100 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter #52 Never Buy Cheap Perfume

#52 Never Buy Cheap Perfume

Dear Fox,

Don’t do it. Do not buy cheap perfume. This is something that I could not do even when I didn’t have enough money for perfume. I just went without. There is nothing worse then walking around smelling cheap. Lol

I know there is worse things in life that this, and in some circumstances people don’t have a choice. That’s ok….for them.
There are some very expensive perfumes out there by world class designers which smell horrible. Be careful there too.

If you choose to buy cheap perfume I know within two hours you will have a headache, I’m saying this to save you from that.

Pick a perfume that your family will grow to love, a scent that when your children smell it they will think of you lovingly. A scent that makes you distinct from the other women that may walk past your man on a daily bases. Smell is probably the most sensitive sense we have.

Smells are important, it’s amazing how certain smells can bring memories back to you. Sometimes a scent can make a person think of a family member who they love, or loved. A scent can bring back a memory from a childhood trauma, or a happy, comforting scent that makes you think of a time when you were in a good place.

I believe your perfume is the first layer of your outfit, its what dresses your naked body. Choose well my love~

#97 Dance~especially when doing laundry

# 97 Dance – especially when you’re doing the laundry.

My dearest Kailey, always find a reason to dance even when doing laundry.

When I was young my mom always had music going in the kitchen. Actually my parents pretty much had music going all of the time. Every Saturday and Sunday morning the house would be filled with music.  

Initially it was the 8 tracks in the living room. Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, Elvis Presley…typically it was country music. I would wake up to these country tunes just outside of my bedroom. It was comforting and the music symbolized happiness. It was peaceful, and it was routine. Routine is safe, routine is comfort. I liked that. As an adult I knew it was something I wanted my children to feel. I knew routine was most important.

Coming home from school back in grade 6, 7 and 8  it was a give in that my mom had music playing in the kitchen. She always played something while preparing dinner. After  the country music came the 80’s tunes. Then it was the beautiful melodies of Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and Lional Ritchie that filled the house with aromas of teenage youth  Dreams of love, hopes of future relationships and fantasies of  what my life would end up being. Relishing in all my world revolving around me just as a typical teenager would. 

I can’t express how important it felt to have that comforting feeling of music throughout the house while growing up. 

There was only one time in my youth that the music stopped. It was the day mom papa died. My mothers father. When I came in from school that day, there was no music and my mom was in the kitchen making dinner. I knew something was wrong. There is nothing worse than seeing your mother cry. It was such a sad day, and as sad as I was for my mom and our family…I recall being worried that the music wouldn’t play ever again.

I can remember just as clearly the day I walked in from school and heard it again…I was so happy. Thrilled because it was a feeling of safety again, that our family was doing well and we were all going to be ok. 

When you hear music, good music…what’s the natural thing to do? DANCE!!

SO this is were my word of advice comes in for Kailey. I hope you can remember our kitchen, dancing when you are all grown and have a family of your own. Please try to recognize how it made you feel to see dancing, laughing and love in our home. It was always one of my favorite things to do while making dinner, I guess my mom taught me that. 🙂

There is nothing happier than a house filled with music and dancing, remember that! If you take that with you into your own family life, my darling I promise you’ll always have a reason to smile~

I can only hope that those summer nights, those Saturday morning tunes we shared in our own kitchen will stay with you. I pray you remember our beloved Harley dancing in the kitchen with mom. I can still remember getting you and Braden to dance, typically ending in a game of chase. 

I guess I can end this post with the reason’s that make the most sense for your name…from where my family comes from down in Nova Scotia, a kitchen party is called a “Kailey or in Irish dialect its Ceilidh”. Everyone would gather at the home of a dear friends house during the cold brisk winters in the east coast and have themselves a good ol’fashioned kitchen (Ceilidh) Kailey~

The picture above was definitely taken during a kitchen ceilidh. We were visiting family in Cape Breton Nova Scotia. My grandfather is the second from the left, with my dad beside him on the right. That’s me bottom middle, with my dad. 

I am sure this picture was also taken the same night. There is a long history of boxers in my family, it wasn’t a party until the men starting putting up their dukes and the women were dancing and singing.

