Friday, November 13, 2009

As Long as I'm Living, My Granny You'll Be

For as long as I can remember, I have always watched my Granny with a certain amount of awe. When I was little, I wanted to be just like her. I made her teach me Romanian, show me how to bake and cook just like her, and was on my knees next to her in the garden pulling anything (and everything, much to her dismay on occasion!!) out that looked like a weed. She often told a story about how when I was little she would hear me pulling up a stool next to her and hear me say, "Grandma, I help you, and I pomise I won't touch ANYTHING" She would always throw her head back, laugh and clap as she said, "And of course, you touched everything". See that's the kind of Grandma we had as kids.. the kind who reveled in those little moments, those moments that as parents, we can't always find the humor in!

As I have grown into a mother and wife myself, now more than ever I want to be just like my Granny. I still haven't ever tasted food as good as my Granny's, there has never been any garden that was as weeded and tended too (certainly not in my backyard! haha), and given any tattered piece of material it became new again like magic under her trusty Singer. If I could be half the house wife my Granny was, Mike would be one lucky man!!!

So about a month ago, my Granny had a stroke that took her speech from her. I was kind of dreading going to visit her at the hospital because what would my Granny be without her wisdom that both made me laugh, and warmed me up inside. You know, the kind of stuff that made you feel like the smartest, prettiest, most important ten year old on the planet.. and let me tell you, getting a ten year old Brittany to feel that way MUST have been hard!! (For example, she once told me, "You're not chubby, just athletic").

So when we got to the hospital she was waiting for us, and started clapping and smiling so big I instantly was transformed back into that ten year old that needed a little reassurance that I was ok. She looked like Grandma, said a few things like Grandma (I would like to take this moment to point out that she said, Benji and Mikey.. NOT Brittany. I knew she always had a little crush on Mike! hahaha) and despite the whole speech barrier, I had one of the best visits I've had with her in a long time. She danced around the room (after being told how fabulous she looked in her new outfit my mom got for her) and we crawled into her bed and laid down together while watching the Weather Network (a perennial favorite with the women in my family.. ).

As we were driving back to Regina from Moose Jaw, I couldn't get the Robert Munsch book , "Love you Forever" out of my head. I remember I read it for the first time in a LOOOONG time sitting in Starbucks at Chapters and cried my eyes out, because after having my own little baby, it meant a whole lot more. But this time it wasn't the beginning, but the end that suddenly mean a whole lot more.

"The son went to his mother.
He picked her up and rocked her
back and forth, back and forth,
back and forth.
And he sang this song:
I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my Mommy you'll be."

You see, I watched my mom gently change my granny into a new outfit, fix her hair, and smile at her in almost the same way she looks at my kids, and say, "Oh Mom, you look so pretty". And after a long visit, went back up the hospital and tucked her into her bed that night and told her to have a good sleep and she'd see her in the morning. It was right then and there that I realized, not only that us woman are pretty amazing creatures, but that we always know the right thing to do and say at the right time. And that in every phase of our lives (daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers) we are so important to the rest of the women in this crazy cycle thing called life.

And in this crazy thing called life, I've been blessed (oh, and at some moments I might also say cursed) with so many strong women to look to for help, advice and guidance. And, although I know it wasn't my teeny tiny little Granny who started this whole line of crazy(in the best way possible) women, I'd like to think she had an awful lot to do with it!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It's your freshman year and you're gonna be here
For the next four years in this town
Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say
"You know, I haven't seen you around before"

And then you're on your very first date and he's got a car
And you're feeling like flying
And you're momma's waiting up and you're thinking he's the one
And you're dancing 'round your room when the night ends
When the night ends

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen feeling like there's nothing to figure out
Well, count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you're gonna be

-"Fifteen" by Taylor Swift

On the eve of my third wedding anniversary, I couldn't help but listen to this song and smile. While Mike and I have only been married for three years, we have been together for eleven.. that's right, we started dating when I was... fifteen.

Now at fifteen I didn’t know much about what I thought I wanted in a husband, father to my children, and friend. But what I did know was that Mike was cute, played hockey, and had a car. And back then, that was pretty much all that mattered. (Ok, the cute thing still matters.. oh and the car too…. Alright, alright, and the hockey, some things never change!)

So here we are, eleven years, two children, a cat, dog, and a history miles long, later. To think that I wake up next to the same person I used to break curfew with, sneak late night phone calls too (before the advent of cell phones, us teenagers had to be pretty darn sneaky), and slow dance to “Truly Madly Deeply” under the ambience of Much Video Dance parties with, well that sort of blows my mind to be honest. The fact that I would do it all again in a minute, never changing a thing…well, lucky me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

5 Minutes

What's 5 minutes? To those of you who haven't had children yet, 5 minutes is nothing; 5 minutes is a miniscule amount of time in which pretty much nothing can be thoroughly accomplished. Frankly, even a bathroom break can hardly be accommodated in such a short amount of time. However, there will come a time in your life when you will wake up and suddenly, voila, 5 minutes is an eternity in which all things can be accomplished. In my case, this time is now.

