June 19th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Warm & Fuzzy

Happy Father's Day to My Husband

MikeI originally thought of blogging about *my* Dad for Father's Day. He has been gone almost four years now (I still miss him everyday) and I never did write about him afer he passed like I had meant to... 

Then I heard yet another giggle and squeal from the other room as my husband Mike horsed around with our two little girls and knew I needed to share with you what a wonderful Daddy my two daughters have.

There isn't a day that goes by that Mike doesn't tell me, after checking on the girls before heading to bed, how much he "loves those two little girls". And they certainly know it as he probably tells them at least ten times a day.

He has taught them all about vegetarianism and nutrition (I am the only carnivore in the house). I have to admit it is pretty impressive listening to Antonia, our six year old, reading nutritional information on packages. She really considers what she eats, sometimes even passing on something sweet because she had a peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch. Not to mention the way she wolfs down her veggies and hums and haws over her french fries "because they are not that good for you".

He has also taught them how important being active is, how they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, the importance of music in our culture and the difference between a Porsche and a BMW. ;-)

My daughters' Daddy is loyal, intelligent, good looking :-), honest and talented...

AAAAAND he drives me crazy most days, but hey, I probably drive him crazy too right?

You want details? Really? OK, twist my rubber arm...

Mike having some skin-to-skin time with Antonia because the nurse said her temp was a bit low.

Mike is the king of corny jokes (G-R-O-A-N), hoards food (he had 14 boxes of cereal when I moved in with him). Actually, I take that back - I don't think he is a hoarder, he is just not that organized in the kitchen cupboard department and so couldn't tell that behind the 32 cans of soup that he actually had petrified Christmas cookies - a gift from a friend five years previous, 12 cans of cranberry sauce and 14 boxes of cereal. I am poking fun here, but be warned, there WAS 14 boxes of cereal.

Then there is his other annoying habit of leaving 1/2 teaspoon of product in shampoo bottles, peanut butter jars, coffee creamer and cereal boxes (yes, the cereal boxes rear their ugly head again). So you go about your routine taking notice of the shampoo/peanut butter/coffee creamer in passing (yes, we have some as I see it in the shower/cupboad/fridge) and then all of a sudden the ka-ka hits the fan because you can't wash your hair, eat breakfast or drink coffee (I don't *do* black coffee). How much effort, I ask you, does it take to put that bottle/jar/tetra pak in the recycling so that I can say, "Hey, we're out of _____.", and write it on the grocery list?

OK, so enough of the teasing. Now comes the gushing part...

Mike is always thinking of me and the girls no matter where he is. He is an amazing provider and is extremely generous of his time which sure comes in handy considering the crazy number of hours I work. After Michaela was born, he picked-up even more duties to help keep this house running. He is always willing to help you out and after he does, a simple thank you will do. There is no keeping score.

Mike is also the most sensitive man I have ever met. He cried at both of our daughters' births, the first time he fed them each expressed breast milk out of a bottle and at our wedding. In fact, the marriage commissioner congratulated him for making it through the ceremony. When we flip through pics of the girls when they were babies, he is often blubbering away. <--- I don't have a hope in hell of having dry eyes once he starts I tell ya!

He is also a total worry wart. It warms my heart to listen to him fret about the girls doing this and that. And he worries about me too. Mike is also passionate about making this world a better place for our children.

Mike, Michaela and myself minutes after she was born. And yes, his eyes are red because he was crying.

Other stuff about Mike that you may not know? He plays both guitar and bass, has a beautiful singing voice, went to recording arts school and has worked as a landscaper, painter and in a pottery studio, at Coca Cola, Happy Planet and StupidStore. Here's a good one - he looks 12 years old when he shaves off his goatee (he has done it once since I've known him and is now forbidden to repeat the offense). He also has an uncanny ability to reproduce animal noises - he doesn't even practice, it just comes out of his mouth "perfect". On that note, he can also reproduce the sound of trains, planes and automobiles, with the latter even distinguishing between diesel, four, six and eight cylinders (no, I'm not kidding). Oh and he is a veritable walking encyclopedia when it comes to cars and motorcycles. You ask him - any make, model or year and he usually knows the answer. This trait, he shares with my Dad. Too bad my Dad was already so sick when they met.

Mike is also one of the luckiest people I've ever met. He won a car at the PNE years ago and then a couple of years ago won a dirt bike at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. When we were at Fort Langley last summer with friends, he panned for gold and got a nugget in the first pan (and yes it was real gold). I know he has won other things too, but can't recall at the minute. We're still waiting for the lottery though dammit!

