Mommy diaries: Renée

Meet Renée: my cousin, my friend.  I love that I get to share my experiences with her as our children grow up, side by side, just like we did.  Willis asks about Jarek usually once a week, which reminds me of the importance of continuing our traveling play-dates (which we should do soon, cousin!)I love spending time with Renée and I love the mom that she has become.  She is talented, creative and has such a warm heart that anyone would be lucky to call her a friend.
I admire her ability to maintain a balance in her life with working out, going to Church and remaining educated. Her children will definitely benefit from seeing that.
I enjoy spending time with her, especially when we're taking in a NKOTB concert, or two...or three....
I am thankful for her homecooked meals. I always want to steal her recipes after.  So good!
I think other moms would benefit from her friendliness and ability to make you feel at ease. She's very welcoming.
This is Renée:

Mommy diaries: Colleen

Meet Colleen:  a friend from high school, from a time when life was simple and all we worried about was what Russels we'd wear to school that day and how quickly we could get a slush in.  Colleen is also sister to my beautiful friend, Kelly, whom we lost 10 years ago.  A friend who is never forgotten and who's name I say daily when I call on my daughter, Lucia Kelly. Oh, how it thrills me to hear her name roll off my son's tongue.  Just looking at this picture of Colleen warms my heart as I see so much of Kelly in her, especially in her smile.  
But this post is not about Kelly, even though I find it necessary to say that I think of Kelly every time I think of Colleen, and it's impossible not to wonder what kind of mom Kelly would have been.  I would like to think she would be just like Colleen and this post is about the caring, beautiful mom that Colleen has become.  
I should say that Colleen has always been caring and beautiful, always with a smile on her face, and that motherhood has simply become an extension of that.  She's a natural.   Although I haven't spent much time with her as a mother, I do know,from my reliable Warman spies ;), that Colleen can be described as thoughtful, sweet, laid back and devoted.  I don't even question her abilities, she seems so at ease with her role in life.  Never complaining, always smiling.  
I admire her ability to have three kids and not even blink.  I think she was even thinking of 4 at one point. Hello, supermom?
I enjoy seeing her children grow.  It makes me feel like Kelly is still with us.
I am thankful for her smile which always makes me smile and as a result makes my world a happier place.
I think other moms would benefit from her love and concern for everyone.  She has the biggest heart.
This is Colleen:

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.






Ever since Lucia started "walking" a couple weeks ago, she has wanted to go EVERYWHERE and touch EVERYTHING.  This is the girl who refuses to crawl.  Nope, she'll go straight to walking, thankyouverymuch.  Now she can maneuver herself from one object to another with the cutest, "I'm so very proud of myself" grin on her face.  This week she discovered the mirror and man, did she LOVE the little girl she met.

Mommy diaries: Carmen

Meet Carmen:  a stunning friend who is the retainer of all our memories of being crazy girls. One call to Carm and she'll hash out all the details about anything we may have forgotten.  Carmen also has a generous heart, often stretching herself further than she can go: she's the type of friend who'd drop anything to help you out.  
She is always on the go, whether she's bringing Koen somewhere or doing something for this committee or that friend or this family member.  100% all the time, that's Carm.  
On top of managing her life, Carmen is a dedicated mom.  She is very educated and researches any parenting strategy to ensure it'll be just right for her busy little man.  Doing all of this while her husband works away is not easy on her, but you'll rarely hear her complain.  To me, Carmen is the master puppeteer, carefully managing all the strings in her life, rarely missing a beat.
I admire her willingness to share, whether it's books, clothes, food, memories....the list could go on foreva.
I enjoy my visits with her, they always leave me laughing and wanting to spend more time with her.
I am thankful for her years of friendship.  Sometimes we'll go awhile without talking or seeing each other, but that doesn't really ever seem to matter much as the minute we're all together its as if we've never been apart.
I think other moms would benefit from her commitment to anything that comes her way.  When Carmen's in, guaranteed she gives it her all.
This is la Carmina: 

Mommy diaries: Heidi and Kerri, Ganza edition continued.

