Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Tribute To My Sisters

Erin (adventurous middle child), Me (oldest & wisest), Jane (glamorous baby of the fam)

Erin came to visit Jane and I in Medicine Hat this past week. She has been living and traveling in S.E. Asia for basically the last 17 months. The picture above is courtesy of a photo fest taken on Erin's last day here. Let me just pause here for a moment to say that it is extremely difficult to take a photo of three women that everyone is happy with. Hugh was taking the pictures and I'm pretty sure he was ready to bash our heads in by the end of it. I'm pretty intuitive about things like that. Of course his threats of death and destruction and the cursing of digital technology may have given it away.

Anyway as I said before Erin came to visit and I can say without hesitation that this was the best visit the three of us have ever had together. Period. There was no drama, no fighting, no pettiness. Typically we've always had good visits when just two of us are together but you throw that third girl into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Maybe it's because we're all drama queens at heart who hate the thought of someone else taking the limelight. Or maybe we're just too competitive. (We're also really sore losers and we've had to ban certain card games unless non-family members can be present.) All I know is that typically when the three of us get together somebody always ends up either hurt, offended, crying or all three.

But not this time. It seems we're finally growing up and learning the lessons of our past. We've realized the value of family and the importance of having in our lives the people who know our stories. We've seen that sometimes it's better to be quiet than right, and that having the last word isn't as satisfying as getting along. We've learned to celebrate each other's achievements without envy or jealousy and truly wish the best for each other. We've begun to understand our differences and give each other room to be different. And we've realized that our similarities are not something to compete over but something to connect over. We've learned to talk without giving or taking offence and in talking we've discovered that we are all are our mother's daughters. These wonderful, quirky personality traits we share are the things that make us distinctly Davis Women. Or Smith-Cyr-Davis-White Women as the case may be.

This is not to say that everything is perfect or that every lesson has been perfectly learned or even that we've learned all the lessons we need to. It's just to say I'm so glad I was born into this family. I'm so grateful to have the sisters I do. And I'm so glad we're not teenagers anymore!

When I was 13 and Jane was 8 I flipped Jane onto her back and just about dislocated her shoulder. Erin and Jane used to regularly reenact WWE Smackdown. It always ended in tears. We called each other names. We pushed each other's buttons. We manipulated. We competed and we tortured each other as only sisters can. Friends with three daughters take heart! My sisters are some of the most important people in my life. They are so woven into the fabric of my DNA that I have often said to really know me you must also know my sisters.

Erin motivates me to eat better and exercise. During this past week Jane called while Erin and I were out and left a message. "I guess you girls are out. I hope you're doing something fun. Heather are you feeling motivated because Erin is here? Are you guys out exercising?" We so were. I would love to have Erin as my personal trainer.

Jane teaches me new make-up tricks and challenges me to be more creative in my fashion and accessory choices. She's the one I ask for ideas when I need a really great outfit. I would be totally content if she were my personal shopper.

Erin is the one I eat bags and bags of penny candy and black licorice with. (She doesn't always eat tofu!)

Jane is the one I watch old Audrey Hepburn movies with and who I quote "You've Got Mail" with.

I knit with Erin.

I paint with Jane.

Erin has taught me there is more than one way to get where you want to go. Everytime I drive with her we discover an "alternate route"!

Jane has taught me to hold your head high no matter what. Even if you've just rear-ended someone and you're not wearing any pants.

Erin brings my compassion to the surface. She holds her hands to her chest because her heart literally hurts for the lost, the lonely, the orphan, and the outcast.

Jane brings my passion to the surface. Her zest for life, her verve, the way her eyes light up when she talks about the things she's passionate about are contagious.

All three of us throw our heads back to laugh and occasionally pee our pants when laughing and we can still sing every song from the Little Mermaid by heart.

During this past week we had a conversation about hot dog condiments. We all like a hot dog with everything on it but I asked Erin & Jane what they would choose if they could only have one condiment. Jane's pick was relish, Erin's, mustard and mine, ketchup. In some weird way this is a metaphor for our relationship with each other. We're individual, unique. We can stand on our own. We're great when we're all together.

This past year has been incredibly difficult. It has been heartwrenching, confusing, painful, and uncertain but through it all we have had each other. It is possible to walk down even the most painful roads when you can walk arm in arm with your sisters.