He is open-minded, well-spoken, out-going and genuine. Mike Bell - you are an original!

I know I'm missing some things I wanted to say. I had hoped to post this last night, however ran out of time as I was prepping for the course I'm taking in Seattle this week. Therefore, I am going to post this now while Father's Day is still Father's Day (at least in our time zone).

Happy Father's Day Mike. You are loved very much by the three ladies in your house. You make us feel special and loved and for that we thank you.

XOX
Wendy (and Antonia and Michaela too)

March 18th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Health & WellnessWarm & Fuzzy

PumpEase Saves Lives and Millions in Health Care Costs

I recently visited a favourite blog of mine - PR in Your Pajamas - and came across a post about writing a media pitch that begged the question "What is the boldest, most outrageous or provocative statement you are willing to make about your product or service? You must truly believe this to be effective."

A few days later, I found myself on the LunaPads website reading blog posts and such, and when I navigated to their home page, I was greeted by this gem:

"Thanks to Lunapads and The DivaCup, upwards of 1 million disposable menstrual products are diverted from landfills monthly."

It made me smile as I remembered Suzanne, Co-Founder of LunaPads, recounting how she and her hubby sat on their couch reverting, if only for a moment, to their inner geeky, "bean counter" persona (her words) to crunch some LunaPads numbers and come up with this riveting statistic.

And then I remembered Elena's post on PR in Your Pajamas...

This gave me pause.

I proceeded to look-up a breastfeeding study that I had found quite thought-provoking. It was recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and was entitled The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost AnalysisTanya from Motherwear was one of many who blogged about it and it garnered attention, both positive and negative from ABC, CBS and the Associated Press among others.

The study stated that 900 babies and $13 billion in health care costs could be saved if 90% of moms exclusively breastfed for six months.

900 babies900 babies.

$13 BILLION in health care costs.

I was inspired to crunch some numbers of my own and this is what I came up with...

"Thanks to PumpEase, four babies' lives and almost $70,000,000 in US health care costs have been saved. Not to mention those thousands of babies who've received their mamas' milk (while their mamas worked, played, or just relaxed, since they didn't have to hold onto those pump flanges!)."

I calculated the health care figure FIVE times. Surely it can't be THAT much money!?! I read it out loud. And then I read it out loud again. And then an overwhelming sense of pride washed over me. We ARE making a difference to the health of moms and babies. We ARE saving US Health Care millions of dollars. We ARE enhancing mothers' breastfeeding relationships with their children. WOW!

What is YOUR bold and outrageous statement? You don't have to own a business; write one about YOU. I highly recommend this exercise to open your mind and think outside of the box. Please leave a comment below...

{"Baby Liam" by omgponies2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0}

December 21st, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Warm & Fuzzy

Silent Angels - The True Spirit of Christmas

This post is comprised of an email that I received from my sister, Yvonne Armbruster, the other night. I was so moved by it, that I asked her if I could share it with you, my readers. I often tell her she should start her own blog as she is a great writer and has a very dry sense of humour (not at all reflected in this particular post by the way). I hope you enjoy and are enlightened by the story as I was...

"Well our Midland staff dinner was last night, it was at a very nice restaurant on the waterfront in Vancouver.

Midland staff

That's Robert 4th from the left in the back row.  Ken is third to the right of Robert. My sister Yvonne is on the far left of the front row.

I picked up Robert, who was anxiously waiting for me at the door when I arrived at his house. He was so happy I showed up - biggest smile ever (and when Robert smiles he lights up the room). I got a big hug and he held my hand as I walked him to my car.

We hired Robert a couple of months ago through an organization here in Vancouver. Robert is deaf, mute, has epilepsy and some learning disabilities. He signs, writes in Chinese and understands very little written English. He’s also missing fingers, which makes understanding his finger spelling interesting to say the least!

I took a weekend course in sign language years ago, but since hiring Robert I've dug out my old books and bought some new ones so I can communicate with him, or at least try. I made sure I brushed up on all the things I needed to know for the dinner last night - signs for meat, fish, chicken, drink, eat etc.

When I asked him what he wanted to drink, he signed back "beer" which caught me completely off-guard. I would have thought with all the medications he takes and his epilepsy, alcohol would have been a no-no. But I’m not his mom, so I ordered him a beer, lol. I sat next to him at the restaurant so I could translate the menu as he doesn’t read English very well.