Meet Heidi:  Hairstylist extraordinaire, fun-loving teammate and a beautiful friend.  Heidi is one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I know.  I value her friendship more than I think she realizes and am grateful for all the time we get to spend together whether it's dealing with colours or fly balls. 
Heidi and Landon had a fast-tracked start to parenthood when Fin was born at 30 weeks.  Small world, previous mom, Erin, and Heidi met up in the NICU at the same time.
I love Heidi's energy, she is always bursting at the seams with ideas and honestly, I don't know how she gets it all done, but she does.  Good thing she has a disciplined secretary.
I admire Heidi's ability to do 82 things at once and still genuinely ask you how your day was.
I enjoy our time spent as families over supper, especially now that there are kids in the mix and they can start to play reek havoc together.
I am thankful for her skills as a hairstylist.  Seriously love my hair every single time.
I think other moms would benefit from her widespread talents.  She sews, she makes wholesome homemade meals, she scrapbooks, she runs, she throws lavish parties.....I could go on forever, I love this gal.
This is Heidi:


Meet Kerri: we met while playing ball in Shellbrook almost 10 years ago and since then have seen our lives change from being footloose and fancy-free crazy girls to married mature moms with children.  
I love so many things about Kerri:  she is a leader, introducing 'supper club' to our group. She's someone who I can trust for honest advice.  She has a marriage that I admire.  She has solid values that are evident when you see how she raises her son, how she relates with her friends and how she loves her life.  I could go on forever.
I mostly admire her way with children.  Kerri is a very nuturing, mothering soul and makes everyone (including me) feel safe, loved and looked out for when around her.
I enjoy her playful attitude; there is always a smile on her face.
I am thankful for her friendshipShe is loyal, supportive and someone I can truly depend on when I need support.
I think other moms would benefit from the comfortable conversation that you ease into with Kerri. I always enjoy talking with her and getting her opinions/advice.
This is Kerri:

Mommy diaries: Tales from the shale. Lisa and Tanya

Meet Lisa:  There's something about playing a sport with someone that brings you to a different level.  It's almost like a marriage: where cooperation, communication and teamwork is key.  I met Lisa while playing fastball in Shellbrook.  She is hell of a ball player and recently has been introduced to mommyhood, making her, I'm sure, a hell of a mom.  Lisa has this drive and confidence about her that radiates and gets the job done.  I wish I lived closer to her so I could catch up, play some ball and share some motherhood secrets with her.  She's a great friend.
I admire her ability to wear her heart on her sleeve.
I enjoy her presence.  She's quiet and she's easy to get along with.
I am thankful for her monthly videos.  It makes me feel closer to her.
I think other moms would benefit from her ears.  She's a good listener and an even more fun person to vent with.
This is Lisa:


Meet Tanya, a.k.a Rocket:  I met her also in the Brook, playing ball with the Shellbrook gals.  She initially was my opponent growing up and I secretly despised admired her speed on the bases, later when I joined her team I realized what an asset she was not only on the diamond but as a friend.  When I first moved to Warman, she was my only friend there and having recently had a baby, she was full of knowledge and advice, like a big sister would be.  She played a huge role in how I would adapt to motherhood and was a great role model.  Still is.  
I admire how she quit her job to take on being a stay at home mom.  I wish I was that ballsy.
I enjoy our coffee dates and chats. We may not see each other often, but that never seems to matter.
I am thankful for the years we played ball together, she is one person I truly miss on the field.
I think other moms would benefit from her competitiveness and drive.  She is so full of life and love.
This is Tanya:

Mommy diaries: Jyl

Meet Jyl:  Another friend from my past who is back in my life.  At one point, Jyl and I were inseparable, playing ringette together and plotting to take over the world, one crush at a time.  Jyl is one of the neatest people I know and I can't help but smile whenever I think of her.  She amazes me in many ways:  I love her writing style, in fact she was one of the main bloggers who got me inspired to blog.  She has a beautiful daughter, Katelyn and is not ashamed/afraid to talk openly about her battles with Post- partum.  She also took on one of her passions in life and opened Sweet Baby K, an online baby boutique filled with adorable things for baby girls.  There is so much that I admire in Jyl, I could go on forever.
I mostly admire her honesty.  She speaks of topics many people would be too scared to tackle and I believe she's saved many lives because of this.
I enjoy her rants.  She makes me laugh and leaves me wanting to be able to write like her.
I am thankful for having her back in my life.  I wish we lived in the same city because I can definitely see many playdates and copious amounts of coffee consumed over many giggles.
I think other moms would benefit from her thoughtfulness and ability to make you smile from the inside out.
This is Jyl: 

