Five for Fun

Sleepy Dudes

Plum tuckered.

1. There is a dog in my house, and he just might end up being ours. We’ve been giving a lot of thought to adding a four-legged member to our family, but both my cat allergy and my father’s rodent-loathing have narrowed our choices considerably. We found a fella we believe to be the perfect fit, but I won’t jinx it by giving it all away just yet. He is a very sweet boy and these two are fast becoming best buds.

2. September 1st might as well be New Year’s Day to me, since that’s when I make all of my resolutions. This year’s list is short: buy nothing. There will have to be exceptions, of course, and it is enumerating these items that occupies much of my fun-thinking time. Stay tuned and watch me succeed/fail spectacularly!

 

Lippy

Stove-top Alchemist.

3. My brother is getting married tomorrow, and I spent this past weekend making custom lip balm wedding favours. I am always so pleasantly surprised when something turns out as well in real life as I pictured in my head. I used the recipe from Karrie at Happy Money Saver (with slight modifications for the bride’s and groom’s custom flavours). I love it. Would make again.

4. While helping to choose music for the wedding playlist, I remembered that I know all the words to a lot of songs.

 

 

Monqgoldtilenavy13B

Monique.

5. I once bought a dress online for the stupid reason that it had the same name as me, and it’s never fit me so it’s hung in my closet for over a year. One of those aspirational dresses. You know what I mean. Or maybe you don’t, in which case I congratulate you on being so highly evolved. I had planned (months ago) to wear it to the wedding this weekend, but wisely, I had a back-up plan: I borrowed a dress. Well, I borrowed four dresses, actually. I have never done this before, but I suspect it helps to have friends with great taste. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

 

Click the little blue guy to add your own Five For Fun! link to share with us.

Hiatus Hijinks

Wow! It’s been awhile. How’ve you been?

That’s great to hear.

Us? Oh, you know. Same old. Trips, new babies, school days, pantry challenges, the magic and hilarity of the everyday.

Mama Might was born out of a desire to share the mutual experience of motherhood, but it turns out that motherhood is a lot of work! So much work, that we’ve found ourselves with little time to write. We wanted this to be a place where we talk about what’s real, and the reality is that we’re all in this same busy season of our lives. So why not talk about that?

Watch this space for regular glimpses into our lives: what we wore (No designer labels here!), what we ate (Who loves a food budget? We do!), and who we are (…evolving?).

Speaking of evolution, we’d like to introduce you to our newest Mama Might co-author, Katie! We can’t wait for you to get to know her.

As always, we welcome contributions from anyone in the Mama Might community. Have a story to share? Leave us a comment here, or get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by! You’re welcome here anytime.

Miscarriage – Part 1

Please join us in welcoming Jenna to Mama Might!

It was Friday, November 20th, 2009. I was sitting in an unfamiliar school gymnasium with my almost 2 year-old daughter and about 200 strangers. We were in line for her to receive the second part of the H1N1 vaccine. I had only brought one snack, raisins, and within 20 seconds of opening the container, they were spilled on the floor. I think the number we were given was something in the 90’s. We had hours of waiting ahead of us. The lovely lady beside me, a few decades my senior, graciously traded with me so that our turn would come sooner. She also gave my little girl a granola bar. God bless her. I remember getting up at one point to go to the water fountain and that’s when I knew something wasn’t right. There was no gush of blood. There was no pain. But I knew something was wrong. The rest of the wait was a blur, my little girl got her vaccine and we came home. I went to the bathroom and my worries were confirmed. I was bleeding at 12 weeks pregnant.

I talked myself out of worrying too much because I had friends who had experienced similar symptoms at the same point in their pregnancies and everything turned out fine. Unlike with my first pregnancy, I had chosen to be followed by a doctor instead of a midwife. As far as I knew, there was no one to call about my condition on a Friday night. I decided to wait until Monday and call my doctor.

That weekend at mass, I remember thinking “this could be my last time receiving communion with this baby in me.” I felt sad and worried, but tried to remind myself not to worry until I knew there was a real reason to be concerned.

