Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

This week’s photo challenge with the Daily Post is called “Foreshadow.”

The whole thing seems entertaining, given I am sitting in my freshly cleaned apartment waiting for the in-laws to arrive for their first visit to our now year old new home.  But, that isn’t what I am showing a picture of today (trust me, you don’t want to see me all post-gym sweaty in a heap on the couch).

Now, folks… Don’t read too much into this…  Do not read into this, actually.

My foreshadow selections are proof that my husband, Patrick will one day be an awesome father.  One day.  Not at this exact moment.  He is amazing with kids, namely our “niece” and “nephews” (good thing, because he is a teacher) and he takes care of our cat like it he is his own spawn.

Genuine Feeling Placement

I sometimes struggle with being genuine with people.

I don’t want people to feel sad or take on my hurt.  I also don’t always know what to say.

This weekend, we were home and I was being asked every seven seconds how work is going, what rotation am I on and then when I say Peds Onc they gasp and tell me how terrible or difficult it must be.  I don’t like to burden other people with my feelings, so I always smile and say things are going well and that I like Peds Onc.

It isn’t like I am lying.  I am doing well on my evaluations, things are going smoothly at work and I LOVE peds and I LOVE oncology, I would even say I LOVE Peds Onc.  But, last week was a bad week and there is only so much life-ruining, hard-hitting stuff one can deal with before a person gets feeling down.

My honest answer this weekend should have been that Peds Onc broke me.  That my week was awful and yet amazing.  But, I think that would freak people out.

I have been having problems verbalizing that.  I just don’t really know where to put what I am feeling, how to process what has happened and then say it in a way that doesn’t make me burst into tears or put off other people.  Plus, to top it all off, I don’t want people to think I am weak or can’t handle it, especially when it is something I think I could do for the rest of my life as a part of my practice.

So, all weekend, I smiled and answered in half-truths and avoided the meat of the issue.  I tried once or twice to verbalize it, but I am not good at that at the best of times.  I am the person that people go to with their problems.  I am not good at being the person that goes to others…  And often when I try to bring up how tough it is, that just gets turned around into a how tough the other person would find it or some other random thing.

It gets frustrating sometimes.

Patrick tries to get it, but he admits that he can’t.  I have other resident friends, but their experience and outlook are obviously different than mine, although they help.

I don’t know where to put what I feel.  I can’t process telling 15 year olds about relapsed cancer and having parents who are at a similar age and stage in life break down crying because their baby is sick.  I in one breath say cancer in kids is very curable and in another realize that that means nothing to the child who isn’t cured.  I am having a hard time trying to figure out what to do with it at the end of the day.  I normally am fine with that kind of stuff.  I accept death as a part of life.  Illness as something we go through.    I have cared for people my own age before… But, the kids scare me more.

I keep imagining what if they were my kids.  I keep worrying about my unborn baby’s potential to develop a neuroblastoma.  How we would cope with months of chemo and surgery and radiation.   It breaks my heart to see any kid sick, but the thought of my own child being sick paralyzes me.  It actually causes me to reconsider having kids (just for a second).

I have a hard time processing because despite how much the bad stuff sucks when people are little and young, I feel guilty that I don’t have this tough a time in the adult world.  At least not always.  I can rationalize the treatment potential.  I can more easily accept that adults die, sometimes young.  Adults seem less helpless, even if sometimes that is untrue.

I have a hard time processing because it is difficult to see God in some of these situations.  I step back now and I see Him everywhere, but sometimes in the moment, even after the moment, I question and that scares me.

I have a hard time processing because I am supposed to be able to deal with this stuff.  And I want to do this in my practice and how can I do that if I get upset every time a kid gets diagnosed?  I know compartmentalizing is not healthy, but there needs to be some degree of this to function appropriately.

I felt as if I was broken.  I felt sad.  And yet, I was loving my job, which made me feel a bit more awful in a sense.

Some of this is because it was a busy week and I was tired.  But, some of it is because I care.  Some might argue I care too much.  I like to think I am human.  But, my human-ness needs to take a breather sometimes.

I don’t know where to put these feelings.

But I am glad I have them.

