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five

Dear Preston,

Today you turn five years old. I can’t believe that you, my son, are already five. My curly redhead. My boy. My baby.

Five!

You are an early riser. You’re not allowed out of your room before there’s a seven on your clock and you’re not allowed out of your bed until there’s a six on your clock, but that doesn’t stop you from coming into my room after there’s a six and before there’s a seven to tell me that there’s six and there’s almost a seven. You just can’t wait to get your day started. After there’s a six and before there’s a seven you love to read. Most of your books end up on your floor in that hour because you read through them all and then pile them up. In a heap.

I love your curly red hair. You side with me when your dad says anything about a haircut. You don’t want a haircut. I don’t want you to have a haircut. Two against one. You do get sick of people touching your hair, though. Especially if it’s complete strangers.

You love Harry Potter and Star Wars. You and me and your sisters watch the movies often and you’re a big fan, much to your father’s chagrin. You love playing with my Harry Potter Lego, saying that you won’t lose any pieces this time. You’ve done well lately, my little Weasley, so you can keep playing with it.

I call you my baby often and you say that it’s ok, because you know that you’re my baby, not that you’re a baby. You go by many names, Presto Puff, most of them given to you by your dad. He calls you everything from Grimace to Grandpa. You don’t seem to mind. But when he asks you what your name is, you always let him know that it is PRESTON.

You sure love your dad. You love to wrestle and watch wrestling with him. Though you’re kind of into punching lately. Just with your dad, though. When I finished brushing your teeth the other day, you told me that you want to be just like your dad. I do hope you grow up to be like him, because he’s pretty rad, isn’t he?

Your best friends are Emma, Kesler, Ronan, and Ethan. Your best school friend, besides Ronan, is Hunter. You’re all hugs when you see the two of them as you enter the classroom.

You love school. Some days you don’t want to go to school because you’d rather stay home and play video games. But you always are so happy when I pick you up when school is over. You tell me stories about what happened that day and you’ve made some good friends there. You love your teacher so much. You still give me a big hug when I drop you off, and I cherish every one. Keep hugging me at school drop-offs, ok?

Speaking of video games, you’d play them all day if I let you. Your favourites right now are Super Smash Bros and Plants vs Zombies. I have no idea how to play either of them. You switch from system to system, going through two or three in an afternoon. Not that I ever let you play for a whole afternoon, right Bud? You also love to play Bomberman with your dad, your siblings, and your Auntie Tali.

You’re a snuggler. Your favourite is snuggling between your dad and me in our bed. You give great big bear hugs and you snuggle with me on the couch. You say you don’t like being kissed on the cheek but you allow me to kiss you on your cheek anyway. You’re a mama’s boy and I love that about you. If you’re sitting with someone at the table, you love to sit right beside that person, with your chairs touching. Sometimes this drives your sisters nutty, but I love it.

You are a sensitive soul. When your sisters get in trouble, or if they are hurt, you start to cry. You don’t like seeing others in any sort of trouble/pain.

You are unbelievably kind. Even after your sisters have been picking on you. If Liliana has been unkind but is scared to go downstairs by herself, you offer to go with her. If she doesn’t want to clean her room, you offer to help her. If she wants to play with a toy of yours, you offer it to her willingly.

As I write this, you’re watching Avengers on Netflix and eating multi-coloured marshmallows for lunch. You had a double-chocolate donut and a hashbrown for breakfast. (Don’t tell your dad.) It’s your birthday, my dear, and you can have anything you want (within reason). I assume you’re having hot dogs, leftover from your birthday party last night, for dinner. We had a family party last night to celebrate you being in our lives for a whole five years so far. We’re all so thankful for you.

I love you to the moon and back, Presto.

Mama

Categories: Birthday Letters
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baby, it’s warm outside

It was 20°C on Saturday. It was my favourite day all year so far.

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I can’t believe we were wearing t-shirts OUTSIDE. The most exciting things about the weekend, though, were these: MY TULIPS STARTED COMING UP and THERE ARE BUDS ON THE TREES. I’m beyond stoked.

