Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Wright Family Spooktacular

featuring Libby + the Brodeurs
(also, that would be the worst band name EVER)

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Smile

Oh, gosh. Check out this little homework assignment turned AWKWARD. The things we have to look forward to once our kid is on her own in society... :)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Few Very Legitimate Tears

I don't think that I take Geoff for granted. I'm pretty sure that I've always been aware of all the ways he helps me out and steps in to fill the gaps left by my chronic illness... So I'm not sure what the universe is trying to prove.

All I know is that it's really, really hard to be the person in our family who's holding it all together. It sucks to have to do the big Superstore shop and run in at Costco and fill up the car and drive myself to work and take out the garbage - on top of all the Lindsay Things that I usually take care of (that somehow filled a WHOLE day and took ALL my energy before).

I ended up in tears a few times today - and what makes that super scary is that we still have Libby here, helping nonstop from 07.30 until well after Briony's in bed. And I only made it into the office once this week. And we still have some things in the freezer that our lovely friends have dropped off for us.

But we survived another day.

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Um, WHAT?!

I painted a mug today at MOMs group. This involved deliberately participating in activity that the majority of the world would consider to be a 'craft' - and what's even creepier is that I actually found the process to be somewhat enjoyable. That's right, folks. HELL FROZE OVER. Granted, I wasn't very crafty about it - it's basically one solid colour (hey, you can take Lindsay to a crafty MOMs group meeting, but you can't make her crafty!).

Photos to follow after said mug has been fired and returned to me next week.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What A Difference

Oh, what a difference a day makes.

Last night's bedtime went really well (after we let her cry off-and-on for 20 minutes). This morning around 9 am (!), we were greeted by a surprise visitor to our home: one Briony Evangeline Wright, in all her giggly awesomeness. WELCOME HOME, BRIONY. Oh, how we've missed you. She spent half an hour before breakfast cruising around the house with the biggest grin in the world on her face because she'd discovered a ladybug in our house. 'Look, Mama! A ladybug! HE'S SO CUTE. And Briony's very cute.'

We had a totally successful naptime this afternoon and a totally successful bedtime tonight.

And Geoff got out of the house for the first time in a week (if you count the trip from the hospital to our house... or 11 days if you don't). Nerds that we are, the excursion was to get out and vote - and the weather was HORRIFIC - but I think he was just happy to breathe fresh air and see people who he's not related to. It was a big milestone.

Oh, and we made some arrangements this afternoon to keep Libby locked in our basement for four extra days - so she'll be staying until next week Wednesday. YAY.

No magic involved, but I'm definitely feeling a *glimmer* of optimism - and normalcy - again. We're going to figure this out.

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I should probably warn you that things are about to get a little crazier around here, because I am officially NOT SLEEPING until December. We booked our tickets for Wicked and Promises, Promises tonight and I am sooo over the top excited :)

The theatre minor in me (who wishes she'd been brave enough to MAJOR) is just dying of giddiness...

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED. We are plowing through some SERIOUS Bucket List territory on this trip and I'm not likely to be calm, cool, and collected about ANY OF IT.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things No One Warned Me About: Crying It Out

Are there parents who sail through bouts of crying it out? This is very foreign territory to us, in a house with a single toddler who's been a good sleeper since she was tiny - right up until this week.

I'm pretty sure that 20 minutes of on-and-off crying is nothing to be blogging about. I'm also pretty sure we're supposed to leave her crying for waaaaay longer in between check-ins than we do.

But I am so very on edge, I could snap. This is horrible. I just want to cuddle her all night and whisper in her ear that I'm not going anywhere at all. Ever.

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Manic Tuesday

I'm having my Monday on Tuesday this week.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Actually, now that I stop and really think about it, the morning was TERRIBLE - so it must say something about the rest of the day that I just labelled it 'pretty good,' don't you think? Either that, or I've seriously changed my definitions of 'good' and 'bad' days given recent events... :)

Sunday night was one of the worst nights our little family has had in a long, long time. Briony went to bed super late (not for a lack of trying) and then was up twice during the night and then decided that 6 am was morning. It was beyond UGH. And have I mentioned that I'm sleeping on the couch? It just doesn't work for both Geoff + I to be in bed right now with his stupid messed up leg, so I've been on the couch for almost a week now. It sucks. My body is SCREAMING at me, but there's really no better option - and we all know it's super temporary. Anyway. I digress. Fortunately, Geoff + Libby were up around 8 am and sent me back to bed (my REAL bed) until 10 am. Briony + Libby + I ventured out then for a couple of hours of shopping.

That might have been the worst mommy mistake I've made so far.

Briony was in a foul mood and we had our first-ever Screaming Toddler Throwing a Tantrum in Public Experience. I know it's a right of passage, but I was reeeeally hoping to avoid it altogether just by being an awesome mom.


Anyway. The good news is that we made it home, fed her some lunch, and then she had a perfectly uneventful afternoon nap. I managed to shower and get some client work done. Libby did a Starbucks run and delivered a Pumpkin Spice Latte to calm my nerves. And the rest of the day was actually pretty great. I ended it off with a Girls Night Out - Pizzeria Gusto and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at MTC - with my mom and her two sisters. Lovely. I may have even had a smile on my face when I got home.

I had a super hard time falling asleep, but when I did, I slept until 9.30 am. So did Briony. OH GLORIOUS SLEEP. Except for the part where I'd been planning to be at work for 10 am today.

So maybe scratch all that. I'm having TWO Mondays this week.

