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Dear Kaylie,

Today you turn fifteen years old. Do you know what this means? Your dad and I have only three more years to mould you into a responsible adult, a functional member of society. So far so good, I think, but three years should be just enough time to finish the process, right?

You have dreams and ambitions for after you graduate high school. I love your drive and determination to get where you want to be. You say you want to go to college/university away from Saskatoon and I respect that decision, but I know already that we’re going to miss you. Enough about that, though, let’s focus on the right now, shall we?

The very best gift you kids can give me is to be kind to each other. I know it’s hard sometimes, but I love it so much when you play with or hang out with Liliana. She looks up to you so much. She absolutely adores any attention you give her.

I love that we have so much in common. The older you get, the more similarities I see, both in us now and me at your age. The latter scares me because I hope you make better choices than I did. I hope you stand up for yourself and take pride in who you are. I hope that you never let anyone else determine your worth. You already have a lot of self-confidence and I hope that continues, because nobody can take that away from you.

I love that you feel the same way about Star Wars and Harry Potter that I do. That they are the best things about this life we live. Even though we’re in opposing Hogwarts houses (you in Gryffindor, me in Ravenclaw), I’m ok with it. Jedi and wizards and witches are real. Accio Hogwarts letter via the Millennium Falcon!

You and your dad share a love of video games. I’m so glad that the two of you have something in common that you can share. I can’t even think of the names of any games you two play together because I pay so little attention. I know that he very much enjoys spending time with you beating bosses or whatever it is you two do. You guys have been playing Magic the Gathering lately too, which is hilarious because he once wrote me a poem about how he didn’t play Magic the Gathering. Apparently things change when one is the father of a teenage girl.

You love art. You love to draw and paint and create things. Your room walls are full of your creations. We got you a gift card for an art supply store for your birthday because there were just too many options to choose from so we let you choose yourself. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create.

You enjoy writing. You are constantly writing stories and making sure we read them.

I know we told you that when you’re 15 you’re allowed to have a boyfriend, but listen. This doesn’t mean you need one. Teenage boys are overrated. And if one hurts you in any way, I will hurt him. I already know one boy who is scared of me, and it brings me great joy. I’m hoping that that fear means respect, because if a boy does not respect you or your parents, he is not worth it. Trust me.

Right this moment, you are at camp. You love camp. You thrive there. You get to be there two weeks this year rather than one and you couldn’t be happier about it. I’d be sad that you’re not at all homesick, but I know that your lack of homesickness is because your dad and I have brought you up to be independent, that you can go out into the world without us, without fear. We’re so glad we can give you this experience, though we wish we could be with you on your birthday.

You are unique, my dear Kaylie. You are confident and courageous and beautiful and funny and impressing us all the time. Your dad and I are so proud of the woman you’re becoming. Keep being you, ok?


Categories: Birthday Letters

The Garden Project: 2016


This year’s garden didn’t start out so great. I sent seeds to my friend Kathy, who grew them to a beautiful stage. Then I left them outside too long to harden and I killed most of them. A few peppers survived, as well as a couple tomato plants and a couple cucumbers and a couple tomatillos. I re-planted a bunch of cucumber seeds so I hope they actually grow and catch up to the others, which are barely hanging on as it is. I also bought a bunch of tomato plants.

Another hurdle was the garden itself. I made a huge mistake when I put all the mulch on the garden. I regret it immensely. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. Well, I could, but it would take many loads in the garbage bin to do so. So, I decided to build raised beds. Out of old pallets. I’m going to write a post about this soon, but oh my word it was so much work. If you want to build raised beds, and if you’re able to afford it, build them out of new, untreated wood. Because the pallet way will break you.