I am glad I can try to put myself in other people’s shoes… Even if my perception isn’t always accurate.  I am glad that I can bond with a little child over “Toopy et Binou”, that a Grandmother can feel comfortable spilling her guts to me, that most kids do get better and grow up and do things just like me.

I need to take care of myself.  I can’t take it all on myself.  But, it is good that this bothers me.  And that I love it despite that.

So, no, work isn’t a cakewalk, but it is going well.  I am on Peds Heme/Onc and my heart breaks for these kids and families every day, but I still smile more than I frown and I am happy and am enjoying myself even though I sometimes feel sad.

So yes, I was down this weekend.  And yes, I find it frustrating that I can’t always effectively verbalize how I feel, especially to people who are just asking a general question.  Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking about it. And that is okay.  Sometimes, I come home and cry a little and that is okay too (although I probably won’t admit that to your face).  Interestingly, despite all that, I am kind of  happy except that I feel I have to lie about how I feel overall.

The good thing is that this work does make a difference.  Even when the outcome is not what we like to see.  And I love kids and want to see them live as fully as they can for as long as they can.  Because that is what it is really all about.  That is why I want this potentially incorporated in my practice

Everyone feels down sometimes.  Different things eat away at us.  It is interesting how sometimes the very thing that breaks your heart can also be a thing that brings you much joy.

I don’t know where to put these feelings.

I just wish I had a word to honestly explain them.

An Only Child on Sibling Day

Today is apparently Sibling Day… Or yesterday was.

Or at least that is what a ton of my Facebook friends are pointing out.

Sibling day doesn’t really matter to me.  I don’t have any actual siblings.

I don’t really think we need a day to appreciate people that happened to also be birthed by your parents.  It isn’t like you picked them or wanted them, or for that matter even like them.  Just saying.  I am sure your siblings are great and you love them very much or at least it is in vogue to say it today.  I just don’t get the whole it has to be said on a randomly selected day thing.

It must be the only child coming out in me.

Being an only child isn’t bad.

People have told me I didn’t turn out too spoiled or odd relative to what they expect only children to be.

I don’t know.  Sometimes, I feel like I am.  I really don’t fully grasp the whole sibling thing and internally struggle with things like wanting to get my own way (but doesn’t everyone?).

Being an only child has its perks.  I got to go on vacation with my parents.  I didn’t really have to share my stuff.  I had lots of one on one attention.  Nobody else was at home to get me sick or fight with me (except my Dad, who at times liked to egg me on and acted as an excellent sibling replacement).  As an adult, I am fortunate to have parents who are flexible with family dinners and such because, well, it is just the three of us to schedule around.  It is pretty cool.

Some people have asked me if I think it is good or bad to have only children where I was one.

I have mixed feelings.  I think it depends on the kid.  I did benefit from the attention and it is pretty sweet.  But, there are some things you miss out on.

I had to play by myself a lot.  That meant I learned to entertain myself.  It also meant I struggled with people who didn’t follow rules that existed when I played games with my parents or on my own.  I played a lot of board games with myself.  Things like frisbee and catch suck when you are alone.  You throw and then you chase… Then, repeat.  And sometimes it would just plain have been cool to have another kid around.

I was jealous of my friends with siblings.  I made up siblings in my head.  I often imagined I came from a family with like 10 kids.  As an adult, I also get jealous of my friends with siblings. Partly because some of them have become great friends.  But, moreso because I have come to the realization that when my parents are old and demented, I will be on my own to take care of them.  There won’t be anyone to take shifts with me (at least no blood siblings).  I feel like that is a big stressor in only children that I have noticed more and more, especially working in health care.

I also am aware that some only children turn out super spoiled.  And some might argue I can be that way too.  I think it depends on the parents and how you take care of your kid.  I know some people with siblings who are super spoiled.  Personality and parenting play a big role in that stuff (in my naive opinion).

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t trade my childhood or my adulthood.  I am happy to be an only child and I likely wouldn’t be quite who I am today if I had siblings.

I do not want to just have one child, though.  I used to think I did when I was younger because my parents are huge fans of the one child thing.  But, knowing what I know now, I want to have a few kids so that they get the sibling experience because it sounds cool to me (and here comes yet another generation of a parent wanting something for their kids that they didn’t have, even if what they had was perfectly good).