After my abrupt realization that I really should have set my alarm, I rushed around getting ready this morning, and my hair looks like shit in this ridiculously humid weather (totally one of those rare days when I curse myself for getting rid all my hair because just throwing it up used to be an awesome option on days like this). I ran into Starbucks and witnessed what I presume was a freelance client interviewing someone new (and suspiciously writer-looking... I totally walked up and said hi because I'm a little bit bitchy like that). I then drove downtown in the pouring rain, parked, and navigated the area of Portage + Main with an umbrella in one hand and a coffee in the other on my way to the office (an Olympic feat if there ever was one, and also probably how Mary Poppins started). My day has been a mix of interesting meetings + surly coworkers, but I know I get to leave before 2 pm for a massage today.

It's really almost impossible to be grumpy when you know you're less than two hours away from a massage appointment. And that's what I'm clinging to today.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Moment With Briony

This is the scene I found in our living room after Briony had been playing one day last week.


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How We Are Doing

So many people have been asking how we're doing. It's completely uncharacteristic, but I really have a hard time coming up with an answer.

We're managing. We're surviving. We're working very hard to take things day by day.

It's so tricky, because we're fully aware that this is NOT a disaster. It's a nuisance. But it's a significant nuisance in our world because we didn't start off as a normal family. We were already a family with a chronic illness - and now the one able-bodied adult in our household is more injured than I am. This impacts us in so many ways, right down to the mundane fact that the person who usually runs stairs for me when I forget something downstairs is not only not running stairs for me anymore, but he's also forced to ask me to run them for him.

Geoff's doing really well, and is starting to be a little bit more mobile in terms of getting up and down the stairs, etc - but he hasn't left the house since the hospital and I don't anticipate that changing anytime soon. He's off T3s but still needing very regular painkillers - and, of course, the brace that is quickly becoming an extra (super annoying) family member.

It has been an absolute godsend to have Libby here. She's taken on so much of the day to day care of Briony and so many details that keep our household running. I can't even tell you how it makes a difference in my day to wake up and find the dishwasher has already been cleaned out. And don't underestimate the value of Briony Duty... Our normally very easygoing toddler has been replaced with one who's easily upset, quite insecure, and downright terrible at bedtime (Libby's been up there with her for well over an hour already trying to get her to settle down... and we're talking about a kid who - DON'T HATE ME - can virtually always just be tossed into her crib and happily left for 13 or 14 hours). We're all being very patient with her because we understand how her world has been turned around this week, but it's capital-letters TOUGH.

On Day Eight of this fiasco, the adrenaline of the crisis is wearing off, and what's left in its place is exhaustion and pain (with a side of panic when I think that we've got another six weeks of this to go before life will even *begin* to resemble anything normal). I've been working very hard to schedule Lindsay Time and I'm taking lots of breaks so that I'm doing as well as I possibly can be when we need to say goodbye to Libby at the end of this week - but I have to question how those brief absences are impacting my insecure baby girl at home. See what I mean? TOUGH.

This week, I need to start to work more again, and it's making me want to cry to even imagine how to find the space in my life and in my head to manage that.

One day at a time... And there are bright spots in every single one of them. Watching Briony toddling around the house after Libby - her new favourite person in the world - and hearing them giggling upstairs until Briony is hysterical is so awesome. Awesome enough that it actually makes some of this drama and craziness seem worth it.


Some evidence that Geoff is alive and well. This was in the hospital before his surgery.

Briony thinks it's hilarious to pretend her foot is a phone.

Chillin' on the couch waaaay after Briony's bedtime. SIGH.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Wise Words

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A (Temporary) New Normal

Geoff is home. He's doing absolutely as well as can be expected. He's in a full leg brace and crutches, but handling it really well. It will be a few days before he's off T3s and a little more mobile. Over the course of the next six weeks, he'll be able to slowly start putting more weight on his leg and gradually starting to bend the knee. Of course, it's his right foot so I'll be the driver in this family for the foreseeable future. His time off work will be a minimum eight weeks.

Libby is settling in here and it's AWESOME. After a boring first 24 hours spent mostly at the hospital with Geoff and I, she's jumped right into helping around the house, running errands, and playing with Briony. I would be a total mess without her here right now.

We're feeling so very loved and supported. Our goals over the next couple of days will be to get Geoff feeling better, to help Briony transition into her (temporary) new normal, and to get me back working part-time.

Hoping for a very quiet and uneventful night... WHO AM I KIDDING. I'm hoping for a very quiet and uneventful REST OF OUR LIVES :)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was SO MAD at God this morning.

I drove to the hospital in a lousy mood, preparing myself for another long day of waiting around and attempting to keep some perspective. Of course, I couldn't find a parking spot anywhere. It was supremely annoying, and I sent up a quick prayer (that in retrospect was possibly more like a dare) that I would find a convenient spot to park my car. And the longer I drove around, the angrier I got. Seriously. God couldn't come through on our prayers for Geoff's surgery, so why on earth would I expect that he could possibly care about something as insignificant as a parking spot. People passing by my car must have thought I was CRAZY because I was full-on yelling at God as I drove around. Just to prove my point, I circled back around to the best parking spots. I was mid-shriek when I rounded the corner and - OF COURSE - not one, not two, but THREE cars began pulling out of their prime parking spots.

Okay, okay. I GET IT. That was my first clue that maybe - just maybe - things were going to turn out okay today.

I spent the morning helping Geoff get cleaned up, then we took a little field trip up to his ward to say hi. Just before lunchtime, my parents brought Briony for a visit - it was SO GOOD to see and cuddle my monkey for the hour we had together.

