The Grey Area

Hello All! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!…..is it Valentine’s Day yet? Ok, so I’ve failed miserably at regularly blogging again, for about the third year in a row, but hey, 2019 could just be the year it happens ūüėČ .

How have the last few months been? Well, there was another round of stitches ( J ), a buckle fracture to the arm ( J ), another Christmas filled with flu, one last round of the flu this week for the only one of us that didn’t get sick at Christmas ( A ) and its currently blizzarding and feels like -26, but actually? The last few months have been pretty good. My husband has worked away a lot, but it has also allowed him to have a good number of days off when he is home. After an adjustment period for Miss A, both kids are loving school and all of their many activities and I am loving all the fun things we get to watch/do/try together as a family (even 7:00am hockey on the weekend).

The world though? It’s really having a hard time. The news and stories on social media just make¬†me want to hide inside my house and never come out, or yell at the sky, or cry. Even the most innocent seeming ideas or ventures are met with criticism and judgement, while some of the most vile, hateful concepts, while opposed by most, are championed and spread by some. It is frustrating, exhausting and often makes¬†me¬†baffled as to what is the right thing to say or do.

My breaking point came two days ago on “Bell Lets Talk” Day. It is a day where Bell, a communications giant, donates 5 cents for every tweet, text, call, facebook frame, etc. towards mental health initiatives and programs. Since it’s inception in 2011, it has raised over 100 million dollars for mental health. Every year, I’ve always tried my best to spread the word and support this, but this year I was shocked and appalled at several posts saying it was nothing more than a marketing scheme, that it was a bad message because sometimes those struggling don’t want to talk and that it was completely useless because mental health programming is still terrible. I have several thoughts on this.

  1. It’s a marketing scheme. Of course it’s a marketing scheme!! Massive corporations aren’t usually keen to give away millions of dollars if it doesn’t somehow benefit them. That may be a depressing thought, but at the end of the day, that is still millions of dollars going to a good cause instead of lining the already super wealthy pockets of the CEO’s.
  2. It’s a bad message, sometimes those struggling aren’t ready to talk. Yep, sometimes they aren’t, and that’s ok, no one should be forced to do anything they aren’t ready to, but I really struggle to see why it still isn’t important to share this message that it is ok to talk about mental health, that it is a normal conversation, that discussing what we are struggling with in our heads should be as accepted and regular as talking about a sore throat or a headache. There are still a disturbingly high number of people in this world that think you can just “get over” anxiety or depression if you just try hard enough. ūüė¶
  3. It’s completely useless because mental health programming is terrible. Mental health programming and accessibility is terrible. 100%. It falls short in nearly every area. If you live in a rural area, there are usually almost no resources. Urban areas are not a whole lot better, because there are usually atrociously long waits for anything that is publicly funded. Anything accessible immediately costs a small fortune. Aren’t these statements the exact reason we need all kinds of funding poured into these programs? Wouldn’t it then be a good thing to be raising money for mental health?

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a one day thing. The conversation about mental health needs to continue all year round, not just on this day. We all need to commit to fighting for better programming and accessibility and support ourselves and those around us every day. I guess I just don’t see how attacking this initiative is helpful in that. This finally brings me to my title: The Grey Area. Our world is so polarized, everything is right or wrong, there seemingly is no space in between anymore.

Just a quick side note before I continue: I am not, in anyway, referring to major issues, such as race, equality, me too movement, etc. I’m definitely not suggesting there should be any grey area in these concerns and have to be aware of the point of privilege from which I view the world.

For the little things though? I’m striving to teach my kids that there is a middle ground sometimes. Everyone does not need to agree, all the time. You can have a different opinion than someone but still be respectful of them and their opinion and not feel the need to prove them wrong. Everyone’s experiences and the people around them have shaped how they see the world. It’s what makes us unique and interesting. It doesn’t mean you have to be friends with someone you don’t see eye to eye with, it just means you maybe don’t need to go head to head with the stranger in Costco who is claiming the Huggies wipes are better than the Costco wipes (I mean, I can’t imagine who would feel this way, but maybe there is someone out there, and they are entitled to feel this lol).