Realistically, I pretty much have siblings.

Because my parents had just me around, I feel like they had more time to take in my friends.  In fact, I have a few friends who share my parents and I theirs.  They are like my sisters and their parents are my “other mothers” and “other fathers” and vice versa.  It works.  I am grateful for having kind-of siblings.

My kind-of sisters and our mothers.

My kind-of sisters and our mothers.

Patrick has a brother and a sister.  So, I at least have siblings-in-law now.  It isn’t the same.  And I totally don’t grasp the dynamics of family dinner scheduling, rules about gifts or all that good stuff, but it is still cool.

I guess that means I have a lot of a good thing.  I don’t have any “real” siblings and I think that worked out well for me overall.  Being an only child has its challenges, some of which I am convinced can only be understood by other only children, but it also can be pretty cool.  I am also lucky enough to have some great “kind of” siblings and they mean the world to me and will support me and my parents for years to come.  Sort of like the best of both worlds.

Violence and Mourning – Hope and Joy

I have been avoiding writing about my feelings about the whole Sandy Hook school shooting thing.

It is everywhere and it is sad.  And honestly, I feel like I don’t have anything to say that is constructive  or unique.   And it is hard to address.

In fact, I was planning on not saying anything at all.  Because I almost feel like writing on it as such an outsider is belittling the situation because I can’t possibly understand it.

But, it keeps coming to mind, especially in light of the Christmas season.

All I can say is I feel so badly for the families involved, including those of the young man who pulled the trigger.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in the shoes of the survivors, the families of the deceased or even in that community.

As an outsider, a future parent and the spouse and friend of teachers, it breaks my heart and terrifies me.

Those could be my kids, my husband, my friends.

It also breaks my heart to see how the media can sensationalize a killer.  Someone who ended lives, with body counts, gruesome details and plastering their face all over the place.

This young man had issues.  But it is not fair to speculate his motivation, his mental health or his family life on the internet or television.

Think of his family and friends.  They mourn too. We need to love them like the others.

Now, we speculate how to stop these things from happening.  Some blame gun laws.  And yes, I am sure having guns so readily available is a problem (this coming from a sheltered Canadian), but if you want to find weapons badly enough, you can.  Having stricter laws does not prevent violence.  It prevents some accidents and the odd incident, but not big scale things with intent.

Others blame mental illness.  Not all mentally ill people are violent.  In fact, most are not.  And even those who think about it are generally not violent.  Yes, we need to treat mental illness appropriately and there is a big need for medications, counseling and a willingness to undergo treatment.  Some people don’t have good access to care or are resistant to it.  It is actually quite rare (or so a forensic psychiatrist once told me) for people to be so psychiatrically unwell so as to commit crimes of large proportions due only to their mental illness.

No matter whether or not guns or mental illness plays a role, a big part of this is that our society is violent.  We accept violence at baseline.  Single murders hardly make us flinch anymore.  We see it on the news every night.  We play video games that encourage killing.  We act as if it is normal.  Yes, people have control of themselves, but you have to wonder how much of it we promote with the media sensationalizing these “blaze of glory suicides” in which people kill themselves while killing others.  Sometimes, it is the only way a person may think they become known.

We are flawed.  We hurt one another.  We are attention seeking.  And we propagate that behavior.  I don’t know why people kill or how to stop it within human means.

Man is sinful.

It breaks my heart that things like this happen, especially so close to the holidays.

I am glad we have hope in this season.  Even for those who mourn, we know that those children are in heaven.  It doesn’t change the fact that we feel loss just that much more at this time of year, the season for family and friends to come together.

There is nothing wrong with mourning as a nation, as a global community.

But, we can’t become bitter.  We can’t be enslaved with fear or grief.  And it is not for us to judge.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. –John 10:10.

We need to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  That the family members we miss are home.  That there is reason for joy even with the sadness.  And that Jesus came to Earth as a man, so that we can have freedom and joy!

I remember the joy of coming home to family and friends or having them come home to us.  This will be nothing compared to our heavenly homecoming.

That is why we have Christmas.  That is why despite tragedy of epic proportions, we can still be joyful and find hope.

Remember to pray for these people affected.  But not just them.  Those who live in constant fear, those who are missing loved ones who have been dead for a long or short time, those facing all kinds of uncertianity this season.