Around 1.15, I left to go get Libby from the airport. I was having a deju vu parking moment in the parkade there when my BlackBerry informed me of a new text message. It was from Geoff, and he was letting me know that he was going for surgery immediately.


So I picked up Libby, we grabbed lunch to go, quickly stopped in at home to drop off her bags, and raced back to the hospital. We were there in plenty of time to greet Geoff after he was out of recovery.

The surgery went perfectly, and if I live to be 200 years old, I will never understand how it all happened. There was no logical reason he got in for surgery today. All I know is that we prayed for a miracle to happen today, and we got our miracle. THANK YOU, GOD. (Oh, and sorry for yelling at you. Though you should probably know that I won't hesitate to do it again.)

Geoff's in a considerable amount of pain tonight. His nurse (a lovely gentleman named Lindsay - I COULDN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP) promised to keep the morphine coming all night long, so I left feeling like he was in good hands - but hating that I couldn't do anything to make it better.

If he's able to manage on T3s and get around on crutches - and if the initial healing of the surgical site looks okay - he'll get to come home as early as tomorrow or almost definitely the day after. Briony is tentatively scheduled to come back tomorrow evening too (and Libby arrived from Kamloops today) so we might just have an extra-full house by tomorrow night. And I could not be happier about it :)

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Disappointing News

I spoke with Geoff about a half hour ago. They had just let him know that four surgical patients came through the ER overnight - all higher priority than his knee surgery. The good news is that Geoff is absolutely the only surgical patient on standby whose surgery didn't get outright cancelled for today. The bad news is that it would take a minor miracle for his surgery to go ahead today: no more surgical patients being added to the list, every existing surgery on the schedule going perfectly without complications or delays, etc. There is a tiny glimmer of hope that surgery could happen late this evening. But as I said, it would take a minor miracle.

So we're officially praying for a miracle today.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Hurry Up + Wait

So we waited all day for surgery today. And by 'we' I, of course, mean Geoff but I think it counts that I spent the day waiting with him. Right? :)

Just before 8 pm, we got the news that it wasn't going to happen. So Geoff got his one meal before starting the wait all over again (he can't eat or drink just in case an OR opens up with short notice). We'll play the same game tomorrow, hopefully with a happier ending.

I made it home just after 9 pm and had a bubble bath while drinking wine out of a frosty mug with a straw. If that's not a statement on how things are going, I'm not sure what is.

I miss having Geoff at home. This family doesn't work without him.

I miss my monkey, who's having a party at Grandma + Grandpa's house. The days are just happier when she's a part of them.

I miss working and making dinner and watching TV and going on walks and NORMAL.

I miss being able to make decisions about what is best for me and my health instead of shoving my own well-being aside to just go with the flow and survive this.

Our niece Libby arrives tomorrow, so we'll be able to make some decisions about when Briony should re-enter the picture here at home. And then maybe I can go grocery shopping. And reschedule my desperately needed but inconveniently scheduled massage + doctors appointments. It's really the little things right now... And today's tiny miracle was that Briony's antibiotics finally appear to be working a little bit - she was better today instead of the same or worse, and WE'LL TAKE IT :)

We're keeping our perspective. This is *so* not a disaster. It's just hugely annoying. And we need to get this surgery out of the way so that we can stop waiting and start recovering.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you who are continuously filling my inbox with messages of encouragement and support. They are fueling us in a way you'll never know, and I hope that we're able to reflect that same love back onto you when you need it.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kindness Attack

I am literally in shock from kindness right now. Seriously. My whole body is shaking, my eyes are full of tears, my teeth are chattering... I'm finding it difficult to type this. I am so blown away by awesomeness that my body can't process it. HOW COOL IS THAT.

This morning was spent colouring and playing play-doh with my beautiful (still kind of sick) daughter who couldn't stop with the hugs and the 'I love yous' - as if she just knew that something was wrong today. In between, I managed to get us both fed and dressed - and ran through two loads of laundry so that I could start to pack a few days worth of things for her. My parents came, and my mom stayed with Briony while my dad drove me to my car - abandoned at the scene of Geoff's accident last night - and then they took over munchkin care for a couple of days while I headed to the hospital to be with the other half of my little family.

Geoff's been admitted to the hospital and is currently waiting for emergency surgery to reattach a major tendon in his knee. It was a dance injury. You know I'm not joking because YOU CAN'T MAKE THAT KIND OF STUFF UP. He was at a friend's social solo last night because I didn't want to leave Briony sick with a babysitter, and something was spilled on the dance floor, and - well - if you've ever seen my husband dance then you know what happened next. When he landed, something went horribly wrong, and the next thing anyone knew I was getting a call that my husband was on his way to the emergency room.

Surgery was supposed to happen tonight, but it's been bumped to tomorrow. The recovery is expected to take at least six weeks after that. If you're curious, here's a link to the nitty gritty details.

YES, we are still going to New York. Remember, I'm sick anyway - it was always going to be a slowly-paced trip with minimal walking involved (by NYC standards) - now he'll just be my speed :)

All day today, I was pushing down the panic by forcing myself to focus on just one day at a time. I had today and tomorrow figured out, but if I looked any farther than that... PANIC. Then this evening, we received one of the greatest gifts of our lives: one of our nieces will be arriving in Winnipeg on Tuesday and staying for twelve days to help us through the most stressful part of Geoff's recovery. In one phone call and an email, my 'one day at a time' has just been solved for FOURTEEN DAYS. That's two weeks. TWO WEEKS out of our most critical six weeks. I didn't even realize the depth and the magnitude of my panic until my panic was taken away just now.

