Excelling with difficulty

At the beginning of the month, Mats teachers called Millhouse and I in for a parent/teacher interview. They had some things they wanted to discuss with us about the way Mats was progressing.

Before I go on, I should be clear on something, when it comes to formal education Mats has been able to adapt and thrive faster than his brother ever did. Maks took several years before he became comfortable with the elementary school curriculum. He and I spent many nights working through his difficulties and he is now very comfortable with learning in a school environment. There are still some times when we do need to step up the work he and I do at home but for the most part, he is doing leaps and bounds better than he was.

With all that being said, Mats has never had the difficulties his brother had. In fact, he is the opposite. He has always excelled so getting a call from the teachers asking us to come wasn’t something we expected. We ended up arranging to meet Mats teachers after school on a Friday. They were super nice but they presented a very unique situation. Mats is displaying all the signs of a gifted child. He is excelling in just about every subject, orally, but when it comes to the written word, he is far below where he needs to be. This isn’t something new to me. I have been noticing Mats writes his words as the mirror image of what he sees. It is not just backwards words and numbers, the entire words are a reflection of what is written in front of him. His teachers suspect that along with being gifted, Mats also has a learning disability. According to them, it is not uncommon for a gifted child to also have learning difficulties especially given Mats medical background*.

Now Mats is still really young and his troubles could go away in time. His teachers were quick to say there is a possibility he does not have a learning disability, he could just be bored and is not applying himself. He could be writing mirror images because writing the words as he sees them could be too boring. They want to wait until the summer before they test him. They have suggested some things I can do at home to see if it helps him improve and if he moves up by June, they will forego the testing. However, if he only makes a small amount of progress, then they will go ahead with the testing and make a plan on how to proceed next year.

Mats is also aware there is something going on. Since the meeting with his teachers, he has been trying harder. The mirror image words and numbers are still there but he is trying very hard to write what is written in front of him, some times are easier than others. He doesn’t know exactly what his teachers said but he is trying his best.

I’ll let you know what happens in June.

*When I pregnant with Mats, I was told there would be a 1 in 4 chance Mats would have Downs Syndrome or some sort of delay. Things weren’t developing as it should and as a result, I should expect Mats to experience some difficulties that most other children don’t experience.

More Snow!!

There is more snow in the forecast! I really thought we were done with all this snow stuff. I had plans for spring cleaning. I need to go through the garage. I wanted to put the odds and ends together for a garage sale. I mean between the pillar candles, Musicians Friend’s remo drums , paintings, and linens; I think I could put together a pretty impressive garage sale.

But I can’t do that if it’s snowing!

Sugar Makes Me Nauseous

A couple months ago, I completely cut sugar out of my diet. And I am not just talking about refined sugar here, I am talking about everything. No sweet things of any kind, no bread, no ketchup or prepared sauces of any kind, no pop, and no juice; nothing with sugar in it at all and there are a lot of things in which some sort of sugar is added. Case in point; did you know most Asian dishes, including Thai curries and sushi, have sugar added? Well, they do. And because of the hidden sugars in things, most prepared and fast foods were cut out too. Just about everything I loved was cut out, pretty much cold turkey. The first month was hard. I am not going to play it off like cutting out sugar was super easy to do, it wasn’t. It was hard. I got physically sick. I had aches right down into my bones, it was some of the worst withdrawal symptoms* I have ever gone through. I also had to start reading labels. Reading labels isn’t fun. People in the grocery store look at you like you are crazy. You take up space in the aisles, comparing products trying to find the ones that best adhere to your nutritional needs. And spoiler alert; a lot of products don’t conform to your nutritional needs.

But I made it through and things started to look up. In general, I started to feel better, my skin got clearer, and I started to lose weight. I got better at figuring out what I could and could not eat and reading labels got easier. All in all, good things started happening and I maintained my no sugar routine for almost three months. There were times when I would fall off and have something with like sticky toffee pudding or a macchiato from Starbucks but for the most part, I kept on track.

Then Trinidad happened and I completely feel off the wagon. I ate everything and anything I could get my hands on. My level of outright gluttony was not pretty. I didn’t gain a lot of weight but I threw my body for a loop and it has taken me a whole lot of time to recover. When I got back, I didn’t go back to eating sugar free right away. I wanted to take some time off, just be a lazy butt for a bit, and just eat what I wanted.

Such a bad idea!! Bad, bad, bad idea!

My body wasn’t having it and it started to make its displeasure known, quite vocally. I can’t eat sugar now, even if I wanted to. When I do, I get physically ill. My stomach starts to hurt to the point where I cannot stand up. I get insane bouts of nausea. It is so bad, I was laid up in bed for almost an entire weekend because I ate a whole bag of BBQ potato chips**. It was horrible. So I am back to no sugar at all. The only sucky part is I ended up going through all the withdrawal symptoms again. They weren’t so bad this time around but they were far from pleasant.

I did learn my lesson though. Sugar is bad and if I forget, my body will remind me.

*I haven’t really gone through withdrawal symptoms, not major ones anyway. There were times when I gave up caffeine and nearly exploded. I am comparing those times to this time.

