NEVER TURNING BACK

as I walk on this path called life,

many past events haunt me,

wanders in and out of my thoughts when I least expect it,

alters my actions at times in current situations,

brings me anger in times of confrontation,

question motives and actions,

gives me the ability to look directly in eyes,

and see for who they really are,

search for truth and goodness,

empathy and compassion,

silly, funny and loving,

for this is what I see in the ones I love,

family, friends and children,

slowly I walk away from the haunting,

and into the arms of the ones I love,

trusting, loving, spiritual and connected,

in Him I trust.

momwhearingloss

FORGOTTEN MEMORIES

Yesterday was a typical morning, got up got my breakfast and grabbed a cup of coffee.  It was a beautiful morning and I usually sit in the living room to have some peace and quiet before my day begins. For some reason I was drawn to the staircase at the front of the house. I sat on the steps with my coffee and found myself gazing out the front window at the glorious sunshine.  I caught sight of myself in the mirror attached to the old vanity I have sitting at the bottom of the staircase.  It was then that I was hit with the memory.  I grew up in Montreal, Quebec and my parents were separated when I was about eight years old.  As time moved on both parents re-married and I found myself in Vancouver, BC with my mom and her new husband.  My youngest brother and I flew back every year to Montreal to visit my father for two weeks.  I always looked forward to seeing him.  My childhood was not a happy one, it was dysfunctional to say the least.  However, having said that I always knew how much I was loved by my parents.   The divorce was a major thing in our lives and quite frankly the whole divorce took up way too much of our valuable time.  Sitting on that stair yesterday morning brought back a memory of my father that I had long forgotten about.  In the neighbourhood where my father lived, everyone had concrete stairs at the entrance way of their house.  For some reason people chose to sit out on those stairs during the sunshine weather.  We didn’t really sit out the back, we always sat on the stairs at the front of the house.  Sometimes there would be rows of people on the stairs all sharing coffee, cigarettes and talking.  Yes I grew up in a culture where we all smoked.  I was smoking by the time I was 14 years old!  Thankfully, I quit a long time ago.  When I was a teenager visiting my  dad, I enjoyed the weekends the most because he didn’t have to work.  We would get up on those weekend mornings and the two of us would grab our coffee, head outside with our smokes, sit on those stairs and talk for hours.  It was really the only time I really sat and talked to him during those visits, because it seemed like later in the day there would be chaos in the house, people in and out and other things to do.   But those mornings of just the two of us, we talked about so many things.  Memories of his childhood, memories of his days as young man, memories of me and my siblings as children, he often told me how much he loved me and missed me during those conversations and I was able to tell him the same as well as my hopes and dreams.   After my father passed away and fast forward to my life with my children and husband, I had long forgotten those lazy mornings on the concrete steps.  I realized yesterday how much I missed him and for a brief moment I caught my breath because it seemed like he was there with me on those steps, the ease in which the memories came flooding back to me as I remembered all of our conversations.   I sat there smiling and then I had a little chat with him, told him how happy I am and how I hoped he was enjoying watching his grandchildren.  I also told him how special he is to me and will always be in my heart and a part of my life.

Mom and dad in better times, sitting on the wooden porch in front of the old house!

LUNCH

I hate making lunches – really hate it!  I would love to tell you that I am this super organized person who has all the lunches packed, prepared the night before.  Not only am I prepared, the lunches are amazing and my kids gobble everything up, come home and tell me what a great mom I am and thank me for the delicious lunch!  Just pinched myself because I was sleeping at the desk here.   Reality is I’m too tired at night and even if I wasn’t tired, I just don’t want one more bloody chore to do at night.  Dinner, laundry, lacrosse games or practices is enough.    So here I was first thing Monday morning before work and I had no idea what to give my kids for lunch.   They never eat anything I give them anyway and I’m seriously thinking maybe if I didn’t pack lunch it wouldn’t matter.  Then again I tried that a couple of months ago, I did give them some food but it consisted of a few things rather than my usual packed lunches.  Figured it would save me the time of going through their lunches and yelling about what they didn’t eat.  When I got home from work that night, they complained I didn’t pack enough food!  So here I am Monday morning and no clue.  Opened up the fridge found some turkey kolbassa sausage, cheese,pizza pretzels, apples, a few chips, chocolate brownie and chocolate milk.  Made them pack all their lunch and off they went.   They love everything I gave them so surely I would have an empty lunch bag upon their return.  They didn’t eat the chips, what kid does not eat chips –  apparently mine!  Back to the wooden board tomorrow and I think it’s time they make their own lunches – the night before!