The Monday morning, I went in to see my doctor. I don’t remember most of the details of this day. There was a lot of waiting in between moments pregnant with worry and grief. They gave me an appointment for an ultrasound. ”Are you sure of your dates?” she asked. “Hmm” she said. She didn’t smile. Neither did I. We were brought to a room in Emergency to wait. I cried the whole time. After what felt like hours, a doctor came in. Upon seeing me, she said “I guess you already know…[very. long. pause]…there’s no baby.” I felt pain. I felt angry that she would tell me in this way. There was no compassion, no empathy….just an assumption that I already knew. And then she said we could stay as long as we needed to and she left. And I cried. I cried out. Loud. I had never felt, nor have I since, such deep physical, emotional and spiritual pain. I already knew that I had lost the baby. I really didn’t need her to tell me, but hearing the words “there’s no baby”….it not only seemed like the worst way to tell me, but it ripped away any shred of hope I had left to hold onto that maybe everything was fine. I don’t know how long we stayed. Thinking back, it could have been minutes or hours that I sat there and cried. I have no memory of leaving or driving home. My only memory from when we arrived home was calling my best friend, and sobbing “she said there’s no baby” into the phone. My friend said the right thing, whatever it may have been. I kept crying.

Later that evening, I remember thinking “this was God’s plan for this baby…for our family. I truly believe this.” I don’t remember telling anyone else what had happened (but searching my email account today, I can see that I sent out a message letting my friends know what had happened). I don’t remember anything from the rest of that night or the following day. I do remember not saying a single prayer for

the rest of the week. And I also remember the immeasurable amount of grace and faith that was poured into me throughout the following days – thanks to the countless prayers of others, I presume.

I have always had an easy time with faith. From the moment (while listening to a Chris Rice song) I realized there were people in the world who knew God personally, I just knew I could trust in His plan. Suffering a miscarriage was the first time I guess you could say my faith was tested. It didn’t really feel like a test, though. It just felt like an opportunity to confirm what I already believed.

In the days that followed, I received many emails and phone calls from people expressing their condolences. One friend emailed a link to this prayer which played a huge role in our healing process. After reading it, I began to see our miscarriage less as a cross to bear and more as blessing for which to give thanks. We had – we have – a child in Heaven. She (we believe our baby is a girl) stands before our Heavenly Father. She prays for us, her family still on earth. We will be united one day and every day until then we can look forward with hope to meeting this little soul who has gone ahead to our forever home.

It was somewhat startling to move from the depths of grief and pain to the heights of healing and hope and gratitude in such a short span of time. I am forever grateful for the power of our praying family and friends – I have no doubt that they carried us through those hardest days. I am forever grateful for those who reached out in the weeks that followed and expressed their condolences. We had experienced a great loss, and I appreciated those who acknowledged it. But we soon learned that we were blessed with an even greater gain. I weep with gratitude at the memory of developing a clearer understanding of what it means to have an eternal perspective. To know that I am called to live my life on earth as a gift knowing that the greatest treasure will be found when I leave this world and move onto the next – and I have an extra special gift waiting for me, there.

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Jenna Gernon is a wife and stay-at-home mom living in a [very] small town outside of Ottawa, Ontario.  Her faith journey was jump-started the day she listened to Chris Rice’s Clumsy; she joined the Catholic Church in 2004.  Jenna has a passion for photography and loves having her children as live-in subjects.  She jumps at the chance to take photos for others and is always looking at the world around her as potential photo shoot locations.  Aside from photography, she loves all things crafty, cooking good food, being with her family and friends and soaking in Canada’s four beautiful seasons.

Feeling Christmas-y? A Mama Might Give-Away!

I’m one of those people whose thoughts turn to Christmas as soon as the weather begins to cool off and the leaves begin to change colours. Of course I realize that it’s still a full three months until Christmas Eve, but there’s no time like the present when it comes to getting a jump on handmade gifts.

So in the spirit of gift-giving, the Mamas want to share a little gift with one of our readers as a way of saying thank you for your support as we get this blog up and running. We recently hit 200 Facebook likes, and had intended to do a give-away right away to celebrate. Illness has kept me out of commission (well, illness on top of being 18 weeks pregnant!), so I got a little behind. Next thing I knew, we had already hit 212 likes! So now it’s really time to celebrate!

