Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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Green

I’m happy to link up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Green is a symbolic colour in my family. We’re 1/3 Irish on my Mom’s side so you can imagine how important St. Patrick’s day was when I was growing up. We would say our prayers, honour St. Patrick and have my ancestors recipe of delicious Irish Mulligan stew.

There was one thing that confused me though could a certain colour of green denote danger? I was told if we were to wear Paddy green that it was bad luck. When you grow up with Irish ancestry a lot of superstitions are a part of life so I just didn’t question it.

I didn’t know what shade of green was paddy anyways so I chose not to wear until I was an adult. Then one day my Mom came to visit me and I was taking her shopping. I came out dressed in a new t-shirt I had bought recently and heard her exclaim “oh no you’re wearing paddy green!”

I went back to my bedroom and changed immediately. I know that may make some laugh as I was grown woman. But when my Mom starting making the sign of the cross and praying the Our Father I took this outburst seriously.

After we got to the food court I asked my Mom what was the superstition connected to that particular colour of green. She had told me my Great Grandparents immigration to Canada, tales of the Irish banshee that had a body of a dog and a face like a scary villain out of Grim’s stories. But really paddy green what was the fear of that?

She had explained that when someone in our family had worn the colour that a relative would die. At first I scoffed then I looked deep into her eyes and was ashamed because there was a belief and fear there.

Who was I to question the validity of a belief she held all throughout her life? After this insightful conversation we went back home and I made her a cup of tea and her favourite treat scones, like my Gram used to make. I cherish those memories and keep our Irish traditions alive with my own children.

My favourite thing about St. Patrick’s day is that there’s no expectations on this day. No need to get dressed up and go out to anyone’s for dinner, or get out of your pyjamas for that matter. The only thing you need to do is be happy, drink green beer, and sing Danny Boy.

In my family I make the green pancakes and potato patties like I would have as a child. And for one day out of the year I speak with an Irish accent. I’m putting those years of theatre training to good use. Also it makes my kids happy, and I love to hear their giggles when I break into song and kick up my heels in an Irish jig. I think the world could use a lot more happy traditions so I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be with you.

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Hotel living 101-special needs parenting

A month ago I embarked on a journey to pack up my truck and my kids and headed out on a new adventure. My husband has been working away for 3 months and after solo parenting, recovery from a broken arm, and listing our house for sale I was done! I counted the days till my kids were out of school and got out of dodge.

Once we arrived tired, sweaty, and dis regulated late at night that's when the real fun began. It was a long trip and after listening to my kids nit picking each other for 7 hours. I arrived disheveled and I needed a time out. I love my children but I was "needed out" and wanted to forget my name was Mom. But who would answer if I don't? My husband was off limits as he was attempting to sleep with working the next day. I went into action mode and set up the pullout couch for the kids. I jumped into my pyjamas and crawled into bed. My youngest son was stimming and in need of sensory input and regulation so we needed to fill that asap!

I walked around the hotel and read books and gave him deep pressure hugs that only his Mama can give. Inside I was praying for him to go to sleep as he jumped out of my lap and rolled around on the floor. I felt the need to explain to the front desk hotel staff that my son has autism and not able to follow the quiet time rule after 10 pm rule. He gave me a nod of understanding and I carried on with my regulation methods.

Finally by midnight my son was sleepy so I put him to bed. Meanwhile my brain was on hyper drive as the events of the day piled up and reduced me to tears. I lay there on the cold bathroom until my crying subsided then fell into bed into a deep sleep.

I woke up in the morning feeling like I had ran a marathon then someone had run me over and left me for dead. I needed to eat, shower, brush my teeth, and unpack. Breakfast was complimentary and a Godsend. My youngest son was fascinated with the pancake machine as he pushed the button an they fell onto his plate. Thank God for these little gifts as this held attention long enough for us to get through breakfast and back to our room.

5 ways to survive hotel living special needs style

*Beforehand research your list of hotel options and book one with pool, gym, and spa facilities. Luckily my husband's company took care of that for us in advance.*

  • Swim daily and spend as much time there as you can in order to wear your children out. That includes numerous trips to the water slide and to the hot tub. Water can have a regulating affect on children with sensory disorders if there's no Sensory Defensiveness present and they're comfortable being immersed in a pool.
  • Invest some time in the gym. I go there weekly with my kids to work out. Even at the ages 10 and 6 there's machines they can use like the treadmill, elliptical, spin bike, and free weights. It's a wonderful way to feel healthy and deal with stress.
  • Provide sensory friendly cut up fruit and vegetables for snacks. The crunchy foods provide the sensory seeking benefit as well as toning the jaw muscles. With my sons hypotonia condition in his jaw this is a huge benefit to his sensory diet.
  • Cut back on junk food for snack time. My kids tend to be sponges for everything they absorb like sugar and food dyes. Trust me you don't want a sensory overloaded mind and body meltdown within close quarters in a hotel room!
  • In one word Netflix plus additional DVD's, colouring books, crayons, felts, wipe board books, and washable markers on those inside days when you're too tired to move.