**yes, I realize a whole bag of BBQ potato chips is excessive but remember I was being a glutton.

The Pros and Cons of Gym Membership

Turns out, I get a corporate discount on an executive gym membership. It’s a good deal and everything is included for myself plus up to four “family” members. So if you were in the market for a gym membership this would be good for you. Now here’s the thing, in theory I want to join the gym. It would be nice to actually attend classes with other adults, have access to a sauna and go swimming regularly. All those things resonate with me. Then there is the reality of the situation. I am exhausted most days and doubt I will actually have/make time to dedicate an hour or more at the gym. And then there are the added costs.

It seems like an easy decision, right. It’s not though. I am torn about what I want to do. So I made a list, which seems kind of ridiculous but seeing it all laid out makes the decision easier.


  • There’s a pool. I have been wanting to start swimming again for a long time.
  • There are some cool classes I can attend; things like crossfit and body sculpt.
  • Up to four other family members can join and get the same discount as I do.
  • There are babysitting services.
  • There are things like whirlpools, suanas, and weight equipment I don’t have at home.
  • Summer is coming and I can build my summer body.


  • It works out to more than $600 a year. That’s a lot of money that I could use towards something else.
  • If Millhouse joins, then that is over $1200 that can be used towards something else.
  • Summer is coming and we are so busy in the summer going on all sorts of adventures, I know I would not, realistically, give up time with the boys to go to the gym.
  • My days are so strapped for time; if I wanted to go before work, I would have to leave the house at 6am in order to make it to the gym and then to work on time but Millhouse doesn’t get home from work until 6:30am. So that schedule won’t work. If I wanted to go after work, I would have to leave work at exactly 4:30pm, get to the gym at 5pm, workout for an hour and then get home just as Millhouse is leaving for work. That means no dinner, homework, or bath time with the boys. So that schedule won’t work.

Le sigh. I can’t join the gym. Even though there are more pros than cons, the cons carry more weight than the pros.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

Exhausted Meli is Exhausted

Alternate title was Daylight Savings + March Break = I’m dying

Last week I was exhausted. Like, come home and collapse kind of exhausted but then when I went to sleep I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t pretty.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Nothing in my routine had really changed. I was still getting up at the same time, doing the same sort of tasks in the morning, and going to bed at the same time but by the time 3pm came around, I was done for.

I knew March Break couldn’t have knocked me on my butt that hard. I am a stickler for routine and March Break threw off my routine a bit but it wasn’t anything major. I mean I don’t have to get the boys ready for school but I still have to get them ready for camp so the morning hustle remains the same.

And then I realized what it was.

It was March Break plus daylight savings that had me all messed up. I can handle one or the other but when you combine the two of them, then things get out of hand. I was never happier to see a Friday night than I was last Friday. I even slept in until 7:30am on Saturday. A 7:30am sleep in is huge for me, especially given I am up at 5am most mornings. The extra two and a half hours felt amazing.

And now that things are back to the regular schedule, I am even happier. I don’t get to sleep in during the week but my body will adapt even more now and hopefully I am not so tired anymore.

The snowstorm that wasn’t

Earlier this week, we were supposed to get hit with the mother of all snowstorms. If it wasn’t March Break, school would have been cancelled and all that jazz. It was supposed to be a really big deal.

And then it wasn’t.

The temperatures got crazy, the winds picked up, and the snow and ice came down but it wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone expected it to be, not that I mind, mind you. There were places that got way more snow and had things way worse than we did so this is in no way me complaining about not getting as much snow as we were told were going to get.

For us, it wasn’t so bad. I mean snow in March isn’t a fun thing and I would have been happier if there was no snow at all but given how little snow we had this winter, having a bit extra towards the end of the season wasn’t as catastrophic as I expected it to be. It’s winter and there’s snow. It happens. I remember one year it happened in April. I mean, an Easter egg hunt in snow pants and winter coats isn’t fun but it’s not unheard of.

Hopefully this is the last of it. This last bit of snow has me impatiently awaiting the arrival of spring.

Prayer for March Break Camp

March Break is officially upon us. This year the boys are in camp for the week. The boys don’t always go to camp for March Break. In fact, this is Mats first year at a March Break camp. Maks has gone to camp a couple of times but I normally would have opted out of March Break camp. At my old job, I had so many holidays I would normally just take March Break off and forego the camp experience but with this new job I can’t do that just yet.

So it was off to camp they went. They were both super excited and nervous. Camp is a big deal and a bit overwhelming, especially for Mats. I wanted things to go well so I uttered a little prayer to universe as they left for camp. Now let the record show I am not overly religious. For the most part, I am bad at adhering to my religion. I believe the universe will give us what we put out but sometimes asking for some help isn’t a bad thing.

This morning I asked the fates and faeries to let them have fun, to let nervousness subside quickly, and to have the others kids see how awesome they are while they recognize how awesome the others kids are.

