18 Months

6 Dec

Dear R3

You are now 18 months old!

My original plan was to continue writing you monthly letters about your milestones and development until you reached 24 Months old.  

As you can see, that did not happen.  Life got a little more chaotic than usual around your first birthday.  For some reason, I was unable to get motivated enough to write anything down about what you were doing.

But you are a year and a half now and rest assured, the past six months have been a difficult, but your smiling face has been such a bright spot.  We’ve made it through the darkest times and life feels kind of rosy right now!

Over the past six months, I’ve watched you go from cautiously crawling around the house to running and climbing and falling all over the place.  

You do sit still occasionally (to watch cars and birds out the window, to watch cartoons) but you mostly just like to move.  

And talk!  You love talking and screeching!  Sure, you’re not making much sense, but it all sounds super important!  Though you can clearly say mama, baby, daddy, and yuck.  You’re trying to mimic us with other words too.  But it’s all mostly babble.

However, since it’s mostly babble, you can’t really make yourself understood.  There’s a lot of frustrated whining these days because you wantbso badly to make us understand you!  Plus, you’re also trying pretty hard to assert your own will and you get pretty angry when we tell you no.  Which we do a lot because you’re always on top of the table or the counter or stuffing coins in your mouth…or trying to start the dishwasher. You’re such a busy little fella.

You love food and always want to share whatever anyone else is eating.  You still love your bottle and soother.  I’m definitely not mentally prepared to take those things away from you yet.  Nope!

You’re a pretty bad sleeper still and I must admit to a certain sense of exhaustion.  Every once in a while, you’ll sleep through the night, but most of the time you wake up twice.  I’m so ready to be a mom who sleeps more but I guess it’s just not in the cards right now.

Your favourite things right now are birds, dogs, your brothers, being chased, your soother, putting boots on, toy cars, and books.  

You do have quite a few grumpy moments during the day, especially presently because you have a cold and your four canine teeth are trying to pop through.  But you smile so much.  You are playing shy with strangers pretty frequently now, but most people still get smiles for days.

Watching you interact with your big brothers is one of my favourite things.  You stare at them and smile and constantly try to copy them and climb on them.  They are pretty indulgent but do tend to get annoyed when they want to play without disturbances.

I’m looking forward to seeing how you act at Christmas this year as last year you were oblivious.  You’re more aware of what’s going on and, even though it’s hard to get anything done with yoinaround, it’s a joy to watch you learn about the world.

Cleansing by Fire

18 Nov

It’s snowing right now.  

The first snow of the year.  

A lot of people detest the arrival of winter precipitation but there is something innately beautiful about a fresh and pure blanket covering up the dirty streets and sidewalks.  

That first snow covers a multitude of sins.

Having said that, snow doesn’t have permanence.  It will eventually melt and everything underneath will once again be on display.

Fire though.  

Fire is permanent.

I was watching the snow cover the streets and thought it might be an appropriate time to share my experience with the permanence of fire.

A cleansing of fire, with fire, and through fire.

When I realized, without a doubt, that my marriage was over, my immediate reaction was, “I need to drop this last name.  I’m not that person anymore.  That part of my life is over.  I need a new name and I need do something drastic to commemorate my new identity: my reinvention, if you will.”

I thought, I’m going to burn something; I’m going to destroy something!  Natural conclusion to this line of thinking: I’m going to burn my wedding dress!

In all honesty, many people weren’t thrilled with this idea.  It was thought to be too extreme and in poor taste.  The puzzled reactions furthered my resolve to do something loud and destructive.

I approached my friend Scott, of Scott Hobbs Photography, with my vision and we set to work.  We recruited our makeup artist friend Scotia, of Sweet Cherry Spa.  We drove into the bush one Saturday afternoon and didn’t come out until things were done properly.

Makeup and hair by Scotia


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Photography by Scott


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Behind the scenes:


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The Journey:










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Oh, and we had guns.  

Because, why not?


Mission accomplished.