We moms know that 5 minutes is pretty much the average amount of time you can take for yourself when running a busy household. However, we moms also know that you dads simply cannot wrap your mind around this concept, thus resulting in a sharp decrease in productivity when dad is on the job. Don't get to down on yourselves dads, there ARE things that us mom's can't accomplish with as much efficiency as you. We cannot read the sports page, while listening to sports highlights and updating our fantasy hockey draft. Sorry, I digress...

So what can 5 minutes really accomplish? Here goes:

Put baby down, leave the room while toddler is watching Dora (thank you GOD for mass marketed commercial TV shows masquerading as quality educational TV which we ALL know really doesn't exist, we just tell ourselves this so we can get stuff done.. again.. digressing...) run downstairs, on the way by turn the dishwasher on and refill said toddler's juice. Downstairs, wake computer up, load up email... keep walking on by as you change the laundry trying not to notice the fact that the basement is a horrible mess and your husband said he would clean it up three days ago.. forget the annoyance as your computer alerts you to new emails. Send quick message back to everyone.. Hear baby crying, look at watch, realize you have approximately 2 1/2 minutes before the fussing will turn to full blown freak show. Crap crap crap you turned on the oven to make supper and forgot that you were thawing out the chicken in the plastic container away from the hungry eyes of the cat.. your entire upstairs smells like what you imagine a meth lab too. "How was work honey? I just cooked up a delicious meal for us tonight, hope you like Tupperware".. run upstairs, open window and turn fan on. Baby going from sorta fussy to code red.. must get moving. Run back downstairs and try to find something for supper in place of the rosemary chicken with side of PCB's. "I HAVE TO PEEEE" comes from upstairs.. maybe the juice wasn't such a good idea. Realize baby is now beyond freak show and it actually approaching levels audible to neighbours. Pick her up not because you feel you should, but because you are worried what people might think. Get toddler to the bathroom, only to find that he started things already in his pants. New underwear, new pants.. and WHEW.. the end of your 5 minutes.

So, my dear friends without kids, (or those with grown up ones...) the next time you get annoyed waiting at a light for a few minutes, think of me, and my 5 minutes. Which, I am afraid, are up...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Baby Story... Brittany Style

So I have had a lot of people messaging me wondering what happened, and why everyone was talking about the story of Annabelle's birth.. so I thought I would, in traditional Brittany style, write it down. Warning:: This isn't the nicely wrapped up TLC version of A Baby Story, but of course, with me writing it, would you ever think it would be? haha

Mike and I were pretty excited about our scheduled c-section date for our new baby. March 17th, St.Patty's day, seemed like an awesome day to have a birthday (hello Green beer.. of course NOT until she is 25). We had plans to come down on the Sunday night (the 15th) to Melfort, relax, go swimming with Ben, watch a movie and spend a little quality time before the baby was born. Then, on the 16th (Monday) Mike and Ben would head into Saskatoon to pick my mom up from the airport and I would go to my pre-op appointment and relax at the hotel because I had been feeling pretty crappy the last few days.

We got into Melfort on Sunday and on Monday morning, we woke up to a huge blizzard and heard through the small town grapevine that roads were getting closed all around Saskatoon. After lunch, Mike left by himself (who needs a potentially screaming toddler when the roads are slicker than the ice surface at the Saddledome) and Ben and I settled in to an afternoon of napping and relaxing.... or so we thought. I should have guessed that my water would break when Mike was the furthest away he could be, but although I have read many a self-help book on tapping into your psychic talents, I couldn't.

After a hundredth trip to the washroom that day, I had, what I can best describe as a movie moment. I took two steps and was suddenly acutely aware that my water had just broken, all over the shag carpeting in our 70's style hotel room. Great, just great I thought.. how the bleep am I going to clean THAT up. I wasn't too worried about the whole water breaking thing.. I had no contractions and I knew that it could be days before I actually went into labor. So I phoned Bonnie in Naicam, and asked her if she could come to Melfort, because despite the fact that I knew I wasn't in labor, I knew I had to be checked out. She said she'd be on her way to come and hang out with Ben while I went in. Ben woke up from his nap and I started getting him changed and organized and packed his toys until.. oh crap it happened again. My god, I thought, can there really be THAT much water in there.. oh well.. still no contractions, still no problems. Until it happened again, then again, and one more time before I thought, OK, screw the carpet, I think I should maybe hurry up and get myself to the hospital. I phoned Amy (Mike's sister and ER nurse) and she thought I should maybe get a move on it. I stared blankly around the room and did the math:

Mike is at least two hours away, Bonnie is about 30 minutes away, I am alone in a hotel room in Melfort, with a child I can't leave, and no car to transport us anywhere. Hmmm..