I believe a happy home is a home filled with music. I hope you carry on that tradition and fill your own home some day. I will end this blog by saying some of our best memories have a song attached to it. Even your birth…”Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison I loved that song at the time I was pregnant with you. It even played a part in your name Kailey MacKensey~

Love you Fox, until next time good night and god bless~

When did I stop being mom?

That my friends is a loaded question. Did I every truly stop being a mom?

NO. I have always been a mom. But I will say, there were times I was not a mom first. I was a caregiver, therapist, nurse, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist and many other rolls I’ve had to fill. Somedays…mom was the last one on the list.

I know you probably can’t in any way relate to this. I am sure if you are a mother you are sitting there maybe feeling appalled that I could even admit to that.

Unfortunately for me, its the truth. And I still wonder to this day if I made the mistake of doing it all and not reaching out for more help.

Sometimes I could say the rolls I had were much like a schizophrenic. It depended on the need, it was the mask I had to put on. Being a mom in certain situations was not what was best for Braden.

I ALWAYS loved him like a mom, I mean there is NO love like a mothers love. Nothing ever wavered that.

But if I needed to become a hard nosed meanie boots…..being a mom wouldn’t cut it. You see as a mom, watching your child struggle, seeing them cry, feeling their pain all you want to do is take it all away. Unfortunately thats not in their best interest. Taking away that pain would never help him get better. Refusing all those treatments, hard work and dedication would not bring him to a state of health and happiness. The tears he shed were all for a good cause. A necessary cause…his life~

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do as a mother is shut off my mommy and pull out my therapist, nurse, doctor, physiotherapist roles…that my friend is what I mean by schizophrenic. Watching him cry through tracheostomy changes, Nasogastric tube changes, chest tube removals, therapy appointments, needles, range of motion, surgeries and overall pain as a mother was devastating. If I didn’t have the ability to see those things as they were, to better him, his health and over all well being then I too would have been distraught, crying and angry, What good would that have been for him?

It was in those moments, and please be kind when I say “I wasn’t his mom”. Not in the sense that only sees him a baby boy that’s hurting. From the moment he was reintroduced to me, in ICU with all those tubes, wires and noises I never once saw those things. I only saw my son.

We are almost 25 years post accident, post all those experiences that have led us here. When I look back, and really think about some of the choices I made I do believe some mistakes were made. If i were to ask my mom or Paul if they felt the same, they would disagree. I didn’t want any one else’s hands on my child. I didn’t want others opinions, input or expectations placed on me. Looking back that had more to do with me and my insecurities than it did with needing or wanting the help. I really wasn’t open to others coming into my home, I was very protective of him. No one could do the job better than I. So, I did it all. And today I am paying the price for that.

I suppose when I think about it, back then the guilt I lived with was astounding. It was loud, it was the loudest noice, voice, thoughts, feelings in my mind. It’s all I ever heard. “Look what you did” “He is paralyzed because of you”….It has taken me a lot of time and energy to let that go, its not completely gone but it is something I work at a every single day.

I felt during those years that I did this to him, so its my job and my job only to take care of him.

I gave myself a life sentence, and it was the biggest mistake of all. Because of that mind frame, many more mistakes followed.

If i were to mentor my 23 year old self, suffering through the most devastating time in my life I would tell that young lady to get more help. I did have a wonderful support system. Please don’t get me wrong, my parents were amazing. The didn’t skip a beat when it came to the things we needed. They stepped up like no other people in the world. My husband is/was by far the rock in all of this. He never gave up hope and he constantly supported each phase we faced. Someday I will do a blog post on just him, he really is the most remarkable man in the world. I do remember however, not putting expectations on him. I would feel if Braden became ill, or needing tending too..regardless of how tired I was I never expected Paul to get up and tend to him. I would jump up and do it. Immediately I felt like I did this to Braden, why should Paul have to stop what he is doing and tend to him. It was a life sentence I gave to myself, maybe it was punishment? I don’t have the right to sit and relax, I did this. Get up and take care of what you did. I silently lived this way for so many years. Sad.