Mommy Diaries: Jenn

Meet Jenn:  Through elementary and high school, Jenn was one of my closest friends.  We lost touch after high school, but then were brought back together months before we both had our first baby.  Jenn amazes me with her non stop life of busy-ness, add 3 kids to that mix and Jenn is a bonafide supermom, if you ask me.  It is great to have her back in my life, I really enjoy Jenn's company, she has a no nonsense outlook on life that I enjoy and I think I could learn a lot from her.
I admire her ability to juggle 3 kids and not let it stop her from living her life.
I enjoy spending time with an old friend who knows a side of me that I'd love to forget. Ugh. Gotta love grade 7 bangs.
I am thankful for her organizational skills, without her, playdates wouldn't exist.
I think other moms would benefit from her dedication to her children and to her friendships.  I always feel that Jenn is one who would drop anything to help someone out.
This is Jenn: 

Mommy diaries: Jody

Meet Jody:  She came into my life via this really hot computer nerd I was dating.  Obviously since then our relationships have evolved to marriage and babies, but it's great having a friendcouple who can communicate with my husband, granted I never understand a word that's being said, but whatever, Jody and her husband, Jon are great company.  Jody is also very gifted and talented musician.  Who has a recording studio in their basement? Who performs in a musical minutes before she goes into labour? Who sings me down the aisle at our wedding?  Yup, that's Jody.  I think what I like the most about her is that she gets so much out of life.  There's no stopping her.  
I admire her ability to instill music into Rylie's life...it pushes me to want to do more for my kids when I see how much music surrounds them.
I enjoy our monthly meals together.  It's been great seeing us grow from just dating couples, to married DINK couples, to couples dining with kids.
I am thankful for her friendship with my husband because I then gained a wonderful friend.
I think other moms would benefit from her love and knowledge of music.  I really think she should start teaching piano lessons or something.............. . . . . . . . . (that may have been a hint)

Mommy diaries: Erin

Meet Erin:  She's probably my 'newest' friend of all my mommy friends that you are meeting and I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to her through music, jazz hands and all.  We've worked together directing musicals and found an instant friendship and shared love of red heels. 
Erin and James welcomed their first son, Oliver, into the world 6 (I may be off a week or two...) weeks early.  He spent time in NICU and had a major surgery, all in his first month of life.  Obviously not exactly what new parents envision.  Through it all, Erin and James kept on such brave, calm faces that I couldn't help but be moved by their strength, love and faith.  Seriously a wonderful couple and a beautiful little boy!
I admire Erin's faith.  She is so strong in her beliefs, which in turn are clearly reflected in her values and choices in life.  
I enjoy every minute I get with her.  She has such a cheery disposition, she's friendly and she has a wonderfully positive outlook on life.  She's the type of person that makes you happy just to be around.
I am thankful for her friendship and the time we share with them over supper.  Speaking of which, we need to do supper this month.
I think other moms would benefit from the genuine sense of care you get from her.  She is so kind and thoughtful.
Here is Erin:

Mommy diaries: Celine

Meet Celine: A treasured friend from high school.  I'm very happy that we've stayed close as I feel a special bond with her.  Not too sure if it's the shared loved of NKOTB or the fact that she has pretty much the same relationship as I do with my family, but regardless she has been a friend that I have loved growing up with.
I admire her tight knit relationship with her family- it makes me want to work harder at teaching my children the importance of cousins and how they can be just like siblings too.
I enjoy spending time with her. She makes me laugh.
I am thankful for her easy going nature.  I don't think I've ever seen her mad.
I think other moms would enjoy her love for life and great parties that her and her husband throw.  Celine and Jaret remind me of Dan and myself in many ways.
This is Celine:

Mommy diaries: Melissa

Meet Melissa:  A caring friend in high school and later a funtastic roommate while we were both beginning our teaching careers in the P of A.  Mel is a very easy person to get along with:  she's gentle, kind, organized and motivating.  I see her as a Mary Poppins type of teacher:  firm, yet kind and  I believe that any child would be blessed to call her teacher.  Mel and I don't see each other often, but that doesn't seem to matter as we can quickly pick up where we left off.  She was a great person to lean on when I first had Willis and gave fantastic advice, advice that I still use in my parenting.
I admire Melissa's ability to balance her own needs with those of her family.  It motivates me seeing her juggling teaching, her family and a gym regime.
I enjoy our get togethers though few and far between.    
I am thankful for the yearish I spent living with her.  She was a very congenial person to live with.
I think other moms would benefit from her caring and concern.  I never feel like she's just talking to talk but rather is talking to truly know more about me and my life.
This is Melissa:



{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

I've decided to adapt this Friday ritual and make it a little more up my alley.  I love photography, but definitely love capturing video even more. I managed to capture a very special moment this week on video, I just wish I would have taken more footage.  Ah well.  It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.  Music (Adele) was playing in the background as we shared some family time together.  Dan was teaching Willis to read on the couch, while Lucia and I sat on the floor and practiced Lucia's walking.  Shortly after that, I had lost track of Dan and Lucia and when I came across them, I found this:



{this moment} from Dee on Vimeo.

Second favourite moment was on my birthday, Tuesday.  Dan organized a supper out with my favourite girls. It was a perfect night.


Mommy diaries: Jordan

Meet Jordan:  a mom of phenomenal strength and grace.  She has been in my life for almost 10 years and I can definitely say my world has been enriched and enlivened because of her.  I have seen our relationship change through our different stages of life:  We've been acquaintances,  teammates, coworkers, and now I have the privilege to be a mom right beside my dear friend.
Recently, Jordan  and her husband, Hugh experienced a loss no parent ever wishes to endure.  She said goodbye to her sweet baby boy, Tripp and has done so publicly, living out her emotions on her blog.  It is a heart wrenching story, but her words provide strength and comfort to anyone who follows her.  
I admire her ability to recognize situations as they are and put everything out on a plate.  Emotions are never hidden with Jordan.
I enjoy her company. I can chat with her but can also easily fall into solitude with her and not feel like I need to talk.
I am thankful for her willingness to share her journey with us daily.  I learn something from her everyday.
I think other moms would benefit from her laughter.  Regardless how I feel, if she's laughing, I know it's genuine and that always makes me happier.


Mommy diaries: Annick

Meet Annick:  We were sistered/twinned together in a Québec/Saskatchewan exchange back in 1995.  Who knew that almost 20 years later we'd have a lasting relationship and children just months apart.  We obviously don't see each other often (the last time was when Dan and I visited her on our honeymoon) but that doesn't matter to me.  We shared an awesome experience together and will always have that bond.  
I admire her sense of style.  I've seen pictures of her new home and adore her decorating.
I enjoy our random emails.  It makes me feel closer to her.
I am thankful for an experience 15 years ago that introduced me to not only a great family, Les Richard, but also to a beautiful province and culture that has shaped a huge part of who I've become. In fact, when I started blogging, one of my first topics was Annick.  See here.
I think other moms would appreciate the love that emulates from her.  She is very caring about everything and everyone.

Mommy diaries: Marlene

Meet Marlene:  My mom.  What better way to start off my birthday then with a post by the one who raised me.  I find it so interesting to read her point of view on parenting, I guess you never really understand/appreciate the choices and decisions that parents make until you are actually parents yourself.  So hats off to my mom, I think she did a wonderful job with the little what she had to work with ;) (Clearly I'm talking about Rob here)
I admire her constant quest for knowledge and learning.  Maybe that's why I became a teacher?
I enjoy her ability to manage a house-full when we're all home and not to get stressed out or all begiggity on us. Even when SOMEONE throws bread at another SOMEONE during a meal, spilling wine everywhere.
I am thankful for the lessons she has taught me and continues to teach me.
I think other moms would benefit from her wisdom gained from being SOOO old.  Bahahah. 
This is my mom:

Mommy diaries: Liz

Meet Liz:  My friendship with Liz began when I was interning at Feehan and she was just starting teaching.  She was an excellent person to talk to and to go to for help.  As years went by we lost contact but then found ourselves right next to each other again when I moved back to Saskatoon.  
Our lives are so similar.  Not only do we teach at the same school, but we were married 10 days apart, our sons are 6 days apart and our girls are one month apart.  Crazy.
I admire Liz's honesty and ability to ask for advice or help.
I enjoy having someone at work who is on the exact same page as me in life; someone who understands my random vents over lunch. 
I am thankful for her organizational skills.  Sometimes I find it hard to keep up with play dates, but she is great at making sure we get the boys some play time in !
I think other moms would appreciate her tidbits of information.  I would say that Liz is a researched and educated parent, which is always nice to have around because we all know that there is always something going on.
This is Liz:

Mommy diaries: Alison

Meet Alison:  
I admire her ability to always seem to be in a great mood.  I rarely see her grumpy.
I enjoy our catch up sessions whenever I've back in P.A.
I am thankful for the blessing her children have had in my life.
I think other moms would benefit from her cheery disposition and sense of style.  You should also see her interior decorating skills. Top notch!