So I called Mike's buddy Ryan at the RCMP detachment in Melfort. He said to call if I needed anything, although I'm not sure he signed up for a woman in labor. Either way I called him and told him what happened and he said he was on his way. A few minutes later he showed up in an unmarked police car, to find me waddling out the front door with a towel not-so-discretely tucked between my legs, pulling a MCQueen suitcase on wheels holding Ben's hand and convincing him this was going to be SUPER fun! Off we went, on at 3:20 (my water broke at 3:00) I had my first contraction.

Everything started to get fuzzy right about then, when I realized, yep, this IS labor, and yep, Mike's nowhere close to being here. In fact, I still hadn't even called him. I figured I should get checked out first, and not worry him on the terrible roads until I had to. Not to mention my mom was now with him, and I wasn't sure her pacemaker could take the jolt.. let's just say mom isn't what you would describe as 'cool as a cucumber'. Anyways to make a labor story short, by the time I got in, got checked out, and was seen by a doctor, I was informed I was over 8 cm dilated and in no short time I would be pushing. This was only an hour after my water broke.. talk about rushing it!

Anyways to end this already long story, my mom and Mike made it at about 5:00,( I eventually called them.. I hear the drive back to Melfort was a wee bit faster than the speed limit) just as I was getting my epidural (Mike literally did an 180 degree turn and left.. we all know what happened last time! haha) and by 6:51pm I was holding my baby girl and still a little stunned by the whole thing. In the meantime, Ryan waited and kept Ben company until Bonnie got there. And once she arrived, Bonnie helped me through my labor until my mom and Mike got there (turns out you REALLY need a little moral support when you are in labor!!) and Ben was an all-star watching his DVD's in the next room and never complained once!

So that's the story.. thanks again to everyone for their wonderful congrats and wishes.. I really felt quite weepy actually reading everyone's comments (blame the post-natal hormones). It's nice to know people are so caring, and I cannot thank my wonderful Bonnie for being her awesome, calm, laid back self!!! (And getting stuck with a friend in labor!! haha)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to the Future... Well Kind Of

The big day is getting closer, and the closer it gets, the more I am second guessing this whole child-bearing thing (yes, I am WELL aware that at this point, I'm as they say, up creek without a paddle). So I thought, I've done this before, perhaps more importantly I should say, I've survived this before, and instead of questioning my reasoning behind this whole undertaking (again.. a little too late for that!) maybe I should consult the best person to give me advice on what I'm about to go through.

25 year old Brittany, meet 22 year old Brittany.

Dear Older, and HOPEFULLY thinner 25 Year Old Brittany,

I know you are about to have another baby, and you are pretty anxious. We both know that before Ben was born, you were both too naive, and too inexperienced to fully understand what was about to happen. We both also know that you don't have a great memory, so most likely you are in a similar situation again, so I'm glad I can be here to help you. I've left you a short list of things to keep in mind before the baby is born. So, here goes.

-Don't question yourself about what IS and what ISN'T labor. While we may hear about people giving birth in a cab after what they thought was some bad Chinese food they ate, you have never been, nor ever will be that lucky. You will feel real and horrible pain. For the first time in your life, you will actually be unable to speak. This will both terrify and amuse Mike and your mom, but they will never admit it.

-Forget about bringing cards, books, your Ipod with soothing music on it, snacks, and other time-fillers to do in the labour room. All you will care about is where the drugs are, and how soon they will be able to administer them to you.

-If you should happen to go into labour that progresses as quickly as you did with Ben, go over a few things with Mike first. 1) When I call you at work to tell you I'm in labour, believe me.. I'm probably right 2)I'm going to be in a lot of pain, I won't be able to remind you to take me with you when you run out the door to the hospital. This is why my mom is there. 3) When throwing the bags we pre-packed for this occasion, remember to grab the cell phone and put it somewhere you can reach it while we are driving. And, no, I cannot just climb into the back and reach the phone to tell the hospital we are on the way. 4) When we arrive at the hospital, please ensure I am comfortably in a wheelchair BEFORE leaving me in the dust to check me in. (To the nice lady and her wonderful son who so kindly helped me into the wheelchair after Mike left me in the entrance way at the hospital, I am forever grateful, whoever you may be)

-You will want your mom, as childish as that may seem. While Mike may have put you in this state, your mom is the only person you will know in the delivery room that has survived this. She will also gracefully say 'Yes' and lie to your face when you look at her in panic and ask "Will it feel better when they let me push?"