I wish I would have hired more people to help. So many “get togethers” in the summer time, where I would be in control of the company, food, drinks, snacks, kids, parents and Braden. I was exhausted. If Braden wanted in the pool, I had to undress him, I would change him, put him in the pool and stay close to him. Then run to get drinks or freezes for our company. I ran, all the time. Then I’d get Braden out of the pool, dry him, dress him and transfer him to his wheelchair or motorized vehicle. Then I would be off again, tending to company, trying to hold down a conversation with whoever’s mother was sitting patiently while I ran around like a mad woman all after noon.

Keep in mind I still have another child, who thank goodness wasn’t needy. Or maybe that child just new not to ask much of me because she could see in mommy’s face how tired she is. Huge Mistake.

I should have hired more help. I should have had more staff available. People to come to birthday parties with me, so I could sit and enjoy those around me. Someone to attend play dates with me, so they could tend to all Braden’s needs. He needed help interacting with other children. Someone always had to be available to help him, sometimes Kailey did, sometimes his friends did but mostly I did. I never wanted to put anyone “out”.

All those hats I wore, each one of them chipping away at the only role I should have been…mom~

To this day, nearly 25 years later I still don’t know if given the chance would I do it differently. I’m not sure. But if I was going to give someone in a similar situation advice, it would be to hire more help. Give yourself a break, and take care of you~

100 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter #54 Retirement is a second chance to follow your dreams~

Typically speaking about retirement to my 22 year old daughter would be absurd. I mean you haven’t even started your career path. As of now, you still don’t know what you are doing in life. That’s ok. There is no rush, take your time and figure it out. Explore, learn, take chances and seek adventure. Do all this in your youth, but remember there is a whole lot of life to live before you get the chance to retire.

My advice to you, even though retirement seems so far away please start planning for it immediately. Retirement is not what it use to be. Our society was way more equipped to support the aging generation back in the day, sadly those days are long gone. Today it is our responsibility to take care of our own financial freedom for retirement. It is something to consider even before buying your own home. We become accustomed to a certain lifestyle when we work hard and follow our dreams. If you are lucky, you can afford a nice car, clothes that compliment who you are and entertainment that will bring you happiness. But once you reach a certain age and you want to retire, that income diminishes. You may want to continue wearing nice clothes, going to movies, travelling to foreign destinations but if you don’t have the financial freedom those things won’t happen.

It’s amazing to be young and be able to live the life you’ve dreamed of. Work hard, play harder.

I believe both your father and I would say if given the chance for a do-over in life, we’d say that we would have planned better for our retirement. It’s just not something we thought about, we didn’t worry about retirement. But it did creep up and if we hadn’t have made some smart financial decisions previously then dad wouldn’t have had the opportunity to retire at the age of 51. Well, technically he retired from his 9 to 5 job,got himself out of the office life at a nice young age. Thankfully he can still work from home and he has the ability to work on his own. We still have made sacrifices, we are not able to take as many trips as we would like. We don’t have new cars every four years, and we don’t buy “stuff” without thinking twice. It’s all worth it though, with dad being more available we have the opportunity to do all the things we’ve ever wanted. We are truly blessed~ I wouldn’t change it for anything. Well my lovelies, until next time…good night and god bless~

I swear 2020 is going to be a great year, I’m going to make sure of that~

This my friends is one of my New Years resolutions, I want to blog again as much as I can. I want to be more creative, i am actually happier when I’m being creative. I want to get my 100 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter and have it printed into a book. I have been blogging since April 2009, its been 11 years. At the time I started I was 37 years old. My kids were 14 and 11 yrs old. Today they are 23 and 26, a lot changes in 11 years. It seemed much easier back them to come up with ideas and topics. Parenting, marriage, teenagers, grief, special needs parenting. Now, I’m just an old married woman who seems a bit obsolete from giving advice or information on the topics that I once did.

I am a different person, and I’d probably give advice slightly offbeat from who I was those many years ago. Who am I today? I need to figure that out and share it with my space here in blogger world.