It’s not always easy of course. It’s certainly in my nature to want to be right or to pass on my opinions or experiences, it’s probably a big part of why I blog. I’m going to work on it though, because I want to teach my kids that there is a grey area. Of course it’s natural to share stories, especially to empathize with someone to know that you both aren’t in it alone, but when the stories and experiences become unsolicited advice, it can do more harm than good.

So I guess that’s a bit of a New Year’s resolution¬†for me this year, spend more time in the grey area. Do more listening than talking, respect others opinions, even if I don’t agree and be kind, because the world needs so much more kindness. Maybe we can all focus on fighting the horrendous injustices that do exist in the world instead of fighting over the little things or discrediting initiatives aimed to help.

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”- L.R. Knost

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Take care everyone ūüôā

Sarah

Goodbye 2017/2018 School Year…

…You won’t be very missed. Hello all! It’s summer time! We’ve actually been somewhat on vacation for the past month and it has been fantastic. Spring usually comes with a month long break in my husbands work and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for it than I was this year. This school year has given us quite a number of challenges, some that we expected and many that took us by surprise, so while we weren’t really on vacation (there was still school, activities, bookkeeping and projects around the house), it felt amazing to be able to tackle everything as a family together and spend lots of time with each other.

One of the major stressors in our life this year was both of our children’s health. While it was an above average year for flus and colds in our household, it was shocking news about Mr. J’s eye and worsening of Miss A’s asthma that really overwhelmed us.

A has had “asthma-like” symptoms since she was 3 years old. We are quite positive she has asthma, but can’t officially be diagnosed until later this year. After spending Thanksgiving Day 2015 at emergency with her getting “asthma protocol” (oral steroid, bunch of inhaled medicine, etc.), she’s had inhalers at home which have usually been able to get her back on track if she’s having an asthma attack/episode. She always has a bit of a struggle in the fall with the back to school germs and allergy issues, but this year, she came home from her very first day at kindergarten with a cold.

Unfortunately, she was sick for a good portion of September and we just couldn’t get her breathing back to where it should be, so at the end of the month, we found ourselves at emerg for the second time in a couple weeks, this time at the Children’s hospital. After a few hours of treatment, it became clear that her breathing was not improving like it should and eventually, after 14 or so hours in emergency, she was admitted to the Children’s hospital. Normally, I don’t get too panicked by her asthma, as I have it myself and was also admitted to the hospital as a child for it. So it caught me off guard that it was so upsetting to see her lying there, on oxygen, hooked up to monitors. She’s a tough cookie, so usually nothing medical phases her too much, in fact, it usual fascinates her, but at 3am, she was incredibly overtired, overwhelmed and done with the nasal cannula (oxygen tubing/prongs in the nose). She started crying, which only made her breathing worse, so I tried to calm her down best I could and get her asleep, which thankfully she did do quite quickly, but it was heartbreaking. It was such a helpless feeling to know that I couldn’t fix this for her or really do much for her at all other than comfort her.

Although it was a stressful and sad experience, we were incredibly thankful that we live just around 50 minutes from a phenomenal children’s hospital. After being admitted, Miss A started to improve rapidly. We were so fortunate to get to go home only two days later! A was on a unit with other kiddos of course, some of whom had very serious conditions and were long-time residents of the hospital. It definitely helped give me perspective of just how lucky we were to be leaving so soon after getting just a glimpse of what these families face every day.

After that, A finally made some improvements, however we have been back twice to emergency this Spring, but thankfully just a for a few hours each time as she responded much better to the steroids, meds, etc. She usually does very well through the summer, but I know we will be quite nervous again come September. We will keep praying that her meds will get her through with out any admissions this year!

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My baby girl with the “nose-thingy” she hated.

Mr. J, on the other hand, is almost always healthy. As of yet, he doesn’t have any allergies or asthma, so while colds and flus are often a battle for Miss A, he usually gets through them quickly with little complication. Unfortunately he did have a bad virus in April that required a trip to the ER (at this point, I literally can throw together a hospital bag and be out the door in 5 minutes), but thankfully it appeared to have been the start of a chest infection that was quickly managed by a nebulizer treatment and inhalers. Although healthy, J has always been our injury prone little dude. This really comes as no surprise since he never stops moving and has little fear, but he’s had his share of cuts, bruises, black eyes and even had an unfortunate incident last August where he tripped running in a campground and landed on a very tiny, sharp tree stump. It cut open his cheek and required a couple stitches in a small town ER to close it back up. Little did we know at the time, it also caused substantially more damage.

