The Best Medicine

After church on Sunday, I held two little hands and walked down the front steps into the sunshine. Directly behind us was a couple from our church. We chatted as we walked towards our respective cars. “How is your family, Laura? Is anyone still sick?” I almost said “We’re great!” but then I remembered the cough that had been plaguing three out of the four of us for the last couple of days.

As I buckled the boys into their carseats, I thought about their question. These people are part of my church family and they care about us. They know us. Autumn and winter weren’t kind to the health of my family. I remember feeling like the sick would never go away, and it didn’t – not for six whole weeks around Thanksgiving. Fevers were high. Ear infections rampant. Antibiotics weren’t working. It was bad – for all of us. So their question question was personal. And also, in retrospect, ominous.

By the end of the day on Monday, I had to leave work early to go fetch a feverish toddler. On Tuesday, I was the only one who left the house to go to work. The family males were home to ride out that fever.

I am no longer shocked by the amount of sick that my family faces now that we have kids. I admit to feeling helpless when my oldest first went to daycare. He went from a home environment that his immune system was used to with adults who had good hand-washing habits to a daycare overrun with tiny little children putting things in their mouths and touching hands and eyes and faces.

They say that children go through a period of illness whenever they are put into a daily program with other multiple other children. If they don’t go to daycare, they will go through it when they enter school. And blessedly, their immune systems start to even out, so after a year of being in daycare, children on average get sick at an equal rate that their non-daycare counterparts do.

But kids do get sick. And they spread their germs around to the rest of the family. I can’t even count the number of times one of my eyes have been sneezed into or I’ve accidentally kissed a snot-covered lip. Motherhood is glamorous. I only tell my kids to cover their mouths because I want them to have good habits when they go out into the world, but I know those actions are futile at home. If they’re sick, I’m sick.

Being sick sucks. There is no arguing that one. There is not one instance when I don’t dread my children getting sick. Still, in the moment of the sickness, things often slow down. Children become babies again and little legs stop running and start climbing up onto laps. While I would do anything to avoid bringing more sickness into our house, I am often surprised at home much easier it is to handle than I was expecting. Moms turn into super-Moms when snuggles suddenly become the best medicine.

The Best Medicine | Sick Toddler Snuggles

I think we’re on the mend in our household right now. The kids are coughing less and sleeping better. I couldn’t even pull my littlest away from his toys for a quick cuddle. But I know it will return. Spring is in the air and I always get sick with the change of temperature. And my kids still go to daycare with plenty of other kids who put toys in their mouths and sneeze in people’s eyes.

Here’s to health and slow-snuggly mildly unhealthy days.

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Because I know we’re not the only family who gets sick, I have a fabulous natural health package to give away. It includes homeopathic remedies for colds and flu from Pascoe Canada. Pascoe Canada is site-licensed with Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate and have received registrations of Natural Product Numbers or Drug Identification Numbers – Homeopathic Medicines for their products. I’m really excited about this giveaway because I know that there are so many moms who want to keep their household as natural as possible.

Pascoe Canada Homeopathic Remedies Giveaway | Mommy Miracles

Included is Pascoleucyn, a homeopathic remedy used to prevent and treat symptoms of colds and flu; Tonsillopas, a homeopathic treatment for sore throat which offers relief from fever as well. It can be used by all ages and is fast acting; Sinupas is another remedy that can be used by the whole family. It is a treatment to relieve sinus congestion and inflammation; and finally Gripps, a homeopathic treatment for cold and flu for ages 1 and up. It offers relief from infection, cough, runny nose, fever and headaches. One of the best things about these remedies are that most of them can be used by the whole family.

Please remember, I am not a doctor. Natural remedies are still drugs and need to be treated as such. Consult with your doctor to get the best information about new treatments.

Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only.

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*Pascoe Canada provided me with a Cold and Flu pack of my own for my family in return for this giveaway.

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Book Review: The Book Thief

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If you’re going to write a book about the power of words, you need to be able to write powerful words.

This was the thought that kept going through my head as I read through The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book had been on my to-read list for a very long time – years actually – and I cannot believe that I waited this long to experience it. It was quite simply breathtaking.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 The Book Thief is about a German girl named Liesel living in Nazi Germany. Death has become a real character in her own story and in the stories of everyone around her. So much has been stolen from her. Her mother. Her brother. And so, she does the only thing that makes sense. She steals back. The steals books. Young, illiterate, scared and lonely Liesel steals her first book.

“She was the book thief without the words.
Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”

As the war progresses nearby, Liesel goes about her childhood. She learns to read as a coping mechanism. She reads to connect. She reads to stop the nightmares. She reads to fit in. She reads to remember. As one stolen book becomes more, she realizes that the words hold power. It doesn’t matter if the book is a story or an instruction booklet or a dictionary. She grasps onto the words and refuses to let go.

“The point is, it didn’t really matter what the book was about. It was what it meant that was important.”

As a lover of literature and writing, The Book Thief was profoundly powerful for me. Without a doubt, the story gripped me. Without any analysis at all, I could say it is undoubtedly one of the best stories I have ever read. The characters are real and endearing and Markus Zusak made my heart soar and fall. It was everything I want a story to be. But the story wasn’t what stopped my breath with each page turn. No, it was Zusak’s ability to show me the power in language. I wanted to stop and soak in passages time and time again. And sometimes, I wouldn’t want to stop, but I would, because I was so horrified by how much I was falling in love with words that were describing something so horrific. Words are tricky like that. That’s the point.