I love Geoff's family. I'm still new and I'm still getting to know them, but to see that they're the kind of people who would drop everything to figure out a way to help sums up everything you need to know. And between my parents and their immediate rescue mission this morning, the nonstop offers of encouragement and support I've been getting from my friends all day - and this latest solution to send Libby our way - I'm feeling like our little family is just being covered from head to toe in kindness.

My panic attack was replaced with a kindness attack. Isn't that so beautiful? :)

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So here's the general rundown...

Oh, and now we'll add:

I'm pretty sure this is one of those things that will become funny later. Right?

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Things No One Warned Me About

So in my infinite wisdom, I chose 'Everybody's Fine' as the movie I'd watch all alone on my couch tonight. SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE WARNED ME. Holy tears, Batman. (Good ones, mostly... And a fabulous movie. But STILL.)

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The Weekend of Almost

So, I *almost* got to go out twice this weekend. We had some pretty cool stuff on the agenda, including an epic 30th birthday costume party and a social for two of Geoff's coworkers who are getting married next summer.

The reality? I've logged a lot of couch time watching TV and eating too much crap as we enter into Week Two of life with a sick toddler.

If you're looking for sound effects, I'd personally go with a deep, long SIGH right about here.

Here's hoping the 'banana juice' she started on Thursday decides to start working, and that we can start injecting tiny little pieces of fun back into our life again sometime very, very soon.

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Aha Moment

It's quite something to witness another person's 'AHA!' moment.

I had the privilege yesterday evening when Geoff, Briony + I took a walk to our local Starbucks after dinner. I walked up to the counter to order my latte while Geoff + B checked out the travel mugs - and the girl behind the counter started FREAKING OUT.

'You guys are together!' she blurted out.

Um, yeah.

'You're married! And that's your baby!'

Um, yeah.

'Hey... Did you know these two are TOGETHER?'

'Whaaaaat! Seriously?'

'Yep, MARRIED. That's THEIR little girl!'

Um, yeah.

Apparently, we are both regular customers - but rarely go in together. It totally rocked their world, and we all had a pretty big laugh about it.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Smile

I couldn't pick, so you're getting TWO totally unrelated Friday Smiles. Because they both made me literally laugh out loud. And because tomorrow will officially mark ONE WEEK of having a sick toddler, so I'm in serious need of some smiles.

1. Things You Don't Really Need To Take Pictures Of, from The Oatmeal. This link is dedicated to all the people who annoy me by posting photos of their food on Facebook. Seriously, no one cares. I actually doubt that - two days later - YOU really care.

2. I was browsing Toys R Us online last night and found these epic Halloween costumes.

There's the unicorn (seriously...)

The lion (I kid you not...)

And finally, BATGIRL! (If you need to put a picture on the front to tell you what it's supposed to be...)

These are only a select sampling of the hideous costume choices available to you and your children at Toys R Us this Halloween - all for the low, low price of $29.99. I know... The mind BOGGLES.

The best part is that the child models look absolutely humiliated. (And WHO CAN BLAME THEM.)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Briony The Terrible

So we got Briony The Terrible on antibiotics today.

That sounds so simple, doesn't it? But the road to antibiotics was wrought with tears (mostly mine). She's been sick since Saturday, and Geoff's been working a lot - mostly nights - so this mommy was FINISHED days ago. I know it's not about me at all, but parenting with chronic illness is something special... Of course, I'll keep giving her everything she needs, but it's been costing me more than I can afford.

Yesterday, I realized that WE NEEDED HELP. And her doctor today confirmed what I had suspected: her throat and both ears were looking pretty painful.

As an aside, there is something incredibly satisfying as a mom to know that your kid was sick and that you identified it correctly - you brought them in to the doctor exactly when you were supposed to, when they were sick enough that you weren't being a psycho hypochondriac mom but before they were seriously ill.

Here's praying that Briony will be feeling more Briony-like very, very soon. Because I hate seeing her unhappy. And because I can't work on getting myself better until she is.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh Universe, You Tricky Minx

Seriously. You think you're soooo clever, don't you?

A few weeks ago - back before our childcare fell through and my flare up really gained some momentum - I signed on to do a BIG project for one of my smaller regular clients. It was supposed to start last week, and I've been checking my email (and even sending a few tentative 'hey, what's the status on this?' emails myself), dreading the day when they'd be ready to go because I was not quite sure how I was going to manage it. But I was seriously not willing to back out of something I'd committed to work on. But I was scared.

Tonight, the client emailed and apologized about a hundred times in three paragraphs as they let me know they'd decided to take care of it in-house after all.

The bad news is that I'd been kind of excited about the money. Just being honest. We're not hurting, but it would have been AWESOME.

The good news is, um, EVERYTHING ELSE.

This means that I should be able to keep my working hours down to 20-25 hours a week between now and our vacation, instead of the (seriously) 45-50 hours a week I'd been thinking I would be dealing with. Without childcare in place. With two chronic illnesses in full flare mode. OH MY GOD. I am going to start crying again in a second here.

A super apologetic email - including an offer to pay full rate on my hours spent prepping the project quote and going in for a preliminary meeting - was absolutely the best possible scenario here. Guess that was my one good thing today, huh? :)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sick Day

My bulletproof positive attitude called in sick today.