This spring, J went for a regular optometrist appointment, and right away, the doctor noticed that he couldn’t see properly out of his right eye. She dilated his eyes with drops and determined that there was something blocking his vision at the back of his eye. She suggested that she felt it was either a cataract or a freckle, but that he definitely needed to be referred to an ophthalmologist at the children’s hospital. So after a lot of googling, we headed to his appointment a week and a half later, having learned that cataracts can happen in children and can usually be removed with surgery, and that a freckle that has grown to block vision is often retinoblastoma (cancer). We were completely terrified, but continued to pray hard and convince ourselves that it had to be a cataract.

At the appt, they dilated his eyes and he went for a couple tests before seeing the ophthalmologist. J and my husband came back from the tests and we had a while to wait for the drops to take effect. My husband looked at me and said, “It’s not a cataract”. In that moment, my heart felt like it dropped into my stomach. I tried to gather myself quickly and stated to my husband that it wasn’t a guarantee that it was cancer, that there was probably lots of other possibilities that we didn’t know about, but as I’m sure any parent could tell you, once the word cancer has been mentioned as even a remote possibility with your child, there’s absolutely nothing else you can think of. There has never been a worse moment, or a longer 40 minutes in my entire life. I kept hugging both A and J over and over again, which was met with a lot of ” Moommm, put me down!” and I was so grateful for their oblivion to our stress.

Finally, we were called in to see the doctor. The doctor took another couple looks at his eye before saying that there was definitely something across his retina that was blocking a large portion of his vision, but that he was quite confident it was a scar. After seeing how terrified we looked, he quickly reiterated that they had been concerned that it was retinoblastoma, but he found no tumours, instead the raised area was definitely a scar. While this was not exactly good news, it was a huge, HUGE relief to find out it was not cancer. He proceeded to tell us that Mr. J has approximately 20% vision in his right eye and that almost all of that vision is peripheral, he has almost no central vision as the scar is right across his retina.

After referral to a retinal specialist, it was confirmed again to be a scar, and unfortunately, there is nothing to be done. He will likely always have only 20% vision in his eye and our major concern will now be trying to protect his good eye from any damage. The specialist couldn’t be absolutely sure, but suspected that the scar was caused by trauma to the front of the eye that transferred into a scar on the retina. The most likely suspect of that trauma was his fall in August onto the tree stump that resulted in the stitches. To say we were shocked by this would be an understatement. At the time, his eye was just a tiny bit bloodshot and showed no obvious signs of trauma, especially by comparison to the gash on his cheek.

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My little man in emerg, because the cheek injury pic is too gruesome and I was too stressed to get any at his eye appointments.

So in the days that followed, we adjusted to his new reality. Truthfully, at the moment, it affects him very little. He is used to only having vision in one eye and copes quite well, obviously so well that we didn’t even notice. We try to place food on his left side, because he does sometimes spill if it is on his right, and he definitely sometimes falls because he’s missed seeing something or catches a corner, but unless you know to watch for it, you’d never notice. Our biggest challenge is trying to protect his good eye from any further accidents. There is a possibility of him wearing glasses for protection, although it is already a battle to try and get him to wear sunglasses or his safety glasses at baseball, so I’m not totally sure how that will go.

So that’s how this school year has been! Sorry it got so long and detailed, but I do feel a little bit lighter having shared what’s been happening with us. I’ve felt like a bad friend/family member at times this year when I haven’t been able to be there for others as much as I would like to have been, but I’m hoping I can be again soon.

My babies, getting back to being their fun, sweet selves. Love them more than I can comprehend!

I hope everyone has a great summer, with less stress and less health scares. I know I will be praying for that to be the case for us, and I would be happy to pray for anyone else who needs comforting in this time! Take care ūüôā

Sarah

Kick You In The Crotch-Spit On Your Neck-Fantastic

Happy 2018 Everyone!

So apparently I’ve degraded into three blog posts a year, but here’s hoping, like every other year, that 2018 is the year I turn that around. For anyone who is not an avid, bordering on crazed, fan of the show Friends like I am, the title of this blog post is¬†a quote from an episode. An episode in which “Rachel”, while trying to maintain an appearance that everything is fine, lets out a bit of the¬†annoyance she is feeling with the statement “Isn’t that just kick you in the crotch, spit on your neck, fantastic!”.