I feel joy because of the hope of Jesus.  I hope you do too.

Rain On My Parade

Sometimes a person can do some silly things.  And those silly things can bring great joy (and dampness).

This was one of those days.

I worked today.

In the morning it snowed.

Image via flickr.com.

I regretted not wearing socks with my shoes.  I am not generally a huge snow fan, but it was looking a lot like Christmas (*cue song here).  And it was all pretty and wintery outside.

Then, it stopped snowing.  That was even better… I could walk home, hopefully before it changed completely to rain.

3 kids came in with lacerations.  All of them were received playing outside on the playground during lunch at school… Promising.  That meant kids were outside.  That meant it wasn’t raining and it couldn’t be that wet out.  The walk home won’t suck that much after all.

I finally get out of work after sewing up hole in face number three (bonus… none of the kids slapped me today).  I start to walk towards the exit when I see it… The water.  Everywhere.  It is raining.  Not just raining.  It is pouring.  Mammals were falling from the sky.  And it is windy and hovering just above freezing.

Pretty much what I saw when I looked out the window. And a bit what it felt like… Except cold. Image from nashvillescene.com.

I am wearing a wool peacoat.  No hood.  Old flats… No socks, but a potential leak.

Epic fail.

I contemplate hiding out in the library at work.  I do have a giant presentation to prep for.  But wait… I have no memory stick and all but two of the papers I printed are at home.

I weigh out the options.

25 minute walk… I will freeze and drown.

Taxi… $7.00 to drive 5 minutes.  Not bad, but really, I am kind of cheap.

Bus… There is a stop near our building and near the hospital.  Timing will be about the same.  I won’t melt from a few minutes outside.  Seems like a happy medium.

I check the schedule and start walking.  The bus was on time (I was amazed at this after my experiences at our prior home).  But, by the time I got to the stop I was drenched.  I was literally dripping.  My shoes were squishing and I was cold, but at least not frozen.

At first I sat on the bus kind of bitter.  For 5 more dollars, I could have taken a taxi.  But, then I was a mother wrangling a kid away from a puddle walking down the street.  I remembered how fun that was and decided to look at the bright side.

This looks so fun. And it is. So long as you don’t mind being soggy. Image from creativecoolcatcontemplations.blogspot.com.

I am an adult, on my own, soaking wet, with another brief walk in the rain ahead.  I could be bitter and cold, or I could embrace the weather and my already soaked feet.

So, I embraced the weather.  On the way home (don’t kill me, Mom), I splashed through every puddle.  I mentally frolicked (we live downtown, so I can’t do something too ridiculous like actually frollick, at least not without the partnership of another person).  I sang the song below to myself because it seemed appropriate at the moment (not aloud, that would get me committed).

I did this all the while wearing a wool peacoat, dress pants and carrying a brown leather messenger bag and patterned lunch box.  I am like a child-working adult fusion.

By the time I got to the building (one minute at the most), I was really no soggier than I was before, but I was pretty happy feeling, despite my drowned rat appearance.

Me minus the life preserver.Image from blogs.cornell.edu.

Me minus the life preserver.
Image from blogs.cornell.edu.

The cat drank the water I dumped out of my shoes (true story).  I had to change pants and dry off.

It confirmed again that I really should invest in some rain boots, but like a coat with a hood, there is an astute probability I wouldn’t have them when I needed them.

But, it was a strangely satisfying experience overall.

Funny how life works sometimes (this may be an indicator I still need to correct my schedule after the weekend or that I have been spending far too much time with children).

As Heard In Peds Emerg

Do you remember the whole “Kids Say  The Darndest Things” show?

I do.  I loved it.  Even as a kid.

Sometimes, working in a Pediatric hospital is like living in a big prolonged episode of the show.

Last night, I worked my second overnight shift in a row, so things were a bit funnier, especially once it was about 4 in the morning.  We all had a bad case of the giggles and there were some especially entertaining kids.  Those combined with some of the others I have seen leads to a pretty fun list of funny things to say.

“Mom, you are driving me crazy.  It is time for a brief time out.”  Said by a four year old while holding their head and sighing in frustration.  Not like they heard that from a parent before.