Maintain your children's sensory diet even while on vacation. Move as much as possible explore your local parks, playgrounds, and the city itself. On days when the weather's miserable have board games, puzzles, crosswords, and structured time on electronics. I stress this one as you don't need to struggle with the affects of a dopamine crash after a limit is not followed. We also signed up for the Kids Bowl Free summer program and that's fun for the whole family.

My kids became very creative through the pleas of I'm bored and built themselves and indoor bowling alley that kept them entertained for a few hours. They also did some crafts, painting, and worked on maintaining fine motor strength playing with thinking putty and play dough. Our favourite thing to do is play make believe as they pretended they were superheroes and the world was being covered in lava. I watched my kids jump from bed to bed and marvelled at their imaginations.

After a month of hotel living I'm confident I made the right choice to reunite as a family. I wanted my kids to have a fun summer instead of being stressed about keeping a clean house for showings while attempting to sell. Now I spend my spare time reading, writing, organizing housing information and counting off the days till our new homes possession date then the fun starts again with packing and unpacking. Whatever comes our way we'll get through it as being together as a family is the best place to be.

Come to the Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop. A monthly gathering of posts hosted by the http://www.thesensoryspectrum.com/and http://www.thejennyevolution.com/category/voices-of-special-needs/

Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo. From Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next months Voices for Special Needs Blog Hop. Click http://www.thesensoryspectrum.com/sensory-blogger

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Ten things of thankful-missing my Mom

I’ve been writing all day, furiously scribbling and typing out my feelings. Today is a day I dread more than ever the anniversary of my Mom’s death. I cry, write, read stories we wrote together, and listen to her favourite Elvis music. Two weeks ago I shared my list of thankfuls for my dear Dad. Today I will share about my Mom. She was my gift and I will love and miss her till my last breath. I’m proud to share my memories and thankfulness on the TTOT linkup with Lizzi and her ever faithful thankful family.  

 I’m so thankful that my Mom decided to have me her sixth child and third daughter. She was older yet I think she knew that I was meant to be. I was sickly when I was born so I’m thankful I got to spend that extra week in the hospital bonding with her. She would tell me stories of how I would look up at her as she fed me with this baby face and bright blue eyes of wonder. 

I’m thankful that she taught me the magic of books and how to read. My life has been full of all the adventures I’ve taken myself on with my love of words and wonderful memories. I loved when she would read to me and change the inflection of her voice and turn a story book into an interactive experience. 

I’m thankful for her beautiful smile even when she was tired as I wasn’t much of a sleeper as a child. She would read to me and T ell me stories she’s made up on the spot. She was so loving, kind, caring and an amazing story teller. She loved her children and Grandchildren with all her being. She was proud to show off pictures that graced her walls and upright piano. As beautiful as she was she just glowed when she held a child on her lap. 

I’m thankful for her brilliance. She wanted to be a teacher but she didn’t want to leave her parents to go away to study. She was very close to them as their only child. So instead she worked around town, met my Dad and fell in love. First came marriage, and many baby carriages and she had herself a full family to teach. 

  
I’m thankful for her gift of laughter. She could always find the humour in something. She would look for the silver lining and say this too shall pass sadness doesn’t always last. She had a beautiful laugh that would rise up from her toes and she’d slap her knee in emphasis. She taught me how to impersonate characters on tv and in the movies. I would get her into a fit of giggles when I’d do my Tim Conway impression from the Carol Burnett show. 

I’m thankful for all the times she let me stay up late watching old black and white movies with her. We’d have tea and treats and is watch the classics with her like Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, and every Elvis movie we could find. She had quite a collection of his movies that I’m proud to covet today. Our favourite was always his first Love me Tender and I sing it for her when I’m lonely for her presence. 

I’m thankful for my memories of singing and doing the dishes with her. She even made a mundane task like that fun. We would sing all the Irish classics and she’d dance a jig  around the kitchen. My heart would leap out of my chest as I joined her twirling around until I was dizzy with love and enthusiasm. 