That kind of sums up the end of 2017 for me. My husband is normally very fortunate with time off at Christmas, often a few weeks, but this year, it was much shorter, and filled with a lot of unpaid work, preparing to expand our business. We drove through a terrifying blizzard to get to my parents house during which I prayed non-stop as we watched vehicles slide off the road, rollover and at times, couldn’t tell if we were even still on the road. From Dec 23-29, at least one member of our family was ill, as many as 3 at one time, I will spare the unpleasant details. My nephews were¬†at their Dad’s house for Christmas Eve/Day and it felt strange¬†and sad not to have them there.¬†It did not rise above -20 for the entirety of our holidays, so even once we had all recovered from the sickness, it was not even safe to attempt winter activities with the kiddos. All that being said though, it was fantastic.

No, of course not all the sickness and not the shortened family time, but there was family time. All of us, together, playing games, eating too much, watching hockey and laughing. We were so fortunate to all be together. At first, when people asked how my Christmas was, I would dive into all the things that had made it hard, the “kick you in the crotch” part, but then I realized how ridiculous I was being. Yep, it wasn’t fun at times, kids and the flu rarely are a good combo, but I was choosing to focus on the negatives. So I started saying that everyone was sick, but it was a great Christmas, because we were together. Not all of us, at the same time, for the whole time. My mother in law was across the country and my nephews came a few days after Christmas, but we got to spend¬†lots of¬†quality time with each other and that’s what was most important. Yes, the drive was scary, but God kept us safe. Yep, it was bloody cold out, but playing games inside with the fireplace going, looking out over the snowy lake just felt that much more cozy. That was the “fantastic” part.

Now, I’m trying to continue this perspective into 2018. I knew January would be tough, and it hasn’t disappointed. My husband went out of town for work for the first time in a few years (minus a few 2-3 day stretches here and there) and it’s looking likely that he will only be home for about 3 days in all of January. It’s been a very big adjustment for the kids, especially Mr. J, who was a baby the last time he went and is Daddy’s shadow. Miss A has had a slightly easier time, but certainly was a little sad when she lost her first tooth and couldn’t show Daddy in person. That’s just the “spit on your neck” part though, and I’m determined to focus on the “fantastic”. This is a great opportunity for my husband to expand the business and a great opportunity for me to get back some of the take charge attitude and¬†na√Įve confidence that I used to have when it was just the kids and I.

Plus I don’t have to share the remote. ūüėČ

There are families and people who are starting 2018 off with true hardships and awful losses. They are living the “kick you in the crotch” part every minute of every day and I pray that they have comfort and support through these times. I am so blessed, and my trivial “annoyances” are just really nothing.

So 2018, here’s to the “fantastic”.

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Sarah

So Long Sweet Summer

Hello Everyone!

Apparently it has been many months since I lasted posted, even though it feels like yesterday. In just a bit, Miss A will be turning six and Baby J will be four. It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing this blog for almost 5 years. This blog started as a way to connect to other parents, especially those who had experienced the NICU with their little ones, but it has become much more for me. While the posts have become far less frequent as the years go on, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to look back at old posts and remember all the experiences¬†my family and I have¬†had. I’ve also enjoyed all the friends, family and strangers I’ve been able to connect with through my blog.

Now, after 5 years, my babies are no longer babies. Our house has been purged of all itty-bitty onesies, diapers, cribs, and bottles and all that is left is a playpen and stroller for teeny visitors. Gone are the days of 3am feedings, first words, first steps, baby giggles and cuddles. For the most part, I was thrilled to say goodbye to each stage. No more cleaning bottles, no more getting up in the night, no more changing diapers, woohoo! Then one day, I woke up and realized we were all done. All done with the baby and the toddler stage. Our kids can get themselves dressed, go to the bathroom, get themselves a drink of water or a snack, turn the TV on and off, and play easily with each other or on their own for at least an hour without needing assistance. Our roles have gone from constant 24/7 care providers for every aspect of life to sibling-fight mediators, top-shelf reachers, taxi drivers and meal providers. I remember when Miss A and Baby J were 3 and 1 and all I wanted was 10 minutes where someone didn’t need me and it seemed impossible that there would ever be a time where that would happen.