To enter this give-away, leave a comment on this post. Tell us something – anything! Whether or not you’re getting ready for Christmas yet, what your favourite thing about fall is, what colour your socks are – anything goes.

For a second entry, simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter, and leave a second (separate) comment on this post letting us know you shared. (This is going to work on the honour system, and we trust that everyone will leave a maximum of two comments!)

The give-away will remain open for one week, to give everyone a fair chance to enter. At the end of the week we’ll select a winner at random, and she/he will win this handsome brown bird ornament:

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But how about we sweeten the deal a little?

If by the end of the give-away we have reached 250 Facebook likes, the winner will win the brown bird and this lovely Christmas dove!

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So there you have it. Leave a comment, share this post, and leave a second comment! Easy as pie! Mmm… pie!

Follow Up to my Open Letter

Hello friends!

Thank you all for your interest in my open letter to the candidates of the 2013 provincial election in Nova Scotia.  The response has been overwhelming, and I am grateful for the support.

I will continue to post here at Mama Might whenever my fits of inspiration strike, however in future all political pieces will be found at “Mommy Votes, and So Should You“.   For those interested in the ongoing discussion my letter has started I will be posting responses from political leaders, reflections on the election, activism in general, my thoughts on education, and other relevant information I might want to share with you.

Thank you again for your support.  It has meant more to me than you will ever know.

All the best,

Amanda

An Open Letter to the Candidates of the 2013 Provincial Election in Nova Scotia

**Hello friends! Thank you all for the overwhelming support with regard to my open letter. As this continues, please remember that my letter was about effectively managing financial resources in our education system. The bullying booklet finally pushed my frustration levels high enough to speak out about how we could better address issues in the classroom. I am not an expert on anything but my own life and I am just trying to speak my own truth. And FYI, I am not affiliated in any way with any political party. Nor am I “aligned” with anything other than my own personal beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. I am just a mommy who loves all kids and is annoyed by all waste.  Thank you again.**

Dear Candidates,

My name is Amanda.  I am thirty years old.  I have been working (and thus paying taxes) in Nova Scotia since the year 2000, and am currently employed as a permanent classroom teacher for the Halifax Regional School Board.  I live in HRM.  I have been married for almost ten years, am a parent of three beautiful, intelligent, kind, honest, sweet, little children, the oldest of which is in grade primary.  I am grateful for the many blessings I enjoy and benefit from, and I thank you for your commitment to protect them by endeavouring to promote a standard of living that I believe every Nova Scotian deserves to have within their reach.  With that being said, I find myself becoming more and more disillusioned as the standards set by our provincial government continue to decline.  In this time of uncertainty, “A Better Future for Today’s Families”, “Change That Works”, and promises to put “Nova Scotia First”, are all lines that I desperately want to believe but am unable to.

Today I am writing specifically in response to a document that was sent home with my son from school on Thursday.  I am currently on Maternity Leave and so I did not see the document prior to that afternoon, nor was I aware of its existence.  I am referring to the 58-page booklet entitled “Bullying and Cyberbullying: What We Need to Know (A Reference for Parents and Guardians)” that was sent home in the back-packs of Nova Scotia’s public school students.

When I first saw this document, I was exasperated.  The more I read and thought about it, the more my sense of frustration grew.  And today as I write this, I am angry.  Let me explain why.

First, please understand: I am glad that the provincial government is attempting to communicate to students and parents that bullying in schools is a matter of concern.  As a teacher, and as a parent, I agree wholeheartedly that bullying is a serious and very relevant issue that requires our time, attention, and yes, even our resources.  The children of Nova Scotia deserve a learning environment that is nurturing, safe, and effective.  My colleagues and I have lost students to suicide.  We love our students, we want change, and we are prepared to work hard to help bring it about.  Despite all this, I fail to see how sending home a “reference” will do anything to help solve the issues our children actually face with regard to bullying at school.  I have read the document myself.  The information within it is not bad or incorrect, but it is nothing new.  Nova Scotia is, after all, the home of Rehtaeh Parsons, Jenna Bowers, and Courtney Brown.  Nova Scotians are familiar with bullying, how and why it sometimes happens, and the potential consequences for the victims.  It is a problem, there are ways parents can talk to their kids about it, there are appropriate channels to follow when reporting it, and the NS Department of Education does not condone bullying in schools.  We get it.  But to be perfectly frank, all I saw when I looked through this glossy, color printed, and expensively-produced booklet were more words, and no action.  I am deeply disappointed by this.  I am also deeply disappointed in the lack of wisdom displayed by this flagrant waste of resources which will no doubt be proudly referenced in speeches, press conferences, and the like, as a shining example of how the NSDOE has met the truly difficult and complex issues head on, in a meaningful way.  This is simply not true and as a parent, teacher, and tax-payer I find this very, very frustrating.