I am Kali, the dark one: the goddess of destruction.  I come in vengeance and fire; I destroy.  I am carnage embodied.

I am Kali, the beautiful one: the goddess of renewal and rebirth.  From the ashes of my mayhem comes something new and wonderful.

Thank you Scott and Scotia for helping me on this step of my healing and transitioning.

I was broken.  

I’m whole again.

So much love and light to you, my dear friends.

Support Your Balls

14 Nov

As a mother to three boys, I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by penises and testicles.  For the past nine years, it’s been all penis, all the time.  

While that may seem like a dream come true to some, it gets a bit wearisome.

You know what I hear all day?

You’re a dinky pisser!

Haha, PENIS!!!!

Hey, get your dink away from me!

I don’t think I’ve had a full day this year where I haven’t heard the words penis, balls, dinky, wiener, and testicles.  

It’s non-stop.

Having said that, I want my kids to grow up healthy and personally aware.  I want them to know the real words and I suppose all the slang words are pretty amusing.  

The kids already know how babies are made and a natural extension of that is knowing how to keep your baby-makers healthy.  

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males 15-34.

When detected early, 99% of those diagnosed will survive.

Having a father or brother with Testicular Cancer increases your risk.

Does this sound like a post for something in specific?  A particular company?

Good, because it is!

Check this out: Tommy John.

They sell men’s underwear!  

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Leah, what the eff?!  You’re a sexy and sassy lady, what are you doing shilling for a men’s underwear company?!?”

Well, just remember those three little XY chromosome dudes I pushed out of my sassy lady-parts.  They’ve got cute little-boy butts that need to be clothed and right next to the boy butts are boy penises.  This momma wants her boys healthy, and that includes the little generals.

Plus, how funny would it be for my guys to stumble upon this post as fatalistic teenagers?

Tommy John is trying to do their part in raising awareness about prostate and testicular cancer, but what exactly are they doing?

They are giving 5% of all sales coming from our limited edition “Ball Print” collection to cancer research.

They are contributing $10 for each purchase made by new customers who were referred by someone else.

What’s in it for the readers?

“Share a pair win a pair” Instagram contest (Starting November 1st). To enter, take a picture of any pair of round objects, and tag them on Instagram using the hashtag #SupportYourBalls, and follow and tag @TommyJohnWear and @TesticularCancerFoundation for a chance to win a $30 credit.

Check your balls, dudes.  Have your doctor check your balls.  Pay attention to your body and your health; you are important and you are worth it!

Life and Love

5 Nov

As I was walking up my street this morning, on the way home from a hair appointment, my paint chipped front porch came into view and it made me so happy.

The sun was shining on the scruffy blue paint and the pumpkins from Halloween are still in the front window.  I was just struck by the beauty that is my life right now.  

I count my blessings every day, but sometimes, I just have to stop and marvel at how good life can be and how happy I am; how much I just love everything.

Almost 8 months ago, I was at the lowest I’ve ever been.  I didn’t think it was possible to feel any worse.  Then I did feel worse.  In June.  I could easily have spiralled and unraveled.  

I laid in bed for two days; I cried for five days.  Then I was done.  Things happened in my life that I didn’t choose and that I couldn’t control. But I can choose how I respond.  I wake up every day and choose to love myself and choose to be content.  

Am I always happy?  Of course not!  Life is hard!  But I choose to put forth positivity and love.  I had to believe things would get better.  And they really did get better. 

Yesterday morning I was with someone who, surprisingly, is making me giddy with happiness.  

Then last night, I was at the Take Back the Night rally with one of my dearest friends; together we listened to powerful stories from survivors, we lit candles, we smudged with the four sacred medicines and offered up prayers to the Creator.  We walked dark streets as a group of one hundred, we cheered and chanted.  I met people I follow on Instagram.  I hugged lots of amazing people!  

My friend and I went out to eat and drink with new friends; we invited others to share our table.  We laughed and talked and hugged some more.  It was beautiful.