It has happened, and it really is glorious. This summer, I revelled in the fact that I had sat in the same chair overlooking the lake while enjoying a beverage for 45 minutes straight. The kiddos had played happily in the water and on the beach for most of the day and for 45 minutes, no one needed me. It was amazing. As the newness of this feeling wears off though, it makes me acutely aware of how fast time goes. There’s just a hint (just a little one!) of sadness as I realize with each year, my kiddos will need me just a little less. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also marvelous to watch your child’s independence and abilities develop and grow each year and it makes me immensely proud that they can do things for themselves, but it seems like just yesterday they were tiny babes in my arms.

They will always need me. I know this, because I still need my parents, more than I ever understood that I would and I am so grateful to have them both in my life. As summer draws to a close, I’m acknowledging that the “baby” phase in our lives has drawn to a close as well. I’m looking forward to soaking up as much of the “preschooler/kinder” phase as possible, because I know that this phase will pass too, probably long before I’m ready for it to.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve finally made it to the other side. That side that people are on who always say “One day you will look back and you’ll miss it, everything, getting up at night, diapers, all of it”, and you roll your eyes at the person and think, I’m sure I will miss it, but right now, I’m exhausted, frustrated and I just need a break and I don’t really know why you look like you are the one that’s going to cry. But one day you will be on that side, and you will be tearing up at the school¬†thinking about how grown up your preschoolers are and sniffling in the garage about giving away the stroller. Who knows what kind of mess I’ll be when my kids are 10.

So keep on eye rolling parents of babies and toddlers, because teary words from emotional parents about cherishing this time are helpful in absolutely no way, because it is a ridiculously (and wonderfully!) ¬†hard phase of life, but we’re probably going to keep on saying it, because we are reminding ourselves, more than anyone else, just how fast these little ones grow.

Also because having children turns¬†even the hardest of people¬†into a hot mess of emotions….;)

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There’s my big kiddos. Possibly getting a bit big for their playset.

Wishing sleep and patience for baby/toddler parents, and a hug and quality time with your children for parents of all ages!

Sarah

Mother Nature and Motherhood

Hello All!

It would appear that in the last few weeks, both Mother Nature and I have both lost our ability to stay on an even keel. For awhile, I felt like I was in my own version of Groundhog’s Day (the movie where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again). In my version, Jesse went to work, it snowed, I spent what felt like forever shovelling, and the kids destroyed the house while being stuck inside. On and on we went, day after day, which by March, is more than a bit of a downer. If it wasn’t snowing, it was blowing, and sometimes it was even snowing, sunny and blowing.

I may have wandered out on Day 5 to yell at the sky. There’s a reason my neighbours give me strange looks.

Mother Nature may not be a real entity that can lose her sanity, but I sure can. Everyone hits those times in their life where things just stop clicking along nicely and everything seems just that much harder than it was the week before. For me, it turns out that the weather and my children are big factors in just how much harder life can feel at times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still immensely aware of how fortunate I am to live the life I do, and I truly love my life, but everyone has bad days, and that’s ok too.

To put it nicely, the kiddos have been a bit challenging lately. I think they are feeling how the rest of us feel this time of year. You just want to get out and feel the sunshine, go jump in the lake or sit around the campfire instead of watching the snow drift against the door and feel the air hurt your face. Usually Miss A and Mr. J get along pretty well for being siblings close in age, but not the last couple of weeks. There have been fights and meltdowns galore, and many have been in a public setting.

We’ve all been there as parents, you wake up and think “today will be better, today my son won’t tell parents at school to leave him alone, today my daughter won’t take off on me and run down the street and nearly give me a heart attack, today I won’t have to force feed them food that they normally like”, but alas, today, they will find new, horrifying ways to leave you on the verge of tears as you wonder what the heck you are doing wrong. You wonder how you can fix this, how you can turn this seemingly never ending string of bad days around.

Eventually you will. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we’re almost there. My husband is finally on days off after working 32 out of the last 35 days and it’s going to help immensely. The kids really struggle when they don’t feel they’ve had enough quality time, so getting a few days with Daddy will hopefully be just what they need to get back on track. Mother Nature also seems to be settling down as I haven’t shovelled since Sunday, so here’s hoping Spring really is just around the corner. Now that I’m nearly through this rough patch (fingers crossed), I once again have the hindsight to understand that this too shall pass, but I haven’t forgotten how frustrated and hopeless I felt a week ago.