Erin and Jane you are my sisters, my friends. You inspire me, motivate me, amaze me, cheer me on. You are my safe place to be me. Thank you. I love you. I'm so proud of who you are. As I write this I'm drinking a cup of piping hot Twinings Earl Grey tea in a beautiful Autumn mug and I raise it in honor of you, my sisters.

Okay so this is the part where we usually break into song. "Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sisters and Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man!"

By the way I'm giving bonus points to anyone who knows what movie I quoted that song from. (Erin and Jane you can't answer!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Extraordinary moments in an ordinary day courtesy of Starbucks

I had the funnest thing happen to me this morning! (And yes you grammar junkies I know "funnest" isn't technically a word.)

I went through the Starbucks drive through to pick up coffee for Jane and I. Usually she brings coffee to me so it was really fun to be on the giving end this time. Actually I'm not 100% convinced that it's more blessed to give than receive when it comes to coffee because I really enjoy receiving a Caramel Breve Latte. That would be a caramel latte made with cream. Jane's entire face folds into itself when she drinks mine by accident and she gets a "sugar shake". That's when something is so sweet it actually gives you the shivers. Jane's coffee ideal is espresso, espresso, and more espresso. By itself. With nothing. Yuck. My ideal is something that only barely tastes like coffee. When I'm feeling exceptionally indulgent and can make myself forget that I'm drinking an entire weeks worth of calories I will top that caramel latte made with cream with a little whip and caramel drizzle. It's a little bit of liquid candy heaven.

Anyway, because it's fall and because I love seasonal things and because I love drinks with whip cream I ordered the Pumpkin Spice Latte for me, a double Tall non-fat Latte for Jane and a muffin and a scone. I paid with debit but I must not have hit "okay" at the end because the transaction timed out. When they tried to reswipe my card it wouldn't work so they gave me my entire order on the house! If getting super sweet liquid candy is fun, getting it for free is even funner! (You say potayto, I say potahto. You say more fun, I say funner.)

Sipping my free extra-hot latte, I drove along a street under a canopy of leafy trees in all their fall glory. The sky was clear, cloudless and brilliantly blue. The windows were rolled down so I could breathe deeply and sample the crisp, Fall air. To top it all off my kids were quiet in the back seat; a truly rare occurrence. As I drove in peaceful silence I was conscious of the gift of such a glorious momet and I felt truly grateful to be alive to experience it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Weekend Post Partum

Well we're back from our weekend away. Back to changing diapers. (Why do they always poop in pairs?) Back to Silly Songs. Back to cer-er-al for breakfast. Back to ordinary life.

But I have the memory of our weekend tucked into my back pocket to be taken out as needed. This weekend was so fabulous that we've decided to try to do this on a regular basis. It really was blissful. Maybe not personal-massuese-in-Paris blissful but blissful nonetheless.

After saying good-bye to the kids I had a few teary moments but they were gone by the time we turned the corner out of our neighbourhood. I can honestly say that I hardly thought of them. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a bad mom but I'll probably have to go through a few days of Mother Guilt just to be sure.

The drive was wonderul. I remember when a friend of mine had kids and I didn't. She and her husband were in a car for 4 hours and they talked non-stop. At that time road trips for Hugh and I consisted of me reading or sleeping and him listening to music at the top of his lungs. I actually thought there was something wrong with our marriage because we had nothing to talk about. Not so this time around. It was so great to get to talk about things other than logistics. UNINTERRUPTED. Well uninterrupted excpet for the time that I had to pee really, really bad. You know the Prairies might have "big sky" and an unmarred horizon but it's really inconvenient to pee in the bush when there are no bushes. Let's just say I'm really glad Hugh's jacket size is large.

During the drive I realized I forgot some basic necessities. Underwear actually. Note to self: not having much to pack does not equal having nothing to pack. We made a quick stop at the mall and left 4 hours later. One thing you can do without kids is actually get undressed to try on clothes. Oh the bliss.

After our "brief" stop at the mall we headed to our real destination. Bragg Creek, AB. It's about 30 minutes out of Calgary and has a population of 900. The entire town is contained within a radius the size of a Safeway parking lot. I'm not even exaggerating. Wondering why we chose Bragg Creek?

Some family friends of ours own a cafe there and Jane has been going out every weekend during the summer to work for them and we wanted to check it out. The Boardwalk Cafe is seriously the cutest cafe and the food is unbelieveable. The Quark cheescake is beyond words - it's an experience.

