Quiet at the Car Wash

Sometimes moments of quiet appear in the oddest places.

car wash entrance

I’d been staring at my horribly dirty car for a few weeks, feeling like finding the time to get it washed was one more thing I couldn’t fit in. Maybe even the one thing that would put me over the top from managing to it’s-all-too-much.

You know how sometimes it’s the silly, stupid, small things that do that?

I decided not to let my dirty car do that.

Last weekend I had a window of time on Sunday afternoon. I had some other errands to do that would take me in the neighbourhood of the car wash and decided I’d run through while I was out. But instead of just tacking it on to the end of a series of errands I decided to use it to my advantage.

I took a magazine with me, turned off the radio, and sat in the quiet. I waited in line at a time when I would normally have felt rushed and I just…sat.

Self-care at the car wash. Who knew?

iPPP button

Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

A Thousand Years

Ethan ready for sledding

You know how sometimes you look at a picture of your child and your heart does that thing where it tries to burst out of your chest? This photo does that for me.

I’m not sure what it is—maybe it’s that he looks like a Gerber baby in this photo or perhaps because he was so willing to let us put him in his new sled without knowing quite what it was all about—but I look at this photo and I think, “My god I love this kid.”

This morning Ethan sat with me while I had a late breakfast (three cheers for weekend sleep-ins) and we sang.

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I often sang this song to him while we danced around the living room when he was really small because I like it and it made him smile. I had forgotten about it until I heard it in a mall yesterday and I thought it was time we listened to it again.

“And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I looked at him while we sang and thought, How could I have ever thought you’d never come to me? I’m just still so very grateful for him – my small, blond Gerber baby with the big laugh. I’ve loved him for so long.

(And PS: He loved the sled.)


I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. Link up below!


Now You Are One

Dear Ethan,

A year ago today, just before we left for the hospital and about three hours before you were born, it snowed. It was the first snow of the year and it came down lightly, the snowflakes glinting in the street lights on the side of the road.

It was a sign of a new season, both literally and metaphorically.

There is so much about you that I didn’t anticipate. You were wanted and planned for, but I didn’t expect you to enter our lives a month after I started a new job in a new city. But we were ready, and I guess you knew that.

I spent the next months trying to imagine you – who you would be and what you would look like, but I couldn’t. At the time I couldn’t even begin to picture a child different than the one I already had.

But you are so very much your own person. When you decided you were ready to enter the world, you did so determinedly, and a couple of weeks early. When you were born you were so small we had to borrow preemie clothes from your cousins because everything we had left you buried in rolls of soft cotton.


I looked at you and wondered how you could possibly be so small and quiet when everything about your brother was big and loud.

My first few days with you, in the hospital and then at home, were filled with nothing but awe. But it was a different sort of awe than I felt as a new mom the first time. It was a feeling of calm, a feeling of peace. It was us settling in to one another.


That settling has let me observe you and see things I want to capture in the palm of my hand and never let go of.

You are joy and happiness and laughter. You have a huge smile. You give really, really good hugs.


Everywhere we go someone comments on how happy or easygoing you are. You are both of those things, and blissfully so, except if someone takes away something you’re playing with and then WATCH OUT.

I’m used to your brother’s big personality and sometimes I have to remind myself of you because, truly, you are quiet enough that people come into the room and don’t know you’re there.

And then, suddenly, you will light up. You’re a talker and you wave your arms wildly and repeat sounds and mimic us. You want to be involved and you make sure that you are. When you start to talk or laugh you become the centre of all things, because how can we not listen to and look at you?


A year into this journey I’m not sure I know what it is to be your mother. You are my little babe, my duck, my blondie. I want so badly to stop time and stay with you a while, just as you are. I want to hold your soft hands and watch you sit on the floor and kick your legs in excitement. I want to watch you dance.

But just as the seasons change, so must you. And I must let you.

I see amazing things for you but sense that my role is simply to guide you and watch you soar.

So do that. Dance on, darling.

I will love you always and forever,
Mama xx


Gratitude Day and 50 Ways

I did a bunch of thinking in my sort-of writing-hiatus recently. I pondered how I want to spend my time and what kinds of things I want to write. And I spent a lot of time thinking about my place in this World of Blogs and what I want that to look like.