I’m thankful for her talent of writing. She was so gifted with her thoughts and expressions and we collaborated on many stories together while in school and after I graduated. She would also make up silly poems and limericks and keep me in stitches with how funny she could be in real life and on paper. 

  
I’m thankful she taught me to be brave and follow my dreams. It’s because of her guidance that I started writing and sharing my heart here on the page. She guides me still and I write for her always in my mind and spirit. 

I’m thankful she was my biggest cheerleader and my sounding board. I could and did tell her anything. She knew I could see and feel things about people and never made me feel like I was weird. With  being empathic in a very sensory overloaded world was a gift and cross to bear that we both shared. She was my guiding light, truth seeker, lover of people, compassionate, kind, and had the strongest love and faith in God. She gave her heart to those who were deserving. And a piece of her intelligent mind to those who were not. 

I’m thankful I’m a Mom myself and I still wonder in situations what would she do or say. There will never be a day I won’t wish for her presence in my life. I have my memories and pictures, but most of all I can look in the mirror and see her there. As well as glowing  with love and pure divine light in my children. Love you always and forever Mama. ❤️

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Monday Musings-Triggers of the Past

What is it about the past that activate the triggers in your mind from childhood? It’s like those thoughts lay in a locked  box deep inside my brain then something happens and then they’re triggered, and opened up to sift through like a filing cabinet of memories. I recently woke up with a stiff neck and had to spend most of my day resting and stretching my overworked muscles. 

I started a new fitness program and I was overzealous about it and this is the result. I have to remember I’m not twenty anymore and take it at a less than frantic pace. All I could think about as I lay there feeling sorry for myself was how much I loved to climb as a child. You could find me in trees, on top of the roof of my house, and sitting on my Mom’s upright piano. 

There was one time I was climbing like usual after I bounded out of the house after breakfast. I reached out to grab a branch and instead I grabbed a snake! You can imagine my fright as I felt helpless and plummeted to the earth below. I lay there listening to my bones crack I wondered if I could walk and if that snake was going to land on my head. I could see it still in the tree hissing at me like something out of Disney’s Robin Hood. 

I never did like that character Sir Hiss as my Mom and Gram had a fear of snakes and all I knew was to fear them as well. My Mom came outside to check on me and saw me lying on the ground. She started screaming, crying, and praying as she tried to find help. All my siblings had left for school and my Dad for work. So she picked me up and brought me into the house. 

She laid me softly down on the couch and covered me with my favourite blanket. She put a cool washcloth on my forehead and began to check my head and neck for damage. I was so sore and had a big goose egg on the back of my skull. It hurt to move my neck so I just laid there while my sweet Mama cried and prayed over me. 

We lived in a rural community so to find anyone home to take me to the Dr was a slim and none chance. My Mom gave me something for the pain and turned on the tv. She had put my favourite show Sesame Street on and I listened and drifted off to sleep. I survived that fall and many others because I was a climber. Now I have my own child that loves to climb bookshelves, the back of the couch, on top of his bike, and has yet to climb a tree. 

This is what I thought about as I lied there in my bed having my pity party unable to turn my head while my sweet little boy looked after me. I don’t do helpless and sick very well, I don’t suppose any of us does. I just wish for my Mom to look after me like she did so long ago. But time has passed on and with it her life has too so I end up wistfully missing her and her tender loving care. 

Childhood triggers fill my mind with memories of good days and bad. Songs, games, and old friendships that were so important to me. I think of that old red house that reminded me of a barn on a farm. With the big heater with the stove pipe in the middle of the room. I think of the many hours spent there on my beloved Mama’s lap as she rocked me holding me tightly in her arms. I wish I could go back there for another day feeling that loves and cherished. Instead I lie here in my bed stiff and sore cuddling my child. Who will grow up and have these memories of special times with his Mom. 

This brings to mind a poem to fill my wistful grieving heart. 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

-Rumi

This has been my late edition of #Mondaymusings as I was searching for the linkup that is now being hosted at Everyday Gyann if you’d like to join in here are some tips to take part in #MondayMusings? Here’s how it works:

Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings.

Add your link to the linky which you will find here and on the post of a co-host.

Use our #MondayMusings badge to encourage other bloggers join in too.

Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Share the love.

  



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Pause 

There are moments in time I’d like to freeze as my children are growing up so fast. One tells me I’m the mayor of Crazy Town (in our household it’s a real place) the other asks me such interesting questions about the Mir space station and will Steve Harvey ever host a Miss America pagent again? 