We met Jane to go out for dinner and went to a place called The Powder Horn. Our picture of Bragg Creek was that it was sort of a wealthy yuppie town. Jane said those people were at the other restaurants. This place was home to the locals. We walked in to a room blue with smoke, with wooden planks on the floor and at least one cowboy hat at every table. Oh yeah, it was also Karaoke night. Not quite the intimate setting we imagined for dinner but still no kids so whatever.

We looked at the menu and Hugh noticed calamari. "I don't know about ordering calamari at a place like this," I warned. Hugh and I ordered burgers and I vaguely heard Jane order the calamari. Hey Karaoke lady, just because you're loud doesn't mean you're good. A short while later, a waitress brought a plate of onion rings over to the table wondering if they belonged to our table. We all said no. The entire exchange was communicated with gestures because it was SO loud in there. A few minutes later the basket was brought back by another waitress who shouted that this was the calamari Jane ordered. "This is calamari. This is how it comes," she shouted.

Really? Where does Calamari come like that?

Anyway, our B&B was really cute. The breakfast was amazing, we had a great day on Sunday, and on returning home Sunday night we discovered that our kids really could survive without us. Who knew? On this grey rainy day I'm dreaming of next time.

Maybe it'll be Paris...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why my kids will be guests on Dr. Phil

One night when we were getting ready to move to Medicine Hat, my parents, having just moved to Salmon Arm, took our kids for the night so we could do some serious packing. And we did. We actually managed to pack 90% of our house in one day.

As far as I can remember that is the only night that Hugh and I have spent together away from our kids since they were born. Let me just remind you all that they were 2 last Saturday. That makes it 736 days minus 1 of not being away from them for the night.

But tomorrow we will be making it minus 2! Hugh and I are going to Calgary for the weekend. Alone. As in, not having to pack a rubbermaid container full of clothes for every disaster or weather situation imagineable. As in not needing to bring 2 playpens, 2 booster seats, another rubbermaid of toys, blankets, teddy's. As in 1 suitcase. Well probably 2 because I do have that shoe fetish after all. As in not having to listen to Baby Einstein on the portable DVD for hours on end. As in ALONE! Oh the bliss.

Originally to cut costs Hugh and I were going to camp. We actually have a camper but we'd have to insure the truck and then that's not exactly cutting costs anymore. So when I say camp I mean in a tent. On the ground. If that doesn't say romance I don't know what does. Personally I was never too keen on the idea. Besides the fact that the weather network is now predicting snow for the weekend, I don't enjoy the thought of getting woken up by the sun at the crack of dawn. We're up then anyway and this is supposed to be a get away. I want to sleep in. In a bed. With lots of pillows. And room service. And a personal masseuse. In Paris.

To compromise we're staying in a Bed & Breakfast. This also works for me. It's a bed. In a house. And I don't have to make cer-er-al for breakfast. I don't have to make anything. For anyone. Oh the bliss.

You'd think after 736 days minus 1 I would be singing at the top of my lungs and doing a little happy dance. Well we've hit a snag. We've come up against something neither of us counted on. It's called Mother Guilt. With a capital G.

After finding someone to stay with our kids and working out our accomodations and our itinerary, (did I mention that I also have an obsession with lists?), we went to bed content; ready to sleep and dream sweet dreams of no silly songs for 2 whole days. At 2:45am I was making myself hot milk and reading through Leviticus to try to make myself fall asleep. I was up almost all night worrying about leaving my kids. What if they're scared or confused because they're not with us? What if they break something, like their heads, and I'm not there? What if they cry the entire time we're gone? I fast-forwarded to when the kids were in their 20's and in therapy because they struggled with abandonment issues and had low self-esteem. By the way I'm also the Queen of The Worst Case Senario.

I honestly never thought I would be like this. I always imagined that if given this opportunity I would jump in my car, well mini-van, and speed off into the sunset. Apparently that's not the case. Suddenly, the kids are being extra adorable and really they're not that much work. Maybe I don't really need the break...

But it's too late. Our B&B is booked. I have an appointment to get my hair cut. We have people who've rearranged their schedules to watch our kids. We're going. I guess I have no choice but to suck it up and have a really great weekend alone with my husband.

If I can just manage to leave that guilty mother behind...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Must have been a redneck...