When asked how the child likes their new school, she resonds, “I like it much better, they appreciate me there.”  This was met with hysterical laughter from every adult in the room.  The kid just stared at us like we were all stunned.  We asked what she meant and she explained that they just seem to give her more attention and praise her talents.  Makes sense.  Interesting choice of words, but sensible.

In response to how was it getting stitches one boy said, “It was better than that time Dad sat on me.”  Mortified, his parents explained until recently, they had to pin him down for any kind of needle.

One little girl in with the stomach explained to me all about how she threw up in a bucket… After throwing up on both her bed and Mom’s bed.  And that because she threw up in a bucket, she got a cookie.  Which she threw up, and not in the bucket.  A lot of detail Mom was not impressed she shared.  Especially about the cookie.

One five year old who was not really sick informed me she wanted to stay in the emergency room with me.  Like a sleepover.  Except she could stay up all night.  And play with the other kids.  Because it would be fun, right?  Wrong.

While examining a boy’s obviously broken arm, I asked if he thought it was broken.  He informed me he played another couple minutes of his hockey game before going off the ice.  So no.  His forearm was at a 45 degree angle.  He wanted to go to school the next day to show the others before getting a cast on.

I was slapped in the face by a five year old who didn’t want me to give him stitches.  It hardly stung.  His mom was mortified.  His older brother and I laughed a little.

A 4 year old with gastro asked me, “am I going to make it?” in a croaky, sad voice with big sad eyes.  Five minutes later while I was explaining it was the probably the stomach flu, she asked if she could have something to eat, maybe something light… Like pizza or a milkshake.

I was informed by a 16 year old patient that I looked just like a girl from her school and was asked if I was some kind of freaky smart kid or something.

“I can’t move my arm… Like this.”  As she moves her arm.

I was asking a child with hives if they ate anything different today.  They told me, “I sometimes eat my boogers, but today I tasted some of the stuff out of my ears.  Is that why I itch?”  Their Mom promptly said, “yes.”

While doing a procedural sedation, one 14 year old boy told us all about his girlfriend, how she would do his homework while he was in a cast and how she was beautiful and we should creep her on Facebook.  He woke up and swore up and down he had no girlfriend and panicked that his parents might have heard.

Child when asked if they have an itchy bum.  “Sometimes, but Mom doesn’t let me scratch it like dad does, but sometimes, I steal a fork from the kitchen, because that isn’t my hand.”

I think part of the fun of peds is that the kids are sometimes just a bit more honest, or at least funny in their lies.  And they don’t embrace the sick role as much, so you can sometimes have a bit more fun with them.  Plus, they are kids.  And just plain funny sometimes.

A Non-Parent On Parental Judgment

Nothing bugs me more (okay, lots of things bug me and potentially more than this issue, but this is for emphasis) than when people judge parents and say things like, “I will never do it that way” or “how stunned do you have to be to do that?” 

Working in a Pediatric Emergency room, you hear things like that from time to time.  Okay, really you can hear things like that anywhere in life.

I am not saying parents don’t do some stupid things.  But, we are all human.  And common sense isn’t always common.  I do some stupid things too.  I walk into walls on a regular basis.  Plus, sometimes, despite what we think we would do, circumstances, knowledge and all sorts of other factors can alter the decision making process.

I am not perfect.  I have ideas about how I will and will not parent and I am sure a good chunk of them are wrong.  Thus, I admit that I will probably be a parent that waits too long from time to time to get things checked out and odds are, at least once, I will worst-case scenario and run to seek attention for something fairly simple.  And my kids won’t be perfect.  They will throw tantrums and I will make bad calls and probably discipline them in ways others think are foolish.

I feel like I am fairly self aware of these issues.

And I am not a parent yet, so really, aside from obvious child welfare or safety concerns, who am I to judge?  And even if I were a parent, can I grasp the actual situation at hand between a parent and a child?

I am also not saying that I don’t judge from time to time.  But I am saying that I am trying really hard not to.

I have noticed that many parents presume that since I am working in a Peds Emerg that I must know a lot about kids.  And I know a lot of facts.  And I like kids.  But, that does not mean I am a parent.  It amazes me how much trust a person can put in me to care for their little one.  Only to be shocked to find out I am an oncology resident with no children.