-Mom is also another key component in keeping Mike conscious. We all remember what happened to Mike when he saw the epidural needle. Try not to feel upset when your husband is reclined in a chair, with the nurses fussing over him, placing cool clothes on his forehead to prevent passing out. Mom will promptly ensure he gets some water and a granola bar, while you hack the whole labour thing by yourself for a bit. Don't worry, it won't last long, and the eerie green color will soon fade from Mike's face.

-You will sing Johnny Cash's song, "Ring of Fire" in your head.. just know it's the end of a long process and within seconds you will see your child for the first time.

-You will do all the work, but somehow everyone congratulates Mike just as much. The feeling will pass, and the first time you see the two of them curled up together for a nap you'll realize just how important Mike is too.

-You won't sleep, you will cry wondering what the heck you were thinking; you'll get puked, pooped and peed on. You will feel like a jersey cow, you'll be an emotional roller coaster. You'll say awful things that will make your husband think that just maybe he should call social services. Just remember that as soon as you look into that face (which may still be screaming at that moment) you will melt, and understand it's not their fault and hug the baby a bit closer. Don't forget the first time Ben smiled at you..

-When your best friends call and ask you how you're doing.. tell the truth. They either have or will go through this soon, and we ALL know women are lying when they say everything is perfect. However, lie to those you don't know all that well, you'll regret talking about how your incision is healing to mere acquaintances later.. trust me.

I'm sure you'll be fine.. just remember, afte nine long months of abstinence, it's socially acceptable to have a drink now. Bottoms up!

Love,22 year old Brittany

(We ARE thinner.. right??)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Because everyone is doing it...

We have all seen the email or Facebook chain notes getting emailed around.. so I couldn't help but do my own! (FYI the rules were to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. )

1. If someone would have told me at 16 that I would be 25, staying at home with (almost) 2 kids living on a reserve, I would have probably killed myself laughing and then said, "No really.. what am I ACTUALLY going to be doing".
2. I still remember the first time I saw Mike in the halls of good old Campbell Collegiate.. and I honestly can say I don't remember the first time meeting anyone else.
3. I am minorly plagorizing Kerri, but I'm smarter than I appear! haha
4. I love horses. Not in a like, "horses are my favorite animal" kind of way, but in a "I'm an obsessed 12 year old girl dreaming about riding horses all day" kind of way. Really not healthy at all. (But hey, I don't smoke.)
5. I actually LIKE cleaning out stalls and doing chores. Clearly I haven't ever LIVED on a farm! haha
6. I think Ben is the single funniest human being on the planet.
7. I feel guilty about having another child.. the three of us have done so much together and I feel like a traitor wanting another one. Any Freudian experts feel free to comment.
8. I miss the city and all the ammenities sometimes, but have no intentions of ever living in a city again. (Unless forced to by Mike's job!!)
9. I like doing laundry.10. I love Italy and dream quite frequently about going there.. someday. (Heather Togeneri.. YOU SUCK! haha KIDDING please take me with you next time)
11. I have great friends, and can attest to the fact that great friends remain just that, even when you move all the time.
12. I think our grandparents generation was the greatest.. (Read, 'The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokow if you don't believe me). As I get older, and raise my own child, I have the upmost respect and reverence for the hard work and general stubborness of their generation. Our generation is self-centered, spoiled, entitled slackers in my opinion. haha
13. I love being at home with Ben.. most days. However, I feel I would serve the world just a bit better if I could get out and work a few days a week.
14. It took getting a dog for me to fully realize that I am a cat person. I love Sam, but Sophie is my gal!
15. I can say I know what it feels like to be a minority now.
16. I love good books.
17. I'm THAT person that says the book is better.
18. I have friends I've had since birth (Michelle! Happy Birthday!!), and am so thankful for all of the amazing friends I still have today!
19. I've never had to work hard at school or university, and I hope to god my kids don't inherit this. It's not a good thing.. hard work pays off much more. See #12
20. I still am, and always will be a cheerleader. Deal with it people. I smile, I giggle and I am enternally optomistic. (And intend on being eternally blonde as well.. forget the brunette phase people, it won't happen again!!!)
21. When it comes to parenting, I use 'the book' to prop my feet up at the end of the day. Say what you will, my parents had no 'book' and I feel as though they produced pretty decent kids!!22. The greatest and most generous people I have met are from small towns.
23. I am a clean-freak. Like F-R-E-A-K
24. In my next life, I am coming back as a show horse.
25. I miss my friends and family and wish I got to see you more!