Of course, today is also the day that the universe seems to have chosen to MESS WITH ME. And I am going to lose my $#^! here in about twelve seconds unless one measly good thing can happen before something else that's lousy does.

Quick! I want to hear your best joke in the comments section for this post... MAKE ME LAUGH.

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Briony + Mabel

Meet Mabel. She is one of my parents' new kittens - and Briony's newest, tiniest, and furriest BFF :)

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A Sinking Feeling

I am working overtime not to panic right now (which I understand sounds like an oxymoron).

Our babysitter extraordinaire is temporarily London-bound after tomorrow, and we are SO EXCITED FOR HER. Seriously. I believe that everyone should create opportunities for themselves to explore the world - and maybe I'm extra-sentimental because London was where I did that for the first time. We'll miss her, but this is a much-needed six week break from ALL her jobs and much-anticipated time with her family.

But our interim childcare arrangement fell through last week. And I feel like I'm getting sicker every week (this weekend as a single mom with a sick baby did NOT do me any favours). And I've made commitments to clients that are 100% non-negotiable. And I'm seriously starting to feel like I've maxed out our favour bank.

Not being a drama queen. Just being honest about where my head is at.

Briony was still not feeling well when she FINALLY fell asleep last night. She had a relatively normal bedtime, but then she woke up just as I was getting ready for bed and we 'enjoyed' a neverending pajama party... And she was poking at her ear. I'm obviously worried about her. And I'm scheduled to be in the office today. She's not awake yet, but once she is, the first thing on the agenda today will be to figure out if we need to fit in a visit to the pediatrician on our last-for-a-little-while Katie Day. WOOHOO.

My bulletproof positive attitude is a little dented up today... Sorry. I just don't always know exactly how to keep everything running smoothly over here. Today, I think we'll blame the sleep deprivation thing - and the obscene amount of pain that greeted me immediately upon opening my eyes this morning.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

When Taking A Deep Breath Doesn't Work

I am still quite literally having pain every time I take a breath, from the movement in my ribs and spine.

It's getting old already.

I need to be able to shake this off and live my life. It's making me kind of a lousy human bring - and more importantly, kind of a lousy wife + mommy.


Mommy Confession #471: Toilet Terror

Okay, I'm just going to come right out with it: I'm scared to death of potty training.

Potty training BRIONY, you doofuses ;)

I don't think there's another milestone (that I'm aware of) that intimidates me more than this one. Seriously. I would take eye teeth, first period, learning to walk, and first broken heart ALL ON THE SAME DAY over potty training. And it's funny, because for someone who's never potty trained a kid before, I know an awful lot about potty training. Last year, I began working with a client who I do a significant amount of copywriting work for - and I write a handful of articles for them every month giving advice to moms who are potty training their toddler. I've done so much research to be able to do my job... I have access to some leading potty training experts who've shared their wisdom with me. And still, I feel like I don't know what to do.

If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

Adding to my stress about the whole thing is the fact that potty training is likely to be very physically demanding for me, like is for every mommy - and I'm really hoping to be able to be in a better place health-wise before we attempt it.

Fortunately, some of the terror is balanced out by the fact that we've been hearing some awesome success stories lately - and our pediatrician has given us every hope and reason to believe that Briony will rock it too, if we can be patient and wait until she's super-ready.

Anyway. We're not quite there yet. She's definitely interested, but I'm like a redneck mom who pushes over her kid who's learning to walk just so that she doesn't have to get up and chase her - I am REALLY hoping that we can push this off until after Christmas at the earliest, when life should be become much quieter and more predictable again. Then I'm fully prepared to just suck it up and figure it out - calmly, confidently, and all that stuff.

This question's for all my readers who've been there done that already: What is the one thing you wish you'd known about potty training, that you think every mommy of every diaper-wearing toddler in the world should know?

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Grand Finale

I don't know if I could have designed a better ending to our Thanksgiving long weekend than this one.

This morning, Geoff + Briony + I hosted my parents, my sister, and my niece for a totally laid-back brunch. Briony + Chloe had a blast checking out every toy in our house. It's so much fun to watch them starting to really play TOGETHER.

By early afternoon, our house was quiet again... REALLY quiet because Geoff + Briony are both upstairs napping. I'm chilling on the couch in my comfiest yoga pants and favourite blanket, drinking coffee, catching up on a couple of simple little client requests, listening to Roxette, and trying to decide if I want a nap or a piece of pumpkin pie (or both).

Briony's still not 100%, but she's doing so much better than she was over the weekend. I'm still not 100%, but I'm hanging in there. I'm not sure that I'm ready to begin another week, but I refuse to believe that it will be anything less than wonderful.

Our fridge is full of leftovers for dinner tonight. There's no super-urgent laundry that needs to be done. The house isn't very clean, but Josy's coming to clean tomorrow. I am giving myself permission to spend the rest of today being kind to myself and loving my little family - and that feels sooo good.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Science Experiment

Okay, so apparently I used up all my goodwill in the universe on Colbert tickets. In this case, the equal and opposite reaction was a sick baby on a weekend where Geoff is working back to back shifts on an understaffed trauma ward.

Poor Briony has the runniest nose I've ever seen in my life and it looks like a horror movie when she sneezes. I don't blame her one bit for having trouble sleeping. I don't blame her, but I don't have to like it. I think I managed almost four and a half hours of sleep in total - but NOT in a row. BLARGH.

It was totally one of those nights that felt like a sadistic science experiment. If you're a mommy, I know you know EXACTLY what I mean.