Some parents come in with simple questions.  They just want to confirm things are going alright, that there isn’t something secretly wrong with their kids.  As much as those visits get redundant, they are some of my favourites.  You get to do a bit of teaching, you get to provide some comfort and everyone leaves happy.  I know some people who complain about these parents, but really, they are doing a great job.

There are other visits where you shake your head a little because this is very clearly not an emergency room sort of issue.  But sometimes family docs are sparse or out of their comfort zone.  Or parents work or have no access to transportation, so timing is an issue.  So, they have to go somewhere.

And there are visits where everything is warranted, but there are some obvious bad calls… Kids jumping out of shopping carts, a newborn with a low grade fever for two days that probably should have been brought in when it started.  You shake your head because a better decision could have improved outcomes, but the parents are here and concerned because they love their kids and know that it might not have been the best decision, but things are done now.  You still have to care for them.  And treat them well.  We all make bad choices from time to time.

I have a difficult time understanding how people can be all high and mighty.

Sure, you don’t abuse your kids.  But, there is a fine line.  And I have seen a fine line be crossed when someone has a chronically fussy baby.  I cared for a little one once who was squeezed because she was crying so much.  Dad got frustrated after days of screaming and crying.  He didn’t even realize what was happening until it happened.  And then it was too late.  This tore their little family apart.  But, they worked through it.

Sometimes even great parents and families are just steps away from making terrible mistakes.  That is why we educate.  Teach people the basic principles.  Even if you don’t have common sense, if I show you how to check a temperature, when to give medicine and when to come back, you can probably follow those directions.

And yes, there are some terrible people out there or people who really probably shouldn’t be parents.  But, they are.  And if we can’t change that, we should help them.  Especially for the sake of the kids.

I know a few people I grew up with who have now reproduced.  Sometimes, when I see this, I think they would make good proponents for effective birth control, though more and more are now having children intentionally (clearly a sign of  true adulthood).  Most of them are awesome parents and I admire them.  But there are also the ones who have make me shudder a bit because they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.  And I read their Facebook statuses and sometimes wonder how they get through the day without polling their Facebook friends for very simplistic parenting advice.  But, I also know they love their kids to bits and want the best for them.  And that is what really matters.  Not my high and mighty medical knowledge.  That doesn’t necessarily make you a good parent (I have met some doctors that were pretty crappy parents).  And judging them doesn’t help a thing.  I am sure they will judge me when I become a parent (or they are nicer people than I am).

When I was a kid, I was a chronic dislocater.  Pulled elbows, dislocated shoulders, all that good stuff.  My parents were looked at funny when they went to the ER with me.  They did nothing but love me.  And sometimes try to get my arm back in place before going to the hospital to avoid the judgment.  Unfortunately, all you had to do was pull my arm and it would pop out.

Maybe after seeing the worry they went through, I have more empathy for families with kids who really are just sickly or accident prone or well, have behavior problems that make them difficult to care for.

Plus, I keep thinking when I am a parent, despite all of the things I have learned over the years in med school and residency about pediatric medicine, I will be no different than every other mother.  Because I will be just that, a mother.  Treating fevers is not the only issue that will come up.  And I will worry because I know too much sometimes about medical stuff.  And kids are tough.  They all have their own personalities and issues before you even bring parents into the picture.

So, when I see parents who had their kid get hurt in some unfortunate way, or the kid with the flu throwing a full-on tantrum or the mom with a healthy baby with a simple cold, I try to put myself in their shoes.  How tough it must be or how I would want to be treated.  I don’t always do it perfectly.  Sometimes it is just to easy to want to roll your eyes when it takes 4 people to pin down a two year old with a low grade fever just to give Tylenol while the Mom cowers in the corner because she “can’t give her baby medicine”.  Maybe Mom never learned to give medicine.  Or maybe the kid has real behavior issues.  Or is sicker than we thought.

Parenting is auto-programed into us.  We are made to reproduce.  But, it is difficult to parent well.  At least, that is how it seems when there are so many people watching.  Society can be very judging. The important thing is the only person who matters is the child.  I just hope I remember that when I have a child.  And that others would remember that as well.