What I will share today is how our experience with Airbnb went two summers ago when we rented our cottage for the whole summer. We are huge Airbnb supporters, we prefer to use Airbnb when travelling, except when going to destinations that are meant to be of luxury. It’s not always relaxing if you have to cook your own meals and make your own beds, sometimes its nice to have that stuff taken care of for you! #allinclusisive

So, two summers ago we gave it a try. We turned our little cottage in to an Airbnb and it was the most fun I have had in a very long time. It was a lot of work, i did not hire a cleaning staff because to be honest I didn’t think it was going to be as busy as it was. I had two moments during the summer were I had to clean the whole cottage within 3 hours before the next group of people were scheduled to arrive. The first time it happened it was fine, the people that had just left the cottage were super clean. They probably tidied up too much. The second time it happened I started to cry. I was so overwhelmed. The place was a mess, it was disgusting. I even had to clean the whole fridge, they had some sort of cooking sauce that leaked out into the bottom of the fridge and stuck underneath the crispers. It was awful. They had mud on the screens of the windows, a neighbour informed us that they had water and balloon fights, Normally that would be fine, but at least spray off the mud from the windows and doors. 😦

Those people were also the ones who tried to tell me we had rats running around on the counters while they were playing cards late one night. They had too many visitors as well. We have rules about how many people can stay overnight. I will say I did feel sorry for the lady, she was the only adult with some teenagers and as they were standing around getting ready to leave as I arrived, she was frantically running around trying to collect things and tidy up the bit she could. She clearly had no help from any of them.

After they left, I cried. RATS?? What the hell? I have never seen a rat. What the hell was I going to do now? I have a family coming in with 3 little boys. I called my last renter before the dirty people and asked if they had seen any rats or any droppings from rats and they said no. I calmed down, got to work frantically cleaning the place. Called my husband who then called in a company to come and check for rats, mice, spiders, ants all the things related to cottage life. We now have a company that checks in constantly for mice and other critters. And for the record, the exterminator said there was absolutely NO sign of rats on or in our property.

Considering we rented the cottage for the whole summer, that really was the only issue we had.

One of my favorite memories of renting the cottage was when a mom, her sister and mother along with their 5 combined kids showed up while I was still there. The little boys came squealing out of their car running up onto the porch, so excited to get inside and check out their new accommodations. Those little boys were so appreciative, they gave me hugs and thanked me profusely. Cutest little fellows, that made my heart so happy, Knowing that my cottage was going to be a holiday for these kids, making memories and sharing experiences just made things feel so worth it.

Pretty much every Airbnb we stayed at would leave us some sort of treat or small gift upon arrival. This was another favourite part of mine. I LOVED coming up with personalized gifts for each family/renter. I will share here a couple of my cute little gift ideas:

Our first renters was a small group of friends who wanted to get away together for the long weekend in May. I made them this basket filled with yummy snacks. S’mores for the fire pit and chips, peanuts and popcorn. They loved it, they in return left us the nicest note with a bottle of Canadian Club and a captain hat! How cute is that!!

Well i am going to leave off here, just wanted to start sharing some information on our experience with Airbnb, I’ve got more!! Will share soon.

Until next time, good night and god bless~

Returning to Blogging 2020

Dear friends, readers, fellow bloggers…I am happy to say that I will be returning to blogging this year. I apologize for dropping off and not keeping up with each of you. I promise i will catch up with everyone. I will make the effort to bring back the love I have for blogging. Life has changed, things are not the same around here. It is much more difficult to find topics around family life when your children are grown and living their own lives. All I’ve ever really known is being a mom, being a mom to a medically fragile son who is now an adult. I had a short term being a nurse. Went back to school in my 30’s to challenge myself and change who I was. I worked for about 2 years and then retired that belt due to family life, and some PTSD. So, here I am working in a new kinda field, mostly from home and unable to discuss things due to privacy. What can I write about? It’s going to be difficult, some days might just be like this…me rambling on and on. Nonetheless, I will work at it. I know I will find my niche and come back with some sort of content. SO bare with me friends, I’m looking forward to reading your content. Catching up with you~ Until next time,

