Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quest for the Perfect Leaf


On Monday it was Thanksgiving here in Nova Scotia.
Family tradition is a good fall hike.
We ventured forth looking for the perfect leaves.
The tree on the bottom was our favorite





Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall is Here




Can you smell it, taste it, feel it? Fall is here! Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, the leafs, the crispness of the air. Are you a fall lover?




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nova Scotian Sunset


I love the simple beauty of where I live.
I love the color of the sky at night.
Can you imagine this off your front porch?



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What one Does In A Storm



What does one do when under a hurricane warning??

Recently the Halifax area got hit by two storms so what do many of us do?

Go and watch the waves.

We get some wicked white caps right here in the harbour.



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Low Tide


Have you ever seen the Bay of Fundy?
This is what happens at low tide every day.
Nova Scotia is known for high tides and low tides.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Breaking the Cycle

Today I stumbled upon a blog that well that I am thankful I found. Violence UnSilenced is a blog that allows women to post about domestic abuse in relative safety. It gives women a voice. Right now it is up for an award at BlogHer during the BlogLuxe Awards. I think this blog deserves to win for what it does for so many women.

Why is it so much on my heart?

You see I know firsthand what domestic abuse is, and what it can do to a woman. You can say I have been there and walked that road. As have other family members.

When I was a child I watched as my mother was beaten black and blue so badly that she was left disfigured for weeks. I watched her run bleeding barefoot from an apartment into the street just so she could get away. I watched and learned, and knew this is not what I wanted for me.

Maybe this is why I was ( still am) so careful when it came to men? Maybe to this day it is why I have walls up all around me.

Maybe after watching my mom live through hell, it is why I ended up 7 1/2 months pregnant at a Battered Woman's Shelter. I was never hit. I can say that about my ex. I did live through months of emotional hell though. I saw the signs and got out. I think I was lucky.

Many women do not get out. Many women go back time and time again. Many women choose the same kind of men. These are all facts.

Breaking the cycle of domestic violence takes hard work. It takes time, patience and working on your own issues. It is not easy. It is often a very lonely path. With that said it is something that can be achieved. I know that for I am breaking that cycle every day.

Please do vote for Violence UnSilenced as every woman needs to have a voice and the stories of courage, and strength on this blog will inspire others to leave and find safety.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bad Mom Good Mom

Over the last few weeks there have been many posts out there in Bloggerville about "good" moms and "bad" moms. About the different styles of parenting, about the how to's and how not to.

For me many times by many people I have been labeled a bad mom while on other days I have been labeled a good mom. Personally I am just another mom. I don't think I am a bad mom but I know I am not that "good" mom either. Please just call me mom.

With that said I am a mom. I have been a mom for a long time now. I have been Roo's mom for almost 12 years now and before her I was step mom to 3 very terrific kids who here on this blog I will refer to as my 3 Musketeers, as they were always together when they were little. I was also mom to Sam my babe who has been in heaven for 17 years now. I think that gives me a bit of mom experience.

What I hate most about what I have seen on many blogs is how we can look down on each other, how often we are quick to judge one other. It seems each mom thinks they know best as we often do. We are quick to comment, to correct, while instead is is not inside us to do the right thing. Sometimes that right thing, is silence is you disagree with what is being said. You know that old saying"if you can not say something nice, do not say anything at all". I am not saying there is not a time or place for disagreeing but really some of the comments I have read do nothing for moms as a whole.

You see over the years I have been a mom who has been judged as often happens with the moms of special needs children. We are given unwanted advice, told how to better parent, told in some ways we are responsible for how our child behaves when that behavior is part of a medical disorder that does exist. Over the years I have been told to give her more time-outs, to discipline her more, make her try different things and the list goes on and on. I have even had well minding people call Children's Aid on me more then once ( each time to have the file closed within 2 weeks).When does it stop?

Over the years I have heard every kind of comment from the peanut gallery that make up those that are in my life. Some of the comments have lead me to question myself, to doubt, to wonder, but then I wake up and smell the coffee and realize that no mom is perfect, and sometimes even moms hide behind masks to purely exist and pretend all is well.

I know what that is like from first hand experience, I used to be that kind of mom. Then along came Roo and the mask had to come down and down fast for I realized if I was going to parent solo style I needed a community behind me. I am glad that people came into our lives at the right time to encourage, to bless, to befriend when needed.

As for what style of parenting is best, what works best, my philosophy is now this let your gut lead you. Let is lead me. There will always be experts telling us the how to and how not too but I think we can get too caught up in all that is out there that we can forget what is important and that is being a mom who is their in their own way for their child.