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I love spring so, so much. It gives me hope that life isn’t actually made of snow. I loathe winter and don’t know why I put myself through a Saskatchewan winter every year. One day we will move to a place with a longer growing season. Which I feel bad saying because we’ve made lasting friendships here we’d miss if we left. But is warmer weather worth it? One day we’ll decide.

Exciting news? I just ordered my Dam seeds. I’m so excited to see green. Gardening is such therapy.

I made a big mistake two years ago and ordered the wrong kind of mulch, so my garden is covered in mulch that is looking to stifle anything I try to grow. It’s super. Last year’s garden was abysmal. SO. I’m building garden boxes this year with Kaylie. She doesn’t know yet that she’s helping me. I built a garden box last year with her and was asked by someone why Noah didn’t make it for me. I have an answer to that: because I could make it myself. I love building things. Noah’s getting pallets for me this year because oh my word lumber is expensive. I’m just hoping the wood is strong enough after I separate the boards.

Now listen, just don’t tell my dying house plants that I’m breaking up with them for the green I can actually keep alive.

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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 (THANK YOU, people who donated!!), but we still have to reach the team goal, so don’t let my goal being reached stop you! Donate here!

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Categories: life, the garden project
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The Bachelor: Ben – Week 8

Hometowns!

Four are left. Who will be voted out sent home tonight?

Orange County, California. Laguna Beach. Amanda’s hometown. They meet on the beach. Amanda’s kids are on their way, she hasn’t seen them yet, which is weird. Whatever. She tells Ben a bit about her kids. Her mom (?) then walks them down to the water. Amanda’s a bit of a weepy mess, as would be expected when one doesn’t see her kids for weeks. Ben chases them around the beach for a while, laughing and playing, followed by a bit of kite flying. Kids are so funny, they attach themselves to people so quickly. As long as that person is into playing with them.

Ben and Amanda drive the kids (one of them crying) to her house. She’s a bit emotional seeing her parents again. Amanda’s mom has a chat with Ben and asks him how he feels about having kids. He said his initial reaction to Amanda having kids was good. He likes them.

Amanda then talks to her mom. She says that since her focus has always been on her kids, she’s felt bad being in a relationship because it would take time away from her kids. (She’s so sweet.) She wants it to work out with Ben, she’s never met anyone like him.

Ben and Amanda’s dad talk. The dad asks how the relationship is going. He asks what the future looks like. Ben says he’d want to be that father to the girls. The dad says that there will be times when he can’t do what he wants to do because the kids come first. The dad says that if Amanda’s happy, he’s happy.

The two read stories to the kids and then Ben leaves. Amanda is in love with him and would be crushed if she was sent home.

Portland, Oregon. (I love that city!)(That bridge looks familiar!) Lauren’s hometown. She’s in love with Ben. They walk around, have some food truck food, and head to a whiskey library. Lauren is excited for Ben to meet her family, but she’s also scared. She wants to tell Ben that she loves him, but she wants to wait to see how the family part goes. If her family doesn’t approve, she can’t move forward.

Why are all these houses so BEAUTIFUL?! Lauren’s dad toasts to the evening and her sister takes Ben away. She asks Ben how things are going. She wants to know about how Ben is with the other families. Does Lauren stand out? What makes her stand out. Ben says he can’t put words to it, but he feels really lucky. And then he sheds a tear. The sister talks to Lauren next. Lauren says that she and Ben are compatible. Ben is her “person”. She’s in love with him.

Lauren’s dad then asks Ben how Lauren is different than the other women. He says his heart stopped the first time he saw her. The dad is wondering how the quickness of this whole process is working, and how he’ll know if Lauren is right for him. He says he’ll know before he’s down on one knee. The dad asks Ben how he’s coping having three other fathers out there. Ben says he’s not coping well.

Lauren then talks to her dad about Ben. He reminds her that there are three other women still in this, so just be careful.

Hudson, Ohio. Caila’s hometown. I’m just gonna go ahead and say that I’m not exactly Team Caila. I just don’t see it. I did at one point, but I no longer do.

Anyway. Caila wants today to be a fresh start. She takes Ben to a bench. “I’ve always wanted to be on this bench.” That’s fantastic, Caila. I hope she goes home. She says she feels at home with Ben. She feels ready to build a home with him. Caila takes Ben to a to warehouse, apparently her dad is the CEO of a toy company. They draw up plans to build a house and then go into the factory and make it from plastic moulds. She wants to tell Ben that she’s in love with him. Good for you, Caila.