I didn’t have time to build all the beds I wanted to in time for planting so I built four 4-foot by 4-foot beds. Then I needed the dirt. Kathy has cows and therefore manure, so I got some composted manure from her. It’s basically just dirt; it doesn’t stink at all. When all was said and done it was already June. My garden was finally planted on June 2. But then, last year at this time we got a frost just after May long weekend so maybe June isn’t so bad to finally plant.

beets & beans


Besides cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, I planted beets, beans, lettuce, yellow onions, green onions, and carrots. I was ecstatic when the first green popped up. The beets, followed by the beans, green onions, and peas.

green onions


The lettuce and carrots have just started coming up, but sparingly. Re-planting is so depressing. I’ve already had to re-plant some beets and beans because either they didn’t come up or the second leaves disappeared or never developed. Also some peas and onions. Basically half of everything that did come up, didn’t come up. I just finished the carrots.

I get discouraged too easily.

Our weather has also not been the greatest. It’s been cooler and we haven’t had much sun. I long for 25+ and cloudless skies! I want to see things grow past second leaves! Also, our neighbour’s tree shades the garden after 3pm which is super frustrating.

I have hope, though. I’m excited for what this gardening season will bring. And I can’t wait for the first harvest.

Categories: the garden project

David vs Bowser

Read the story of David and Goliath tonight. Or, Dave and the Giant Pickle. At the end, Preston told me that just as God helped David beat Goliath, he could help him defeat Bowser.

Categories: uncategorized

Time-Out Companion

I love timehop. It’s an app that shows you posts from exactly one year ago, two years ago, etc from a variety of social media platforms. This photo came up yesterday:


Original caption from two years ago: “Liliana is on a time-out for being mean to Preston. Preston retaliated by sitting beside her while they ate their snacks so she wouldn’t be alone.”

Today: He still is so, so kind, even when it’s not deserved. He’s always offering to play with her when she’s lonely, to clean her room with her when she’s frustrated, or to go into the basement with her when she’s scared. He’s caring and compassionate, and he cries when she gets into trouble. I hope she knows how much he loves her.

Categories: life

The Wilson Vehicle Curse

Let me take you to Wednesday before last. Noah was running an errand for work and the car started shaking uncontrollably. He hobbled back to work where the car sat until the next Wednesday when we finally dragged it, going 30km/h, to the auto shop.

After the auto guys looked at it, they told us it was going to be $398 in repairs. Plus $121 to run the diagnostics. After we just fixed something expensive a month or so ago.

We said we’d pay the diagnostics and wait on the rest for now.

Then I got into an accident with the van. It was my fault. I was turning left, and I’m not sure what I was thinking. The SGI (insurance place) person asked me what exactly happened and I couldn’t tell her. Maybe I thought I had a flashing green arrow? I don’t know. But a guy in a truck hit me. He told me later, as we were waiting for the cops after getting our vehicles out of the intersection, that he’d swerved to try not to hit me and that’s the only reason my air bags didn’t go off. Otherwise they would have because I don’t even think I slowed down. We would have hit head on. I remember seeing him, but I think in my head I saw him slowing down since I had a flashing green arrow. Like I said, I have no idea what happened. But the facts were that I did not in fact have a green arrow and he had a green light. Thus, my fault.

The first thing I told the guy who hit me, after we were safely in the parking lot, was that I wasn’t on my phone. Because I wasn’t. I don’t know why I had to tell him that, as he didn’t say anything about it, but I just wanted to make it clear I guess.

We were both fine. Not a scratch on us.

When the cop got there, the other guy and I talked to him a bit and then I told him that it was my fault. He looked a bit dumbfounded when I said that, I guess not many people admit to it right away? He went back to his car for a million years, came and let the other guy go, and then spent another million years in his car. Maybe he was trying to make me suffer. Maybe he legit had to do things that took that long. He ended up giving me a $230 ticket for failing to yield.

The other guy had to get his truck towed because a steel piece was digging into his tire. The tow truck guy bungy’d my bumper up a bit so I could make it home. I called the autobody place on the way home (bluetooth) and they said I could bring it in right away to be diagnosed. Then I called the SGI. We have to pay a $700 deductible plus I get six points off my licence. I was at +2 and now I’m down to -4. I worked hard for those +2! The negative points are $25 each, so that’s another $100. So, basically, it was a $1,030 accident. (Did I do that math right?)