Liberian Kids swarm the owner of Midland Liquidators, Ken McAllister, during one of his yearly visits to the war-torn country.When Ken [the owner] got up to make his speech I asked if I could say something first, so I took the floor and to Robert signed, "Robert, we are very happy you are here with us." And then I told the rest of the staff what I said and they all applauded for Robert. He was so happy to be included in our group!

I only wished I could have translated everything Ken said about our [mostly unpublicized corporate social responsibility] work and what we do at Midland...

This year we have put 700 children in Africa (Liberia) into school, children who otherwise would never have had a chance. We fed and supplied medication to 22 children, who would have died from sickness and severe malnutrition, and who are now doing well. And our happiest story is about a boy, who we rescued, fed and got well enough to send to school, who graduated grade 12 this year, and is now attending a college in Monrovia to study medicine in the hopes of becoming a doctor one day.

There are a lot of other stories - local ones as well. We don’t just help abroad, we also help our own here in the city [of Vancouver].

All the little things we do at Midland; all the attention to details and customer service; every sale makes a difference.

Robert is an example of that - at 46 years old he finally has a good job, one that his care worker has said has made a huge impact and difference in his life.

I am humbled to be a little part of good things happening in the world. Always try to remember - sometimes Christmas arrives in unassuming packages from far away places and sometimes it arrives in a silent language right on your doorstep."

Midland Liquidators has been in business for 25 years in Vancouver, BC, Canada - a small company making a BIG difference.

What "silent angels" have you encountered in your life? Please share your story with us below...

October 28th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • About this Blog & MeJust for FunWarm & Fuzzy

"All About My Mom" (by my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter Antonia)


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Today's ramblings are in response to Annie's post over at PhD in Parenting earlier this week in which she invited us to "interview" our child about their mother (that would be me) and share the responses.  So this evening I sat down and asked my daughter the questions below...  She was a little hesitant after about the 3rd or 4th question, asking if this was for school or Sparks (lol).  Anyways, you can now disregard all the info over on my Meet Wendy page as THIS IS THE TRUTH... according to Antonia.Antonia Bell

What are mothers for?

Taking care of kids.

How are mothers made?

With skin.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

Skin, blood, eyes, a nose and a mouth.

Why am I your mommy instead of another woman being your mommy?

Because I love you.

What kind of little girl was I?

You had long, dark brown hair, brown eyes and were wearing a black shirt with blue pants.

What did I need to know about Daddy before I married him?

To know if he was real.

Why did I choose Daddy to marry?

Because you liked him.

Who's the boss at our house?

Daddy.

What's the difference between mommies and daddies?

Girls have earrings.

What do I do in my spare time?

Play.

What would it take to make me perfect?

Wear pretty, long earrings with diamonds and lipstick and have long, pretty eyelashes.

If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Your eyes would be green like Daddy's.

So there you have it... she thinks Daddy is the boss!  I am going to have to have a serious talk with that girl!  (where HAVE I gone wrong?)

I welcome you to join in the fun - ask your son or daughter the same list of questions and link back to this post.  You can put the url of your post in the comments.

December 26th, 2008 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Just for FunWarm & Fuzzy

Welcome Dixie Katheryn Rose Corbett

I am thrilled to announce that my newest niece arrived safely on December 23rd at 1:04 am! She tipped the scale at 7 lbs, 4 oz and measured 21" long.

My sister Denise, who was induced for her first daughter's delivery (Olivia is now 5 years old), laboured at home for about 20 hours. I was the DD as the lower mainland of British Columbia has been unusually blanketed in more than a foot of snow for over a week now and I am the only one who has a 4x4! When we arrived at the hospital, she was fully dilated and delivered the baby in about 20 minutes and 3 pushes! Way to go Denise!  Dr C, our amazing family doctor, didn't quite make it in time, but the nurses as Royal Columbian Hospital were fantastic.

Oh and I should mention that Dixie has a really good latch, has been feeding beautifully and Mom Denise will be pumping in 4-6 weeks with her PumpEase™.

Dixie, named after my Dad Richard, who almost always went by "Dick", is a truly beautiful baby. What an amazing Christmas present! Drop a comment below if you are a Christmas baby or if one of your children are.

Happy Holidays to all of our customers, readers, friends and family! To celebrate Dixie's arrival, we are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders until New Year's. Use coupon code 'FREESHIP' at check-out. No worries if we're out of stock in your preferred size/print, order anyways as we are expecting production to arrive from our factory any day now.

   My sister Denise and her new daughter Dixie!    Dixie Katheryn Rose Corbett