Caila brings Ben home to a huge house. Is there a requirement to be on this show? All the contestants have to come from families with lots of money? Caila’s mom: “Have you ever met Filipinos before? … It’s common for us to eat with our hands.” Her mom introduces all the dishes that look mouthwatering and I want them all. Her dad is white. Very white. “How is it like with this microwave fame?” Oh, sheesh. He then lectures her about Filipino culture. Which is equal parts cool and intimidating.

Caila’s mom takes Ben aside and wants to know what it is that sparked his interest in Caila. He says she’s joyful and cute and bubbly. Her mom says that Caila’s still single because she has very high standards. Ben says he’s afraid that his feelings won’t be reciprocated. Her dad asks what’s in Caila’s heart. “How do you block out everything else and focus on your relationship with him.” She says she just focuses on him. The moments they spend together are right. He wants to know that this is normal. But she’s afraid of a huge let-down. He’s afraid she’s going to be crushed. Caila tells her mom that this is real. That’s what they all say, Caila. “I’m in love with him, mom. I know he’s the one.”

Caila walks him to the limo and means to tell him that she loves him but she didn’t allow herself to fully trust him. The scared feeling is still lingering a little bit.

Dallas, Texas. Jojo’s hometown. She walks up to her house and there are roses waiting for her. She opens the card and … it’s from her ex-boyfriend. She’s UP-SET. But then she calls him. He cares so much about her and wants her and loves her and doesn’t want to lose her. Ben then walks up to her house. She tells him about the flowers/letter. She’s kind of a mess. Ben says that he’s glad she made the phone call and ended whatever that guy was trying to start. Jojo says that she’s never been happier, has never been this excited about someone.

The parents’ house! It’s huge. It has pillars and arches. Yikes. Her brothers attack her. One of them is named Ben. Her mom’s had a lot of plastic surgery. She asks what sets Jojo apart from the others. There’s a lot of “y’all” flying around. Her brothers are “really, really, really attached to Joelle”.

The brothers take boyfriend Ben aside and basically ask if he’s going to hurt Jojo. Ben says he doesn’t know what the future holds for him and Jojo, but he cares a lot about her.

Jojo and her mom talk. Her mom asks her if she’s in love with Ben, to which Jojo says she’s falling in love with Ben. I can’t get past her mom’s face. It’s kind of clown-ish.

Her dad asks Ben what he’s going to do to communicate his feelings for Jojo. Ben says that he hopes that he and Jojo can trust each other. Ben says he doesn’t want to make any promises today, but that he falls more and more for her the more time they spend together.

Next up the brothers take Jojo on. “How can you fall for a guy you’ve only had two dates with?!” One of her brothers says to keep herself guarded. They don’t want to see her hurt. She says the only way this is going to work is for her to let herself feel. “We don’t want you to sell yourself short.” Jojo’s confused. Her mom said to give 150% and her brothers are telling her to hold back.

Everyone’s in the kitchen when one of the brothers calls Ben out on brainwashing Jojo and the rest of the women. Where is Jojo in all of this? It’s just her family and Ben in the room. Ben says he’s trying to go about this in the best way possible and he doesn’t want to hurt Jojo. The other brother asks Ben if he’s been coached on his answers. Probably. Ben says he wasn’t coached, and that he’s trying to give them all he can give them. The brothers just look mean. Ben looks exhausted. Jojo’s mom says to give Ben a break because it’s not easy on him either.

Jojo walks Ben out and they review what happened this evening. Ben’s unsettled. “It wasn’t the hometown that I would have liked.” Jojo doesn’t want Ben to walk away feeling like he’s been ambushed.

Back in Los Angeles! The ladies pull up in their limos. Jojo is scared. Amanda says that if Ben proposed to her now she’d say yes. Caila regrets not telling Ben how she feels. Lauren is terrified, she’s in love with Ben.

Ben walks in. Sweating. Shaking. A little emotional I think.