Then we walked back to my house and bid one another farewell and I went inside for 8 hours of solid uninterrupted sleep.  I ran to my hair appointment and had a wonderful time talking to stylists I’ve been seeing for the past 15 years.  

Tonight I’m going to spend time with some amazing friends, one a friend since birth, two who are much newer.

Life is funny.  

I really wondered and worried if I’d be sad for a long time.  

But no.  No way.  

I’ve got my parents and my kids.  I have my kids’ wonderfully supportive father. I have so many amazing friends that I just love so much.  My openness and willingness to love (both presently and in past years) has brought amazing into my life.  

I’m so happy it’s making me sick.

Will things get difficult again?  Yes.  Are there hard times ahead?  Of course!  Will I keep choosing happiness?  Hell yes I will.

Choose life.  

Choose love.  

Choose contentment!

Selflessness and Selfishness

2 Nov

Yesterday, when the boys got off the school bus, R1 told me about a man he saw out the window on the way home.

He said, “Mom, I saw a man on the side of the road and he was under a tarp.  I think he was homeless.  Can we get some food and walk back to him?”

This coming from my more self centred older child.  Sometimes I’m so busy comparing him to his loving younger brother that I forget he too has a sympathetic heart.  It’s just a bit less flamboyant and in your face.

I must have looked hesitant, because he backtracked and said it’s probably not a good idea for us to approach a stranger without Daddy around and maybe the guy wasn’t in the same spot anymore anyway.

We talked about safety when approaching people we don’t know and we talked about the importance of generosity and kindness to others, regardless of their station in life.  He brought up past instances where he remembers me giving people on the street money, bus passes, or whatever food I happened to have.

He remembers past kindnesses and that tells me I’m doing something right.  He has seen what I do and it’s made a lasting impression.  My greatest wish is that I can raise up my boys to live decent and empathetic lives.

R1 then said, “Mom, do you know what my greatest wish is?  That there would be no more homelessness and that nobody would be hungry.”

I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t turn to goo right then and there.  Actions speak louder than words of course, but it has to start somewhere.

Then R2, overhearing our conversation, piped in with his own wish, “Do you want to know what my greatest wish is, Mommy?  I really wish for a soda pop!”

Nice.

Balance, my friends, balance.

Yes, I want my kids to grow up to help people and understand privilege.  But I also don’t want them too burdened too soon.  

Sometimes, we should grab some food and give it to the person under the tarp.  And sometimes, you just need to take a break from reality and have a soda.

Take care of others, but take care of yourself too.  The best life lessons come at you, right off the school bus, when you least expect it.

Distracted

27 Oct

I’ve been dropping the ball on my beautiful little blog here.  The reasons are threefold:

1. I’ve been having lots of fun working on my side-project, here, called People of Port Arthur.  It’s a lovely little blog focusing on all the people I run into during my daily jaunts, here in my new neighbourhood!  And yes, it’s modelled after Humans of New York.  

2. I decided to partake in a month long art challenge called Inktober. Draw something every day in October (using ink) and post it to Instagram and/or Facebook with the hashtags Inktober and Inktober2016.  Prior to this, I hadn’t really drawn anything Since high school and I forgot how much I liked it.  I’ve been drawing up a storm!  

3. I’ve been enjoying spending time with my new gentleman friend.  Yep.  It’s new and it’s fabulous.

R1 and R2 say

11 Oct

I’ve been distracted by my side project lately, but don’t worry, Eating Dirt isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Please enjoy the weirdness of my children!

R1 says:

I’m here to remind you that everything is disgusting.  
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It’s always a weird question when mommy’s giving the answer.

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Is it just me, or is one of my eyelashes longer than the others?

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R2 says: 

I can’t sleep knowing there are dance-offs nearby!

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If you need me, I’ll be over here farting. Farting in the midnight hour.

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Mom, want to know who all my fans are? All my imaginary friends!!

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My daughter, Caramel, is a leprechaun.