During the first half of the night, I was 100% sure that we were dealing with a cat allergy. My parents recently added three kittens to their family so their grandgirlies would have something extra-special to look forward to when they visit. Briony played with them for a long time yesterday. She loves loves loves the kitties. She has a favourite - Mabel - and carried that poor terrified (but purring) cat around the sunroom and fed her catfood and tried to force her to use the litter box and looked so incredibly proud of herself. But shortly after, her nose was SO plugged up and her eyes were watery. The exact same thing happened after I dropped her off with my cousin (who has a cat) for a few hours earlier this month. UH OH.

But then halfway through the night, she was running a fever - so this might just be a legitimate cold? Guess we'll figure it out. For now, it's a mommy mystery... And for now, it probably doesn't matter anyway (especially because the cats have never been allowed to come inside).

We're staying with my parents until later today, so I know I'll have backup - and permission to take a nap - this afternoon. YAY FOR PARENTS.

In the meantime, they're at church, Briony actually fell asleep again, and I'm now too over-caffeinated to sleep - so I'm drinking more coffee, eating a cupcake, and watching old episodes of The Bugs Bunny + Tweety Show (cartoons were WAY more awesome when we were little!).


Scratch that. Briony's up. WOOHOO.

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Stop The Presses!

Can I take back my Friday Smile? Because that first one was only mildly amusing. This one has both Geoff + I grinning from ear to ear like the biggest dorks in the world. Are you ready for this? WE GOT TICKETS TO THE COLBERT REPORT. I've been website-stalking this show since we first started talking about a possible trip to NYC and tonight... at long last... SUCCESS!

*insert gleeful little happy dance here*

They seriously overbook these shows, so now fingers are perma-crossed that we'll get in. That'll be good for my arthritis, hehe :)

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Friday, October 08, 2010


Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.
- Felix Frankfurter

Today was full of so many good things - a wonderful warm-up to Thanksgiving this weekend.

For starters, it is deliciously warm and sunshiny today. I got to take Briony to dance class this morning (Geoff took over partway through, but I made it almost half an hour - GO ME!). I had a venti nonfat pumpkin spice latte, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. I had a super productive day at the office. I met an old friend for lunch and had so much fun catching up and getting tips on delicious NYC sushi. I got a lead on a fun little PR client with a fabulous product that would be an absolute joy to help promote. And just when you didn't think it could get any better, Geoff + Briony will be here momentarily to pick me up for a walk at The Forks in this ridiculously beautiful weather.

Might I remind you, IT SNOWED LAST THANKSGIVING. Remember? Well, you don't really have to because I totally took pictures. See?

And it's 25 degrees today. If you're from Winnipeg and weren't thinking that you had anything to feel grateful for this Thanksgiving, I just gave it to you. SERIOUSLY.

This Thanksgiving, I'm making a goal for myself to just stay focused on being kind to myself. I think that we've made some good decisions as a family to keep this holiday weekend well-paced and manageable, but the reality is that my pain level is still sky-high and today's my first day in a week where I'm attempting to go without a nap (honestly, I'm starting to think that was one of my more terrible ideas). As cliche as it sounds - and as much as I hate cliches - this is a marathon, not a sprint. And it's making a significant difference in my everyday life to be embracing the marathon concept.

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you a weekend full of family who feel like friends, friends who feel like family, and LOTS of pumpkin pie.

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Friday Smile

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On A Roll

Just to add some icing on top of the rather delicious cake that is today, I ordered all of the supplies for Briony's birthday party online today. There are just a couple of simple things that I'll need to pick up between now and then, but for all intents and purposes, we're ready.


I swear these party websites are designed for mommies with chronic illness. I stopped one click short of just buying the whole damn party-in-a-box... The creative part of me revolted just in time. Phew!

I know she doesn't need a big fancy party. And honestly, it's going to be very simple. But I have always said that this girl, who is growing up with a sick mommy, deserves to have birthday parties. And a birthday party we will have... An OLIVIA THE PIG birthday party, no less.

Oh my gosh, having a girl is the BEST sometimes :)

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Yes, I Am THAT Awesome

Know what we're doing today? PICKING UP OUR HOLIDAY CARDS.

Know what's on the agenda for tonight? STUFFING THEM INTO MY ALREADY-ADDRESSED ENVELOPES.

I'll pause there so you can all gasp in awe and take a moment to ponder my awesomeness.

This year, inspired in part by Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, the Wright family has embraced what I hope will be a new tradition of sending out our year-end holiday cards around Thanksgiving instead of Christmas.

Why? Because the holidays are stressful. And in my world, stress = pain and exhaustion. And I like Christmas. I want to enjoy it, and to be as healthy as possible while I'm spending time with the people I love and making memories with my family. So if it doesn't absolutely have to be done close to Christmas, I don't want to do it close to Christmas.

I know we could just skip the holiday card thing, but it's important to me because it's a way of communicating to friends and family that we love and appreciate them. Which got me thinking... Is there any better time to say 'I appreciate you' than at Thanksgiving? Yeah. That's what I thought.

The cards will be slowly making their way out the door over the next week (or couple of weeks, depending on how I'm feeling... I'm being kind to myself this month).

Oh, friends, I'm liking this A LOT.

Thanks to Jessica (Black Out Photography) and Amber (just a naturally awesome person + fabulous friend + cool graphic designer) for helping us make this happen!

What's that? You want to see 'em? I thought you might. Well then, without further ado...

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Is It Friday Yet?

