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Tell us about you, your children and where you live
I live in Edmonton with my husband of nine years Clay. We have two kids, and a dog. Bailey is 11 and Jaxson is 3 and Paws. I work as a Special Needs Educational Assistant four days a week. The hours allow me lots of time with my kids and it’s a job I can bring an interesting perspective to having Cerebral Palsy myself.
Do you have help?
My help comes in different forms from people to adaptive equipment. Jaxson loves his dayhome, with playmates his age and who he calls “Nanna Franca”. My girls ( I babysat as a teenager) now teenagers themselves, help with housework, (difficult things for me like floors and bathtubs) and spending time with us and the kids. We are surrounded by great family and friends, we all help each other as needed. Like taking turns having each other’s kids so we don’t pay for sitters.
My husband has been incredible in our parenting journey at seeing what isn’t working for me and creating something that does. Things in this world aren’t created for someone who has limited balance and uses a crutch. He’s modified things like drop down side on a crib, to building a cart for the bucket car seat to clip on so I could transport baby between house and garage. We moved from a finished home to a work in progress with a different layout (fewer stairs). He understands my independence is important and helps me adapt to keep it.
I have too many. Scrapbooking and card making top my list, I love photos and preserving family memories. I am also learning to quilt and do cake decorating. My kids are creative and love to be involved in making things. We make many of our gifts it teaches the kids it’s not about the money spent but that how much you thought about the person you’re giving too.
Extracurricular activities for you?
Activities for me have a lot to do with my hobbies. I am also volunteer and board member for Adoption (ABI) society of Alberta. It’s non-profit organization for people touched by adoption. They provide everything from education/workshops, parent groups and fun family events. It’s been invaluable in helping us in the role of advocate for our chosen son and allowed us to meet all new friends with which we have something uncommon in common. Going from no kids to two within a year was a huge transition for us. Adoption (especially an older child) has challenges most can’t relate to.
Extracurricular activities for your babe/children?
Bailey’s in dance, it enhanced a natural talent and is teaching him how to be respectful to girls. We are an electronic game free household my kids love spending time outside. Bikes scooters, card board box forts, snowball fights they do it all. We enjoy the EPL (Edmonton Public Library) I take the boys every Thursday afternoon, early dismissal. They learn a love for reading, and access all kinds of books and learning materials free.
What does a typical family day look like to you?
Like any family we find chores or errands we need to catch up on over the weekends. We all participate so we can get to having fun. The kids have chore charts and we will each have one kid with us while we divide and conquer running around. We get things done and have individual time with each kid. We are fortunate to live in a city that has a ton of year round low/no cost activities and festivals. We like most of them. In summer we enjoy lots of camping and as a household of all boys quading and four wheeling is part of that package. Sunday is always family dinner, my mom and I take turns being the host. I enjoy her turn because there is less mess to clean up but my turn means yummy leftovers. The kids love the quality grandparent time.
Who cooks dinner?
I generally get dinner on the table through the week, though he’s the better cook. I meal plan through the week as it’s often harder to think of what to make then to cook it. It makes shopping easier and cut down on groceries. I also get together once a month with a friend and make 3 meals (all courses) for our freezer. Our kids play while we catch up and we have meals for those crazy nights when you scheduled everything but time to cook. I love to bake, and my crockpot is my favorite appliance.
How does the grocery shopping get done, by whom, with the kids, and do you use coupons?
Costco involves the whole family because I have a slower, often unique way of transferring case lots of things from the cart. It’s provided entertainment for others on more than one occasion. I shop with both kids; this can be challenging and helpful. We make it fun by playing mission impossible in the store. I put one kid in charge of the list and navigating aisles, the other helps put things in the cart. Set the cell phone timer, it’s amazing how quickly it goes and how much fun they have when they think they are playing a game… I am slightly obsessive about couponing. Money saved in the store we put to use in ie. a movie, or an outing on vacation.
How often do you buy something for yourself?
Not often. In crafting I try to repurpose items I have, or craft with someone so we can share our supplies and ideas. I clothes swap with friends when we grow tired of our items, and do the same for our kids as they grow, I get new stuff, kids get a play date, and I enjoy coffee with friends. It’s multitasking with a purpose.
Do you exercise and if so, how/when do you fit the time in to do that?
Exercise has always been key to maintaining mobility. After having two MVA’s this year it has been important to keeping me in the shape to be the mom I need to be. I go to weekly therapy, yoga, and exercise/stretch at home on the other days(when kids are in bed). Any mom who is genuinely with her children does some exercise kids are active; you can’t parent effectively from the couch.
What has parenting taught you?
There is an element of play in everything, you learn more when you find it. Things are always changing so being set in your ways leaves you behind. Each new thing my kids learn teaches me something far more valuable. Parenting does take a village, build your own with people who bring out the best in you. Your kids will learn something from different from each of you.
Favourite beverage special coffee, cocktail?
Whether it’s a hot or cold from my own counter or the shop on the corner the opportunity to catch up with a friend while having a beverage, is always a favorite pastime. On our own or with kids in tow it’s the company that counts.
Cannot leave home without it’ item?
I take a camera everywhere. The best pics of your kids are spontaneous moments. I am always in possession of Bon Jovi tunes and Dr. Pepper chap stick, its the only makeup I wear and I have one stashed everywhere. In each coat pocket the car console etc.