Combating bullying in schools must be a priority.  But hiring (and paying) who-knows-how-many consultants, graphic designers, printers, publishers, panels, editors, reviewers, and writers to produce this project and distribute it to the masses (who, by the way, used it to line their blue bags on Friday morning) is not a responsible, reasonable, or efficient way to accomplish this.  (And since I mentioned efficiency, or rather a lack thereof, I would also like to point out that sending the booklet home with four children from the same family, when their parents are both public school teachers, was simply stupid.)

As a teacher, I would say that the most important way in which I strive to combat bullying in my school is by communicating to each child I encounter that they have value.  They are worth spending time with.  They are worth spending time on.  They are worthy of my respect.  They are worthy of my best efforts and my best ideas.  They are worth all the meetings, program plans, phone calls and emails, coaching on sports teams, chaperoning at dances, personalized feedback, time away from my family, and kindness I can give them.  I see them every weekday, and I truly believe that those are the best things I can do to educate them in the fight against bullying.

You may not see the students of Nova Scotia every day, but you can still show them that you believe in their worth by your actions.  You can teach them that the other students in their school also have value, and are therefore to be respected.  And the best way to do that is not by giving them pink t-shirts, water bottles, bracelets, and 58 page reference guides like the ones you asked the teachers of Nova Scotia to distribute last Thursday.   Our students may be young, but they’re not stupid.  They understand that all the “free” pink stuff in the world won’t help them in the hallway tomorrow.  Again, combating bullying must be a priority, but it can not be, nor appear to be, the only priority.  That alone will not make students feel valued by those whose role it is to promote and facilitate lifelong learning.

Let me tell you what I firmly believe will.

Start by giving them enough teachers. 

Then give every teacher a classroom.  Then give each student a desk that has not been recovered in Dollar Store floor tiles that their teacher had to buy with their own money.

Fix the microscopes in the science labs so they can experience the wonder of biology.  The real thing is way cooler than the virtual online microscopes, especially when they have to take turns on the computers.

Give them guidance counselors whose only job is to counsel children, not coordinate all the standardized assessments, attend meetings, and fill in at the main office.

Make it easier to provide real-life, hands-on learning experiences, outside of the school building.

Give them policies that will allow teachers to describe their progress in words they actually understand.  Let us tell them when they are bright, helpful, friendly, respectful, and self-motivated.  Let us put it in an official report so that they have physical evidence which states they are good at something they learned at school.

Give them standards to uphold.

Give them ideals to strive for.

Give them the opportunity to experience consequences.

The current platform of the NDP promises that if re-elected they will “give our kids a better start by focusing on what matters most.”  The Liberals claim that “education isn’t a line item in a budget, it’s our future.”  The PC party guarantees “the very best classroom education for our children.”

 It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

As my colleagues’ jobs continue to be eliminated, as our class sizes continue to grow, as our students are continually cheated out of a high-quality public education, largely due to a lack of both financial resources and wisdom in curriculum development and assessment methods, and as teachers continue to be crippled by the provincial government’s lack of financial foresight, the production and distribution of  “Bullying and Cyberbullying: What We Need to Know (A Reference for Parents and Guardians)”, is a proverbial slap in the face to us all.  I have great respect for my colleagues and for the many efforts they make to provide their students with the best education it is within their power to provide.  I am one of them, and we all do our best.  We love our jobs, but we no longer trust you to help us do what you hired us to do.  And on a personal note, I want you to know and fully understand that if I had access to the resources, I would happily choose to educate my three children privately.  They deserve better than what the NS Department of Education is permitting their teachers to offer them.  I am tired of expensive words that end up lining recycling bins.

Respectfully,

Amanda Winsor