Tag Archive | piano

Stretching Limits

If there is one think life has taught me it is that I really do NOT know my own limits… and surprisingly, this is in a GOOD way! Now don’t get me wrong, using hammers – not my thing, lifting heavy items – nope, reaching things off the top shelf – you must be joking, I have stools and a tall husband for a reason. BUT on the other side of that, did I ever think… all those years back… that this diminutive Canadian woman who weighs 114lbs soaking wet could be all that I am, NOPE, NO WAY! And that is AMAZING!

My newest challenge, on a long list of challenges yet to come, is for my children. One of those things I kind of wish I had gotten to try as a child was to learn the piano. Well, the boys are 12 and Zander is in love with singing and hearing his voice… I remember taking recorder in school around the age most of my kids are now and we have this house to ourselves. Add in an amazing deal on a keyboard and amp from my beloved and gorgeous friend Shandai and the time is nigh. This 37 year old mother of 5 is going to learn how to play the piano! Now I am sure I am not going for concert pianist… but… I have faith in myself, in my friends and family online as mentors and my insatiable need to figure things out. I am going to give this a go!

Two years ago I never thought I could learn how to play with yarn. Cross stitch, yes, but that is a grid and X’s… but the wild world of hooks and yarn… could I do it? Well, it turns out all I needed was a lefty in my life again. Here comes Shandai AGAIN! Such a helpful and supportive friend she is… and BAM I am a yarn addict. May I even slightly suggest the student proceeded to surpass the master??? (she is so much a knitting first girl… ooh knitting… that is on my to learn list to!).

I remember, back in the old days when I was merely a mom of THREE. (I know insane) And there was a fire of some sort in our apartment building. I managed, with the help of my next door neighbour, to bundle up THREE kids, grab my prepacked diaper bag (see organization is key), accept a ride and get to my mother’s house. To top it off I was able to call the landlord to remind him that the downstairs neighbour’s mother was often home and an older lady. This was all with Ken on his way into the city with out cell phone. I didn’t think I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could survive Ken being an hour + away for work each day. That moment, that situation showed me that I hadn’t even STARTED to stretch my wings.

Heck, at the beginning of summer I looked at the schedule at the YMCA and saw an amazing opportunity in ClubY. The kids and I did the math and checked Google Maps, we gasped at the 2 mile walk ONE WAY, we realized we had to find a way to not walk the highway the whole way (what is it with this state and its hatred of sidewalks in the suburbs???) and we pushed Daddy out the door to walk that first walk with us. It was grueling and frustrating (the boys managed to forget their bag of swim gear, Emanuel and Trinity were distracted by every shiny thing they could find) but we did it… and almost 2 months later they are chomping at the bit to walk that walk and get to their events. We hadn’t realized we could make that 30+ min walk into a family event, that we could prove to ourselves and the world that we didn’t NEED the luxury that is a car to get us going each morning and get us into the world. And with that stretching of lazy legs we doubled and tripled our work out each day. We’ve proven to ourselves that those two miles are a journey into adventure and excitement.

I think this unknown strength we have locked up inside is key to our family and its ongoing growth. Homeschool has been one big adventure of trying to stretch ourselves. There have been tears, and laughter, anger and frustration, but most of all there has been realization… we are only as far as we are willing to go, we are only as strong as we are willing to try and we are only as smart as we push ourselves to learn. The limits we see… the too hards, the impossibles, they are all just false limits. They are the points we refuse to look past. Maybe the stepping stones need to be tiny, maybe we need to take extra time (and as everyone knows who knows us, we make time for the foundations always) but we are capable of those events and so much more.

Parenting is scary that way too, only I don’t have the choice. We are now facing puberty and the teenage years. I have already had to cope with the hormones running wild with the twins (not cool, Zander goes angry and Gavin whiny/weepy). The future looks straight on uphill with the teenage years looming. But then again… so very long ago, that is how potty training TWO babies at once felt. And we managed. It may not have been graceful and I think we ALL learned things at time but we managed. I don’t know how far I can go, how many limits I will come across, and I won’t know until I get there or until I try. Who knows, we may be even more successful at it than we think we will.

So what am I truly capable of? I guess the answer is… I don’t know. But you know what? I sure can’t wait to find out! The day I started crocheting the projects I pick up now looked impossible. There are some on my to do list that are daunting even now, but I know I have yet to reach my limit.