As a result of all that thinking, I’m scaling back the sponsored and promo-y stuff I’m covering on this blog because (a) I want to actually write more and (b) I’d like to focus on things that matter.

Having said that, I want to tell you about something I’ve been lucky enough to get an early look at, because it’s the kind of thing I love and I think stuff like this matters.

By way of introduction: Remember the hope notes I left in a library book? I love the idea of someone finding them and pausing for a moment. “Your dreams are worth pursuing,” they would read, and maybe trust that it was true.

Whether it’s a note left for a stranger or for someone you know, spreading love and gratitude is a beautiful thing. That’s the idea behind a new book called 50 Ways to Say You’re Awesome by Alexandra Franzen.


The book is full of personality. See?




Each of these (and 47 others) is a tear-out page with some more stuff and a place to write on the back. Some of them are sweet. Others are funny, sassy, or punny.

I love it.

I’m going to use each one. I’ll put them on desks for colleagues and in the mail to friends. I’ll stick them on mirrors and under windshield wipers. I’ll leave them somewhere for people to find and smile thinking of the moment of discovery.

Isn’t that just so good?

Speaking of good, to celebrate World Gratitude Day on September 21 (tomorrow!), author Alexandra Franzen is sponsoring a pretty awesome giveaway. If you share your story about a creative way you said “thank you,” you’ll be entered to win a $500 donation to your favourite charity. You can find details on her website.

Plus, if you share an ecard through the Sourcebooks Pinterest app you could win another $100 donation to your favourite charity, plus 10 copies of the book to give to anyone who makes your life a little more awesome.

Lots of good here, people.

Intrigued by this book? Of course you are. You should get one.*

If you want one of these books and want to test your karma before buying one, you can enter to win one below.

Just promise me one thing: You will embrace gratitude and spread a little bit of love today.

*Affiliate link. Because honesty is awesome.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Post is Not About Politics

A few weeks ago, on impulse, I signed up to volunteer for our city mayor’s re-election campaign.

I am not a political person. I swear loyalty to no particular political party. I dry-heave in my Shreddies hearing political rhetoric (and when, three or so jobs ago, I had to write some of it, I felt as though I had sold a piece of my soul). I have worked for two levels of government (federal and provincial) and I can almost certainly say never again. I always vote, though, except when I’m not allowed to.

Not long after we moved to Calgary there was a provincial election in Alberta. We weren’t eligible to vote at that point and, having just left a provincial government job in another province that exposed me to some choice bureaucracy, I was sort of glad, and chose to pay little attention.

We continued to settle in a new city and I started to hear more and more about Calgary’s mayor. Not a typical politician, Naheed Nenshi is logical and smart and frank and funny. He’s great on Twitter and he responds to completely ridiculous questions with completely awesome answers. And he did a great job during the floods.

Even so, my choice to get involved in his re-election campaign was not especially well thought out. Tonight, as I rushed around trying to finish dinner and get a baby to sleep and make myself look somewhat presentable after a very, very hot day so I could go to a volunteer orientation session, I had a moment of wondering if I was crazy. I’m going back to work in a month. Do I really need to do volunteer for a political campaign?

It turns out I do. But it’s not because he needs the help.

re-elect Naheed Nenshi sign

At the beginning of the orientation session, Mayor Nenshi talked a little bit about why he thinks this election matters. He is pretty much uncontested at this point, so why campaign at all? Why not just wait for election day and do a happy dance then? Because you should never take anything for granted, he said. Because the city matters. Because we have an opportunity to create an even better community.

I sat and listened as Nenshi talked about hard work and long history and standing up against intolerance. He talked about pride and passion and a little bit about politics, but what he had to say really wasn’t about politics at all. It was about community.

And that’s why I’m volunteering for this campaign.

Calgary has always felt like home to me, even though the time I’ve lived outside this city far exceeds the time I’ve lived in it. When people ask us if we miss Victoria, Rich wavers a little bit but I’m a solid no. I lived there for most of my life but it’s not where I’m meant to be anymore.

I volunteered because I want to be inspired. I want to be part of something. Tonight I was both.

I also volunteered because I believe it will give me the opportunity to help make this community I’ve come to love, and which I’m so grateful to be living in, even better than it is today. And I there’s really nothing at all political about it.