My sister got a new cell phone yesterday. Her old phone was savagely ripped apart by a snarling, foaming, crazed beast. Word to the wise: Don't leave your phone on the coffee table and walk away and assume it will be safe from curious little beasts, I mean boys, who want to figure out how it opens.

Anyway Jane brought her new phone home yesterday and we spent about an hour flipping through the manual since it's a different model than the one she had before. We flipped through the "how to care for your phone" section and amongst the typical don't drop your phone, don't use bleach to clean your phone, and don't get your phone wet, we saw this warning:

"Don't try to dry your phone in a microwave oven."

Really, are you sure?

Unfortunately I have a funny feeling that this warning is not hypothetical. As in let's say that hypothetically speaking you drop your phone into a pool, lake, river, bathtub, sink etc. and you manage to retrieve it but the only thing handy to dry it is your microwave I wouldn't recommend using it.

My guess is some bonehead soaked his phone, looked at his microwave, and was struck with inspiration. "Guys, seriously, I think this will totally work and it will be fast!" Maybe he electrocuted himself or maybe he shut down the power grid for his neighbourhood. Or maybe he just fried his phone. But I bet he tried to exchange his "defaulty" piece of electronics. And I bet when he was told he couldn't exchange it he complained that "nobody told him not to use a microwave to dry his phone and they should like, put a warning on it or something."

"Don't try to dry your phone in a microwave oven."

Thanks, I'll remember that...

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Happy Birthday Babies!

Tristan and Ava,

I can hardly believe that it’s been two years since you were born. I remember being excited to leave the hospital and begin “ordinary” life with you. As if life would ever be ordinary again. I cried all the way home from the hospital. I had gone into the hospital as a wife and an independant woman during the first week of September. It was still blue sky, beach weather. I came out a week later, the leaves had turned, it was Fall, and I was a mother. We were a family.

There have been days where I have wondered if I’m going to make it. There have been days I’ve wondered if you are going to make it and survive my mothering. There have been days of teething and days of fever and days of sheer exhaustion. But to look in on you at night, to walk into a room thick with the sweet scent of baby and see your faces flushed with sweet dreams…There are no words for the piercing pain that flashes through my heart. I love you so much it hurts.

This is not to say that the days are all bad. It’s just that when you’re sleeping you’re quiet. We joke that we have two favourite times in our house: naptime and bedtime.

Really I think our favourite part of the day is walking into your room to get you first thing in the morning. As soon as we walk into the room you both start cheering and jumping like maniacs in your crib. Tristan shouts “yay, yay, yay!” and Ava claps and exclaims “oh mama! oh daddy-o!” And then we spend the next five minutes gathering up the menagerie in your cribs to take downstairs. Why you have to bring teeny puppy, puppy, elo, duck, pony, other duck, oh teddy! and a book downstairs where you have more animals and books, I’m not sure. Maybe you're just trying to see how much you can get away with.

Ava you are talking so much. And I mean SO much. I don't think you ever stop. You are definitely your mother's daughter. You like naming things and until we respond you keep repeating it, "teddy, teddy, teddy, teddy, teddy, teddy." Yes Ava that's a teddy. "Bawoot, bawoot, bawoot, bawoot, bawoot." Yes Ava that's a balloon. You have a current obsession with flags and the other day when we were in the car we drove down a street that could be considered a flag mecca. "fwags, fwags, fwags,fwags." No response from us parents. "Fwags! Fwags! Fwags! Fwags!" Still no response from us. Finally, clawing at your face and then clutching at your shirt as if to steady yourself, "FWAAAAAAAGGSS!!! Yes Ava that's a flag.

Tristan you like to have things named for you and spend a lot of your day asking "Ga ah, ah, ah, ah? Which loosely translated means hey what the heck is this thing? Sometimes the ah ah's go on for quite a while "Ga, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah?" Sometimes, about halfway through, you lose your breath and though no sound is being emitted your mouth keeps moving until you gasp and continue, "ah, ah, ah, ah, ah?"
You're starting to put two words together, your favourite combination being "uh-oh!" We hear that about 13,000 times a day. Your newest combo is "help me". Or in Tristan speak "hep-m".

I love watching you interact with each other. I think it's so strange that you have never known life without each other. Tristan you are so sweet to your sister bringing her her blanket or a favourite teddy. Lately you've started giving Ava random kisses. My heart almost bursts everytime I see you display such spontaneous affection. Ava you love to roughhouse with your brother and you spend a lot of time barrelling into him or throwing yourself on him and then giggling like crazy. My favourite is when you chase each other up and down the hall taking turns being the chaser and the chasee.