People come to the Pediatric Emergency room to seek care.  And that is what I want to do… Care.  Not just for the kid.  But also for those people who care enough to bring the child in.  Because that will one day be me or my friends.

It is human nature to judge.  It is also in our nature to make mistakes.  No parent is perfect.  No kid is perfect.  We just do the best we can.

Top Ten Authors For Children’s Books

For the first time in months, I missed writing a blog post and/or having one prepared.  I was on surgery call last night.  The hospital ate me.  But, on the bright side, I made it out of the hospital alive… And left the people I was taking care of alive too.  Big win.

On another more relevant and fun note, it is Top Ten Tuesday time with the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s list is my top ten favourite authors from genre x.  I am a touch on the eccentric side.  I like a bit of this and that and I don’t think I can pick a particular genre, at least not one I can fully narrow down. 

Then, I started watching the documentary about the puppeteer who is Elmo and I decided children’s books are a genre. And I am sleep deprived and could use a bit of fun.  So, I am going with that.  Remembering children’s books is always a good time.

  1. Dr. Seuss.  Silly books that rhyme.  Very fun for all ages.
  2. Robert Munsch.  I am always tempted to buy a collection of his books when I am at Indigo.  One day when I have a kid, we will have all of them.  Possibly more for me than for the child.
  3. Roald Dahl.  This is an obvious one.  His books have so much imagination and humor to them they are still worth reading as an adult.
  4. Judy Blume.  An excellent author for all ages, her books literally span appropriateness for a variety of age groups and are always great for a laugh or a cry.
  5. Ann M. Martin.  The writer of the Babysitters Club series and all of the respective spin-offs.  It is rare to find a girl who hasn’t read these books and hopefully it stays that way.
  6. R.L. Stein.  Another author that gets kids reading, I was pleased to see my 10 year old cousin still enjoying these books.
  7. Laura Ingalls Wilder.  My love of her books is no secret with my recent re-reading of them.  I love that the books are written from a perspective kids get, even as she ages, but that you can still see the progression.
  8. E.B. White.  I love that her books bring you into the world of animals.
  9. Mark Twain.  These are the original adventure books.  Okay, not the original, but way more realistic and authentic than some of the fantasy stuff kids read today.
  10. A.A. Milne.  Winnie the Pooh is still cool all these many years later, sure all the characters have symptoms of psychological disorders, but they are awesome.

I could go on and on… There are so many great children’s books and authors.  And a good thing too… I love making sure kids read!

Who are some of your favourite children’s authors?

Thanksgiving Happiness

This week’s photo challenge with the Daily Press is entitled “Happiness.”  I don’t really consider myself a photographer or a photo blogger, but the post I was going to write for today actually goes well with the challenge to post photos of things that make you happy.  So, I am posting it and saying it is also part of the challenge. **Thanks to my Dad who took all of these pictures.

This weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  The thing that made this particular Thanksgiving awesome was that not only were we home with family, but we actually got to spend Thanksgiving with both of our families, something that we haven’t been able to do in a leisurely fashion since we have been together.

We had a lovely traditional turkey dinner with Patrick’s siblings and his Mom’s side of the family complete with watching football (I thought that made us a little multi-cultural with the American football tradition) and crazy pet stories.

We had dessert out with my three best friends from home and their husbands.  It was one of the first times we all hung out as an entirety in ages not at a wedding-related event. We actually closed down the restaurant (mind you, it was a Sunday and Thanksgiving, so the restaurant closed at 10).

And then, we went to the lovely farm where my Aunt, Uncle and cousins live for Thanksgiving there with my family.

They have been having Thanksgiving-like festivities together up there for a while.  This was the first year we got to go and it was sheer happiness.  The day came complete with lots of talking, food, a grand tour of the barn (with the ENTIRE group of us… If you knew my grandmother, the fact she came would blow your mind) and lots of playing around.  The pictures tell the story well on their own.

It is wonderful to be close to family and friends to actually get to do these sorts of things together.  Also, having some vacation time helps.

Sporting, farming and fairs… A day with family.

As I alluded to yesterday, Patrick and I took a field trip to have a night away and also spend some time with family.