So here’s to the parents who make their child apologize to the stranger they just insulted and then went and cried in their car, here’s to the parents who turn up the music in the car to drown out the fighting, here’s to the parents who went through a drive through for supper for the second time this week because the thought of setting foot in a grocery store or restaurant is just too overwhelming, here’s to the parents ready to donate every last freaking toy in their house just so there is nothing left to fight over, YOU CAN DO THIS!! It doesn’t feel like it right now, but it will get better. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not any time this week, but it will, eventually, and you can survive until it does. Just know that you are not alone, you haven’t done anything wrong, and your kids are wonderful little people who are just having a terrible week.

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That’s my little lady digging into some light reading at the vet’s office before rattling off a minimum of 10 questions for the Dr.

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That’s my little man rocking his jammies backwards so he couldn’t remove his clothing and pull up in the event of an accident, as had previously occurred the night before.

I’m off to watch a little March Madness basketball, but here’s hoping that the sun comes out and everyone’s week is just a bit brighter!

Sarah

 

 

2017: Simplify & Enjoy

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that a new year is here again, but I don’t mind saying goodbye to 2016. There were many wonderful moments, but it was a constant rollercoaster with more downs than ups. Last year, my objective for the year was to be kind. Given what has happened in the world over the past year, I think this is still an incredibly important goal for everyone. Everyone is fighting their own private battles, and while sometimes that can make it hard not to take it out on the world around us, it makes being kind all the more important. You never know who really needs to see a smile or hear a hello in their day.

So while I will try to keep kindness in mind, my objective for this year is to simplify. As I’ve admitted in previous posts, I’m a Pinterest mom, and sometimes (ok, most times) I can get a little carried away. Sure, cupcakes with fondant toppers seem like a great idea, until you are still working on finishing them at 4 am the night before your daughter’s 3rd birthday. Sure, she loved them, but she also probably would have been equally thrilled with a plate of whipped cream. Sure, doing Christmas baskets of baking is¬†a nice idea, but when it’s Dec 15th and you are frantically trying to freeze goo that was suppose to be fudge and your hands are¬†cracked and near bleeding, ¬†because you’ve washed your hands so many times out of fear of contaminating anything, and you’ve lost the will to bake anymore, so your own family is left with nothing, ¬†you tend to lose sight of the joy of giving.

SIMPLIFY.

It’s going to be hard, probably really hard. It goes against my natural desire to not miss out on anything, to try and be the “Yes” person. I remember once in college being so determined not to miss a night out, even though I had a fever, that I would curl a couple pieces of hair and then have to go huddle in a blanket for a few minutes and go back and curl again. It took me 2 hours to do my hair, but I went out (and probably made all kinds of other people sick, not my best moment). In that instance, and many others, it’s just not worth it.

This week, the kids missed all their activities, even though it was their first week back, because the roads and weather were awful. It was not worth risking their safety just to make it to learn to skate. While this may seem like common sense, sometimes it’s a much harder decision to simplify. I find simplifying spaces one of the tougher decisions. I know in my head that it is futile to hold on to bins and bins of clothes that my children have worn as we aren’t having more children, but my heart attaches a memory to each little dress and sleeper I pull out of the bin. As I tripped over what seemed like the 6th bin labeled clothes in our storage room, I finally decided enough was enough. I decided I was allowed to keep one bin of anything baby/toddler related and that was it. Several hours later (and maybe a couple tears), I had one bin in storage, the rest ready to donate, and I didn’t feel sad at all. I felt relieved.

That was the tipping point for me. If I could get rid of teeny, tiny sleepers my babies had wore, I could certainly get rid of the rest of the crap I was hoarding in storage. In case anyone is wondering, 12 year old ticket stubs are no longer legible, so you can go right ahead and throw those out, because you won’t even be able to read what event was so memorable that you just had to keep it. I even threw out pictures which,¬†when you’ve been raised in a diehard scrapbooking family, is basically like a form of treason, but when you have four dozen pictures of your childhood home and nearly the same number of pictures of feet, it’s a necessity.