First rose goes to … Lauren. Second rose goes to … Caila. (Boo.) Final rose goes to … Jojo. Noooo!! I mean, I don’t dislike Jojo, I just love Amanda. Chris Harrison comes in and tells Amanda to say her goodbyes. Amanda says that she feels like Ben should have told Amanda in her hometown how he felt rather than getting her back to LA just to send her home. Ben says he wishes great things for her, and Amanda says she’s going to miss him.

Amanda is shocked and at a loss for words. She says she was falling in love with him, and was picturing her life with Ben. Ben is a mess. He says he can’t do his interview right now.

Next week! Jamaica! Overnights!

The end credits are my favourite, because they’re some sort of blooper or funny moment. In this one, Lauren’s two younger brothers ask him about the fantasy suite. After a few sips of wine, Ben says that he respects Lauren and wouldn’t put her in a position to degrade herself.

I love this show.

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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. Donate here!

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Categories: bachelor(ette)
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65 Ronan

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Preston’s buddy Ronan has Cystic Fibrosis. I swear they’re hugging in the above photo and that Preston doesn’t have him in a headlock. He’s a hugger, my son.

What is CF? Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure. (Find out more here.)

Every year Cystic Fibrosis Canada puts on a walk in many cities across the country. The mission of the walk to help all people living with CF by funding targeted world-class research, supporting and advocating for high-quality individualized CF care, and raising and allocating funds for these purposes.

The kids and I are participating this year with the 65 Ronan team and are looking to raise $150. If you’d like to help us reach our goal, head over to my fundraising page.

Thank you in advance!

Local people, you can also donate on Jeremy’s page (our money goes into the same pot) or you can join the team!

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Categories: life
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The Bachelor: Ben – Week 7

Six are left. Who will be voted out sent home tonight?

Warsaw, Indiana Ben has breakfast with his parents and fills them in on what’s happening up to this point. He tells them about the remaining women. His mom is hopeful, and is looking forward to meeting the women.

Ben takes the ladies into a gorgeous house, where they’ll be staying for the week. He then asks Lauren out on a date. In front of the other women. None of them are very stoked about this. Lauren, however, is. Remember how Leah totally bashed her in front of Ben? Unnecessarily? I bet he’s trying to see where she’s at and what’s going on with her. Usually when a woman is called out, it’s for a reason. There was no reason with Lauren.

Lauren is sitting in the middle seat of Ben’s truck. Am I allowed to say that this is a pet peeve of mine? THERE IS A WHOLE OTHER SEAT WHERE A PERSON IS SUPPOSED TO BE SITTING. Ugh. Anyway, they pull up to Ben’s high school. They pass Ben’s church as well.

Becca says she’s ready to introduce Ben to her family. Amanda is a little more reserved. She’s never introduced someone to her kids before.

Ben & Lauren pull up to Baker’s Youth Club, somewhere he worked for four years. Ben goes to play basketball with the guys while Lauren jumps rope with the girls. The kids are all over them. Ben leaves the gym and brings in Paul George and George Hill from the Indiana Pacers. I’ve never heard of either of them, but I’m sure Noah has. Lauren is so impressed with Ben’s passion for the kids.

Date Card! “Jojo, let’s find love in the windy city. Ben” The rest of the women are undertandably jealous.

Lauren wants to talk to Ben about what Leah said to him. Ben tells her exactly what was said. Lauren didn’t know what to say after it. Ben tells Lauren that she has nothing to worry about, that he trusts her. “You make me so happy, Ben.” They kiss for a while and head to Ben’s local dive bar. Lauren is in love.

Jojo heads off for her date with Ben. He wants her to know how much he likes her. They head to Chicago, to Wrigley Field. Ben uses “I’s” again. There are two jerseys waiting for them, one that says “Mr Higgins” and one that says “Mrs Higgins”. Ben pitches to Jojo, someone who has never played baseball before. She totally rocked it.

The women talk about how they feel about others going on one-on-one dates, how happy they are upon their return. It’s getting more serious.

Ben & Jojo lay on the outfield. Ben says that there is a passion between them. Jojo is afraid to fall.

Date card! The names on it: Caila, Amanda, Becca. Which means that the last one-on-one goes to Emily.

Back at the field there is a table set up in the middle of the field for Ben & Jojo. Ben is confident that he’s falling for her. He asks her why she’s been holding back. He’s questioning whether or not her feelings are there.