It's not just me who's asking. This week, B's been asking me almost every day if we can pleeeeease go 'dancing with babies' - and you haven't seen a kid say please like my Briony says please, complete with a totally over-the-top head tilt and a smile specially designed to bring out her dimple. THE MOST ADORABLE MINX IN THE WORLD. I can't wait to see her face tomorrow morning when she realizes that it's Dance Class Day (aka the absolute best day of her week).

As for B's mama, I am SO READY for Friday. This week has been so very hard. Not hard in a life-or-death kind of way, just hard in a soul-wearying kind of way. It's time for a weekend full of being grateful for all the things that are fabulous about my life... and CARBS ;)

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One Moment With Briony

Today, Briony was playing in her little kitchen upstairs and was having a ball with her little Starbucks sample cup (no explanation required). She was offering us coffee when, suddenly, you could see a light bulb come on in her head.

In our house, effective immediately, Briony insists that people COUGH when sipping COFFEE. Get it? Oh, the mind of an almost two year old...

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I just made the easiest, yummiest banana muffins ever. TRUE STORY. This is not my usual recipe, but I came across it this morning and had everything in my cupboards... The rest is delicious, delicious history.

In fact, they were so delicious that I am compelled to share. Enjoy! It's a banana muffin kind of day out there. And I know you have a couple of sad-looking bananas sitting on your counter RIGHT NOW, don't you? It's okay. I don't judge :)

Banana Graham Muffins
(an old Company's Coming recipe)

Combine in large bowl:
3/4 c flour (I used 1/2 c white and 1/4 c whole wheat)
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine in small bowl:
1 egg
1/4 c cooking oil
3 bananas, mashed
2/3 c chopped walnuts (I used pecans... REBEL!)

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fill lined or greased muffin cups almost full. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

The recipe claims to make 12 muffins. I got 8 muffins. *shrugs shoulders*

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Therapy Day

Something that no one tells you about when you have a chronic illness and you're told to 'ask for help' is that there is a consequence. Yesterday, Katie was here for almost twelve hours to help us out while Geoff was at work, and the day went GREAT.

Until bedtime.

I challenge you to try tucking in a toddler who hasn't spent enough time with her mama during the day... I think I cried more than she did. And that's a lot, because MAN did she cry. And I couldn't blame her at all. When I need to ask for help, she's sometimes the one who suffers. And that breaks my heart.

Geoff is home today, and I'm making a big pot of soup and working on only the essentials for my clients. We're having a much needed Family Therapy Day that has already included lots of giggles and snuggles, all three of us sitting down to eat breakfast together, and now Briony's dada took her out for a walk in the leaves.

I am confident that there is enough love in this family to balance out - and surpass BY FAR - the ugliness of chronic illness.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Little Lesson in Humility

So this afternoon's trip to Safeway turned out to be a little lesson in humility.

The hardest thing for me to swallow about yesterday's appointment is the reality that the 'short-term survival mode' we used to plow through the summer needs to switch over into something more long-term and sustainable. If this is as good as it's going to get for a while, then we need to make this the new normal and figure out how to live our best life with what we have to work with.

The first mini-makeover I needed to undertake was streamlining our meals. Oh, and we were almost out of milk. So off to Safeway I went...

It might sound stupid to some people, but I pride myself on feeding our little family well - organic, whole food that's been processed as little as possible, to the full extent that I can do this on a limited budget and with limited energy. It's something that is incredibly important to me. Maybe someone else really cares about having a kitchen floor you could eat off of or a perfectly manicured lawn, but this is my thing.

Today, I had to let go of a little bit of that thing. Today was all about discovering some pre-fab meal component options for us to try out. Not every component of every meal, but enough that I can simplify my time in the kitchen. By the end of the trip, I had a shopping cart full of things I usually judge other moms for having in their carts. I bought meatballs, people. I BOUGHT them. Instead of making them. AND they're not even made of turkey. Oh, and a SALAD KIT. Geez. I don't even want to think how much more I paid for that than I would have if I'd built said salad on my own, just to have some factory worker making minimum wage pre-measure a couple of teaspoons of salad ingredients into stupid little bags for me. Whatever. At least it was organic.

Are you judging me? I can feel you judging me. Whatever. It's my blog, and I'm just being honest.

Anyway, the point is that at the end of my trip, I sucked it up and asked for carry-out service. Now, if you ever want to feel judged by someone, try asking for carry-out service when you *appear* to be perfectly able-bodied... But I knew that I needed help. And I asked for help. I let the lady helping me push the cart and empty every last bag into my car without helping at all. I just stood there looking and feeling like a douchebag. I'm sure the lady helping me went back inside and bitched about me to every last one of her coworkers in the break room, but I was still proud of myself for asking for what I needed today.

And thus concludes one of our early adventures in managing our new normal. It's not life-and-death, I know, but sometimes the most important changes we can make are the little everyday ones.

Now I'm off to go throw a lasagna that was made in a factory somewhere into the oven. And open up a dozen random tiny bags of things to put together a salad kit :)

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So This Is Tuesday

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.
- Flavia Weedn

Apparently, the combination of stress + emotion + two doctors spending the better part of yesterday morning poking, prodding, twisting, and strength testing most of the joints and muscles in my body = BAD THINGS. I woke up in more pain than I've felt in a long time today.

What does that look like? Today, among other things, it means that I'm concentrating on taking tiny breaths because the pain I feel when my ribcage expands has reduced me to tears a few times already.