Edited to add: total damage is $9170.33.

So the van was out of commission. And our car was still at the shop. I’d cried instantly upon impact earlier, and a bit more after we’d dragged our vehicles to the parking lot, and then I had to find some way to pick my girls up from school and I cried some more. I put it out on Facebook even though I hate asking for help. I had no choice. It was either that or get a cab, which would have cost me even more. A friend lent me her SUV, which was so kind of her in the first place, but adding that to still lending it to me after I got in an accident just added to her awesomeness.

Noah and I had decided to go ahead and get the car fixed. We did only the necessary parts, spending $400 and leaving the rest for a later date. The shop got it done so fast. We picked it up Thursday evening.

We’ve been using the car for just in-town driving but we had to push it past that becasue I needed to pick Kaylie up from her biodad’s house on Monday. I double-checked with the shop that the car would make the trip and they said yes. So Monday morning, off we went. The younger two kids and me. The ride there was quite uneventful.

When I dropped Kaylie off at the same place last fall, I forgot to fill up with gas before leaving the city to return home. Thankfully, we hit a town a short while later that had a gas station becasue here’s the thing: between that city and my city there are only small towns. Most really tiny with no services whatsoever. So finding a gas station was pretty much a miracle. This time, though, I had it in my head to get gas before we left and then I completely forgot, but I saw my front two tires were low on air so I found a gas station where I could fill them … and then realized I should probably get gas while I was there. Sheesh.

It had rained pretty much our whole trip there and most of the trip back. It was just sprinkling when I went over some railroad tracks and heard some dragging. The kids were watching some Harry Potter when I asked them to pause it so I could listen to what I thought I was hearing. Yup, I heard a dragging sound. Thankfully we weren’t out in the middle of nowhere, well, we were, but we’d just pulled into one of those tiny towns and I saw across the street that there was a little restaurant or something. I looked under my front bumper and saw something all folded backward. Awesome. I cried a little. Because this was just icing on the crap cake that had been our vehicle luck in the past week.

First I called Noah and then I called my dad. My dad is a mechanic and knew right away what I was describing. He was talking me through it when some guy came up to me and asked if I needed help. Yes please. The guy told me that he didn’t want to call me a tow truck because he called a lot of tow trucks but I had no idea why. After he’d torn off the dragging piece with a crowbar (carefully enough that we could get it back on later) he told me that he’s a cop (not on duty, obviously) and said that I was good to go. I thanked him profusely and he told me to drive safe.

When I planned out the day’s trip, I planned that we’d leave at 6:00am, get there at noon, have lunch with friends, leave at 2:00pm, 3:00pm at the latest, and get home before dark. That didn’t happen. Getting lost a few times had us leaving the city at 4:00pm, meaning we wouldn’t get home till 10:00pm, meaning we’d have to travel in the dark. I hate driving in the dark. The previously mentioned incident happened at about 9:00pm, and it was another half hour before we got things sorted out. So I drove in the dark for over an hour. It was terrifying. Apparently our lights suck, so when someone was coming at me, and I had to turn off my brights, I could barely see anything. I had to guess as to where the lines were. I went by where the oncoming vehicle was coming from and guessed at where I was supposed to be driving. The road was narrow. I was so scared.

We finally got home at 10:45pm. Driving in the dark was terrifying. I’m legit shocked that we actually made it home. I figured we’d drive off the road and be found dead in the morning. I must have told Noah a dozen times how happy I was that we were home. When I drove him to work this morning, then Kaylie to school, I was scared the whole time. I don’t want to drive any more.

But we’re home. We made it. We’re safe. And that’s all that matters.

And I’m never doing it again.


Until May 29 I’ll be fundraising for Preston’s buddy Ronan for the Cystic Fibrosis walk, to fund research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. I’m almost at my goal! $25 away! Donate here!


Categories: life