I know most likely all those things will happen anyway but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

More than they will ever know

The boys and I were watching TV. I can’t remember exactly what we were watching so it was probably a ridiculous cartoon or maybe it was MacGyver or maybe it was some sort of cooking show, that’s not the important bit. The important bit was we were all watching and having little side conversations as we went along, you know.

So on comes a commercial and it has Ashley Graham* in it. I think she is just really pretty and tend to say things like that out loud and this is what happened.

Me: “She’s just so pretty”.

Maks: “Who?”

Me: “The lady on the commercial. Her name is Ashley and I think she is just so pretty.”

Maks: “You are so weird, mommy.”

Me: “Why? I can think people are pretty.”

Maks: “I know that! But you never always miss the point.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Maks: “You’re really pretty too but you never say you’re really pretty. You always say other people are pretty but you are just as pretty as that lady on TV.”

Mats: “Yeah mommy, you are pretty like that lady. You just never say so.”

And as quickly as it started, the conversation ended and they moved on to using paperclips to save the world or something equally as random but they totally changed my night.

I may not always believe I am pretty but I know for sure that I have the most awesome boys.

*if you don’t know who she is, google her.

Over-enthusiastic parents

Holy camoley! Some parents just flabbergast me.

Like for real, FLABBERGAST!

The boy’s school was having a fundraiser for new gym equipment. It is an annual thing but this year the prizes were way better than they had been in previous years. This year the 10 kids who raised the most money would be getting brand new scooters.

This is a huge deal.

Last year the prizes were basketballs. Basketballs don’t get the same kind of response.

Both boys were buzzing about the possibility one or both of them would raise enough money to win a new scooter*. I swear they turned into bees and just went on and on about the scooters.

So the kids were given a week and the campaigning started.

For the first time ever, the boys decided to employ a strategy when it came to their campaigning. They decided to combine their efforts rather than splitting the money they collected. They decided (amongst themselves, for real, there was no nudging from me) to pool all the money they collected and put it towards Mat’s mission for a new scooter. In a week, they managed to get $60 and that is what Mat’s submitted to his teacher.

I think $60 is a fair amount given they only had a week to campaign and the pool of people we could hit up for donations was limited. I mean if each kid collected $60, the school could get a whole lot of new equipment.

But I guess I am an anomaly because $60 turned out to be on the low end of things. After the fundraiser winners were announced, the boys came home and were telling us about kids who brought in hundreds of dollars. Multiple hundreds of dollars in donations after a week of campaigning.

I was blown away. Either the other kids hit up some very generous people for donations or their parents helped them out. It turns out it was the parents. They topped up their kids donations so they would have multiple hundreds of dollars in donations and win a scooter.

That’s crazy.

You can get multiple scooters for that kind of money. Just go out and buy your kid a scooter if you are going to bust out your credit card for this kind of fundraiser. I get the big donations if you are passionate about new gym equipment but these parents just wanted their kids to win.

That I don’t get.

*Now it should be noted somewhere that both boys already have scooters and Maks really didn’t want a new scooter. He just wanted to win. Whereas, Mats does have a scooter but he has outgrown it and a having a new one would mean he could finally graduate from his baby scooter onto a big kid scooter. First world problems at their finest.

10 Facts about Me

  1. Age:  This one is tricky. Is it my actual age? Or how old I feel today? Or how old I look?  If it’s calendar age I am around 36 or so. I don’t feel 36 though. Most mornings I feel 75, midday I feel like I am 23 again and late night I feel around 89.
  2. Hometown:  Toronto
  3. Children:  Yes, the two most amazing little boys in the world; Maks and Mats.
  4. Occupation:  I play around on excel spreadsheets all day long. Occasionally I will throw in Visio and PowerPoint but for the most part, I am about that spreadsheet life.
  5. Goal:  Again, tricky one. Does this mean my fitness goal? Or is it referring to my life goal? Or it is my emotional or spiritual goals?  My fitness goal is to lose some weight. I haven’t decided exactly how much I want to lose yet. I do know that I want to lose enough that I can feel good about myself again. My life goal is to eventually leave the spreadsheet life and start doing something I truly love. My emotional goal is to let go of hurt because it is preventing me from finding happiness.
  6. Weird Fact:  Given how weird I am in general this one is hard to pin down but if I had to pick just one, I would go with my fixation on charcoal mask videos. There is something oddly satisfying about watching the videos where the mask is peeled off and all the scabby bits are revealed on the mask. It sounds really gross when you think about it but there is just something I find almost hypnotic about those videos.
  7. Fave Meal:  I love food so picking just one is hard and I am not going to. My favourite Trinidadian meal is stew chicken and pelau. My favourite salad is the 16 ingredient slaw from Bent. My favourite dessert is sticky toffee pudding. All in all, if it has seafood in it, it is a guaranteed hit with me.
  8. Tattoos:  I have three currently but am planning on getting at least two more. I still have no idea when they will happen, but it will happen eventually.
  9. Pets:  Nope.
  10. Downfall:  Expecting to be treated the way I treat people. I am nice to people in general but people are generally not nice.  I see it but have a hard time walking away even though I should.