I still remember when they were babies and the circumstances that led up to me bringing them into the world. One two days late and long and skinny and purple as Barney the dinosaur. The cord was wrapped around his neck and his head was too wide to engage down into the birth canal. He had the brightest eyes and watched my every move as fascinated with me as I was with him. Oh how I loved him I knew he was waiting for me all along. 

I have to pause that moment when he squeezed my finger and looked up into my eyes as it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Now he’s 4″8 and soon will be height at nine years old and towering over me by the time he’s licenced to drive. His little brother made his scary and rapid appearance before I had a chance to prepare for it. I knew nothing about early onset labor and all that will follow having a premature baby. 

I have to press play on my memory bank as those two weeks of having my baby in the hospital NICU are a blur of emotions. He came into the world sleeping the OBGYN actually woke him up as he cut him out of me and lifted him over top of the blue sheet. He was like a little loaf of bread all curled up and he made this meowing sound and I burst out laughing. I looked at my husband and said “did our baby just meow?”

Then the whole OR started laughing and it broke the thick as ice tension with the seriousness of my son’s early arrival. He was such a mystery to me and didn’t open up his eyes for five days. Then when he did I felt like I could see all the wonders of the world. My baby had an old soul and he looked at me as if to say it’s ok Mom I’ve done this before. 

The love I had in that moment enveloped me like a warm mist floating through me and all around as I was lost in the swirling rainbow of emotions. I have to pause that moment in time as everything I read about Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet came flooding back to me. 

Your children are not your children.

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not of you. 

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

For such a young little life he had this wisdom about him and I was captured by it. When we brought him home he conpleted our family with his gentleness. It took him two more weeks to find his voice as he was quiet and serious. It was like he was taking every moment in of his new world and didn’t want to miss a minute of it to sleep. We settled into our family of four and I went into grief recovery as my Mom had died five weeks prior to my baby’s birth. 

I felt so much guilt because I loved her so much I couldn’t hold onto my pregnancy. I wanted to pause the last moment I had with her as I told her we were expecting again. The warmth in her hands as she squeezed mine, and the glow in her eyes was my most cherished moment with her. 

I know she watches over my children and wants our greatest gift to be our happiness. Cuddling with my husband while watching our kids entertain us with their antics these are the moments I’d love to pause and hold them in their youth a little longer. 

This had been my Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill as part of Just Jot January posting everyday for the month. Today’s prompt was the word pause. 

  

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Childhood revisited 

I look up at the tree to see how far I have to climb till I can’t see the ground or feel the emotions I want to get away from. Why a tree you may ask well it could be anything as long as I could be up high. I climbed trees, fence posts, and the  horse stock corral in our backyard. 

When I was inside I would climb on top of my Mom’s black upright piano. I’d sit up there to eat my lunch and watch my favourite tv show Sesame Street. I wanted to live there and go on a picnic with Big Bird and Snufflelufugus. I found Ernie to loud and Bert to anxious, Oscar was too grouchy and the Count slept most of the time. Cookie Monster and Grover were my best friends we could sit around eating cookies all day and sing songs about it. 

I had this stuffed animal of Grover he was blue, soft, and fuzzy. He had long arms and legs I would wrap around my neck and waist and he would go everywhere with me. I adored that pal of mine and everyone would see us together and smile. I wasn’t allowed to take him to school though because my Mom said there was only one Grover and everyone would want one. 

I don’t remember if he was a birthday gift or for Christmas all I remember was he appeared in my life one day and made it all the better. I could talk to Grover about anything fights I had with my siblings, mud pie recipes, and how I could see things that other people couldn’t see. He never judged me and always kept my secrets just like my dog Bo. He was a special dog a gift from my Dad when I was brought home from the hospital. 

He became another member of our family even after my parents separated Bo came to live with us. We lived a simple life in the village with our Mom and my sister. He would walk us to and from school everyday. I would race home with my backpack hanging off my shoulder with the weight of my library books. I would run in the house kiss my Mom, tell her quickly about my day, grab my snack and Grover and disappear into the woods behind our house. 

I would find my special place and sit down and read to my friends. I loved to use different characters voices and inflection in my tone to make the story exciting. This was the way my Mom taught me the magic of story telling and it helped my comprehension and confidence. It helped me escape into a world of adventure in my books when the world was too loud, bright, and confusing. I loved sailing the seven seas with Sinbad, sitting down for tea with Charles Dickens in a Tale of Two Cities and living in the beautiful fantasy world of a Midnight Summer’s Dream from Shakespeare. 