The future is full of challenges and unknowns, and we have choices. We can sit back and fear them, we can halfheartedly try to defeat them, we can simply accept defeat and move on to something else. I think I am going to make it my mission in life to try and head out there and meet at least SOME of these challenges face on! I am going to sit down at the keyboard and give it a go, do more than give it a go I am going to PRACTICE and QUESTION and LEARN. I am going to dust off the old record skills and I am going to make MUSIC. I am going to pick up those knitting needles in the fall and figure out this fancy knit and pearl thing (and probably suck up HUGELY to Shandai on that one). I am even, one day, going to face my fear of driving head on (don’t get excited I did say ONE DAY not tomorrow). I am going to walk into the gym and face those fancy machines and (with Ken’s guidance) learn something new next month. I am going to make sure that I show my children that my limits are always changing, that my skills are always growing and that if they can make and effort and try something new, well Mom is right there with them!

Now I am sure I can tie this all back in on my depression series. I know Ken has worked hard to stretch his own limits. But you know what? I think we all need to drop our limits and stretch out wings, regardless of our situation, of our fears and of our illnesses. So maybe… just maybe… you can draw your own parallels and see what I mean without my leading you through it? And when you chose to make some leaps, think of me and my family. We are leaping with you! And if you really want a buddy on something – hey you never know, I have tried sushi, gone all the way to the top of a glass elevator, done a maid of honour speech in front of nearly all strangers, met new people way out of my comfort zone and even faced down the bad behaviour of my own kids with strength and honesty and in public no less! Perhaps not the most amazing accomplishments to everyone else… but to me! Well here I am stretching my wings, bursting through my limits and making life even more amazing!

(thanks to my “baby” cousin David on the awesome conversation which inspired this post, and piano assist… love you and thanks for the virtual pep talk! Good luck with the PhD – you got this!)IMG_20160625_203409

This entry was posted on 30/07/2016, in Uncategorized. 7 Comments

Vacation Come and Gone

I have had some free time… GASP! And that has led my mind down new thought paths… One of the main ones is the question of whether or not I am where I should be right now… Is the life path I have taken the right one? Well, after careful consideration Thursday night (while Echo was loudly proclaiming her dislike of ANY movement Trinity made on the bed by her playpen) I came to the realization that I AM. It is definitely NOT the EASIEST path, rather more the road less traveled… but it is right for us. When I think of all the decisions I made (well Ken AND I made) that seem to go against the norm – having our large family, homeschooling, choosing to stay in Canada and get Ken his status, the list goes on and on… well they are all ones I do NOT regret. Life would be pretty bland without Echo and Trinity, without homeschooling adventures and our travels finding our “forever town”…

Hmm there is also the wonder of leaving 4 boys home ALONE in a house full of things… things they could leave on the floor… toss around and generally NOT clean up… I actually had to call Ken this morning to confirm he was aware of a Kijiji pick up (we really cannot hear our doorbell from the basement – a huge issue at times!) and leave him a list of things I forgot to mention before leaving on MSN. I am so the list maker and Ken is so NOT. 

We had a rather quiet day Friday – up at 6:55am (ouch), we missed Veronika leaving for her shift at Indigo. After copious amounts of cartoons while mommy ATTEMPTED (and I mean ATTEMPTED) to nap on the floor there was breakfast, toys and more cartoons. Finally around 11 am Echo was crashing so I got in a bath that was MOSTLY uninterrupted. After all Trinity is without the bulk of her siblings so more bored than she normally is. Apparently the moment Mommy went into the bath the boredom level skyrocketed! 

Echo LOVED the open main floor... so much to check out - note the door behind her where she would open it and yell down to Dinah the kitty

Trinity is officially a whiz with the iPad… she was teaching Veronika to play her favourites and in turn mastering the ones that were already loaded and running. The Snoopy game had a picture taking option, so of course we had to take one and email it to my computer!

Snoopy Kiss!

Hello Kitty!

We had a rather exciting milestone for our baby girl on Friday… she has mastered the stairs. I love Veronika’s stairs, they are completely carpeted and not too steep. Trinity was right there to cheer her on and I took a little video for Ken to see as well. She is growing up so quickly. 

Taking a water break... I will have to share the video once I get it to Ken

We had Kathy over Saturday night for games. She lives a short drive away in the city so it was an easy trip and she was able to stay SUPER late! Two new games in fact – Puerto Rico (which is very similar to Settlers) and Dragonology(based off the book, which I have at home!). Kathy hadn’t played them in ages so it was like we were all beginners. I think she plans on bringing at least one of them when she visits at our house next.

