Archives

Happy 8th Birthday Miss Echo

Hard to believe she is 8 already! August 13 th marked our Echo turning 8. We had to split up her birthday celebration to include Aunty Karyn who drove down from Canada for her visit the week before.

Saying goodbye on the 11th

Saying goodbye on the 11th

So on the Friday (a day before Karyn had to drive back) we had an Echo day. We took her to the Como zoo (a zoo run on donations only) and she got a $30.00 limit in the main gift shop.20180810_102654

20180810_102158

Butterfly!

Butterfly!

She HUGELY lucked out. They were having a sale on a series of large stuffed animals that had her buying 2 for pretty much exactly $30.00. After much agonizing we purchased a red panda (my favourite animal) and an elephant. Talk about a happy little girl!

With her new Stitch teddy from Aunty Karyn

With her new Stitch teddy from Aunty Karyn

After the zoo we had to drive back home and clean up for Echo’s first dance recital at the YMCA! There was 2 recitals planned due to summer scheduling conflicts with parents. For this recital not only was  Aunty Karyn and Trinity there with Mom and Dad but she was the only one in her class that made it!

Dancing solo with Miss Grace

Dancing solo with Miss Grace

 

She did an amazing job dancing with her teacher Grace, and looked absolutely adorable in her little pink outfit. We were so proud.20180810_171809

After recital it was home for a cupcake cake! Since she is currently obsessed with Stitch I went on Amazon and found some little Lilo and Stitch statues to put on top of the cake. Success!20180810_173547_HDR

20180810_173621

20180810_173810

Monday marked her actual birth date so we had presents from us and Aunty Holly, Uncle James and Cousin Jimmie. I went all out with the Stitch stuff and Aunty Holly totally hit the mark with her Lego set.20180813_150029

20180813_150045_Burst01

20180813_150138

Thank you Aunty Holly, Uncle James and Cousin Jimmie!

Thank you Aunty Holly, Uncle James and Cousin Jimmie!

We also spent time at our favourite park.IMG_20180813_154447_908

IMG_20180813_120743_472

A day or two later Echo got a parcel from Gammie. A brand new instant camera with film. Included was a lovely card from Aunty Heather and Hudson.20180813_145126

Add in birthday phone calls from Grandma and Nana and Baba and dinner out solo at McDonalds.20180813_171835

IMG_20180813_210449_701

The topper on the day was swimming with Daddy while Mom worked out in her class upstairs.

Echo told me it was the best birthday ever. High praise indeed! Happy Birthday Echo!!!20180810_083543

20180810_083630

Kitty school

Kitty school

What I Learned About Myself in 3 Weeks…

So it is common knowledge that I got a tattoo the week after our 17 year anniversary. What surprised me is what I learned about myself in the three weeks healing time afterwards.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

  1. Well I definitely don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it is on proud and vibrant display on my left calf. And I hope people ask me about it. As the wife of a man who has been diagnosed not only with severe depression, but also CAPD, I found my symbol in his fight to control and manage his illnesses. The depression is represented by the semi colon or body of my butterfly. A more and more common symbol of depression and mental illness, it is a constant reminder for me of how I will never truly grasp how close I came to losing my husband and love of my life for ever on 2 separate occasions. Had he chosen to end his story instead of continuing on, my life, and the lives of my children would be very different right now. I have often spoken about how I feel the need to be an advocate for mental health awareness. Two helpful links – Project ; and in case you need help in knowing what to say  Make It Ok.org. Maybe one day someone will see my butterfly while I work out, or on a walk… or even peeking out in a fancy dress and ask me and I will have the chance to listen or share. If I can share my story, Ken’s story and help someone find help or become a source of support… icing on the cake. The other half of the butterfly is a wee bit obvious – maple leaf, Canada: you can take the girl out of Canada, but my origins are a massive part of my personality.Project-Semicolon-760x410
  2. Altering my body permanently was neither as earth shattering or life changing as I expected. Granted when I first got it done and posted it up on Facebook my little corner of the world shared its opinion and got excited. Some were impressed, some quick to admit they would never do the same, others wanted explanation of the image and many were surprised. But, the greater world, life in general… a blip on the radar. And you know what? That was more than OK! I love the reminder that some ink on my body was nothing more than a personal choice that I would now live with forever (proudly I might add). What was way more important is that my own children are super proud of their mom! It was an opportunity to remind them of the struggle dad has with his own mental health, and that it is OK to be sad, to need help. But they also need to be aware that mom really wants them to tell her… any time, any place, and if not her any responsible adult. Needles and healing and a choice that is permanent was simply that… a choice I made. Not the end of my life, though Ken was quick to tease me about his tatted up wife and how much of a rebel I was!IMG_20180704_125226_971
  3. Keeping my legs covered for 3 weeks seem to have given me the permission to embrace colour. My sari skirts were a bit of an impulse buy (Ken edit: If you call agonizing over a purchase for 3 weeks an ‘impulse buy’) if a bit difficult to pair up with shirts on hand, but for 3 weeks I have been colorful. Since some of the skirts only matched some crop tops I purchased recently belly baring became commonplace. It is a movement from worrying about fitting in, matching my clothes to my “life” and into comfort and colour and embracing the fact that I love brighter feathers. Plus, they make a lovely swish when I walk and I have always loved swishing and twirling since I was a little girl – why should that change now?20180628_152211
  4. Baths make me calmer and 3 weeks without that has been a bit of a struggle. I am not a girl who loves a hot shower, give me a long soak to relax away the tension and frustration of a long day anytime. The kids also enjoy the respite from mom after lunch when I took my lunch break. Maybe I really am more mermaid at heart than I like to admit? 
  5. That little square of skin is now the softest skin on my entire body, I swear! Lotion lotion lotion. Washing and lotion, no sun and then the itching. No one mentioned how high maintenance this small patch of skin would be, but worth it! Self care is so important, and this was a reminder to me that maybe I need to pay more attention. When you have to alter your life to look after a single body part… like my time spent on what we thought was my hip, but is now believed to be a slightly slipped disk from when I almost fell in the winter. The reality is I am growing older, and in order to do so gracefully and healthily I need to be more aware. Yoga, workouts, long walks, R.I.P.P.E.D. classes at the YMCA… they take on an even greater meaning when looked at from the perspective not of losing weight or strengthening up but of self care. Taking time for a nap without guilt (seriously I have to convince myself, idleness in my mind, becomes laziness or neglect… I have a very hard time just taking a moment and stopping), spending a few extra minutes working on your appearance and standing tall with confidence that you look awesome. I am learning more and more about these moments. I love myself, my insides and outsides, the family I have created, the life style I live. It is flawed and confusing and at times difficult but it is all amazing. The life I live, the appearance I put out there in the world is all proof that I love myself. That I take the time to care for myself and the ones I love. 