Good night and god bless~

Our Ronald MacDonald House Story~

 In 1995, I had a car accident that left our 15 month old son paralyzed from the neck down. He was in grave condition for 72 hours, and if he were to have survived this tragedy he would be left a quadriplegic with only movement in his eyes.
We were in the middle of a catastrophic life event, and we were just young parents. Both of us on the verge of starting out in our chosen careers, seeking our own family values and finding our way as new parents.
That day however, our lives changed forever. This post is not about that, this post is dedicated to the support, encouragement and shelter the Ronald MacDonald House provided us initially and then he many years that followed.
These pictures were taken back when Kailey was just one years old (she is 22 today) and Braden (25 yrs old) would have been three. This would have been about 2 years post accident. We were asked to pose for some pictures at the Ronald McDonald House, they were using them in some of the bedrooms as framed pictures. They had chosen to photograph some of the early families that stayed at the Ronald MacDonald House back when it was fairly new to Hamilton.
You can see in the top picture we were in the dining room, Paul and I as well as my parents had spent many hours in that dining room. We have always had Sunday family dinners and thankfully for the most part during our first 4 month stay we continued that tradition. My Uncle Wayne was always wonderful with that, he would come up to the hospital with meals cooked for us…he always made his delicious spagetti. It really was a treat for our family. We had a good meal, time together and managed to continue on with a regular thing in our lives. The bottom left we were in one of the bedroom’s, I remember being so thankful for this place. It was a place were we could retreat, have some quiet time. I had a warm, comfortable bed, a shower and place to rest my weary head and hope to sleep for even a few hours without the worries of the world on my mind. We didn’t spend much time in there, but it was the best place we could have ever been. It just provided a sense of home. It was away from the hospital, away from the bells and whistles…but still close enough to Braden. The bottom right, was in the games room. They had a pool table, ping pong table, tv’s, video games and Foose Ball table. Paul and my dad use to have tournaments all the time, it was so great for them to be able to blow off some stream and stress and have some fun. They managed to still bond together and when some people came to visit we could sign them into the Ronald McDonald house and bring them to the games room to have some fun. 
In all honesty, the Ronald McDonald House was a life saver. I don’t know what Paul and I would have done without this place. Every night we would tuck Braden into bed…usually we’d get out by 11:30pm..on a good night. We’d go for a drive around Hamilton, just to settle down and unwind..we’d talk, this was usually when we would discuss our new life, try to understand and comprehend all the new changes. There was a restaurant down the road from MacMaster Hospital and some nights we’d head down there and share some wings..they were the best wings ever. I remember sitting in that restaurant, watching other people in there laughing and joking, smiling, snuggling and talking about their jobs, their kids..their lives. It was painful, I hated it. I hated that they were so happy…and we were not. I envied them, I was so jealous that they could laugh, and enjoy the time they were having. NOT us, we were sad.
I remember Paul would try so hard to keep things positive. He worked so hard to get me to smile, even though I was unbelievable sad sitting in that restaurant booth, realizing that not one person knew our son was sleeping still in a hospital bed on life support…those moments were some of the hardest. I was 23 years old, we didn’t deserve this much sadness.

It was not easy leaving Braden during this time. We never left him at night if he had had a bad day. We only left his bedside when we knew he was fine and sleeping well. Although leaving him was the hardest thing we did, everyone in our life was telling us to leave and spend time with one another. I do believe to this day, that those nights we had alone, to ourselves help save our marriage. We managed during the hardest times in our life to stay connected.

Some nights Paul and I would drive to the highest peak of the Hamilton mountain just so I could get out of the car, stand tall and pray for strength. It would be as late as 1am. I would stand there…car pulled over to the side of the road, Paul sitting on the front of this car and I would walk to the edge of the mountain, look to the stars and wonder…”Is he there?” “Is God listening to me?”…I am as high up as possible, can you hear my prayers. 
We’d get back in the car, and sometimes I would scream, cry…beg for a miracle. Then i’d tire..which I am sure was Paul’s favorite time of the day…and we’d head back to the Ronald McDonald House and off to bed we would go. Thankfully we had that bed…cause as years followed and Braden got older, we didn’t leave him often and poor Paul was stuck with night shift. Many years spent in a chair at the side of his hospital bed while Braden fought once again for his life. 
When these pictures were taken, Braden was healthy..it was a good visit. I believe we only had Kailey stay at the house with us one time and maybe only for a week. Sometimes during long hospital stays I would miss her trememdously. I wanted her to be with us, it wasn’t really a place for her. So we didn’t keep her there long…she always went with Nana and Papa. 
We were very fortunate to have that room, it was comforting to know that others that were staying in the house with us were going through the same kind of thing. I will never forget that place, I can say it really was a foundation for us, and escape…a place to lay, a place to pray~
Until tomorrow my friends, good night and god bless~