Puerto Rico Game

Dragonology... complete with bitty dragons!

With all 3 of us sharing a room and Echo playing the light sleeper Trinity got to stay out on the couch until super late... took her a while but she did conk!

Saturday was our shopping day… I had a decent budget for the day (around 50.00 plus a gift certificate) and Trinity had her 4.00 of saved allowance. We started at Indigo where I was NOT able to find the books on my list, but I did find two books. The one on the left was suggested reading by Veronika. 

Two of my new books

It was surprisingly difficult to find something in Trinity’s price range that she wanted, so we compromised. She used ALL her allowance and my snowsuit Kijiji money and got herself a bathtime dolly… shower included! It was on sale for 30% off! 

With a little working shower

I picked up some Christmas themed hand sanitizers at 3 for a dollar! (regularly 2.00 a piece), but the big deal was on my new winter coat… H&M had them marked down from 50 or 60 dollars to…. FIFTEEN!!! It is longer than the one I have, so warm and … NEW! I have not had a new winter coat in over 3 years… so this is a BIG deal to me. That also means that next year all I have to buy is new winter boots (another one I have not replaced in over 3 years). 

So CrossIron Mills outlets was worth it. Veronika works at the Indigo there as well. I think if I had had more cash, more interest and another stroller we may have wandered more but as it was we had fun. It wasn’t too crowded either. 

Trinity and Veronika spent part of their Saturday evening creating lovely bars of sweet smelling soap. She was so excited to pick the colours and scents and be a part of the process. It is an amazingly simple and CLEAN craft to do… as Veronika says, easy to clean up – it cleans itself as it is all just soap. 

Soap making stuff

Working together

Lots of pretty soap... I think Trinity may be gifting some out to special people!

Sunday was lovely and relaxing… we all lay around in the livingroom until almost noon watching cartoons… there was laundry to be done, a cat to visit with and of course the iPad to enjoy. Trinity got to the point where when it was  time to leave… well of course she didn’t want to. To be honest it was VERY tempting to just try and extend our vacation… but there is so much to do here at home AND bloodwork for me to have done on top of that. 

Relaxing kitty

On the way home we stopped off at a Chapters here in town and got two more books (one actually on my original list) and then it was home. Well… home sweet messy home! Apparently the 4 days I was gone was gaming palooza! Thankfully they maintained a level of clean that wasn’t horrible, but a wee bit worse than I left it. The fridge empty, the kids wild on games and Sean and Ted here! So they had company to boot! I didn’t get to see the guys for very long as of course they had the drive back in winter weather for work today but it was great to get the time I DID get with them! 

Monday was back to normal… well as normal as you can with boys wound up from gaming, girls not used to being home and Mommy feeling unprepared. Karyn was over in the evening so we FINALLY ducked out and got the much needed and well lamented poster paper… they were OUT of white! (seriously first time ever) but I was able to get some lovely yellow for our Chinese New Year poster. I love Dollarama. I was also able to get the AAA batteries I need to replace in Emanuel’s SleepyBird AND the reading pens for the kids’ books that Trinity is in love with. Oh and don’t forget some lovely Valentine’s Day themed ribbon… I figure our girls could each use a new hairbow! 


Gavin and I worked on making the Chinese word for prosper according to the education.comsite. The template did not seem to print out and I thought this would be more fun for Gavin – trying to recreate what he sees somewhere else. I think he did a great job! 

Careful copying

End result

I do wish we could have made it to an event but at least we have learned some new things! And I got another book to read them tomorrow… this one is a story more than a factual book but it should be interesting. 

Karyn is entering into a contest to go to a conference for work and part of that is making a video – apparently cuteness is a positive so the kids did a part for her today! I have to admit I was proud of them saying their sentence! I had to take a picture!! And then Trinity wanted one of just her and Echo! 

My Fab 5

Just the girls

Even with the mess and the frustrating children today it IS good to be home… that is not to say I would not have liked to stay longer! Girl time sure feels nice, and Veronika’s home is so bright and cheerful with exquisite company. Trinity has spent most of the day and evening talking about going back and what she wants to do with Veronika. I am so spoiled with such a lovely cousin!! Definitely someone who feels more like a sister! So now it is time to try and clear up a bit, after all we have a poster to make… AND it IS Tuesday tomorrow which means – LIBRARY DAY for the two little ones! First one in over a month!!! YAY!

Baby playing with a baby!