For me as a blog commenter I try to remember what is really important, not all the mumble jumble that makes up the parenting world but us and our kids. I think as bloggers and as moms we can do more of that but then I am the sappy mom who wants diversity and respect. Is that too much to dream of?



Friday, June 12, 2009

Witnessing Miracles

A long time ago, I was married to who I thought was my forever guy and when were married I got blessed to be a step mom. Really I wasn't that wicked step mom. I was a pretty nice one, well most days I think.I got to be apart of 3 wonderful kids lives for a blip. The time I was married to their dad. When I fell for him I feel for each of his kids too, very much so, they were apart of me just like my daughter Roo is apart of me.

When we got divorced there was alot of meanness and I wont say I wasn't part of it. I was. What hurt most though was the fact that ties to the kids, Roo's older siblings were cut. She has had no real meaningful contact with her big brothers and sisters for years at their dad's choice.

Well guess who are now of age and can chose for themselves? Her siblings. Today I witnessed a miracle Roo talking to her big brother via video chat. He lives in Arizona. It was great for me to watch Roo get to know her big brother a bit. He even commented on one of her charcteristics being a family trait. It was so great to be apart of. Roo has always wanted to know them, maybe now that they are older they will want contact with her. I think Roo's life will be richer having them it but know what. They are at an age where they can choose. For me though today was the answer to years of prayer. I prayed that Roo at some point would be connected to each of her siblings. I was very glad to witness today. Got to say it left me with tears in my eyes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Little Athlete


Roo is quite competitive. She takes after me like that.
This week was the town track and field meet. Roo competed in long jump
and the 100 m race. She placed 5th in long jump and she raced well as well and
showed great sportsmanship , which was the goal of the day.



Monday, June 8, 2009

Best Friends

Did not realize that yesterday was best friends day. Over the years of my life I have been blessed to have some great girlfriends. Many of time were for a certain time period in my life yet I am thankful for each one of them.

When I was little, there was my bestest friend Carolyn. She lived real close to me. We often played together and really we got into a lot of mischief together as well. For all my elementary years Carolyn was there and I am thankful that I have her as my childhood best friend.

In my teen years we moved to Winnipeg and there was the gang from church. We were always all together in a group hanging together, and doing stuff together. I had a good group of friends for these years as well.

During my university years I counted on my sisters, sorority sisters that is. The sisters of Apha Phi were the best. They kept me out of trouble many a day.

In my early twenties after I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I had a great circle of friends as well. When I lived in Halifax the young single group was the best, then when I moved to Toronto again I meet sisters that well became my best friends.

When I married and moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico I was thankful to have Lynette and Gayln come into my life especially. They were my rocks especially as divorce hit.

Then when I moved back to Ontario, I was blessed with Anne Marie, Yvonne, Sharon, Jennifer, Ruby and Jennifer. Each brought something unique into my life and I am forever thankful for there presence.

Now that I am here in Nova Scotia I feel a certain loss as I don't have that best friend or great circle of friends here yet, but I know it will come with time.

I am thankful though because of being online I have been able to connect and reconnect with many old friends and that has been such a blessing in itself. So if you have a great girlfriend don't forget to celebrate that friendship for they truely are a blessing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Have You Discovered Diane Birch?

This week one of my friends sent me to You Tube to watch this video of a song called Fire Escape. I feel in love with the artist. I think you will love her too.

What I like most about her, she is an artist who gives back to the community. If you buy her album $1 goes to help one of six charities. If you buy it from the widget on this blog you help raise money for Autism Speaks.

I don't do alot of fund raising on my blog but thought this was too good not too support and I hope you will too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-Coal Mining





I had never seen a coal mine until I moved here.
Nova Scotia has a history that is rich in mining.
































Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scared Stiff!

OMG! I know I am good at my job. The awards and accolades over the years have told me so. But here I sit a nervous ninny! I started being a work at home mom last night with the onboarding (that means loading your computer with a heck load of tools that you need for work).

But we ran into a huge problem. They didn't not get my ID number into their system, which means when I got to get access to the server tonight I may not get in. They have told me this will be resolved by my start time and I pray it is.

I am also nervous because for my company I am one of a handful of agents being allowed to take calls from home. My great customer service skills got me here(OK, I am a good bs'er.).They goal will be to grow the program.

I am also nervous because my daughter Roo will have to keep it down to a dull roar, is that an okay expectation of a tween who loves music? I have bought her headphones so I should be okay in that department. Will she think she can interupt mommy at work? I have given her rules and guidelines and I hope she gets it. Time will tell. I am hopeful. I want this to work!