But Katie arrived bright and early this morning with the largest Starbucks coffee possible in tow - and she's staying until Geoff gets home from work this evening. I dragged myself through the shower (in tears) and managed to get myself to work. And I've already spoken with the Mayo Clinic and submitted all the preliminary paperwork they need to open a file for me. Over the coming weeks, they'll be taking a look at my medical records to determine whether they think one of their specialists might be able to help me. It's another variation on hope, so to me, it's worth pursuing with all my heart.


Monday, October 04, 2010


So I saw my new rheumatologist this morning. My mom came with me, and my dad stayed at our place and played with Briony all morning (Geoff was at work). My personal opinion is that Briony + my dad came out the winners in that whole scenario :)

I met with the specialist (and his student) and they took time to go through my medical history at length and asked very good questions. Each of them examined me from head to toe.

The conclusion - based on that assessment - was that I have fibromyalgia in addition to some form of arthritis (likely either rheumatoid or psoriatic... they've always called it rheumatoid but have never been 100% sure). That wasn't really news to me, but it was a big step to have that double diagnosis finally confirmed (all the doctors I've seen in the past have said that it is either fibro or arthritis, never both).

That was the good news. The bad news is that the specialist believes that my fibro is much more active than my arthritis right now, and possibly mimicking some arthritis symptoms that are making me so miserable right now. His recommended treatment for that would be to continue exactly what I've been doing all summer - a combination of drugs that are making me sick from side effects and still not managing to control my pain.

I have another appointment booked with my specialist at the beginning of January, where I will receive the results from the tests they did today - bloodwork, x-rays, etc.

One of two things could happen in January:

1. If those tests show more active disease than they're expecting to see, they will definitely consider more aggressive arthritis
treatments (possibly the chemo drug that has worked for me in the past).

2. If they don't, they'll be forced to treat it as fibromyalgia - which in Canada means that there are two drugs that could be offered. I've tried one before, with negligible results. The other was not recommended when we looked at it a couple of years ago because I thought I might want a baby someday and those long-term studies hadn't been done yet - but it would obviously be up for discussion again now. But both of these drugs function as sleep aids and both are likely out of the question for me right now with a toddler in my house and a husband who sometimes works nights. If we are primarily dealing with
fibro and I can't be treated through one of these two pharmaceutical options, then I suspect my file will be closed once again after my January appointment.

At this point, I pretty much fell apart. The student doctor left the room to go find me a box of Kleenex. It's just NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I know it wasn't all negative - and I have complete confidence in this specialist and his judgment - but it wasn't at all what I had hoped it might be.

I am *so* disappointed right now. I like solutions, plans, action, momentum... What I got was LIMBO. The focus now will be to stay the course on my meds from this summer and do the best job I can in asking for help, taking care of myself, and focusing on living my best life possible. Three months sounds like forever, but we have so much to look forward to between now and then - Thanksgiving, Halloween, Geoff's birthday, Briony's birthday, a visit from Geoff's mom, a trip to New York, and CHRISTMAS.

We're going to do it. And we're going to make it GREAT. Right after I make myself a cup of tea and settle in for a really, really good cry.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

We Made It


The big appointment with my new specialist happens tomorrow morning at 9 am. I'm feeling excited / nervous / terrified / cautiously optimistic, but mostly just grateful for all the friends who helped us make it through this summer.

I'm talking about the people who weeded our flower beds and planted beautiful new flowers where weeds used to be.

I'm talking about the people who came to our house under the guise of having coffee with me but got down on the floor in their fancy work clothes and played with my daughter.

I'm talking about the people who left freshly baked muffins from my favourite recipe on our front step.

I'm talking about the people who never forgot what we were dealing with here and always remembered to ask how I was doing - and then took the time to listen to the answer.

I'm talking about the people who are still on speaking terms with me even though I've been cancelling plans with them all summer long - or lacked the energy to attempt that plan-making in the first place.

I'm talking about all the people who pretended it was just as fun to come and drink a cup of tea on our couch as it would have been to go out and do something fabulous and exciting.

I'm talking about the people who came to watch Briony and left us with a sparkling clean kitchen or a freshly bathed daughter or some other random and unexpected blessing.

I'm talking about the people who reminded me constantly that they were here for us, no matter what, and willing to help with anything we needed (and MEANT IT).

You know who you are, and you know what you mean to Geoff, Briony, and I. We made it TOGETHER. YOU ARE AWESOME.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Briony vs The Meerkats

We decided a few weeks ago that today would be Family Day. After some yummy baked vanilla french toast with fresh peaches and raspberries (mmm...), we made one last family trip to the zoo.

How did Briony like it? I think the video speaks for itself :)

Photo and video editing at

She could not stop calling all the animals 'so cute' - even the bison were 'cute' :)

Apparently, SOMEONE has been hearing that word a lot... CAN'T IMAGINE WHY (hehe). I'm no zoologist, but I'm pretty certain that Briony was the cutest animal there.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time

This little family fills my heart up right to the top :)

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Friday Smile

You wouldn't imagine that a Friday Smile would start with the fact that I woke up SICK today. It would appear that, as much as Lindsay's head + heart are appreciating the beauty of this gorgeous Winnipeg autumn, Lindsay's body is like, 'DUDE, what happened to summer? This sucks, so I quit.'

Briony had dance class this morning and I couldn't wrap my head around 45 minutes of parent participation. So Geoff took her. And I waited in the observation area with the grandmas and siblings.

Oh. My. Gosh. Cutest thing I've ever seen in my life (and Briony was SO THRILLED to be dancing with her Dada).

Now THAT is a real man :)

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