This particular chunk of family consists of my Aunt (who due to an unusual age distribution in our family is half mother and half sister type figure to me), her husband and their three kids… Twin 10 year old boys, C1 and C2 and their almost 5 year old GL.  They are a lovely crew who live in a village and have a farm.  True story.

The trip up was half motivated by our wanting to see this gang and partly because the village they live in was having a town fair and the kids had some of the animals and other projects they were working on in the fair.  Extra bonus… The kids were in a soccer tournament and C1 also had a hockey game… Things we had been wanting to see for ages, but have lived too far away to get to see.

So, we tagged along for the soccer adventures where C1’s team won his games and he got a hat trick (interesting because he also claims his claim to fame on the team is that he always wears a hat).  Then, it was off to another field to catch GL’s two games.  Nothing is more entertaining than watching a few under 6 teams have at the ball.  GL got four goals (I think only one actually counted because for three of them, the other team was off having a drink break).  She also played a bit of goal, all the while being coached from the sidelines by C1, her goalie big brother.

Meanwhile, there were also the adventures of Patrick and C2, who love to play robot or monster or something and tell stories for ages.  I am generally the target of their adventures… “I hear get Trisha” and next think I know, they are removing my limbs, or tickling me or something.

Patrick and C2 having a story moment.

Other bonus to all of this… Catch up time with my Aunt.  Being away, I haven’t had much of a chance to see her and such, so it was good to just get to sit and chat a bit.   And question how the kids are so athletic when we are so not.

Patrick and I also took a field trip to the rink (the nice, cool rink… a beautiful thing relative to the oven, which is our car) to see C1 play hockey.  Despite only starting to play last fall, C1 is a pretty good goalie.  In fact, he just spent a week at goalie camp, so he is even better now.  And he has been itching for us to see him play.  He give me regular updates through his Dad’s Facebook on his game status, his stats and all that good stuff.  It has broken my heart that we haven’t had a chance to see him play.  The first thing he asked when we appeared Saturday was if we were going to watch his hockey.  And of course we did.  We watched his team to a 7-5 win… C1 only let in two goals after coming in when they were down 2-3!   I resisted the urge to be that embarrassing Aunt despite Patrick trying to convince me to cheer loudly (oh, the kids call us their Aunt and Uncle, again due to the unusual family age distribution).  I just can’t be loud like that.  Probably comes from having a loud mother and other mothers.

Ready for action.

Then, it was the trek to their village and the fair.

The kids are a part of the 4-H club (I was amazed to learn 4-H still existed when they started there two years ago… I thought it was just something from books when I was a kid).  So, the 4-H group submitted a bunch of projects and have their animals at the fair to show off.  It was pretty cool.  There was an obnoxious goose that would quiet down when its owner would tell it to use its indoor voice, full-size cows and some baby cows, lots of goats, a few young sheep (that C2 loves to cuddle with), pigs, chickens and rabbits to boot!

Embracing the fair with this fun photo cut out in the barn.

We saw the crafts that GL won first prize for (a butterfly and a photo poster) and C2 won third for (a rocket ship).  C1 showed us his ambitious undertaking of making bread for the fair.  He entered his bread with the adults  and although he didn’t get a prize, it was still awesome because he undertook such a big thing.  He pointed out the winner was 31 and therefore had a lot more loaves of bread under her belt.

We even hit up the rides section of the fair… All 6 of them.  One thing of note were those giant hamster balls that you can run around in.  I was impressed with those… So were the kids.

We, however opted to get on the scrambler.  The whole crew of us minus my Uncle who was stuck (or lucky enough depending on how you look at it) with the animals), went on the Scrambler.  This is quite a feat because C2 is nervous about pretty much everything and GL is, well, very small.  Somehow, we all got on and it was a great time.  C2 and GL loved it.  C1 had gone on yesterday and had a blast, but reported it was much better this time, probably because the only little kid was his sister this time.  I love things like that from a kid’s perspective.  C2 was so excited, he told us it was just like being on a rocket ship, or being a cowboy, or maybe cookie beaters.  He shrieked and cackled the whole time.

We managed to leave with a collection of cucumbers and drowsy eyes.  We took an inadvertent scenic tour home down one of my favourite stretches because it has a ton of weeping willow trees.

It was a great day with some lovely family.  I am glad we are closer to home so we can do this more often.