Have you ever been excited, nervous and scared stiff? How did you handle it? I think I have jumped off the bridge and I am just waiting for the landing.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fat Mommy Needs Help


This fat mommy needs help!

I am admitting I have a problem and I need to get healthier! I need to get fitter!

I want to be fit and fabulous!

I have tried every diet under the sun and don't really know what to do next.

It has to be Frugal.

It has to help me break bad habits.

I want to walk a few blocks without pausing for a breath. I want to chase and play with Roo.

I know I need help!

What is working for you as you get fit, firm and faulous?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday -Another View of Nova Scotia


This is one of my favorite shots and this was taken not far from home.
Can you say I live in one beautiful part of the country.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Bullying Revisited

Remember how I wrote awhile back about Roo being bullied. Well the saga continues. First about 10 days ago I wrote a letter to the editor of of local paper, it was published on Friday. Really I do believe we as parents can do better for our own children and those around us. You can read it here.

Then on Wednesday evening there was a knock at the door. I thought it was my landlord returning as he had just been at my residence to fix a pipe that was leaking. It wasn't him. It was two of the mothers of children who have been bullying my daughter. One was accusing me of trying to run her daughter down with my car. She then assaulted me. I was hit several times on the face, arms and body. She left as my 11 year old daughter ran and grabbed the phone and called 911.

Funny thing is, I don't own a car and I don't have a driver's license. I was assaulted because I have been filing police reports about the bullying I believe. The woman was charged with unlawful entry and assault. She has been released from custody already and that does scare me a bit, but she has conditions she can not come near me or my child or have any indirect contact. I am concerned for my own safety as well as that of my child.

But something needs to be done to stop the bullying here in town and if it takes me taking a stand then so be it.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Birds of Pictou County


These Birds can be found just off the causeway going from Pictou to New Glasgow.
They are a sight I look forward to as I drive from my house to my mom's

ps. Sorry I havent posted in the last week. I got sick and am now just finally starting to get better.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: I Would Rather



I would rather not post a picture of a bullied child.
When will bullying stop?




I would rather post pictures of a daughter that is happy.
Here with her hat creation.

More and more I think parents need to stand up, and press for reform when it comes to the amount of bullying that can be found in schools today.


Monday, May 11, 2009

What Will It Take?

What will it take?

What will it take to put a stop to the bullying that goes on in schools everywhere everyday day?

What will it take for a bullied child to get the protection and services they need?

What will it take for the the bullier to get the help they so desperately need as well?

What will it take for children to understand that every other person deserves respect?

What will it take for a child to come home happy from school?

What will it take in your community and mine?

The facts speak for themselves. Each year more children are hurt at the hands of other children each year, little is done. Each year teens commit suicide because of the words and actions of other teens. Little is done. School boards may have anti violence policies on paper but do little with it. What will it take?

When will we stand up and say enough is enough?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Motherhood

This year is my 12 th year of celebrating Mother's Day as a mom. My very first one I was living in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I had just become step mom to 3 little ones all under 8. My 2 jedi warriors and one little princess. I was also glowing well because Miss Roo was growing inside me.

For me it was a perfect simple day. Little did I know what motherhood would come to mean in the years since then. You see I got to step parent 3 amazing kids for just short of a year when my short marriage shattered around me and I was not allowed to have contact with the my warriors or the little princess.

I was a mom who has done it all solo style since day 1. I can remember holding Roo that first night and being absolutely terrified. I am grateful one of my really great girlfriends at the time was with me, she had coached me through the whole labor and really was my godsend in those first hours as a new mom.

You see when I became a mother for the first time I was homeless. I was a mother who was struggling, my marriage had just ended and I was staying at a Home for Battered Women. Mostly it was my soul that had been battered, that and my heart.

Roo was my healing ointment. She loved unconditionally and allowed me to do the same. She was my saving grace, she became teacher, friend, child, wise one all wrapped up in one.

In the years since there have been many twists, turns, triumphs and struggles as I am sure come with the role of being mother. For me the day I was told that Roo has Asperger's was a day that sent me into a different mode. I think when you find out that you have a special child, you come to realize you have to become a different kind of mother.

In the last 5 years I have had to be mom, advocate, friend, coach, Sargent, doctor, resource finder, and the list really doesn't end. For me, my daughter became my teacher. She allowed me to see the world in a very different way and because of that I have been forever changed. She makes be a better mother and nurturer. I am forever grateful that she is mine and I get the chance to raise her.

For all the mother's out there I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!