Alison is one of my oldest friends and I share a very close bond with her that never can really be broken, regardless the distance between us, or how often we talk.  We both lost a best friend together.  You learn not to take friendships for granted  when someone special is taken from your lives.  Kelly brings us closer.  That's one of the many gifts I've gotten from her life in her passing.  I could go on about the hidden gifts in terrible times, but that'll have to be another post for another day.


Shortly after Kelly passed away, Alison was blessed with a pregnancy. Only one month after her wedding!  She always said it was Kelly giving her a gift from heaven and I couldn't agree more.  
I'll let her tell you her story:
My journey into motherhood has been and still continues to be a very interesting and wonderful journey.  From the moment you find out you are pregnant you are worried about your babies health and safety.  Will he/she have 10 fingers and toes, will he/she be healthy, am I eating right and on and on and on..........Little do we all know that the worrying doesn't stop once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it only intensifies as the years go on!  That being said, I don't have one specific piece of advice that I feel is the BEST piece of advice and will answer all of the struggles you may face as a parent.  However, one lesson in parenting that I was taught very early and am constantly trying to learn and apply with everyday that passes is "DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER"

I have a wonderful son by the name of Noah who is 8.5 years old and has Down's Syndrome. Noah was my first baby. It was an unplanned pregnancy. I had just gotten married and was unexpectedly but pleasantly surprised I was pregnant one month later. I was only 22 years old when I got pregnant with Noah. It was sooooo weird because from the moment I found out I was pregnant, my husband was so concerned the baby was going to have Down's Syndrome. We would even pray together every night before bed that our baby didn’t have Down's!! At my 18 week ultrasound my husband asked the technician if there were any signs of the baby having Down's Syndrome. The ultrasound technician was rather confused as to why my husband would be asking such an unusual question with no reasonable explanation as to why he thought our baby would have Down's. The ultrasound tech responded by saying that given my age "my odds were better at winning the lottery and that I was too young to have a baby with Down's".

Well, 19 weeks later, on May 30th, 2002 I won the lottery!!!!! Noah Michael David Bell was born!

When Noah was first born nothing was said about Down's. I was having troubles breastfeeding him but nothing was ever said that he may have had Down's Syndrome. Noah was such a beautiful baby and had the face of a porcelain doll. I had to stay in the hospital for 5 days because Noah would not latch on to breastfeed. Then on the day we were discharged from the hospital, and I literally had Noah's baby car seat in hand about to leave the hospital with my beautiful newborn baby boy and the doctor casually says "OH BY THE WAY". Never in a million years did I expect him to say "One of our nurses mentioned she thought maybe your baby has Down's Syndrome but I have checked him over and he does not show any of the physical characteristics of a baby with Down's Syndrome so just keep an eye on him and come back to see me in 6 weeks if you have any concerns and we will have him tested"???????? I will never forget my husband was grabbing a diaper from the change table and the diaper instantly dropped to the floor, just like my stomach. I thought (pardon my french) WTF JUST HAPPENED?  The most happy joyous moment of my life, bringing my newborn baby boy home, just turned into what I thought at the time, was a horrible nightmare.

Over the next two weeks I experienced every emotion possible. I felt so guilty at the time for feeling all of these horrible emotions towards my newborn baby. I was angry and thought WHY ME???? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? I AM ONLY 23 YEARS OLD!! I felt I wasn't prepared enough to care for a newborn baby, let alone one with a "DISABILITY"! In my mind, the baby boy I had envisioned having had died and I was left with this "new one" that would pose all of these challenges and make life stressful and difficult. My life had become a roller coaster of emotions and not the emotions or feelings I thought I would have after having my first baby! One day I would think he didn’t have Down's Syndrome and then the next day I would look at him and break down crying because I just knew that he did.