My childhood was a happy place when I was able to climb trees, drink tea with my Mom and her friends, and use my imagination. I would dream about living on Sesame Street reading to everyone on the block and visiting Bob and Maria at Mr.Hooper’s store. There’s still times when I like to take a detour from my stress and go back to my childhood where life was simpler, carefree, and fun. 

🎶 Can you tell me how to get 

How to get to Sesame Street? 🎶

This has been my take on the Daily Prompt Childhood Revisited. 

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The Christmas magic is real 

The magic of Christmas has enveloped me. Last night we went driving around town looking at the Christmas lights. I was taken back to my days as a child as my eyes danced in the twinkling of each bulb. We saw really cute penguins, elves, reindeer, and moose. We also saw some very unique decor with Santa as a hockey player complete with a Maple Leaf jersey, Santa on a  camouflage motor bike, and the one that made me tear up a beautiful white lighted Eiffel Tower. Then the chorus of questions poured in like a hot cup of insatiable curiosity. I then remembered all my inquisitive questions that I bombarded my Mom with every year. From my precious preschooler:

“Will Santa bring me my Bat Cave?”

“Does Santa like cookies or muffins?”

“Will he wake me up when he gets here so we can play with his reindeer?”

From my wise but vulnerable to the truth, elementary school student:

“How will Santa come to our house if we don’t have a chimney?”

“How will he walk through the front door and not set off the alarm?”

And the last one I’m hearing more and more this year…

“Is Santa really real-or is just you and Dad?”

I think back to what my Mom said all those years ago and it’s the same thing that I’ve told my oldest son.


Merry Christmas blessings to you from our house to yours. 🌟

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Christmas traditions

Hello my name is Jsackmom and I’m a “Christmasholic” There I finally admitted it, I get very excited about the prospect of celebrating as I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of Christmas. I remember traditions from when I was a little girl and being at my Grandparents with their ceramic tree with plastics lights all lit up. 
It would sit on the china cabinet looking so tiny but beautiful, while I sat on the floor looking up at those lights twinkling in the evening glow. We would help my Mom and Gram prepare for dinner and get our pyjamas on then my sister and I would get our snack ready for Santa with our Mom’s help. We would put out the homemade shortbread cookies, carrots for the reindeer, and a cup of nice tea to wash it down with. My Gram would help us hang our stockings on the towel rod in the kitchen while my Grandpa looked on with a mischievous smile.
 You see those stockings were his socks that he loaned to my sister and I. Next we would go off to the living room and magically there would a present there on the floor for each of us. We would open it up knowing each year it would be the same, pyjamas, slippers, or a house coat. We didn’t care though it was the excitement of getting to open a gift on Christmas Eve that made the holiday more special. 
We would sit on the couch in our new sleepwear and sip on our hot chocolates while we sang Christmas carols and then my Mom and Gram would tell us the Christmas story of baby Jesus and the Nativity. I had always loved the story and still tell it to my children as our tradition. Then we would get sleepy, rubbing our eyes, and toddle off to bed. My sister would have the couch and I would have the blue cot that folded out. My Gram would push the coffee table up close do I wouldn’t roll out of bed. 
Sleep would find me late into night as the visions of sugar plums, turkey with all the trimmings, and toys to be had, would dance in my head. The next morning I would be bouncing around waking up my sister as I was delirious with excitement and more of a tough and tumble Tom girl than sliver bells and cockleshells and we would race to the kitchen to open our stockings. We would dig in and find candy, nuts, mandarin oranges, tiny little doll toys, and whatever else Santa could stuff in a men’s sock! 
Next we would go to the living room and see what else Santa brought us. There would be a Barbie for my sister and I would have a doll complete with accessories of a hair brush, bottle, and outfit. We would also open clothes, books, more candy, and always a religious item of a holy statue. My Mom always made sure we put the Christ in Christmas as to never forget the true meaning of the holiday. 
We would say Grace and have a hearty breakfast as we would go off to our relatives to visit and play with our toys with our cousin. We would always have baking, copious pots of tea, and plenty of singing and dishwashing. We would return back to my Grandparents while my Grandpa would shovel the sidewalk and make his strong coffee in his special pipe whistle cup afterwards. We would help in the kitchen preparing dinner as my four other siblings would join the festivities. My Gram and Mom would fill the coffee table full of appetizers, fruit cake, cookies, a mixture of nuts, hard candy, and liquorice. 
The teapot would never be empty long and we would start preparing to set the table while setting up in the living room with my Gram’s fine Christmas China that would be laid out on the table. There would be at least ten people there and my Gram would say the blessings and my Grandpa would carve the turkey. I would marvel at all the delicious food and watch one of my brothers say “pass the buns” while my other brother would throw him down one at the end of the table. I would laugh and have my bowl of tossed salad mixed with croutons and olive oil. I loved how my Gram would make that for me. 
My plate would be heaping with mounds of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, veggies, dark turkey meat, a little gravy, and I would eat my weight in my Gram’s homemade stuffing. After we would clear the table, drink tea, and enjoy pumpkin and lemon meringue pies. My Mom loved the lemon so it was always a staple at the dinner table. After us kids would go out to the foyer and play and have our pictures taken on the steps to the upper floor in the apartment building. 
Then the night would wind down, my older siblings would leave for home, and my sister and I would be getting ready for bed in our new Christmas pyjamas. We would lay there as sleep would come quickly after a fulfilling and wonderful day. We would fill that tiny two bedroom apartment with presents, laughter, decorations, Santa with his sleigh full of toys, and most of all the presence of our love for each other. As we got older and Santa came to the houses of younger children we would go to midnight mass with my Mom and Gram.
 I remember seeing the church’s alter glowing with all the lights. I would listen to the priest speak of that first Christmas Eve when baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Then the choir would rise up in voices of pure love and sing O little town of Bethlehem. My voice would ring out with them feeling exalted on high like nothing could touch me, as my spirit was raised to the heavens. I wept in those moments as my earthly vibration would thunder through my body like I was floating. There was magic in the air on that night and I’ve never felt more loved or connected to God, Saints, and all his angels. Being raised that way was a gift, and one I will continue with my children as they grow in the love and spirit of Christmas. To think it all started with that one little ceramic tree perched up high. 