Sweet Saturday



It is rather early Saturday morning here. I woke up just before sunrise this morning and watched as the sun filled my new home office. I sipped mint tea and thought what a sweet Saturday morning. I know with me coming to work from home in a few short weeks this sort of thing will be a more frequent occurrence and for that I feel really blessed.

It has been a strange few days here in our house. There was a final goodbye to a young man who I helped raise up. His death makes me want to hang on tighter to my Roo.

There was a hello again as I made contact with someone else I helped raise up and we had a sweet conversation yesterday.

Roo continues to be bullied and again this week I filed another police report. This week she was being pelleted with rocks and sticks on the way home. There will now be an adult walking her home. Really here no one has taken responsibility for her safety on the walk home. I am hoping that works.

Both yesterday and today I am in my office as Roo works on Mother's Day projects. I wonder how many more homemade Mother's Days I will have? Roo is a tween in grade 5 now and I am wondering how much longer I have my little girl for. A mom can dream right?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Why do I blog?

1. Many years ago I thought it would be used as sort of an online journal.
2. I learned it was much more then a place to journal and I like that.
3. It lets me share the best of our lives.
4. I have always wanted to write even though I don't think I am a great one.
5. It helps me sort the thoughts in my head.
6.It is where I can share grown up things.
7.The community of bloggers is a wonderful place.
8. It allows me to share great photos and not so great ones to.
9. I allows me a voice when no one seems to be listening.
10. I can dream here.
11. I can hold myself accountable here.
12. I can share the journey of a single parent and a special needs child here.
13. Just maybe that story, our lives will touch someone else.

those are the reasons why I keep this blog here.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Lobster Season


It's Lobster season here in Nova Scotia and this is a common sight here right now.



Saturday, May 2, 2009

Setting Up For A New Way of Life

Two weeks ago at work we were all called into a meeting and told that as of June 1st the project that we work on in a busy call center would cease to exist for us. We had two options.

1. Continue to offer Tech Support for the huge American company that we work on behalf of, but do it from home.

or

2.Transfer to another project, go through 8 weeks of training and be the low people on the spectrum as far as that team goes. As well it is not technical at all, it is insurance related and for me simply of no interest.

For me I chose option one. to be selected for option 1 you had to meet certain criteria. You had to test your home computer, have a quiet space that you could work in, buy a special headset, have high speed internet. I passed all the testing on Friday!

For me I will be working from home. This is something I have wanted for a long period of time. To operate from home gives me the chance to do work with my time and I no longer have a huge commute either. I am so looking forward to working from home and having time with my daughter. As well the schedule works well for me and that is a good thing. I am excited about this! For me this is an exciting adventure that is about to begin.




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Mom "Do you see the signs of spring?"
Roo"Mom how can you miss them? Look at the buds and the stream finally has no ice"
taken on our walk this past Sunday

for more of Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Mom

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bullying in Nova Scotia Schools

Last September Rachel and I moved from Toronto and its over worked, over stressed, TDSB (Toronto District School Board) to rural small town New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. In that move I really thought Roo would do much better in a smaller school.

Let me tell you the advantage of the big city. The amount of programming for kids like Roo is there ( you may have to fight for it but it is there) whereas here in New Glasgow Roo has languished.

It has been an extremely difficult year. Of course with the move I expected some blimps along the way. To be honest nothing could of prepared me for the year we have had thus far. Roo goes to a school with just over 100 students ( that is common here). There are little supports available for kids like Roo ( smart, yet super challenged socially). She was put into a regular grade 5 environment where there have been little support considering her challenges.

Then to top off the lack of proper educational supports you have a bullying policy that is there in writing but nothing is really done to implement it or to be proactive. Every recess you see kids getting hurt usually at the hands of other children, you hear stories of kids being isolated, of names being hurled and the list goes on.

For Roo this year has been hell. First in November it was her being gang attacked on the way home from school by two other female students ( these kids are grade 5-6) while 5 boys stood and watched and cheered it on. I called the police. They came and said there was little to do beside talk to the parents as the children were under the age of 12. The school could do nothing because the attack took place just off school property.

In March Roo had to visit the emergency room after being pushed down on the ice. She needed 5 stitches to close up her lip. I was told it was accidental by staff, yet Rachel said it was an intentional act. I tend to believe her.

After that incident Roo has become more depressed and almost everyday she endures some form of bullying from being spat at, pushed, called a name, etc.. Last month she told me she would rather die then go to school.

Then today at morning recess there was another incident. Roo was hanging upside down on a movable bar in the playground. Another child came along and twisted the bar causing her to fall and now she is left with a huge welt and a bad headache.