Orange Chicken – my favourite!

Fed and Fit

Ever get a craving for Orange Chicken? I have a weakness for Panda Express’s deep fried sinfully delicious spicy sweet Orange Chicken.

About to make the turn for Panda Express one night, I decided to keep my wheel pointed towards home to try my luck at recreating the dish.

It was a huge success! I grilled the chicken instead of opting for the deep fryer and made my own orange sauce using honey, fresh oranges, and red pepper flakes.

Pan searing the chicken will work well too. You don’t have to grill it if you don’t own a grill or grill pan. If you consider honey to be under the paleo umbrella (I do – if eaten rarely), then this recipe is paleo!

What to eat it with? I put my orange chicken over a bed of fresh mixed lettuce greens. The extra sauce drizzled down over the lettuce and…

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A TIME TO CHERISH

Once I was naive enough to believe that when my children could walk, talk, and go to the bathroom by themselves that I would have more free time!  Very funny statement I know, my boys are 10 and 12 and I am busier now than I was when they were babies.  I never stop, I go to work every day and come home at night to make dinner, make sure homework is done and drive here or there for practices or games.  I’m certainly not complaining, I love my boys, my husband and I love my life.  I’m always tired and sometimes cranky but wouldn’t change it for the world.  Last weekend the boys and I headed to Manning Park again for one last weekend of skiing before the hill closed for the season.  My husband had to work so we left him behind!   Skiing for three days is a lot of work and tiring but it’s good exercise and it’s great to get fresh air.  My mother-in-law has a cabin about 15 minutes from the ski hill and she still works as ski school director at the mountain – she’s 76 years old.  I haven’t blogged about my mother-in-law because she’s not the type of person that would appreciate being blogged!  However, our relationship is unique and she is a big part of our family, therefore she should be blogged.  The children call my mother-in-law Nonna -Italian for grandmother as she is Italian.  Her and I are two different woman, we don’t think the same, we don’t act the same but we are identical in our trait of being very stubborn.   Nonna has been on her own for a long time as my husband’s father died when he was 18.  About 8 years ago, Nonna decided to sell the family home and to make a long story short, she moved in with us.   Nonna is very independent but she winters up at the cabin and just wanted a place she could leave, lock the door and not worry about anything.  So move on to a family discussion over dinner one night which ended with Nonna moving in with us.  She first moved into our old house – it was tiny and we had to move the two boys in the same room.  We did this for about a year and then went house hunting, found this house and we built a home in the basement for her.  Even though Nonna lives in the basement she comes up to break bread with us daily, comes grocery shopping with us, attends the boys’ hockey and lacrosse games when she’s in town,  the boys join her to watch tv downstairs at least once a week and Nonna has joined us on the odd holiday.  The relationship works, her and I  get along and the children adore her. When my own mother became ill with Alzheimer’s, Nonna was a huge support to me.   She didn’t really say a whole lot but she listened to me for hours on end and I can’t tell you how much to this day I appreciate her support.  We may be two very different woman, but we respect each other immensely.   Our family enjoys the trips we take several times a year to go to the cabin.  On the last day of skiing this year, Nonna took the afternoon off and skied with me and the boys,  76 years old and still skiing.  Really a time to cherish because the boys will look back at this one day and remember the time at the cabin and remember the special times with Nonna.  I couldn’t be happier for all three of them and I’ve  had a great view of their relationship just hanging back and watching the bonding that takes place between grandmother and grandchildren.  Nonna may not know it but she’s a living legacy and my boys will talk about her to their children – “Your great grandmother skied with us at 76 years old!”  I hope I live long enough and be blessed with good health to  share the same bond with my own grandchildren!