gah, remind me to stop signing up for things online!), my iPad is purring away again, much to my relief. As my friend Julia put it when I told her it was out of commission: “What!? That’s your life!” 

Does make you wonder though…why this need to keep everything? To read everything? To document everything? To be present everywhere (omnipresent) and to know everything (omniscient)…doesn’t that sound like Someone else’s job? Reflecting on this makes me want to strive for more simplicity. To be fully present where I am, right now, and not feel the need to hang on to old things from the past. I’m just one tiny part of this vast creation, and all I need to do is play my little part with all my heart. The rest will be taken care of by Someone much wiser than me, who doesn’t get overwhelmed by trying to fit so much into one little head!


So I hope you’ll be hearing from me more often as we settle into school this fall…wrapping ourselves in cosy scarves and sweaters and sipping cinnamon dolce latté’s as we watch the scarlet leaves tumbling against steely grey skies…oh, dear, sorry…slipping off into fantasy land! I meant as I juggle 4 homeschoolers and the baby chews my face while my toddler climbs the furniture…

Anyway,  here are a few posts I hope to write soon: 

  1. How to support a bereaved spouse
  2. Baby Burpin’Blues (a bluegrass poem)
  3. Scene Players: making hours of fun games out of stickers and junk mail 
  4. Things you don’t need to bring when camping with kids
  5. Teamwork, happiness and household chores 
  6. Online educational programs I’m excited about this fall

Any votes for which one to write first? Let me know! A huge hug to you all from us here in Crazy Land, and best wishes for a beautiful year of learning ahead!

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    Why I recommend camping with kids (despite all the work)

      
    Recently we went camping with our kids for the first time. This was quite a feat because we don’t own a car or any camping stuff and it took three cars from various generous friends in our parish to ferry our family of 8 there. Two other friends brought more of our stuff. We have such a welcoming parish!

    We ordered a giant tent online (my tall husband can even stand up in it) but every thing else we borrowed. It was weeks of preparation… organizing all the supplies, looking up camping lists online and shopping for missing items, loading up on snacky food from Costco, etc. And when we returned it took a week to catch up on all the laundry and get back to normal. So why was it worth it anyway? How come we plan to do it all again next year, and look forward to it already?

    1. Because extended relaxed time in nature with kids is irreplaceable. It’s so much work to even get kids ready to go on a day trip to a park…you spend more time prepping and travelling than being there. Here the ratio is flipped. Unzip tent. Slip on flip flops. Run and play outside. Minimal prep and maximum play. 
    2. Because there’s something so healthy about kids being able to run free in the fresh air, unrestricted by busy schedules or worries about cars on busy roads. My little boy ran himself ragged in the grassy area and jumped and screamed for joy in the lake. Then he flopped down like a tired puppy and napped outside on the grass or by the beach. Once he even fell asleep leaning on a rock wrapped in his towel. For a little city boy with 4 big sisters, this kind of existence was a joyful revelation.  
    3.  Because spending time around the campfire with people you love while a huge yellow moon rises over the hill and stars begin to sparkle is unforgettable.
    4. Because waking up to hearing the birds sing is such a grounding experience…taken out of the frenzy of city life and endless beeps and bells, one feels once again a tiny part of the vastness of creation. Awe.
    5. Because having adventures together as a family is a bonding experience and helps you grow in friendship with each other. People have different love languages, but as much as your kids will always begging you for new stuff, what they really want is time with you. Give them the gift of uninterrupted time with you. 

             

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      My first poetry book! “unexpected blossoming: a journey of grief and hope”

      My first poetry book just arrived in the mail! It is dedicated in loving memory of my little daughter Josephine, whom I lost in labour almost two years ago. These poems chronicle my first year after her loss, my grief and love for my baby girl and also the hope I have of one day seeing her again.

      Writing has been really therapeutic for me, and helped me give expression to the intense emotions that come with losing a little one. I want to share these poems with other families who have lost babies so that they would know that they are not alone…that others have experienced and survived such a loss. 

      I first thought of this project when talking to my friend Anne Schweitzer, who makes “Mother Mary Baskets” for bereaved moms. The baskets contain little comforts like bath salts, lip balm, chocolate, a fancy tea cup, etc as well as a few books on healing and hope after miscarriage. There are also special prayer cards, including one to your baby in Heaven. We thought it would be so nice to include some of my poems in the basket. Now I’ve been able to publish them in a little book, the kind you can carry in your purse and pull out to read in those quiet moments when you have time to release some of the sadness welling up inside. 

      Because my main goal is comforting other babyloss moms, every time a copy is sold, another will be donated to a bereaved family. I’d like to reach as many people as possible, so that instead of just an impersonal pamphlet from a hospital, bereaved moms could be given something special, something beautiful, something that honours their love and grief. I hope to donate copies to hospital chaplains, midwives, doctor’s offices, etc, as well as giving them to individual moms. It will be a thoughtful gift for people to give loved ones who lose a baby…something for them to give when they don’t know what to say themselves…

      I want to thank my dear friend Rachel Lalonde, who really helped move this project along, taking care of all the technical details and keeping me on track. She also did the delicate rose photographs on the front and back covers which wrap my poems in beauty. I couldn’t have accomplished this without her! And also thank you to my brother Monti, who believed in the value of this little book so much he donated $100 towards the project when it was still just an idea. That very bill will soon be used to order copies to donate!

      I’ll keep you posted once my book is available online via the publishing site Blurb, and in the mean time, for anyone near me who’d like a copy, be sure to let me know; when I do a bulk order I’ll be able to save you some shipping costs. It will be a joy to hand it to you!

            

      1

      The amorous little gentleman

      I was just beginning to write this silly little poem earlier when the baby flung back his arm while nursing and hit “post” long before it was ready. Eek! Sorry for those who received this strange snippet in their inbox! Now that the kids have stopped parachuting off their bunkbeds or other similar gymnastic feats, I’ve been able to finish it. Voilá!

      The amorous little gentleman

      approached with an unabashed smile of delight

      and pulling my hair towards him

      took a generous chomp of my chin.

      He is not at all shy

      but perfectly clear

      that it’s his utter to delight to bite me

      —smooch here and here and here—

      If he weren’t so sweet,

      like a down covered peach,

      perhaps I would try to struggle

      but darling he is,

      I simply give in

      and chubby arms round my neck

      give him a snuggle.