Ava I love how you add the word "oh!" in front of so many of your sayings. "Oh, silly songs! Oh, milk!" It sounds so much more exciting than plain old silly songs or milk. I hope you never lose that wonder and delight. I promise we will always believe in fairies.

Tristan I love how you like to cuddle during Baby Einstein. I love the feel of your baby weight against my chest as you burrow in and get snuggled. I love how your eyes light up when you see us when we get you after church from the nursery. You run towards us with arms outstretched yelling "yay, yay, yay!" You make us feel so special and important and loved. I hope we will always be able to do the same for you.

Ava I pray that your wide-eyed enthusiasm would never be dampened. I pray that you would continue to embrace life and live it to the full. I pray that your faith would be adventurous and you would live out the truth of a God who is good but not safe. I pray that you would always be able to find the humour in life.

Tristan I pray that the dreamer in you would be nurtured and that you would dream God dreams. I pray that your stubborness and singlemindedness would be translated into a faith unswerving and unshakeable. I pray that your sweet spirit would never be embittered and that you would always hope, always believe and always trust. I pray that you would have the strength and determination to be who you are and carve out your own path.

These last two years have been filled with every emotion nameable but I wouldn't trade a moment of it. Well, I would probably trade some of the teething days and maybe some of the sleepless nights. I'd definitely trade the days that you were both puking your guts out after your dad and I had both been up all night puking our own guts out. But I wouldn't trade any of the other moments.

Thank you for being in our lives. Thank you for being such amazing individuals. Thank you for being the kindest, funniest, smartest, best looking kids alive!

Happy Birthday Tris & Aia! 2 is going to be fabulous!

I love you,


"You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore... but let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you." ~Khalil Gibran

Thursday, September 7, 2006

celebrity schmelebrity

I saw Mary J. Blige on Oprah yesterday.

Seriously why are people so ridiculous around celebrities? In classic Oprah form a woman was invited on stage and given the "surprise of her life" when her hero Mary J. walked onto the stage. I was so embarassed for this woman my stomach was churning and my face had gone beet red. I'm what I like to call an "interactive" tv watcher. I'm the the person who yells at people on reality tv shows and gives movie characters advice.

Anyway, this woman was sobbing and clinging and crying and Oprah actually had to pull her off so Mary J. could sing. I just don't understand what turns presumably rational people into such idiots when it comes to celebrities.

Another infamous Oprah episode (yes I am a stay at home mom) was the Tom Cruise one where he spent most of his time jumping on the couch. When celebrity hotties are guests the audience is always allowed to ask a few questions and seriously where do they find these people?! I think one of the questions was if he prefers boxers or briefs. WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!! And on another show (no really I do have a life) I think someone asked Matthew McConnaughey what his favourite part of a woman's body is. Again WHO CARES!!!!!!!! I'm sure it generated some business for plastic surgeons so maybe they care but other than that...

Why couldn't this woman have said "Wow, it's really great to meet you. You've been a real inspiration to me. Thanks for being so candid about your story." Do celebrities give off some kind of crazy vibe that causes people's brains to melt around them? I could understand it around say Nelson Mandela or Queen Elizabeth. But around Eminem or Jessica Simpson? Come on!

I'm sure if I were ever in that situation I would be calm, cool, collected and generally unimpressed by their fame and fortune. Then again I've never met an actual celebrity. Unless you count Mr. Dress-up.

Friday, September 1, 2006

On how I'm almost a saint

So awhile ago I was playing this shape sorter game with Tristan. Tristan loves this game. Like L-O-V-E-S this game. He especially loves it when we open it up and all the shapes come crashing to the floor. He actually does a little happy dance.

I do not love this game.

This is typically how it starts out.

Me: "Tristan, honey, that's a star in your hand. You can't fit a star into the cross shape right? Let's turn it around until we find the hole that matches the shape in your hand."

This is typically how it ends:


I hid the game in the basement for a couple weeks because the sight of it was making me twitchy. I think this toy is actually used as a form of chinese torture.

But I have progress to report. I think I'm growing in patience. Yesterday I played this game with Tristan and I didn't yell ONCE. Yep, I've definitely grown. The fact that Tristan has learned the difference between the star and the cross is just one of those funny coincidences that happen in life sometimes.