Stock photo provided by the internet

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#Mondaymusings-Tales of my Childhood

Monday Musings-Tales of my Childhood

I write a lot of my thoughts, feelings, and passions. I was a little girl with a big heart and an even bigger imagination. I remember stories my Gram would tell me about her family. Her parents that were born in Ireland and Scotland who survived hardships of the Potato famine of 1846 and found their new life in Canada. 
Her close knit family came over by boat to forage a new beginning with two little girls and then my Gram was born almost a month after the town they lived in burnt down! They suffered a fire, flood, loss, and still remained strong together. Music was a very special outlet for their healing as whole family. The church and hymns sung around the house, and in the parlour after dinner sustained them. It gave them faith to overcome whatever trial they had encountered. 
One song that was so special to my family is Danny Boy. My Gram’s only brother had a beautiful heart and and even more beautiful voice. He loved his church as equally as he loved the church. He had survived the First World War and came back to support his family. He was set to have the solo for Danny Boy on the night of the St. Patrick’s day. He had been sickly but he wanted to honour his commitment to his choir. 
Being he was too ill to leave his bed he wasn’t able to. With his family surrounding him he sat up and sang one last time for them. Then he lay down, closed his eyes, and went to meet God. My Gram would tell me this story and her eyes would well up with tears. The pain of losing her brother in his late twenties was something she never healed from. 
When I expressed my love of all things Irish she taught me the song. I would sing it for her, my Grandpa, and my Mom. They would sing quietly along with tears in their eyes. My Gram would hug me so tight and say I made her brother proud. Every story she told of my hard working Great Grandparents made me feel connected with them. She brought their travels and tales to live for me. 
This is a tradition that still continues onto this day as I share these stories with my own children. I tend to gravitate to playing Irish characters in my theatre experience. My kids still ask me to speak in an Irish accent and they just love it. Every time I entertain them with a song or a jig I can hear my Gram giggling. I only hope my rendition does her and our Irish clan proud as all my memories are of them. 
s time for #Mondaymusings and all you have to do is this list of things. 
Write a post sharing your thoughts with us – happy, sad, philosophical, ‘silly’ even. Make it as personal as possible.
Use the hashtag #MondayMusings and link to this post.
Add your link to the linky which you will find either here and on the post of a co-host.
Use our #MondayMusings badge to help other bloggers join in too.

Today’s Write Tribe’s co-hosts are Crazy Little Family Adventure and Vinithia Dileep please be sure to check out all the talent that link up. Thank you. ❤️

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