Becca is talking about how different this feels than with Chris. She’s still afraid of being hurt though.

Jojo doesn’t want Ben to think that she’s too scared to fall. She wants to tell him why it’s so hard for her. She’s always felt that she cared about her significant other more than they cared about her. She really cares about him and sees qualities in him that she wants to spend her life with, but she’s scared. Ben is nervous about someone being there at the end, when he goes down on one knee, and not feeling what he feels. Jojo says that her heart is there for him. She’s Team Ben. Jojo says she isn’t scared anymore. She wants to give herself to Ben. She wants her family to meet him. Tonight made her feel more confident.

Group date! The three women pull up to a farm. There is a rose on this date, a rose that means that Ben will meet their family. Ben and the ladies pile into two little boats. Becca and Amanda in one and Ben and Caila in the other. None of the women want to be on this group date. The four of them head into a barn where a rose is sitting on a table. Whoever gets the rose gets to spend the rest of the day with Ben while the other two women have to head back to the house. Please be Amanda please be Amanda please be Amanda. (She’s one of my very favourites.)

Ben takes Amanda away for a chat. She’s so excited to see her kids next week either way. Amanda is such a sweetie. She’s nervous to take him home but excited at the same time. She’s never introduced someone to her kids before. I already know she’s getting a hometown date from the previews.

Becca gets some time with Ben. I don’t like them together. She wonders what is different between her relationship with Ben and his with the others. She asks Ben how feels about her and asks him not to blindside her. I don’t think she’s getting the rose.

Caila gets her time. She doesn’t really have a hometown, so she hopes her family is enough. Ben asks her if she’d be able to stay in one place for a long time. She says she’d be fine to do it.

And the rose goes to … Amanda! Yay! Becca and Caila are feeling dejected.

Back at the house Becca and Caila tell the other women what’s up. Jojo comforts Becca. Which is so weird, to comfort one’s sister-wife.

Amanda and Ben head into McDonald’s. A bunch of Bachelor people just did a McDonald’s commercial so it’s obvious they’re a sponsor. They go behind the counter and work the drive-thru. Ben says that Amanda definitely has the qualities he wants in a wife. Amanda is stoked that he wants to meet her kids. Ben has another surprise for Amanda.

They walk around the corner and there’s a full carnival. Ben says it just feels “right” to be around Amanda. She says she’s very close to falling in love with Ben.

The next morning Amanda and Lauren talk about Amanda’s date. They wonder about how Emily and Ben are doing on their date. The other women think that Ben is bringing Emily to meet his parents. Caila thinks she’s not mature enough.

Ben takes Emily home to meet his parents. Emily and Ben’s mom have a chat, but she dominates the conversation. Because she’s so nervous. Ben’s mom thinks she’s a little too young. Emily talked a little too much about her own dreams as a person, not as much about her and Ben.

Emily and Ben sit on the dock in front of the women’s house while Ben dumps her. Ben says some nice things, she is heartbroken. She walks back to the house where the rest of the women meet her. She cries in their arms. All of the remaining women are so sweet.

Emily says that she is thankful for the opportunity to come and meet a guy as amazing as Ben, and that the girl who ends up with him will be so lucky.

Chris Harrison comes to have a chat with Ben to see how he’s doing. All the women are questioning their relationships with Ben. I’m pretty sure Becca is going home. They don’t really seem all that tight.

Rose ceremony! So, Amanda already has a rose. Lauren gets the first rose. Then Jojo. And finally … DRAMATIC MUSIC … Caila. Becca is going home.

Ben walks her to the limo as she asks him, “Why did you do that? Why did you do that?” I’m glad she’s going home. They’re just not right together.

Out of the remaining women? I see Caila going home next. Then … Jojo? Then Amanda and Lauren being the final two. And the finalist? I guessed Lauren at the beginning, and I’m going to stay with her. Even though choosing between her and Amanda is pretty much the hardest thing ever. I’d say Amanda would be a great Bachelorette, but that long without her babies? I don’t think so.

Next week! Hometowns! Family drama! Tears! More drama! Babies crying! Can’t wait!

Categories: bachelor(ette)
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