Approximately two weeks after he was born we took him to the hospital for the dreaded blood test. It was horrible. The doctors couldn't find a vein to get blood from so they were poking and prodding Noah and he was hysterical. Then they didn’t know where to send the blood to be tested. Approximately one week after the blood was taken, the doctor called. I refused to go into the doctor's office for the results and sent my husband alone. I somehow thought that if I didn’t have to hear the words "Your son has Down's Syndrome" I could go on believing and pretending that he didn’t. My husband returned an hour later to tell me "Noah has trisonomy 21". My world was flipped even more upside down now than before. It was confirmed. There was no more denying it.

I'm not going to lie and pretend, saying I instantly snapped out of it and decided to take this challenge and face it head on immediately. It was a roller coaster ride and still is a roller coaster ride some days. But one thing I definitely have to to say is that I wouldn’t give NOAH up for the world! He has brought such AMAZING dynamic, spirit, laughter and joy into our family and our friend's families. He is truly a blessing and an angel sent to us from GOD.

I have since had two more kids, Emma who turned 7 years on December 19 and Reese who turned 3  September 26. They LOVE Noah so much and he is ALWAYS looking out for them.  If they are hurt, Noah is the first one to come running.  If they are crying, he will sometimes cry with them and wipe away their tears.  If they need something, he is usually the first one they will ask because they know he won't say no.  He LOVES them unconditionally. 

The insight Noah has given me as to what life is all about is unexplainable. I'm not going to lie and say that raising a child with Down's Syndrome doesn't pose its challenges some days but what part of raising ANY child doesn’t have its challenges, right?? But the unconditional love and happiness that Noah brings into our lives everyday is UNEXPLAINABLE!  All three of my children have incredible strengths and qualities they offer to my family and society.  Everyday they are teaching me new life lessons and the importance of unconditional love.  I made the mistake of judging Noah when the doctor said he had  Down's Syndrome.  I gave him the "disability" by placing limitations on what his "ABILITIES" would be just because he had Down's Syndrome.  Over the years, I have come to notice that every child has its own set of strengths and weaknesses and that Noah has abilities that his sisters don't.  I constantly have to remind myself daily that Noah can do anything he puts his mind to.  If he doesn't know how to do something he can learn if we take the time to teach him.  It may take him longer to learn something or we may have to teach him something in a different way than we would teach our girls, but he can do anything he puts his mind to!  The sky is the limit for any child no matter what their age, gender, race or ABILITIES!
Just don't "judge a book by it's cover"!
Cheers!!
-Alison





 

Mommy diaries: Jodee

Meet Jodee:  She is a high school friend whom I've had the chance to reconnect with through our kids.  I'm very happy to have her back in my life because she brings an entirely different perspective to my mothering philosophy, and I love that.  You should read some of her thoughts on natural childbirth and her experiences birthing her babies at home on her blogJodee is also one of my few friends who has ventured into the realm of three children and therefore has earned superstar status in my books.
I admire her calm demeanor.
I enjoy reading about how she copes with three, wondering if I could do it too.
I am thankful that we've reconnected and think we should have a playdate soon. Hint, hint.
I think other moms will benefit from the feeling you get when you're around her. I never feel judged by her, she is such a good person.

Mommy diaries: Rae and Monique, the University Edition.

 Meet Rae:  I was fortunate to have the occasion to get to know Rae in university where we both studied to be French teachers.  I also lived with her my year in Quebec City.  Rae is the sweetest, kindest, most docile person I have ever met.  You would be lucky to have her teach your children.  Granted we live in different cities and rarely see each other, she has had a huge impact on my life.  I always strive to be a kinder person after being in her presence, so I can just imagine the great mom she has become.
I admire the sense of calm I get from her, even through emails.
I enjoy her monthly updates, that keep me feeling close to her.
I am thankful for her living with us in Quebec- she kept us balanced and was a great cereal eating partner late at night.
I think other moms would appreciate the genuine answers you get from Rae.  She is so thoughtful and sweet.
This is Rae:

Meet Monique:  We studied side by side to become high school french teachers, except Monique had the guts to do all things I dream of doing:  she aupaired in Paris, she heads student travel clubs to Europe, she runs a Photography Club, she has fantastic rapport with her students, to name a few.  I look up to her teaching style so much, it's no wonder that I feel the same about her parenting.  Monique is down to earth and has a smile that can light up a room.
I admire the work she does balancing her life.
I enjoy her writing style and keeping track of her on her blog
I am thankful for the gift of reading she renewed in me during University.  This is something I haven't stopped doing and will in turn influence my children.
I think other moms would benefit from her taking your picture.  She is a very gifted photographer!
Voici Monique:

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