After the incident today Roo decided she has had enough. She left school ( I know very dangerous for an 11 yr old) and came home. She feels not listened too, she feels as if teachers and staff don't care or dismiss things as accidents or rough housing. When did rough housing become ok?

I have been told as I talk with other parents that Roo is not the only child who is enduring a life like this. I am now a Mom at my wits end and the Momma bear in me is out. I think we especially here in Nova Scotia need to challenge the definition of bullying. We need to do more and better for every Roo that is enduring a life of pure terror or else who knows she just could end up dead and for this parent that is the unthinkable.

I have tried calling the board and basically got no where. I have spoken to the principal and well the man refuses to see the problems in his school. So what would you do? what if this was your daughter? how can we do better for our children?

Please feel free to share your stories of bullying here, share solutions you see as workable. I am all ears.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rembering Sam and Maddie, and Celebrating the One I Have

The past few weeks Bloggerville have been full of posts about the life and death of Madeline Sphor. She was only 17 months old when her short yet amazing life ended. It has been amazing to watch the outpouring of love and support for the family and to watch thousands of dollars be raised for the March of Dimes all by bloggers. For me it made me think of the very best that is bloggerville. I had never come across Heather's blog before the death of her child or Mike's either. So what made me cry thousands of miles away not knowing them? What made me grieve with them, pray for them, wear purple?

I went and read post after post of memories, of time spent with their precious child. I watched as they turned something that some could say is a tragedy raise awareness and funds that could help save many babies in days to come. You could not help but to feel the emotion and then for me a mom who knows loss it brought back memories.

For me a mother who lost a child before even knowing it, it brought back memories of doctor visits, memories of a sterile hospital room, it brought back memories of Sam. Many people in my life don't know that before Roo there was Sam. I was 28 when I got pregnant with Sam( I gave the child growing in me a name). Sam was not planned but after getting over the shock of being pregnant was loved still the same. Then at 20 weeks, my worst nightmare happened. My cervix gave way and opened and I lost Sam while she was still inside me. They say the grief of a stillborn child and that of losing a child are not the same. I know how hard one was, so I can't even imagine what Heather and Mike are going through.

I was told at subsequent doctor visits that I would not get pregnant, and if I did I would be at high risk for losing the child. Then something magical happened, shortly after getting married to the now Mr Ex I was pregnant. I was terrified and yet delighted at the same time. Until I past the 14th week when they could sew my cervix shut I was scared. Would I lose Roo too? It was a high risk pregnancy that well defied the odds.

At 37 weeks, which is considered full term they took the stitches out and I had a beautiful child, my miracle girl. Now Roo had some medical issues right from the beginning and continues to have issues but we handle these one day at a time. I wouldn't trade her for the world. In taking the time to remember Sam and Maddie I was reminded to take time to truely enjoy the daughter I do have.

So today we went for a walk looking for the signs of spring and what did we find growing near the stream by our house but purple flowers. They made me stop and think of Maddie and Sam.




*ps it is not too late to give a donation to the March for Dimes so babies can live.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Do You Like the New Look?

Recently on my other blog Common Cents Mom where I try to dish put common sense ways to save money I participated in a huge blog party that is an annual event for 5 Minutes for Mom. Well as part of the party they had a give way..guess what I won?

A new blog design. Shera did a great job don't you think? If you like her work you can find her here.

Now what is to become of this blog. I started blogging back in 2003 with a blog on Xanga and then I moved to MSN spaces and then to here, and then to my blog Cheaper then Cheap as I embraced the frugal life style I needed to get myself off welfare and this blog was left by the wayside. Well my dream with this blog is to use it more as a journal of the life of a single parent mom and how it is to raise up a girl with Aspeger's Syndrome. She is an amazing daughter and I will return to chronicling our adventures here.

My other blog is for mom's too but it is more about resources and how to's, this one will be about that journey called life and what it means for me and my beautiful Roo.

Can you tell I have moved too many times? I will be staying here as Simply Hollie for the long haul!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter With Family




Yesterday was the first time my daughter Roo got to celebrate Easter with family.

My sister came with her two girls so instead of one basket there where 3. and do you see the 4 bunnies in the forefront. They were for the adults.

My sister and her family drove from Halifax and my Mom came from Scotsburn.

The day started very early.





after all Roo wanted to have an Egg hunt. and then it was time to get dressed.


My family arrived around noon and we had a great time visiting and eating together.


My mom and niece getting food. We had ham, scalloped potatoes, salad, carrots and lots of desserts...Yum!


Then after dinner of course it was time for me to clean up!


Then we visited some more!


Everyone was gone home long before the snow started and I was thankful for that!
Hope you all had a blessed weekend.
 
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