So, in the first 11 days of 2017, I’ve managed to simplify the spaces in my home. For the rest of 2017, I will work on simplifying the spaces in my life. For me, this means trying to take a step back from things that I sometimes focus on (cleaning, micro planning every detail, social media, complicated homemade gifts or meals-maybe I’ll start using the words quick and easy on my Pinterest searches ūüėČ ) and focus on relationships (with my husband, kids, family, friends), faith and experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be on Facebook and my house will still be in an acceptable state, but life is too short to stay up till 4 am doing cake toppers (unless that’s what you really love).

Miss A and JJ are now 5 and 3 and are at really fun ages. I can’t wait for this summer, partially because it’s -29 with the windchill right now, but mostly because it is just going to be a blast going camping and to the lake and going on adventures with my bugaboos.

My sweet little man and my lovey dolly.

There’s certainly no guarantee how long we get in this world, so it never hurts to try to simplify what makes our lives¬†stressful¬†and make every day matter. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

Sarah

Homemade Halloween Part 3

Hello Everyone!

As it seems to be far too often, life has gotten in the way and it feels like I’ve been away from my blog for far too long. I hope everyone had a wonderful end to their summer, I’m finding it hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, but I do love Christmas! This year, I’m taking a step back and simplifying things. I’m going to focus on family time first and foremost, even if that means that I can’t bake everything I want or have all the decorations up, that’s not really what matters in the end. I’m really looking forward to just enjoying every moment this year.

I would love to say that I take the same approach in making Halloween costumes, but I most definitely do not. Sewing does not come easily to me, nor is it something I am proficient in, but I do it because I love how excited the kiddos are when they can pick what they want to be and then magically watch a pile of fabric and cardboard turn them into their cartoon hero. I know there will come a day when they look back and realize how homemade their costumes really looked, but for now, their amazement and smiles make my heart happy.

This year, it was finally Mr. J’s turn to have a homemade costume. His sister was fortunate enough to have a Unicorn costume passed down to her and she was very excited to wear it. I started asking J towards the end of the summer if he knew what he wanted to be. It changed nearly every time I asked, but often revolved around the Paw Patrol characters. He finally settled on Rubble from Paw Patrol. For those unfamiliar with Paw Patrol, it is a group of dogs who come to the rescue with their various skills. Rubble is a bulldog who very much embodies my little man. J is obsessed with all machinery, “diggers” in particular, so Rubble is pretty much his kindred spirit as he has a “digger” claw in his pup pack (back pack).

As it turned out, the body of the costume was actually relatively easy! I was surprised by how quickly I was able to finish it. Unfortunately, my second hand sewing machine (inherited from my Nanny) was also in such shock that it simply quit working. It was only¬† a matter of time given that it had no less than 3 broken parts on it that I had just grown to accept as it’s “quirks”. Knowing that there was no way I was going to be replacing my machine before Halloween, I took to the glue gun out of desperation and fashioned together a yellow vest. Initially I was quite proud of my problem solving, but as it turns out, there is a reason our clothes aren’t crafted together, hot glue is a short term solution and required many reapplications to keep the vest together.

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This was the first part of the bodysuit.

Once I managed to keep the vest together, I spray painted a dollar store army helmet yellow and glued on ears and Rubble’s symbol. I also started constructing the “pup pack”, which is the back pack portion that Rubble wears that has the claw. I managed to glue together cardboard to create the pack, but started to falter at the claw. Thankfully I was aided by my much more artistically capable husband, who formed a very realistic claw. A little bit more spray paint and we were nearly set.

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View of the back of the unicorn and the “pup pack” creation complete with “digger” claw.

Unfortunately, we did not account for how heavy the “pup pack” would be and it required several upgrades (and probably around 30 staples) before it was trick or treat ready.

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There’s my little unicorn and my ” Rubble on the Double”. It turns out I glued the badge on upside down (which Miss A was quick to point out) and the face paint lasted mere seconds before being rubbed off on our carpet :(, but otherwise it was a success!! Our little man was pretty excited to be Rubble, which was what mattered most of all. They had an amazing time going out trick or treating, and it was the first year we’ve had many come to our house too! Also, it wasn’t blizzarding, so that’s always a win on Halloween in Canada.

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!!

Sarah