“I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

Like Death, Hitler becomes a recurring character in the stories of some of the primary characters, even though the reader doesn’t even meet him. For a Jew hidden in a basement, Hitler becomes a recurring sparring partner that comes to battle daily. For Liesel, a member of Hitler Youth, Hitler is a powerful man worthy of her hatred. She rightly recognizes that Hitler is who he is and has done what he has done because of the words he has used.

“She tore a page from the book and ripped it in half.
Then a chapter.
Soon, there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing. There would be no limping prisoners, no need for consolation or wordly tricks to make us feel better.
What good were the words?
She said it audibly now, to the orange-lit room. ‘What good are the words?’”

So often we recognize evil forces as strength or power or an arsenal of modern weaponry. What we sometimes fail to notice is how language is twisted and sculpted and put together to lead us all towards evil. That words can be used to misdirect and lie and cheat can be discouraging, but it is also encouraging. You see, language is widely available. By recognizing our ownership of words, we can find power in them ourselves, just as Liesel did. And this power can be used for change. It can be used for good.

“The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.”

I implore you to read The Book Thief if you haven’t already. Let this book sweep you along in the story, change your view of the world, and help you recognize the power of your words. This book is beautiful and awful and beautiful again. It begs to be read and held tightly to, just as Liesel held on tightly to her books.

5 Star Book

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.”

Have you read The Book Thief yet? What did you think about it?

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#MomsReading Book Club choice | Where'd You Go, BernadetteMoms Reading (or, #MomsReading) is a book club designed for busy Moms in mind. It is an online book club that meets once a month on Facebook to discuss that month’s book. Check out the MomsReading pageLike us on Facebook, or join the Goodreads group to keep up to date with our book choices and the book chats.

Join us in April when we will be reading Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 30th at 9pm Eastern.

*all links are affiliate links. Need to get something from Amazon? Consider getting it through that link so that I can afford to do book giveaways and the like.

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Boy Clothes

“I bet you’d like to have a girl.”

I hear that a lot. Boy-moms hear that a lot. (I assume girl-moms hear the opposite, as if being a parent to only one gender is somehow not completely fulfilling, which is ludicrous, of course.) Strangely, at the centre of the comments that I usually hear, there is an even more superficial sentiment: “I bet you wish you had someone you could dress up in all those precious little girl-clothes.”

So, let me set the record straight. I have boys. I don’t feel like I am missing out. That statement stands, even when I’m in the clothing aisle.

I admit that I fear having a girl would make me feel even more inadequate as a mother because she wouldn’t be fashionable enough. When my oldest was a baby, I used to love dressing him up to look like a dapper little man, but as he grew and started to move and play and get messy, I stopped worrying about fashion and focused on function. My children want to be kids and I am proud to dress them in clothes that let them be kids. They can move freely in their clothes. They can get messy in their clothes. They wear jeans to daycare and church and Saturdays at home, unless they are really lucky when they get to wear “cozy pants”. (Don’t lie. Cozy-pant day is everyone’s favourite day). They have khakis and button-ups from grandparents and they wear them on particularly fancy days, though they will still be standing in Spiderman sneakers.

I get away with my kid-approved clothing choice because I raise boys. Society grants my sons a little more leeway to be rough around the edges. So no. I don’t miss the anxiety that comes with an expectation to raise fashionable daughters that I would undoubtedly feel.

Boys and their clothes

Still, I am constantly calculating my children’s clothing collection. My four-year-old is officially at that age where he has outgrown the baby-shower clothes. With each growth spurt, I need to buy him a whole new wardrobe. That doesn’t even mention how quickly he goes through the clothes that do fit him. Especially jeans. Don’t even get me started on jeans. I find a new jean knee-hole every second week. Meanwhile, my son refuses to wear jeans with hole in them (can you blame him with this winter that we’re having?). We are officially in the habit of taking monthly trips to a second-hand store because we simply cannot afford the voracity at which my son ruins his jeans.

My youngest son is starting to grow into those previously wrecked clothes that his big brother used to wear, so we’re getting to the point where he is going to start needing a new wardrobe at every growth spurt too.

Children are expensive!

And still, despite buying new clothes every second week, I keep focusing on function over fashion. I find clothes that my kids will get excited to put on so that each morning isn’t a fight. I find clothes that will (hopefully) hold up to the rough and tumble attitude of my first-born and the try-to-keep-up attitude of my second. Jeans beget more jeans which beget more t-shirts and hoodies. But sometimes, just sometimes, I miss dressing my boys in dapper little outfits. Because we boy-moms have a secret: Dressing up little boys is actually really fun too.

Walmart recently invited me to purchase a spring outfit for at least one of my kids with a budget of $50 from the George Kids collection. Walmart knows that kids can be tough on clothes (tell me about it) so they emphasize stocking their shelves with quality apparel. They stand by their product so much that the George Kids Quality Guarantee means that if a child wears out a piece of clothing before he outgrows it, they’ll replace it (original receipt required).

My son literally wears out every pair of jeans he has before he outgrows them so this is a quality guarantee that I can get behind! You can be sure that I went straight to the big wall display of boy-jeans and I got Cameron a pair for $10. And I confess that after I got the function, I went for the fashion. Spring does mean Easter and I can’t wait for my little ones to head off to church in their little Easter ties. (Their first ties ever!). (The shirt and tie for Cameron was $14 and the suit for Gavin was $20).

Boys and their Clohtes

Please tell me I’m not the only mother who has existential crises about my function vs fashion choices. Please tell me I’m not the only Mom sending her kid to daycare and church in kid-approved clothes that aren’t catwalk ready. Please tell me that it is okay for kids to be kids (which means holes in jeans and dirt on shirts).

Walmart sent me a $50 gift card to complete the #GeorgeKids challenge. 

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