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

  6. I like feeling a little the rebel. Granted, many see me and my family as a bit more than a “little” rebellious with our large family size and homeschooling, or my lack of ability to drive and my insistence that we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays PLUS Chinese New Year. Ok… so I was already a bit of a rebel, but having a tattoo… that feels like a “cool” rebel. All that other stuff is more necessity or not a choice but a calling. I CHOSE to get a tattoo, I CHOSE the design and then had one of my oldest and dearest friends not only hold my hand through it all, but take pictures AND help with the design. Who else could be so lucky but to have someone who is basically a sister also be an amazing artist who can take my crazy ramblings and make something amazing on paper?? Thanks again Shandai! You ROCK! They say it takes a village to raise a family, well it sometimes takes friends to help create the perfect family unit too. I have been doubly blessed with an amazing community AND friends who are family to round out the flesh and blood relatives we were born with. (Plus Shandai is pretty cool, rebellious and all round awesome herself)

So there you have it, 6 things I learned about myself all from 30 min of tiny needles, ink and the hand of an amazing artist at Rose in No Man’s Land. I can’t say I won’t go back… My butterfly may need something sweet to land on yet. But for now… My heart is out there, open book. Ask me, share your story with me, read my story here (just search the word “depression” in my search box), my heart is open and I have found that sharing is so much more than simply caring. 

All healed up!

All healed up!

Now Onto November

Onto November and possibly getting my blog up to date before November of 2018 comes around… maybe? Summer gets so busy for us and I have let it snowball a bit. So enjoy the post and the look back at way cooler temperatures. A head’s up… December is already up and posted along with seasonal links HERE.

Ken spoiled me with a new tea mug!

Ken spoiled me with a new tea mug!

Anyway, November… the month of chinchilla and workout pictures… wait that is much of my life the past year. I do love the Fluffy Overlord and working out has become second nature with me now.20171103_094635

20171111_105558

20171120_182603

Talking about chinchillas, November marks Neko-chan turning 1 year old!!! check out that post HERE

Emanuel went through a bit of an image change with a fancy new hair cut.IMG_20171126_211130_690

As did Echo. We have some rather spiffy looking kids!20171118_170129

20171118_170606

20171118_180107

The 3 younger kids went to Home Depot for the craft and even convinced Dad that PAINT should be involved.20171125_101844

20171125_102244

I crocheted up a storm and we blocked this year’s special mom and grandma gifts… shawls! Plus matching hats for all 3 of us girls.

20171122_151249

20171122_151344

20171122_145047

The kids dressed up in their finery for Santa. We went with the Schwartz family to their mall Santa of choice since our traditional one no longer exists after a store closing.  You can read all about that HERE.20171121_170642

I found winter boots in the children’s section of Target – something that made Ken laugh and entertained him and a few other people for days!20171117_205212

We had dinner with our wee niece Maevowyn… and her parents too, but we all know who the star of the show was!!!

I may be biased.. . but that face just makes me melt.

I may be biased.. . but that face just makes me melt.

20171111_185547

Echo LOVES her cousin

Echo LOVES her cousin

20171111_213254

20171111_213327

With Mom, and Dad photo bombing in the back

With Mom, and Dad photo bombing in the back

I also got in some quality kitty time, and pictures.

Silly Snoopy

Silly Snoopy

20171110_211056

We had school time.20171107_102159

20171108_092335_HDR

IMG_20171108_111509_556

Themed crafting continued.

A whole set of Halloween themed cupcakes that were out past the date.

A whole set of Halloween themed cupcakes that were out past the date.

Gavin made all of our cards this year.

Gavin made all of our cards this year.

Christmas Art

Christmas Art

A Christmas mouse

A Christmas mouse

Gavin the solemn crafter

Gavin the solemn crafter

20171129_152522

Christmas mug cozy

Christmas mug cozy

Really all the babies babies were seen.20171105_153752

20171105_154909

A poppy was worn, sent straight from Canada for Remembrance Day.20171103_184608

IMG_20171106_231127_719

And I photographed my chinchilla from pretty well ALL possible angles…20171105_225259

20171109_090020

All the junk in that glorious trunk!

All the junk in that glorious trunk!

20171121_221933

Close up with lighting!

Close up with lighting!

Yup that was November in a quick scan through images… hope you enjoyed!20171102_201658

We baked!

We baked!

20171129_135946

Whole family!

Whole family!